Middle school can be a challenging time in a person’s life, as anyone who has gone through it can attest! We want to create an environment in which differences are valued, and children can navigate this often-difficult time under the guidance of adults who love the Lord and are passionate about serving students in this age group.
Mental health is a major concern for American middle schoolers, and we want to be a safe place for all students to learn their true identity as it is found in Christ, not the world’s acclaim. Our middle school program is evolving as we encounter these challenges head on and are working to continuously adapt to our students’ needs and help them grow in faith, love, and knowledge.
Cell Phone Policy
There are a few things we do to try to foster positive relationships in our middle school. The first, and perhaps most important, is our strict no cell phone rule. All students must turn in their cell phones to the main office as they enter the school in the morning, where they are kept locked for the day. Students may collect their phones at dismissal. We find this helps minimize a lot of the situations that can arise in middle school programs. In general, we strongly encourage parents to limit cell phone use and access for their children and to put off social media usage as long as possible to protect positive mental and emotional health in their children.
Middle School Retreat
Our middle school has a lot of new students each year. This is based on a relationship with a local K-5 school and the desire of many families for a smaller and safe environment for their middle school children, which is a proven best practice for middle school instruction. To help build unity in our middle school, we plan to have a team-building retreat in the fall where students can meet their new classmates as they work together to solve challenges. We’ll also encourage them spiritually at this time and share with them God’s love for them and desire to have a personal relationship with each student.
Summit is a bit distinct in our approach to education compared to many traditional Christian schools. Whereas many schools teach a particular curriculum (Abeka, BJU Press, etc.), we prefer to say that we teach students. Using a standards-based approach, which focuses on what a child should know or be able to do by the end of each grade level, we compile the best resources we can find and pair them with excellent instructional methods to ensure each student is learning. All of this is done with a distinctly Christian worldview as we aim to prepare students for a lifetime in worship of and service to our Savior.
Our teachers have a lot of freedom to compile the resources that they think are best for their students in order to prepare them to master their grade level’s standards. We continue with i-Ready Math in our middle school. Instruction is provided by the teacher using traditional textbooks and a mixture of traditional and modern teaching methods, and this instruction is supplemented by the digital components of the program. In this way, we can “lean into” technology to help individualize mathematics instruction so that each student can fill any gaps that exist and progress forward at their own pace.
Our reading instruction focuses on teaching reading comprehension strategies as we work to ensure all students leave our middle school reading on grade level. We also teach traditional grammar as we are determined to help make a dent in what we view as a “grammar crisis” in America! We incorporate logic instruction to help our students navigate a world filled with propaganda and conflicting worldviews. Using a writing workshop approach, our students learn to write across various genres including narrative, informational/expository, and argumentative. We want to produce excellent readers, writers, thinkers, and communicators that can impact the world for Christ.
Our Bible curriculum is from Summit Ministries, and does a great job of building biblical worldview for our students. In the 2023-2024 school year, we plan to split our Bible classes into two sections, where students new to Chrsitian education will get a yearlong Bible survey class, and those who have already benefited from Christian education will dive into the competing worldviews they will see in the world. Our goal is that every student that goes through Summit’s Bible program will leave with a solid understanding of Scripture and a biblical worldview so that when shown a clip from a tv show, movie, commercial, or even “viral” social media post, our students can identify the prevailing worldview and how it aligns with or contradicts Scripture.
Science and Social Studies instruction is provided using resources by a variety of publishers, some Christian, some secular, but always taught with a Christian lens. Over the next school year, we plan to review these materials to ensure they are still the best resources for teaching these subjects.
In the 2023-2024 school year, we are pleased to introduce honors and regular sections of core academic classes in our middle school!
All Summit students in grades K-8 benefit from a variety of elective offerings including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), Art, Music, Choir, Physical Education, and Library. Students also get weekly or daily WIN (What I Need) Time, which helps us target specific learning needs among students.