Two Schools Nationally Celebrated for Helping Students Thrive Through Strong Academic and Non-Academic Outcomes

Published: May. 24, 2022 at 1:00 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES, May 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Gradient Learning, the nonprofit that provides the Summit Learning program, announced the recipients of the national Rise Award, which honors schools' commitment to improving the quality of teaching and learning. Aspen Valley Prep in Fresno, Calif., and Williams Elementary School in Pasadena, Texas, are being recognized for building systems and a culture that prepares students with the skills and knowledge to succeed not only in school, but also in life. The educators at Williams Elementary and Aspen Valley Prep have done so by focusing on each student's strengths, while giving them enough agency and autonomy to build confidence in themselves and their future. These schools created mentoring programs to connect teachers with their students so they can tailor their instruction in ways that best support the academic performance of all their learners.

Gradient Learning (PRNewsfoto/Gradient Learning)
Gradient Learning (PRNewsfoto/Gradient Learning)(PRNewswire)

"Williams Elementary and Aspen Valley Prep have built robust programs that empower teachers to meet every individual student's specific learning needs, giving them exactly what they need to support their growth," said Monica Milligan, Chief Program Officer of Gradient Learning. "It is a true honor to celebrate educators who've created safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging academic opportunities."

The Rise Award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities that have come together to ensure that every student in their school has the tools in place to reach their full potential. They've done this by creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging academic opportunities.

Aspen Valley Prep serves a diverse community in California's Central Valley. The school's commitment to going above and beyond for their students has resulted in deeper learning and community connection. Aspen Valley Prep began using Summit Learning in the 2016-17 school year, and the school has seen positive academic and non-academic outcomes ever since. Aspen Valley Prep students in the program made continued gains in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math, which is evidenced by their recent SBAC assessment scores.

"The educators at Aspen Valley Prep work to help our students become exceptional leaders so they can empower the greater community, and this national recognition highlights the impact of our mission," said Nicole Rivera, Site Director of Aspen Valley Prep. "This happens by having high-quality curriculum and high-quality teachers. This award solidifies all of the hard work our team and students have shown this school year."

Williams Elementary supports learning in the vibrant community of Pasadena, Texas. Despite the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey, the community has rallied together to support their learners. The school's success is found in their focus on truly understanding the needs of their students. The Williams Elementary community is proud they have accomplished so much growth over the years, which is clearly demonstrated by the increase of their state accountability rating.

"The Williams Elementary community has faced many obstacles over the past few years, from Hurricane Harvey to the pandemic, and I could not be prouder of our students, faculty, parents, and community for overcoming these hardships," said Christine Coppedge, Principal of Williams Elementary. "Our students are succeeding not only academically but building a foundation of habits of success that will enable them to be productive members of society. We could not have achieved the honor of the Rise Award without the support of Pasadena ISD and Summit Learning, and are so thankful to be on this journey!"

For more information about the Rise Award, Aspen Valley Prep, and Williams Elementary, please visit

About Summit Learning
Created by teachers with experience in diverse classrooms, Summit Learning is a research-based approach to education designed to drive student engagement, strong student-teacher connections, and mastery-based learning. With the program, students develop the skills and habits of lifelong learners, while gaining mastery of core subjects like math, history, English, and science. Summit Learning offers schools a customizable curriculum, a range of educational resources and technology tools, professional development for educators, and ongoing coaching and support for schools. Across the nation, Summit Learning serves more than 85,000 students and partners with nearly 400 schools, whose diverse communities are represented through district, charter, and independent schools.

About Gradient Learning
As a nonprofit organization led by educators, Gradient Learning is a trusted partner—to communities, schools, educators—that creates captivating solutions to meet the holistic needs of every child while fostering success for all. We are empowering an underpowered educational system to work for students of today and tomorrow. Our offerings include the Summit Learning program—a research-based approach to education designed to drive student engagement, meaningful learning, and strong student-teacher relationships—and Along.

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SOURCE Gradient Learning

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