Peninsula high school receives $10M grant

A high school in the peninsula recently won a $10 million grant aimed at reshaping how we think about public education. 

The school year is just beginning at Summit Public High School Shasta in Daly City, but twelfth grader Isaac Gebreysus is already looking well into his future.

"Engineering. I want to be part of something bigger in the community," Gebreysus said.

Isaac also says he feels Summit Shasta is giving him a somewhat unique academic footing he may need to get to where he wants to go.

"The main thing is the teacher to student relationship. They don't feel like teachers. More like friends."

Summit Shasta High is a charter school in the Jefferson Union High School district. It is one of eight schools Summit runs in the Bay Area.

The Daly City school opened five years ago and now has about 400 students.  It’s a school that not only emphasizes classwork, but also tailors the academics to each students interests.

Teachers say they try to show students how to think. 

"In traditional models we get really good at solving problems that already exist. We already know the answer," said physics teacher Andrew McCarty This develops people who can solve new problems because you need these different skills to be a scientist. My students do a lot of experimenting."

The school has been getting high test scores, but Summit says it has an  educational philosophy that's different than more traditional public schools. 

"Our classes are project based," explains principal Wren Maletsky. "So when students are at school they are doing hands on experiences. Really applying their learning."

Christine Talivas-Aguerre says the school seems to fit her daughter better than a traditional public school.

"Here she is always moving at her own pace. She can go faster in one subject than somebody else. Then when she moves to another subject, she may need more help."

The school is also one of ten public schools in the country  selected to receive a $10 million grant paid over five years from the XQ Super School project.

It's sponsored by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs.  The is to encourage high schools to reshape the high school experience to give all students better opportunities at succeeding in life.

Summit Shasta plans to spend its grant money by partnering with local industries so students can can have internships, Trying to expose them to real world experiences and we then chart a path of how they are going to get there.

Summit Shasta had its first graduation this past June. About a hundred students received diplomas and every one of them was accepted into a college.