Jan 30, 2020 · 5 min read

How Summit Learning is Enhancing Teacher-Student Mentoring

More than 3.8 Million Minutes of Mentoring Held by Teachers, School Staff and Students

March 2019 | A teacher works with a student in a Summit Learning classroom at Bondy Intermediate School in Pasadena, TX.

REDWOOD CITY, CALIF.—Teachers are at the heart of Summit Learning classrooms, and mentoring is an essential part of the Summit Learning experience. To date this school year, teachers, school staff, and students have held more than 3.8 million minutes of in-person mentoring within the Summit Learning program—the equivalent of watching more than 31,600 two-hour movies. 

More than 80,000 students are enrolled in the Summit Learning program, which is designed so that each student meets regularly with a teacher or other adult in the school who serves as a resource for that student’s academic, mental, social, and overall development. This mentoring model provides individualized support to students and creates a deeper connection to the school community—inspiring students to achieve their own success. 

To celebrate National Mentoring Month, we’re looking back at how Summit Learning assists great teachers in developing strong mentoring relationships with students and helps foster student collaboration.

Traci McCullough, a teacher at Chicago International Charter Schools (CICS) Bucktown, managed by Distinctive Schools, which is participating in Summit Learning, says that the opportunity to mentor her students is invaluable. “I genuinely believe that as educators, you are to teach the whole child. I had a student who was excelling in all of her classes, but was not happy. Making friends and communicating with peers and teachers was a struggle. This student is quiet, well behaved, and very bright; she is a student who would fall between the cracks. I was aware of her struggle, because I had the opportunity to be her mentor,” said McCullough. More stories and teacher-student mentoring experiences are available on the Summit Learning website.

The Summit Learning program fosters richer, more meaningful relationships between teachers and students and students and their peers. The technology which supports the program, the Summit Learning Platform, helps empower teachers to enhance the quality of student-teacher interactions by helping teachers develop a more holistic perspective of how students are doing across classes, support student learning, as well as receive input from students on what they want to talk about in advance of one-on-one mentoring sessions.

“Teachers say that mentoring is often the most powerful part of Summit Learning because it gives them the opportunity to develop strong, trusting relationships with students. Mentoring also helps students develop the habits of effective learners, including goal-setting, help-seeking, and reflection,” said Andrew Goldin, Executive Director of T.L.P. Education, which runs the Summit Learning program. “Over the past five years, we have worked with hundreds of schools to implement high-quality mentoring, demonstrating that this strategy can be effective in a wide variety of education settings.”

CZI Head of Education Sandra Liu Huang says that the Summit Learning Platform was designed and developed with supporting deeper relationships between teachers and students in mind, “Our work in education provides teachers with the tools and resources so they can ensure every student can get an education that’s tailored to their unique academic and developmental needs. As part of this work, we are proud to have partnered with educators to build tools into the Summit Learning Platform to help them to more deeply engage students in mentoring sessions.” 

Teachers are at the heart of Summit Learning classroom, leading collaborative projects, developing deep relationships with students, and inspiring students to achieve their own success. Since the launch of the mentoring check-in feature during the 2018-19 school year, Summit Learning students have received over 8.9 million minutes of mentoring.

The value of students being mentored by trusted adults is clear, and Summit Learning also encourages student collaboration and informal mentoring. A student collaboration feature on the Summit Learning platform uses technology to encourage students to connect in person with peers who can offer help on challenging assignments. Since implementing this feature on the Summit Learning platform, more than 88,000 students have provided help to their peers.

Read about other ways that Summit Learning fosters strong relationships between teachers and students by visiting the Summit Learning website.


About Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges—from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education, and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grant-making, impact investing, and policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit chanzuckerberg.com.

About Summit Learning

Summit Learning is managed by T.L.P. Education, a nonprofit organization guided by the vision that all educators should be empowered to meet the needs of all of their students. Working with Teachers, Learners, and education Partners, T.L.P. Education provides knowledge, tools, and training to schools across the country through the Summit Learning Program. Together, we are helping educators achieve their goals, students realize their full potential, and schools serve their diverse communities. Learn more at https://www.summitlearning.org/about-us.

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