McKinley School’s Key to Student Success

What does it mean for a student to be truly prepared for life beyond school? With the Summit Learning program, McKinley School (TK-8th grade) equips its middle school students with the knowledge, habits, and skills they need to be successful. Summit Learning is a personalized approach to teaching and learning that extends the classroom beyond the school day to help students, parents, and teachers stay connected.

McKinley students in grades 6-8 develop lifelong learning skills, discovering how to take ownership of their learning and problem-solve with peers. The platform comes with more than 200 projects where students can apply their knowledge and deepen their learning. It’s a way of connecting the classroom to the real world. Within the core curriculum (English, Math, History, and Science), students can also explore atypical topics that connect the classroom to the real world such as financial security, health/wellbeing, strong relationship building, and community leadership. Through large and small groups and one-on-one sessions, students apply enduring skills – such as collaborating with a team, interpreting data, and presenting persuasive arguments.

Students set long and short-term goals and discuss both their academic and emotional experiences while working towards these goals. Together McKinley’s teachers and students celebrate successes, discuss reasons for roadblocks, and talk about areas of learning.

“It’s so much more than assignments and grades. Students can find everything from teacher feedback to handouts, to notes, grades, and guidance, ” explained Dr. Merian Stewart, McKinley School Principal. “Students have everything they need to be successful. It helps build their self-confidence and independence and prepares them for success in high school and beyond.”

Students can use the Summit Learning online platform to access the entire curriculum at any time of day – 24 hours, seven days a week. They see a detailed, color-coded dashboard explaining what work needs to be done, how to get it done and what resources are available to help them at any time. Students work through content at their own pace and take assessments to demonstrate their understanding so that they can discover how they learn best, making them aware of what they’re learning and why they’re learning it.

Throughout the school day, McKinley teachers guide and mentor students. Before and after school, Summit extends the classroom beyond the school day and engages parents/guardians. Parents/guardians can see everything from educator feedback to assessments and grades on the Summit Learning online platform.

School leaders say it empowers students to plan ahead, to realize when they’re ready to take an assessment measuring their mastery of content and to go back and identify areas for growth.

“We understand that each child is unique and we encourage students to set their own goals and strive for new personal peaks with Summit,” said McKinley Instructional Coach Billie Johnson. “We are making sure that kids are hitting certain deadlines but they can also retrace their steps to see where they may have gotten a little lost. This gives them the confidence to move forward.”

McKinley School is a model, Transitional Kindergarten through 8th-grade school whose dedicated team adds value to the core curriculum and builds cultural awareness through an underlying arts focus.

In addition to honors courses, McKinley is proud to offer PUSD’s Math Academy, a program that radically accelerates the math curriculum for gifted math students. The courses begin in sixth grade with students completing calculus by the end of eighth grade and college-level math courses during high school.

McKinley students are not only preparing for high school, they are gaining the tools necessary to lead and succeed in the 21st century.

If you’d like to learn more about what makes McKinley unique, please sign up for a campus tour. Open Enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year is happening now at PUSD, please visit to learn more.




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