Sumner Elementary School offers many creative and unique opportunities. The modified calendar provides a shortened summer break as well as intermittent breaks throughout the year. Each quarter consists of approximately 45 school days, followed by a 2-3 week break. During the fall and spring breaks, an onsite Intersession program occurs as alternative to summer school programming. The modified calendar has contributed to increased academic success and decreased stress levels.
Examples of innovative programming at Sumner Elementary includes Third and Fourth Grade Learning Suites, Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) Elementary, MindUp! curriculum, Check and Connect, and integrated technology. Using a collective space all students and staff are housed in a shared learning environment, which allows for flexible grouping to meet individual needs. AVID Elementary provides resources and tools for academic rigor and support so that all students can be academically successful. The MindUp! Curriculum helps children improve focus, concentration, and academic performance. Students practice skills that reduce stress, anxiety, conflict, and that help manage emotions. The Check and Connect program is implemented by a trained mentor. It is designed to enhance student engagement at school through relationship building and problem solving. Technology is integrated into classroom learning through the use of iPads in all classrooms, laptops in third and fourth grade. The integrated technology use offers an extension and enrichment of learning that is already taking place.
Sumner Elementary is also home to the Winona State University, Riverland Community College, Austin Public Schools collaborative education program. College students attend their junior and senior year at Sumner Elementary School, while completing many opportunities within the Austin Public School system.