DSD moves away from Summit Learning platformAug 24, 2023 08:25AM ● By Becky Ginos
FARMINGTON—The Davis School District has been using the Summit Learning platform for the past six years and it hasn’t been without some controversy. Parents have complained that their children are failing classes because of Summit and others think it’s a great program.
In a surprising announcement at last week’s school board meeting, Belinda Kuck, Teaching and Learning Department Director told the board the district would no longer be using Summit beginning in the 2024-2025 school year.
“The upcoming change will focus on direct instructional support for teachers increasing the flexibility and aspects to scheduling, mentoring and grade determination within Summit Learning,” said Kuck. “It will be incorporating a more validated curriculum from sources such as Odell Education which are products that are on our radar.”
They are highly vetted and guaranteed a viable curriculum, she said. “So that is something that is highly appealing to us.”
This shift would also change the nature of cognitive skill use and the focus areas to have less emphasis in the platform, said Kuck. “So as we met with them (Summit) we felt very positive about this conversation that we have listened to our parents and our students and in turn have turned those concerns over to Summit Learning and they have also listened. So beginning in the 2024-2025 school year the Summit platform will no longer be used.”
They are in negotiations for a different learning management system of which they have not finished those contract negotiations, she said. “They plan to release that information and have a timeline for late October or November.”
Kuck said the district would provide training, resources and support to teachers. “Our principals have been communicating this with the teachers so that they are prepared and ready.” The plan is to also involve our teachers, she said. “We’ve specifically asked Summit to put our teachers on development and research committees because they have five to six years in the program and have made significant updates and refined their curriculum across departments and across courses and that’s not something that we want to lose in a change to a different MLS.”
There will be tools and resources that will need to be added to a new MLS to facilitate that shift, said Kuck. “We believe this can be an enhancement and a tool for us to continue the work that we’re doing in our courses to align to the higher viability and the school's framework. Particularly in Level 2 and Level 3 which are effective teaching practices in Level 2 and guaranteed viable curriculum in Level 3.”
The focus in Davis School District is going to continue to be on powerful instructional practices regardless of the MLS that has been used, she said. “We have advocated that we would love to see a negotiation for a contract in the MLS that we currently use and they have taken that under advisement.”
The work that the board has delegated to staff for focus groups and surveys may be unnecessary depending on the developments and updates Summit presents to the district in October or November, said Kuck.
“As far as Summit schools that opened last Thursday, what does that look like for them as far as an impact?” said Board President Liz Mumford.
“They will continue on for this school year making the adjustments and adaptations that we’ve already made for the school year,” said Kuck. “One of the reasons we’ve advocated so strongly to involve our teachers is that as we move we would like Summit to do the heavy lifting of taking that content that teachers have refined and move that directly into the new system. They’re going to need our teachers’ input to do that seamlessly.”
Summit has been more focused on the platform rather than the practices, she said. “We think that teacher shift is going to be golden.”