Below is a letter to the editor from Principal Judith Parker who responded to an April 21 New York Times article, “Silicon Valley Came to Kansas Schools. That Started a Rebellion” about Summit Learning. Milwaukee Collegiate Academy first implemented the Summit platform in 2016.

Good afternoon, Mr. Feyer,

I wanted to respond to today’s story “Silicon Valley Came to Kansas Schools. That Started a Rebellion.”

It seems the only time that someone cares whether children like mine learn is when there is a perceived threat to the educational status quo.

My scholars at Milwaukee Collegiate Academy have been learning with Summit Learning for three years. The transformation of our learning community has been powerful. Instead of rote learning activities, our students are engaged in rich writing and discussion with their peers.

They eagerly make choices about priorities, resources and projects. Mentoring — which is the heart and soul of our school — is an anchor in the Summit approach. Our students’ weekly conversations with an adult about how they’re feeling, what they’re struggling with how they’re doing in school mirror the kinds of conversations their privileged peers have around dinner tables or when they intern with executive mentors.

If this does not impress the skeptics then I will speak in language most education bureaucrats understand: Since my students have been using Summit Learning their attendance has been above 90% and yes, that’s in high school.

If you ask any of our faculty, they would tell you that our students are not learning from screens, but from their teachers and their peers.

If the criticism of Summit limits the access of schools like mine to this approach — whether out of fear or mandate — it would be yet another way we as a society limit who is worthy of a high-quality education.

Our students are being empowered to drive their own intellectual growth and it’s about time.

Judith Parker
Milwaukee Collegiate Academy