Before using Summit Learning, Mana had tried both PEAK and SINET/Edivate. However, there were implementation challenges and neither was a good academic or cultural match. In spring 2017, Ed Direction and Mana paired up and began exploring Summit Learning. They found that Summit Learning's vision is much more aligned to Mana's vision, that the Summit Learning professional development was clear about the implementation challenges, including proactive approaches to those challenges.
One of Mana's initial challenges was that not every teacher was able to attend the Summit Learning summer training. The result was that about half the faculty had 3-days of intensive in July training to learn about Summit's vision, the instructional approaches and how to use the Summit Learning platform effectively. The training was incredibly helpful, yet the end of those 3 days, the attending teachers were overwhelmed. And there were still teachers who had none of that training. To overcome this challenge, Ed Direction created a 1-day "crash course" onboarding plan for the teachers who had not attended the summer training, followed by a series of shorter learning sessions that hone in on a specific aspect of this blended learning approach. Ed Direction will continue to provide these sessions all year.
One piece of advice we would give to emerging blended-learning schools is to give teachers plenty of time to digest the changes of blended learning. For many teachers, blended learning will require major changes in their teaching practice. Mana teachers have expressed many time the wish that they had had more time over the summer to become more fluent in blended learning practices in general and the Summit Learning platform specifically.
Mana is a national leader in developing scholars who are rooted in their native cultures by creating a learning environment that is culturally relevant and inclusive. Mana's charter is unique: the school was opened in direct response to Pacific Islander students being unengaged and feeling unwelcome in other schools. Thus, from its inception, Mana's charter demonstrates leadership in tackling challenging problems about students' educational experience. Two important and unique aspects of Mana's charter are: valuing and validating learners' wealth of cultural and intellectual knowledge and the importance of creating a caring relationship between teachers and learners. Mana is a leader in its efforts to meet the needs of all learners by designing academically challenging work, yet at the same time ensuring that the work is meaningful, engaging and culturally relevant and provided by caring adults.
Located in the West Valley of Salt Lake City, Utah, Mana Academy Charter School is dedicated to excellence and committed to closing the opportunity gap by nurturing life long learners who are rooted in their native cultures and preparing them to be leaders of tomorrow. Mana Academy was founded in order to respond to a widening achievement gap between Pacific Islander students and other sub groups within the Salt Lake area. Mana's Charter articulates community and family centered schools committed to educational excellence and cultural sustainability. By providing a learning environment that is culturally relevant and inclusive, personalized and highly engaging, Mana is changing the lives of many students who previously did not experience success in traditional schools. Mana currently has two campuses: one for k-6 students and one for 7-9 students, with plans to expand the secondary campus to be a 7-12 school by 2021.
All students who graduate from Mana Academy will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful leaders and positive agents of change in their local, regional and global communities.
West Valley City, Utah
84119 United States