“There is nothing else out there as effective. 100% of our staff is progressing in the PEAK model.”Chris Reitan, Superintendent, Galena City Schools, Galena, AK

I have been a proponent of PEAK strategies since the first time I was introduced to them over 6 years ago. At the time I was a curriculum coordinator serving over 6 middle schools. Our team immediately began to provide support to teachers and to promote the use and training whenever possible. Now serving as a principal, I have been eager to bring PEAK to my school for several years. This year I was final​​ly able to do that​.

Some testimonies from my staff:

“Thank you for consistently influencing a shift in teacher perspective and action to better meet the needs of every student.”

“It is amazing that we covered 45 easy to use strategies that will directly impact student learning.”

“I realized how many things I was doing that really aren’t effective for learning to take place, it is time to change.”

“I realized how important it is to make the classroom a safe and comfortable space for all students.”

“Non-linguistic responses are awesome!”

“I thoroughly enjoyed my session. After 16 years of teaching, my eyes are open to new and improved ideas.”

Rachel Corn, Principal, Cochrane Middle School, Charlotte, NC

“This institute is the absolute best PD I have been a part of. I’m seeing results I used to dream about, and every time I reconnect, I get even more I can use!”

Matt Morton, Teacher, Starr Elementary School, Plainwell, MI

“I think I would have quit teaching last year if PEAK didn't come to our school! Excited to implement new strategies.”

Vikki Riener, Prairie Elementary, Cottonwood, ID

“I am a more effective teacher than I have ever been with more students achieving more than ever. And every time I come back, it keeps getting better!”

Judy Wages, Biology Teacher, Bonners Ferry, Idaho

“...but here are the real statistics. During the 4 years that I was principal of METS, we:

  • had the second highest SAT scores in the county and surpassed district, state and national averages
  • went from 53 percent on grade level to 80 (3 years). The school would move to 90 (two years after I left)
  • increased to a 96 percent graduation rate
  • achieved highest growth scores (as calculated by the ABC program in North Carolina)
  • attained a 100 percent pass rate on the 10th grade writing examination.”
Ayindé Rudolph, Former Principal, Charlotte-Mecklenburg

“There is nothing else out there as effective. 100% of our staff is progressing in the PEAK model.”

Chris Reitan, Superintendent, Galena City Schools, Galena, AK

“I have not had a program that has caught the excitement of the teachers as PEAK has. It’s been applicable for experienced and for first year teachers. I have never before had teachers cry when they couldn’t attend a training.”

Jo Ella Ferrell, Former Principal, Garinger High School, CMS

“The Spence Rogers training is working, the teachers value it, I believe in it, and if people don’t, this is probably not the district for them.”

Dr. Draper, Former Superintendent, Spring ISD, Texas

“PEAK training is the only comprehensive training that really works for kids and for teachers that I have seen and experienced in all my years in education. In my roles as both a National Board Certified Teacher in an inner city school with low performing students, as an Assistant Principal for Curriculum in one of the highest performing high schools in our district, and now as the Director of Secondary Education I have experienced PEAK training, and observed the effects of its implementation. It’s the only thing I’ve seen really work!”

Rita Vasquez, Executive Director High School Educationt PCSB and former National Board Certified Teacher, Biology, Boca Ciega High School

“I just wanted to share my success on my Danielson Evaluation. The success I experienced is directly related to the tools and strategies I have learned through PEAK Learning Systems. I was evaluated by a college professor who is not "allowed" to award 4's in any domain. However, In Domain 3: Instruction and Use of Assessment, I earned 4's in all but 1 category and in Domain 2, I earned a 4 in Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport. This is all due to Spence and his team. I appreciate all the opportunities and guidance. I have only been teaching for 3 years and started using PEAK techniques last year. Thank you Spence, Renee, Scott McCandlish and the rest of the Peak Team.”

Erin Fields-Delude (via Facebook)

“My time at the PEAK Advanced Institute was well spent. It was a more in depth study of PEAK strategies and how to apply them in actual classrooms. I was given an opportunity to do ‘live coaching’ and found the feedback from the PEAK staff to be invaluable to my everyday classroom life as a teacher. The PEAK Advanced Institute is by far the best staff development that I have attended in my teaching career.”

