Our son is bright, makes unusual connections, gifted but not always "accelerated," creative and artistically sensitive. This school has been a dream come true. I tried to "make" him fit in other schools but he was so bored and unhappy I had to ask myself whether a better fit existed. The exploratory, child-centered, loving feel here drew us in, and he has not been happier. Class activities are rich, interesting, varied. Lots of field trips and community engagement. The teachers have been so willing and able to respond productively to his sometimes deep emotions and encourage positive social dynamics. The classrooms are lovely, inclusive social units. They really work with the whole child as an individual here. We really can't say enough about how happy we are to have found SK.
We love the teachers, and it is a wonderfully nurturing environment for a gifted child. This school falls short in some areas:
(1) science: No established curriculum or standards. They are working on this, so I hope there is improvement next year.
(2) math: Not allowed to do self-paced work at home, even though the school says children are learning at their own pace.
(3) parent communications: Sometimes no responses to emails or one parent left out of important communications.
(4) accounting practices: Billing is not the same day each month and it's manual. Ultracamp system has bugs. I had a payment lost once, and I was billed one time for something I didn't do.
Summers-Knoll has been an amazing place for our son to learn and grow. The teachers have been terrific and have provided materials appropriate for his ability. He loves the school and can t wait to get back there after weekends. He is learning in a meaningful way, through experience and in context. Recently we had opportunities to gain some insights into his abilities through nationally normed tests and an above-grade standardized test. The results were amazing. He tested in the 99.95+ percentile in the area of his strength, and well above the 8th grade average (4 grades ahead) even in areas we thought were his weaknesses (such as grammar and reading). While the school is small, he is developing well socially among peers who are just as capable as he is and from whom he learns every day. We are truly thankful for the education he is receiving at S-K.
We're new to Summers-Knoll, but couldn't be happier with it. Our son doesn't want to leave school at the end of the day; at his prior school (in California, which was one of the best-rated in the nation), he often didn't want to go in the first place. Every single person we've encountered has been caring, informed, and welcoming, and our son's teacher -- because she only has 14 children to guide -- can provide detailed feedback and attention. She also brings 24 years' experience to the table, as do many of the other staff there. There are a few very critical reviews here. Some of them don't merit comment, but to the ones that allege that communication is poor, I don't know what possible basis there could be for this. If anything, I'm sometimes put out by the sheer volume of it! EVERY aspect of how the school is run is communicated to parents, including finances. Our son's teacher sends us email when anything seems to be presenting problems. They solicit detailed feedback from us about the school and about our son. There may be better schools, but I've not found one. And we won't be looking further.
I am grateful every day that this school exists. The head of school has created an atmosphere of exploration, curiosity, respect and tolerance that I have not seen in any other school. These are the nicest, smartest kids you could meet anywhere, and they genuinely support each other's learning. The curriculum includes Latin, art, and music for all kids, all grades, in addition to the 4 core subjects. Students can progress at their own pace in math. Writing assignments are interesting and relevant. The teachers seem to really enjoy the kids, and the kids love school.
We enjoy being part of this school and community. School Head and all the teachers are extra-ordinary people that see education as a life long expericence, not only loading data. Every kid is different and members of this school are not here for easy way out. They are not trying to put all individuals in the same mold. This school respects differences and acknowledges that all good things come from people that can find the best in themselves, not necessarily the normal as others perceive. You can see a 2nd grader working on 5th grade math at her own pace. This is not reflected to others as fearce competition. Teachers achieve to promote this as a positive motivation factor focusing on strengths of all. Our son started Summers Knoll in 2012 as a 2nd grader after a not so good experience with a Montessori school in the area. If you are a parent excepting your children the way they are and what to bring out the best in them not necessarily what is best for you or others, this is the school and community you should be part of. Go Summers Knoll.
After finding out that we were being transferred for my husband's job in the middle of the school year, my first thought was about my son and his transition. We visited several schools in the Ann Arbor area. We came from a Parochial background and felt certain that we would maintain that course. I visited several websites, did lots of research and settled on a long list of schools to visit. Summers-Knoll was our first stop. From the moment we came through the front door, we were welcomed by staff, parents dropping their children off and even students. They approached us with warmth and a very high level of self confidence. It is true that it doesn't feel as structured as a traditional school, but isn't that one of the reasons we are seeking out alternatives? Traditional environments can be great for many students. For my son, we feel most comfortable at S-K. Our son is thriving! His creativity is being developed and praised. His self confidence is constantly being built up. There aren't any sports programs offered after school, but there are tons offered through the parks and recreations in A2 and the surrounding areas. Bottom line, S-K is passionate about their students learning!
The teachers at this school are exceptionally dedicated, thoughtful, innovative and caring. I am thankful for the school every day- and in response to the parent who thought there was a lack of communication with parents, I have found that teachers are extremely approachable, connected, and responsive and they all post on their class blogs so you can get a sense of what is going on at all times. My child is having an amazing experience at this school she is learning to love learning.
Lack of communication with parents. No homework assignments, so parents have no clue how a child is doing and WHAT he is doing at school until it is a time for a parent and teacher conference. Elitist spirit of the school is very disappointing.