At Memorial Junior High, every student is taking ownership of their education with the InCharge program. Utilizing the Summit Learning platform, students are given access to their curriculum for the entire year in four core classes: history, science, math, and English. The curriculum is broken down into units. Within each unit, students complete projects that help bring the lesson to life and hone their cognitive skills.
“My current project is on the American Revolution,” said 8th grade history teacher Tim Smith. “The students have to decide whether they would have supported the revolution, remained loyal to Great Britain, or been neutral. They have to look at the viewpoints of all three so they can understand of rebut in the discussion.”
“I think patriot is a little too easy,” said Alexis, an 8th grade student. “I want to try to do loyalist or neutral so I can get a new perspective on the entire topic.”
Each student is assigned a Chromebook which they can use to work on their own pace throughout the year. They also get traditional instruction from their teacher and opportunities to collaborate with classmates. All three methods develop important life skills.
“The time of them making excuses of why they aren’t doing their work is gone,” said 7th grade science teacher Cheryl Turner. “We’re to the point now where the kids can explain to you where they are at on their progress, why they’re there, what they’ve done to help them get to that point, or what they need to do to get to that point. That’s powerful for 7th graders and junior high students to be able to explain that.”
By working independently, students learn how to set goals, develop good habits, and manage their time efficiently. Group lessons allow teachers to go over concepts that students tend to have a harder time with. Peer collaboration helps students learn how to work together to solve a problem or accomplish an objective.
“I really like it because I actually get to work ahead if I need to or slow down if I need to,” said Alexis. “I really thought pre-Algebra was going to be hard. Even if you do need help, you can ask the teacher or ask other students to help you.”
“I think the InCharge program is well instructed and very self-explanatory. I think I learn more,” said 8th grader Markaiah. “It’s really fun.”
Markaiah just completed a section studying Frankenstein, which included assignments to write summaries, create poetry, and watch Star Wars. Innovative lessons that make 200-year-old literature feel fresh and relevant for junior high students. Plus, getting to complete daily work on their Chromebook makes the classes more appealing to tech-savvy students.
“I like typing more than writing with a pencil,” said Markiah.
As a junior high student aiming for an Ivy League college, the InCharge program helps Markaiah sustain a rigorous pace.
“You can really far ahead and be done with the whole school year, which is great,” she said.
The flexibility offered by the program is opening up doors for students. If they are caught up in one class, they are free to use that time to go work on a subject they are behind in with another teacher. Students are no longer stuck in endless confusion if the class moves on to a new topic before they grasp the previous one. And, on the other side, students who are quick to understand a lesson are free to move on and continue learning.
“We have seen great growth with our students in our MAP scores,” said Cheryl.
Another crucial facet to the program is mentoring. With ECAM, or Exploring Curriculum Advising and Mentoring, each teacher meets with their group every day during lunchtime and all day on Mondays.
“During that time, we meet with each of our students for about ten minutes. We’re doing relationship building, supporting them, talking about their progress, lack of progress. It’s really just a one to one conversation with them. While we’re doing that, the other students have time to do self-directed learning,” explained Cheryl.
InCharge is a complete shift in how Memorial Junior High students are educated. Now in the fourth year of the program, it has proven to be a success with benefits that are sure to help students navigate throughout junior high, high school, and beyond. Summit Learning helps students learn how to learn – what works for them and what doesn’t. It gives students the chance to fully comprehend a lesson before they start the next one.
“Take your time with it. You don’t always have to rush it,” said Alexis. “Even if you fall behind on something, you can just go back and redo it because your final report isn’t until the very end of the year.”
For more information about InCharge, visit the Academics page.