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Our Educational Philosophy

For more than twenty years, Summit has been a place-based learning environment. In 2018, we partnered with Teton Science Schools, one of the leading place-based education organizations in the world, to become a member school in the Place Network. As a Place Network school, Summit collaborates with other place-based schools across the country to continually refine, improve, and innovate our place-based education model.

Place-based education is anywhere, anytime learning. The purpose is to bring the local community into the classroom and the classroom out into the community in order to encourage student engagement, increase retention of material, broaden student perspectives and experiences, and build student confidence that they can make a difference.

Key components to this philosophy beyond “place” are: individual student mastery, project-based learning, hands-on learning, student-led learning, small group work, and character building. To that last point, the foundation of all we are and all we do at Summit is the Summit Pledge, which all students recite every morning: 

“Every day, in my words and my deeds, I will do my best to live these seven virtues: honesty, respect, responsibility, compassion, self-discipline, perseverance, and giving.”

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What Makes Summit's K-5 Experience Special?

In kindergarten, our student-teacher ratio is 6:1. In our first, second, and third grade classes, our student-teacher ratio is 8:1. Though we are a tuition-free, public school, student-teacher ratios that low are rare even in private schools, but we believe they are key during these younger years to help students develop. Even our fourth and fifth grade classes have a lead teacher and an assistant in each class.

In addition to this more individualized experience, we believe our weekly exploration classes, wonderful Wednesdays, and WIN (whatever individuals need) classes are important to the K-5 experience at Summit.

Explorations includes music, art, PE, Spanish, library, and STEAM. Wonderful Wednesdays is divided between K-2 and 3-5. K-2 students spend an hour every Wednesday afternoon working on service projects. These projects have blessed so many in our community and beyond. 

WIN consists of 30 minutes every day dedicated to whatever each individual student needs to focus on in various subjects. If you walked into a kindergarten class during WIN, you would find 4-5 different centers all focused on math or reading, but each at different levels or working on different concepts, depending on what each student needs. This is the same time when any of our exceptional children will work with our EC team. 

We invite you to schedule a time to visit Summit, meet with our leadership team, see a class in action, and consider if Summit might be the right fit for your K-5 student!




What Makes Summit's 6-8 Experience Special?

Summit’s focus on individualized education continues from elementary school into middle school. Middle school students also have WIN (whatever individuals need) every day. While K-5 students have WIN for 30 minutes a day, 6-8 students have WIN for one hour every day. These five hours a week include a weekly grade-by-grade advisory, as well as focused time on language arts, math, journaling, and self-reflection. WIN is also the time when our exceptional children work with our EC team. In addition to WIN, we also offer advanced math classes in seventh and eighth grades to continually challenge our advanced students.


Twenty Fridays during the year, we offer Project-Based Learning. Students work with their core class instructors to work in groups completing hands-on STEAM-based projects.

One favorite of our middle school students is our SEEC program. Each semester, students can list their top three choices between a variety of extracurricular classes. Some examples include chorus, Spanish, frisbee sports, and art. Our chorus competes in multiple competitions every year.

Each grade also participates in a special learning expedition, culminating in a week-long trip to the Barrier Islands in eighth grade. Sixth grade spends three days at Camp High Rocks and seventh grade students spend two days on a rock-climbing trip. These are in addition to a number of other field experiences, including a multi-day trip on the Appalachian Trail to conduct water monitoring experiments.

We invite you to schedule a time to visit Summit, meet with our leadership team, see a class in action, and consider if Summit might be the right fit for your 6-8 student!



What makes Summit's 9-12 Experience Special?

The Summit high school experience combines rigorous college preparatory academics with the dynamic LEAD (Learn, Engage, Analyze and Discover) program designed to develop students that are inspired, empowered, and equipped to lead. In order to realize this vision, students take classes that earn them elective credits as they participate in the following LEAD rotation:

Community Engagement 

Students are connected to local organizations through service learning projects and personalized fieldwork opportunities in order to:

  • Develop Empathy

  • Encourage Curiosity

  • Broaden Perspectives

Mentor 360

Summit’s Mentor 360 course pairs students with mentors that emphasize goal-setting, character education, and growth mindset. Furthermore, students are connected with younger students in order to gain relevant opportunities to apply lessons, thereby completing the circle of mentorship. A dynamic speaker series enriches the program by exposing students to pillars in the community that embody strong character.

Graduation Requirements 

Graduation requirements at Summit Charter School meet the State requirements for the Future Ready Core. These include the following minimum requirements:

Outdoor Leadership

Outdoor expeditions that cultivate the following leadership skills and traits:

  • Critical thinking

  • Effective communication

  • Confidence

  • Interpersonal skills

Life Academy

Life Academy teaches students essential skills needed to thrive in college, future work, and daily life. Life Skills include:

  • Time Management and Organization

  • Financial Literacy

  • Public Speaking

  • Personal Safety

After the freshman year, high school students have an opportunity to personalize their LEAD experience by co-creating an individualized leadership plan that evolves throughout high school to help students realize their potential. At Summit, student success is not only measured by academic achievement, but also by strength of character and capacity to lead.

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