13 Summits

What was your driving question?

How can we get students in each grade level to summit a mountain each year, while leaving a legacy for others?

Grades Involved

K through 12

How did this project connect to your local or regional community?

Each grade level summited a local-ish mountain peak. From Kindergarten with their 1-mile hike to Sunset Rock to the seniors that summited Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, each grade reached their peak, and left notes for the next class in the legacy journal. This has been a fantastic new program at Summit. I am honored to have hiked 11 of the 13 peaks this year.

What PBE principles were highlighted in this project?

Project Description

The 13 Summits program really is using the community as our classroom. Students were able to learn about local summits they hiked and explore what they wanted to know more about with each mountain. Every grade level participated in this endeavor. It was great to see kids’ preserve reach their peak. For some, it was very easy as their families hike often. For others, it was challenging, but the look on their face when they reached their peak was incredible! In a super techy world, we have created a program that really connects kids to nature.



How did this positively impact the community? How was it shared?

Summit shared this project in the local newspaper and our social media sites.

Reflection: What was the biggest challenge? What was the most rewarding aspect of this project?

Challenges that we had to navigate were mainly around transportation. We currently have 2 big buses and it is impossible for them to get to some of our trailheads. We used staff drivers and parents. We were dropped off a good half mile from some trailheads. We are looking into getting the smaller 15-passenger busses. Another challenge was getting our youngest students to use the restroom in the woods. Little bladders need to go often and our young girls really struggled with squatting in the woods. Ha! Things to learn and work on for next year!

Any advice for a teacher or student that is implementing a PBE project for the first time?

“This was the best field trip ever!” Beau, 1st grade

“I peed on myself again.” Zoey, Kindergarten