Albert Brooks, Teacher, Spring, TX

“I am using parallel assessments by objectives and all of my students must score an A or B or they receive a NOT YET. Any student who scores a NOT YET on any objective must do corrective work and must reassess on parallel forms until they have mastered the missed objective. My students are no longer able to choose what they will learn by doing well on some topics, failing others and coming out with a passing grade and insufficient learning. As a learning system, PEAK has taught me how to purposely design my teaching so that students are discovering information and forming meaning for themselves using strategies and questioning techniques shown to be how kids learn best. PEAK has transformed my teaching so that it is on purpose and therefore the learning that is taking place is not accidental.

I would also like to say that Knowledge Walls are making a tremendous difference. My kids are actually learning more and remembering it longer.

For the first time in my teaching career, I am a professional. I can take a group of students, who learn differently and at different rates, and tell them "I will accept nothing less than an A or B." You know what I get back..."thank you for believing I am worth it". This year I can point to criteria for credit, engaging activities aligned to my objectives, qualifiers, parallel assessments, correctives aligned to the specifics of each unit, incremental development and distributive practice down to the daily level, and of course music. There are lots of other little things in there too, but I am getting closer and closer to "teaching on purpose"!”

Brandt Robinson, High School Social Studies, Dunedin High School, Largo, Florida

“Throughout the past year I have been fully participating and engaging my students through many of the PEAK Learning ideas and strategies. One area that I have found to be extremely beneficial for my students is to include a solution station on the back of each home fun assignment. In my solution station there is a step-by-step guide on how to complete each math problem. By sending home these solutions it allows me, the teacher, the opportunity to “go home” with each student and continue their perfect practice. I have found that this allows my students to continue to be successful in their learning both at school AND at home. By including the solutions with the home fun assignment it allows all of my students, many who are at different learning levels, immediate assistance. These solutions allow the students to self check once they have completed the assignment, for others it is a tool to refer when they get stuck at a certain point in a problem, and for some it is a step by step process on how to complete the specific problem.

I have found that because I include the solutions with the home fun I have had a higher percentage of students who bring their home fun to class the following day. Many students have thanked me for including the solutions because it allowed them the opportunity to complete the assignment, and also it has provided their parents/guardians an opportunity to help them if they need additional assistance.

I am so thankful for the many learning opportunities that I have received from the PEAK Learning Community.”

Rebecca Schmitt, 5th Grade Math Teacher, Texas

“I just wanted to take a few minutes to update you on the “positive effects” in my classroom caused by my experiences in the workshop you arranged with Spence Rogers. I have focused on implementing one new practice in my class that I had not previously used. I set-up knowledge walls made by students working in small-group learning centers of Chemistry-information-bricks that students write from the vocabulary they need for effective reading. The students read together in small groups, decide the best “wall-content” and crosscheck the wall contents to assure quality of information and lack of duplication. Interestingly, they take their academic responsibility for the quality of information very seriously! This inter-group responsibility has proven to be a great stimulus to high-quality learning. This has greatly amplified the amount of time-on-task for active reading of their content information in the Chemistry textbook.

We are currently working on chemical bonding and reactions having just completed atomic structure including electron configuration, energy levels, and valence electrons of atoms. So, now that we are at a critical phase of learning in our year, this workshop could not have been done at a better time. By placing up our knowledge walls I have seen an absolute burst of positive energy from my students. This is equally true for my high-end academic producers in AP Chemistry, and the students that I teach who struggle to complete tasks that are required in the curriculum.

I have five periods a day of happy active learners including my regular Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, and AP-Chemistry classes. I will send you some snap-shots of our knowledge walls, and some happy and productive students. Please thank Mr. Rogers for me and pass along this information to those stakeholders who have helped us in this effort.”

