This article was printed in the Summit Daily News. By Alli Langley. 

Photo of Summit School District Pre-Collegiate Program students and teacher

In this 2013 photo, Summit School District Pre-Collegiate Program director Molly Griffith smiles with two students in the college-prep program for first-generation students.

Summit School District’s Pre-Collegiate program was recognized in July by District Administration, a national, 75,000-circulation publication for leaders in public K-12 education.

Pre-Collegiate is a college-prep program for middle and high school students who would become first-generation college students. The program now works with about 150 district students as well as college students in their first or second years.

Summit’s program was honored as a District of Distinction, in the magazine’s program for showcasing districts successfully using new ideas. Summit was among 30 districts honored in the publication’s July 2015 round of awards.

The program is a collaboration between the district, The Summit Foundation, the University of Colorado, Colorado Mountain College, Vail Resorts and private philanthropists.

To qualify, students must be the first in their family to attend college, maintain a 2.0 GPA and have a record of good behavior. Students work with school district tutors and community mentors, who provide guidance in academics and life skills.

During a week in the summer, students in grades six through nine learn about opportunities at a local community college. Tenth and 11th graders spend two weeks studying at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Seniors take a college application class, followed by courses on financial aid and life after high school.

Over the past five years, the program has graduated 100 percent of its students, all of whom have enrolled in college. The district’s Hispanic graduation rate has risen to 84 percent, and the program’s graduates have attained a 92 percent persistence rate in college.

The program was launched in 2010 and has also helped many native Spanish speakers.

In 2007, superintendent Heidi Pace said, a quarter of the district’s students were Hispanic, and their graduation rate was 47 percent compared to the 91 percent rate for non-Hispanics. Hispanics students also were not applying for scholarships or routinely pursuing higher education.

Summit’s program has since spread to at least one neighboring district.

For more information about the program, contact director Molly Griffith at or 970-368-1130.