Academics

If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.

- Ignacio Estrada -

Approach

Our curriculum is based on National Educational Standards; our approach is completely different. That’s because how we teach the curriculum varies according to the needs of the student. Whether that means a reading remediation program, or an advanced class in algebra, we meet your child where they are — from a twice exceptional child to a child with an auditory processing disorder, we give that student what they need in the classroom.

That’s why our approach to educating children is diagnostic and prescriptive. Closely examining your child’s individual strengths and weaknesses, we prescribe the approach that is best suited to help your child achieve academic success in the areas where they struggle, and challenge them in the areas where they shine.

How do we do it?

HOMOGENEOUS GROUPINGS FOR MATH AND LITERACY

For math and language arts, students are grouped and taught at their achievement level and the approach needed, not their grade level. This allows each student to achieve success, regardless of where they are academically in comparison to other students their age.  It also allows the teacher to do instruction for the whole group, reducing the amount of time the other students wait, or do busy-work, while the teacher modifies the instruction for individuals.

SMALL CLASS SIZES WITH TEACHER-DIRECTED INSTRUCTION

An average of seven students with one teacher during math and language arts allows the teacher to firmly grasp a child’s specific areas of difficulty, and make modifications as needed.

MASTERY TEACHING

Children with learning differences need more repetition, more teacher-directed instruction, and more input via all modalities in order to thoroughly learn a subject. The goal is to ‘teach to mastery’; therefore, there is ongoing assessment and reinforcement of student learning.

UNIQUELY STRUCTURED DAY

Morning

  • Competency in math and language arts forms the foundation for success in other subjects so the entire morning is devoted to their intensive study.
  • Both math and language arts are taught at the same time school-wide. This provides us with the ability to be flexible and responsive to the changing needs of your child.

Afternoon

  • Students are in homerooms with their grade-level peers for science, social studies and special areas.
  • There are two different special area classes each day, including Physical Education, Music, Computer Instruction, Library, Art, and S.O.S. (Sound Off Sessions).
HANDS-ON, MULTI-SENSORY LEARNING
  • Learning math using three-dimensional objects, songs and movement helps students to understand concepts.
  • Whether it’s watching a chrysalis become a butterfly or creating a photo light box, our Science Exploratorium makes textbook science come alive.
  • The tactile activities of creating pottery, mask-making, and weaving (to name a few) make learning about history and other cultures fun.
  • Wherever possible, our science and social studies curriculums are reinforced through our art and music programs.
  • Doing skits is a kinesthetic, concrete way to help kids get excited about historical events, or interpreting a piece of literature.
  • Writing letters in salt trays or shaving cream helps students who have trouble decoding language.
  • Field trips to nature centers, music and theatre performances, or the Science Center complement classroom work.
INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY

Technology is an important part of teaching at Summit Academy. In addition to being an integral part of our world, technology helps students access information, write reports and finish homework faster and more easily.

  • Summit Academy is a Google for Education School.
  • Every classroom is equipped with an interactive white board.
  • Grades 1-8 have Computer Skills class in our computer lab, which is geared to their age group and taught by a Technology teacher.
  • Our Technology teacher, a code.org trainer, focuses on STEM training, coding, and typing skills.
  • Primary students utilize tablets, iPads, and computer work stations in each classroom.
  • Every Intermediate and High School student has a dedicated Chromebook.
  • Summit Academy is equipped with an ultra fast wifi network throughout the school.
TESTING AND EVALUATION

Summit Academy uses a variety of testing procedures in order to evaluate progress and guide instruction, including norm-referenced testing, criterion-reference testing, and performance-based assessments.

We use the most up-to-date testing materials and take a great deal of care to examine and consider test results. Testing data helps us determine a student’s areas of strengths and weaknesses, allowing us to make the best possible decisions when planning the student’s placement and curriculum.

WITH PARENTS
  • Teachers communicate with parents via notes in binders, phone calls, e-mails.
  • Parents and teachers meet three times per year for a conference.
  • Our weekly newsletter “The Monday Update” and our website include everything from our mission statement to the basketball schedule.
  • Our Head of School has an open-door policy so parents can ask questions, address their concerns, or get advice.
WITH EACHOTHER
  • We use a team-teaching approach that allows the teachers to share insights about the student and strategies that work for your child.
  • Teachers collaborate with the Head of School and the school counselor; talk with the speech or occupational therapists, club sponsors, the Tree House team, or whoever may be involved with your child.
  • Our Board of Trustees includes parents, alumni parents, teachers, staff members and community leaders, so that school issues are discussed with our whole community.
WITH STUDENTS
  • Teachers give instructions verbally, on the board, and/or through demonstration so that students can process instructions multi-modally.
  • Each homeroom has a weekly group S.O.S. (Sound Off Session) to work on social skills, conflict resolution and identifying and managing emotions.
  • Our teachers and staff members know our students. We like them. We talk with them!