George H. Yoakum, PhD, Chemistry Teacher, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, Florida

“I’ve been wanting to e-mail you and let you know that I have thoroughly enjoyed our educational discussions regarding educational issues at GCS and nationwide. Each time I come away with more questions and thoughts that lead me to think more about what I am doing. You do make a difference.

Before parallel assessments, tests were a hit and miss game with regards to student success and achievement. Students were expected to learn concepts, but were not required to actually master… I wanted all learners to succeed, but felt something was lacking in the model of instruction. Now, with the use of parallel assessments, knowledge walls, criteria-for-credit, distributed practice, and 6 Keys, students are held accountable for their learning and I am more precise in my teaching. It’s not a hit and miss anymore. My classroom instruction is aligned with the district’s curriculum checklist and my students are required to master concepts through the use of parallel assessment and distributed practice of concepts. The gap between individual students’ achievements is narrowing, students with varied learning rates and ability levels are being successful and feel great about their learning. I know I am doing everything I can to help my kids obtain more knowledge and keep that knowledge – my state tests are proving it.

It’s moose hunting season, and my family has already gone on one hunting trip. I can’t wait to taste that mouthwatering moose meat in my mouth. Am I a true Alaskan or what? See you in October.”

Kate Thurmond, Fifth Grade, Galena City School, Galena, Alaska

“I can't tell you how much PEAK has meant to me these past two years. Last year was my first encounter with PEAK and the PEAK strategies. I was a little reluctant at first. Boy was I stupid!!! Little did I know how drastically PEAK would change me and my teaching.

Now with PEAK, my students believe that nothing is impossible for them to achieve in my classes. I even had one student tell me when he didn't master all the objectives on the first assessment that he knew he would get another chance to do better. And if he didn't get to the point where he should be after a second reassessment, he would be expected to have yet another opportunity to get there. Then this same kid said to me, "Mrs. Drayton, had you been teaching this way two years ago when I took Spanish, I never would have failed." I felt ashamed that I had deprived him the first time but elated above elation that because of using PEAK STRATEGIES this kid is now achieving. I can congratulate myself on a job well done because it really does work.

I say to anyone, if you believe in kids, try PEAK. You will find that your life will become more enriched and teaching will mean more than you ever thought it could be.”

Mary Drayton, High School Spanish, Pinellas County Schools, Largo, Florida

“The PEAK Institute made standards make sense to me! I learned do-able strategies to use in my classroom like launch buttons, parallel assessments, and 28/3, and I am seeing an increase in student motivation and understanding. My students are participating more in class and staying on task better. I feel like I am a better teacher.”

Mary Heisel, Social Studies, Glenwood Springs High School, Glenwood Springs, Colorado

“Leading for Excellence has changed how we lead in our district! The process to effective leadership following the strategies is invigorating, exciting, and challenging. Our leadership team has been inspired to dig deep, critically think, engage positively with our staff, and model expectations. In 15 years, I have never been part of leadership professional development more effective!”

Jan Bayer, Assistant Superintendent, Kellogg School District #391, Kellogg, Idaho

“Steve excels when it comes to connecting people to ideas. His ability to articulate, demonstrate, and coordinate improvement initiatives is exemplary. He is a leader of leaders and teacher of leaders.”


“Steve is a natural leader, an effective communicator, and an inspirational coach. Organizational leadership is Steve’s passion and he has the keen ability to influence.”

Greg Helmer, Assistant Superintendent, Mona Shores Public Schools

“As our leadership team was looking for our future focus, we turned to Steve Cousins for guidance and found exactly what we were looking for. With his dedication and motivation to our cause, as well as regular followups on our progress, we made great strides and came up with a solid strategic plan. He taught me powerful techniques that transformed my team. With Steve's consultation, I know we can dream big!”

Heather Grumley, Principal, Graham Mesa Elementary School, Garfield RE 2, Rifle, Colorado

“Steve Cousins is an expert in education and system leadership. Through his trainings and mentorship, he has supported Galena City School District's administrative team as we strive to continuously improve the educational context we provide for our students while also strategically maximizing our resources to ensure the greatest impact within our classrooms.”

Chris Reitan, Superintendent, Galena City Schools, Galena, AK