San Jose Summit Schools Celebrate 98 Percent of Students Accepted to College

Elijah Santana-Peña, a graduate of Summit Schools, will be attending California State University at Monterey Bay. Photo Credit: Passion Art Photography

A decade since its first graduating class, Summit celebrates college-bound rates above 90 percent at all of its schools

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. Summit Public Schools recently announced that an average of 98 percent of seniors at both of its San Jose schools, Summit Rainier and Summit Tahoma, have received acceptances to at least one four-year college or university. Ten years since Summit’s first graduating class, 99 percent of seniors graduating across its five schools were accepted to college. Summit students have been accepted to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country, including Duke University, Carnegie Mellon, The Juilliard School, Rice University, New York University, UCLA and UC Berkeley.

“Our commitment to our students is that we will empower them to live purposeful lives,” said Summit Chief of Schools Andrew Goldin. “We’re so proud to see a record number of our students heading to college, where they will enrich the skills and values they’ve developed at Summit as they continue down the path of creating those lives.”

Since 2007, more than 1,400 students have graduated from Summit Public Schools. Once enrolled in college, Summit alumni are twice as likely to complete college than their peers. Ninety percent of graduates across all Summit schools plan to attend a two- or four-year college this fall. Three of those schools — Rainier, Tahoma and Summit Prep — were recently named among “America’s most challenging high schools” by The Washington Post.

Across its five Bay Area high schools, Summit students in the class of 2017 received over 1,200 acceptances to 194 unique colleges/ universities across the country, include 23 of the top 50 colleges, according to US News and World Report. 

Among those students are those graduating from Summit Rainier and Tahoma in San Jose—a majority of these students, over 50 percent, are Hispanic. At both schools, 98 percent of students were accepted to college. Part of East Side Union High School District, where only 29 percent of Hispanic high school graduates met the A-G requirements for college (the way of measuring if students are prepared for college), 100 percent of Summit students are graduating meeting these requirements.

The San Jose schools were the first to embrace Summit’s innovative personalized learning model that has now been adopted Summit-wide. Through this model, students engage in deeper learning projects and are empowered to become self-directed learners, helping them to develop the habits and skills that lead to academic and personal success, including college acceptance.

Many Summit students overcame major obstacles to reach this point. 35 percent of Summit’s graduating seniors will be the first in their family to attend college. The majority of Summit students who were accepted into a four-year college also began ninth grade at a Summit school.

Willy Teav, a soon-to-be first generation college student who will graduate from Summit Rainier this week, plans to major in aerospace engineering at UCLA. Teav says Summit helped him develop the confidence to take “calculated risks.”

“Summit has really given me the space to grow as a person and as a scholar,” said Teav. “The project-based curriculum helped me become more of an analytical thinker who can wiggle through challenging questions rather than somebody who relies solely on memorizing facts or formulas.”