This is my 37th year as an educator, and every year I face a brand-new classroom full of students, each with their own unique talents and challenges. My job is to make sure they reach their potential--and the clock is ticking.

Last month on K-SVI, I shared how we’ve made changes at Bear Lake High School to help students develop skills and habits they will need after graduation. Last year, we started using Summit Learning, an education model grounded in learning science that’s helping us drive student engagement, meaningful learning, and strong student-teacher relationships.

We focus on teaching through projects designed to support students in developing lifelong skills, like planning out a project, seeking feedback to improve their work, and collaborating as part of a team. Thanks to the time we have each week with students in 1:1 mentoring sessions, students are also setting goals and taking ownership of their learning.

With this new approach, students are thriving. They are empowered to learn at their own pace—an opportunity that most of them hadn’t had before, and one that has taken some getting used to. But with time, they’ve acclimated, and now they love guiding their own learning pathway.

There’s no doubt that education at Bear Lake High School looks different than it did two years ago. But it’s not just different—it’s better, more relevant, engaging, and aligned to what our kids need in the real world. Summit Learning has changed me as a teacher and my students as learners, and it’s given us a new way to work together and improve. Every school year will bring new changes, but I’m confident that this approach will continue to help me prepare my students to grow, thrive, and take on whatever challenges come their way.

Tammy Stephens

Bear Lake High School

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