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Summit

DISTINCTIVES

There are a few things that truly make Summit what it is, things we consider to be Summit Distinctives.

We are a smaller school with a welcoming family feel, and there are two things that we strive above all else to do with excellence. We desperately want to be a God-honoring, Him-alone-on-the-throne, Christ-centered ministry. We don’t always get everything right in this endeavor, but this is the “plumb line” to which we keep coming back. “Self” seeks to put itself first; we are committed to consistent reevaluation of ourselves, our motives, and our model to try to make sure “self” doesn’t climb up onto that throne that belongs to God alone. By his grace, we’re seeing this begin to move into our students’ hearts and minds as well, and we were blessed to see several students come to know Christ this past school year.

We are also firmly committed to academic excellence. In all things, we want to point to Jesus, but we do not confuse the fact that we are school, not Sunday school. We often say that we want to raise kids to be excellent thinkers, readers, writers, communicators, and problem-solvers, for God’s glory and their good. We want our students to be among the best and brightest in their respective fields, giving them a platform from which they can shout the great name of Jesus.

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Our students are making outstanding growth on our assessments, and we attribute this largely to some of the unique aspects of our model. We lean heavily on student data, and we believe that the best ideas come as a result of collaboration. We work hard to stretch and grow each other, and we make almost all decisions as a team. Every few weeks, we have a professional day (we call them collaboration days) on a Monday or Friday. These days are a critical aspect of our instructional model where we spend time looking at recent student data and making class and individual plans to immediately address any gaps in learning we’ve identified. We also spend time learning doctrine and biblical interpretation so we can effectively integrate God’s Truth into our subject areas. We pack a lot into these days, and we believe that plays a large role in the exceptional growth our students are making. These days do not lessen the amount of instructional time our students receive; we far exceed the minimum instructional minutes required by our accrediting body.

We make decisions primarily through one metaphorical funnel: 

Is it God-honoring?

Is it best for kids?

Can we do it without "killing" the teacher? 

We commit to doing everything we can to further our students’ spiritual and academic growth in a sustainable way that allows our teachers to be highly-effective and maintain their passion for teaching. Our faculty is highly-credentialed. They are certified teachers, and roughly half of our team have advanced degrees.

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Our classes are small, typically capped at 16 or 18 depending on the students’ ages, though some of our classes are smaller than these numbers. With one section of each grade level, we understand that students can find themselves spending a lot of time with the same group of kids. For this reason, our specials classes are multi-age. We thoughtfully create multi-age groups for elective classes based on personality, interest, and needs, working to build relationships across different age groups. This has proven to work very well to build friendships and camaraderie among our students. 

We want to serve all students with excellence, whether they are rich or poor, regardless of skin color and heritage, and whether they are the most academically-gifted student in their classroom, or if book learning is challenging for them. We have a new FLOURISH Program that we are continuing to refine and build. This umbrella program houses our Cultivate Program for students with unique learning needs and our SOAR Program for Students with Outstanding Academic Results. Currently about 20% of our students are in the SOAR Program due to scoring above the 90th percentile on our nationally-normed assessments, and about 10% of our students are in the Cultivate Program.

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Finally, we are working hard to raise students who value hard work, who have an entrepreneurial spirit and a healthy respect for America. We want our students to understand that our country is not perfect, and that there are parts of our history that we never want to repeat, but we also want our students to recognize the tremendous blessing we have as Americans. Our team is currently learning how to better teach history and civics so that our students understand how our government is designed to work. At the same time, we are working to build an accurate view of history and how the world came to be as it is today. We want to equip our students with the tools needed to lead our country well as they move into adulthood.

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