The Summit School
On a balmy evening in August, a group of young people gathered in a small yellow house. Of different races and gender, they came together because of what they share. In addition to being intelligent, successful high school and college students, they are all dyslexic and have attended The Summit School.
Founded in 1989 by Dr. Jane R. Snider, The Summit School is the only private, non-profit, coeducational day school exclusively serving bright students with dyslexia and other learning differences in grades 1 - 8. The school is located on a beautiful 15-acre campus in Edgewater, Maryland. Small, intimate classroom settings, an overall student/teacher ratio of 4:1, and teachers trained in proven methods that work for students with language learning difficulties are some of the highlights of this specialized school program. The school's enrollment of just under 100 students enables the 25 instructional staff members along with a librarian, a school counselor and speech/ language therapists to change the lives of students and their families.
Inside the classroom at Summit, you'll find students and teachers engaged in an interactive and multi-sensory learning process. In one classroom, a small group of four students use game ball activities to reinforce reading skills. In the hallway outside, students are gathered around models of structures called ziggurats, handmade temples built by the ancient Sumerians. During bi-weekly assemblies, students show off their talents and recent academic accomplishments by performing songs, reading creative essays, and receiving individual recognition for meeting personal reading goals. For these students, taking home good news about school is a new experience and a boost to their self-esteem.
Each Wednesday afternoon, staff members gather in grade level clusters to translate each child's diagnostic information into individualized instruction activities. These group discussions, which often include school specialists, monitor student progress and fine-tune each student's program.
Throughout the year, Summit alumni return to campus to rekindle friendships and offer seasoned advice to younger students. At a recent gathering of Summit School grads, the talk was congenial, optimistic, and about successes. Van, a college senior who is also working as an acquisitions manager at the Department of Transportation, said "I've been to a lot of different schools, but Summit was the building block, the foundation of everything I've achieved."
The typical Summit School student may be described as 'educationally bruised." A language-based learning disability is common among them. Parents report that even a short stay at Summit has restored their child's self esteem and changed the course of their academic experience. A careful guidance program is offered to help families make future educational decisions. To lend support to families outside the day school community, Summit offers a full range of educational, tutorial, consultative and evaluative services.