Cheshire Press Pause on Summit

Mary Burnham
Mary Burnham 88 Comments
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Petition for a suspension of the Summit pilot program

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We, the undersigned residents of Cheshire, have become increasingly concerned with the decision by school administrators and the Board of Education to pilot the Summit Personalized Learning Platform, and with the implementation of the Summit platform in our elementary and middle school classrooms.

Despite assurances from administrators and certain Board members about the success of the pilot program, discussions with parents, students, and teachers have revealed a number of inconsistencies between the information being provided by school administrators and the actual experience of using the Summit platform as applied in Cheshire’s classrooms. For example,

  • It remains unclear whether testing and assessment questions are consistent with Focus Area content and furthermore Focus Area content is in line with what is being worked on in class time.
  • The effectiveness of controls implemented to restrict access and ensure age-appropriateness and quality of content has not been established.
  • It is not clear whether our elementary and middle school classrooms have sufficient teacher and staff resources to conduct the individual instruction (to students of all types) and mentoring time that the Summit platform recommends.
  • Administrators have not established the degree to which personally identifiable data on students is protected, and whether the disclosure of data required by the district’s contracts with Summit is in compliance with applicable laws.

While we appreciate the challenges of providing effective instruction to students with wide-ranging abilities and interests, we believe that school administrators have not given sufficient consideration to whether the Summit platform is an appropriate tool to address those challenges in Cheshire at this time. We further believe that the chosen approach of experimenting with firewalls and addressing the correctness and consistency of content on an ad hoc basis while implementing the pilot is not appropriate. Lastly, the lack of consistency in implementation, inadequate training of teachers and staff, continued exposure to inappropriate material, and poorly-designed Focus Area content and assessment questions are leading to increasing reports of student anxiety, frustration, and disinterest. We therefore respectfully request that Cheshire Public Schools suspend their pilot of the Summit platform until such time as a more detailed assessment of the appropriateness and effectiveness of content, and of the effort and resources needed to correctly implement the platform, can be completed. This exercise must be transparent including input from teachers, administrators, parents and students.

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