I am currently a Junior at Summit Prep (2015) and I feel like the system of the school is refreshing and I have a very high academic rigor with all of my classes. All of the Upper Class teachers are top notch and people have to understand that even thought 9th and 10th seem easy there is a lot of work in 11th and 12th and I can believe that I will be prepared for college. I would also like to back up the special Ed team at summit because I have dyslexia and they are very understanding. They especially pay attention to special Ed students and the whole school is involved and they believe EVERY student can take AP classes and pass the test and be ready for college. That is my two cents.
Summit's approach seems idyllic, & is refreshfing in many ways, but also falls short . On the plus side: project-based work & student mentorship. If your child is a solid to high performer or comes from a well performing middle school, they may not be challenged. There is no tracking in this HS: kids at all levels are combined (even special needs). My child has expressed that classes are catered to the lowest commmon denominator. Students have Chrome books and "self learn" from Playlists. My child has shared that teachers don't spend much time teaching in class, andmuch of their time is online. Teachers are well educated, but for the most part are very young. Summit's goal is to have every child prepared for college - it does not differentiate student's preparedness based on drive, talent, intelligence, etc. The student will self-learn and self-differentiate themselves based on how may "playlists" they accomplish. There are little extracurricular opportunities, no PE, and limited sports teams. There is little school spirit & parental involvement, and Summit administration continuously struggles with building a cohesive, involved parent community. .
Summit's students use Chrome books and teach themselves from Playlists, Summit calls this "self learning". Teachers are no longer educators helping teach students. They have become web hosts who tell students to "Google it". It's likely this is why they have such a high turn over rate with faculty. Summit's Special Education Program is one of the worst I've experienced. They really don't have a program other than offering special ed students support class time. Special ed students are forced to take the same AP classes as the rest of the student body utilizing the self teaching method. Teachers have little experience helping these special needs students and are often uniformed regarding their IEP (Individualized Educational Plan). Instead of helping special ed students and their families, they deny and deceive. Its all about the mighty dollar. Summit harms these special children by causing anxiety and depression. If you try and fight back they get their lawyers involved. Shame on them for treating special needs children and families in this way.
The small class size, and personable teachers helped my freshman son start the year feeling very safe and excited to be at Summit. He was eager to dig in and give it his all. Then we hit an obstacle. At the beginning of the second semester, he became overwhelmed, got sick often, and started missing school. I sent a note to Ms. Pak, the school s Director. I received her reply within a couple of hours, and agreed to attend a meeting the next morning with her, all of my son s teachers, and my son. Ms. Pak made it clear that she cared about every student and asked my son to explain to everyone what was troubling him. After listening to him, each teacher shared his/her perspective, personal challenges, suggestions, and steps each of them would take to help him through. Wow! He bounced back, and is thriving again. I think Summit has bright, engaging, and driven teachers. I am thrilled to see the experiments they have the courage to take. I understand not all will work.
This school used to be great. But now 100% of instruction is computer based. Not supplemented with technology, but relies on technology alone. Teachers are no longer partners and educators. Now they are simply glamorized tutors. The school can't retain staff, because teachers are no longer valued. But that doesn't matter with the school's new "playlist" model. It's now no better than those k12 online schools. Avoid this school, and all summit schools!
This school is run by a group of young professionals with very little oversight from the Summit Public Schools organization. There is no consistency. They are all over the place with their teaching styles and philosophy. It used to be that all electives were taught within the two down time months of they year where the students immersed themselves. Now they interrupt school every few weeks for two weeks. There is no time to immerse students in either core curriculum or electives. Teachers used to teach. But no more. Now students use Chrome books and teach themselves from Playlists. Teachers are supposed to be in the school to facilitate projects. Ask a student what they did in class & they mostly answer that they worked on their playlists. Very few facilitated projects are being done. Books are poorly chosen. Facility is not clean. The Teachers are confused as to what to do. The Administration is confused. The parents are confused. The kids are really confused. Diane Tavner is busy opening up new schools and cannibalizing the teaching staffs at the existing schools. More teachers are pulled to roam from school to school with poorly prepared electives. Disaster!
My son started 10th grade at Summit this year and he loves it and so do we. The school emphasizes on self learning. The staff is very young and passionate about what they do. The students like the teachers and follow them because of the closeness of their age. It is very different than an old style schools and the way they teach students seems to be working as they have a very high rate of college acceptance. Our son was very hesitant to switch schools but once he started it did not take very long to love it. They have a lot of fun programs for the kids as well. We are very grateful that our son had the opportunity to attend this school.
This is a school that gets its students through a lottery. The students are not tested or hand-selected. The students make up the demographics of the school district. They have a 96% or better of getting the seniors into a 4 year college. They are currently working at improving their curriculum so that their students FINISH college with a degree. (i.e. the national average is only 55% will do so). How is this school so successful? They have high expectations for the students and the students meet those expectations. There is a lot of help given through teachers' keeping office hours, peer support, an assigned mentor for each student.
My student has had an excellent experience at this school. Although the students are pulled from a lottery, it offers just as much diversity as the area public schools. The classes are small. The school is small. Most athletics are done outside of school making for an eclectic student body of ice skaters, swimmers, sailors, dancers & more. The teachers are all quite young, for many this is their first teaching position after many years of schooling. They are also dynamic and enthusiastic. Students are inspired! The teachers are committed and work long hours allowing unprecedented access. Sometimes that translates into the mundane things, such as updating grades, being back-burnered. The promotion ladder at Summit Public Schools is also unparalleled in the public school system. New schools are being opened all the time. Teachers and faculty are always on the move. Some change is good preparation for students "real world" experience but this year a few major programs & key philosophies are deemed unsuccessful & were quickly, maybe hastily, changed - leaving both parents and students off kilter. I'm confident the course will be righted and the students will excel.
All the staff are very interested in helping our child succeed in their academics. The mentors are awesome too, they are like second parents! Our daughter need a school that had small classroom size and attention and most of all CHALLENGE. This school does all that and more. I love Summit Prep because of the amount of support our students get and all the great cocmoradery. Go Huskies!