In light of recent events in our country we believe it important to reaffirm the values of inclusivity that exist within our school. Summit has always strived to be a school where all students are welcomed and valued. We pride ourselves in working with each student as an individual. We cherish the diversity of each learner, and firmly believe that there is great value in learning from the differing perspectives of each other. We are committed to continuing to provide a safe, welcoming, and supportive environment for all students, families, faculty, and staff.
Thank you to those who have completed the Return to School survey that was distributed last week. There has been overwhelming support (92%) for an early start date for next year. Please look forward to a formal announcement of this potential shift to an August 12th start*. Once our calendars have been updated and approved, we will make sure to redistribute them to you with final confirmation of this new start date. (*Please note that all days prior to August 24th would not count towards our 1080 hrs/180 day requirements. Although attendance on these days would be highly recommended, they would remain optional.)
As a reminder, the earlier start date would allow for students to adjust to a structured school day, and allow for more intensive informal assessments of our students. These assessments will provide teachers with ample time to stagger learning, forming smaller pods in and outside of the classroom to address the needs of those that require more intensive remediation. One thing that makes Summit unique is our ability to meet the individual needs of each student. Did you know that in our 7th and 8th grade last year we were able to accomodate for four different levels of math in the same classroom? We anticipate the potential for differing levels of math in each grade level, and will plan to prepare for such.
The month of June will be spent working to complete our Return to Learn plan for the Department of Education. This plan, when accepted and approved by the DOE, will lay the groundwork for addressing both the health and safety of our students as well as our plan to ensure that students receive standards based education in potentially three different learning environments. In addition to the traditional On-Site Delivery plan, we will also submit a Required Continuous Learning plan (RCL) and a Hybrid Learning (HL) plan. The RCL would be used if the school was required to temporarily shut our doors due to another COVID-19 outbreak. The RCL would layout the structure of a half on-site and half at home learning plan. Teacher contracts were modified this spring to include more detailed expectations of virtual teaching should the need to teach from home become necessary. This, coupled with intensive Google teacher certification this summer, will better prepare our faculty for this possibility.
One of the primary areas of focus in our Return to Learn plan will center around the health and safety of our students. We will plan to follow the recommendations of the CDC and the Linn County Public Health Department when making these decisions. We recently secured CARES Act money that can be used for COVID-19 mitigation and have started the process of researching potential professional cleaning options, and in securing PPE for our students, faculty, and staff. The likelihood that we will make adjustments to our daily check-in procedures, our recess and lunch routines, and the configurations of our learning environment, are great. More details on these plans will be distributed once they have been approved by the Department of Education.
And finally, I am excited to announce the hiring of two new faculty members for next school year. Angie Neuville will join our upper school faculty this fall. In addition to being a former Summit parent, Angie brings extensive experience in the classroom and as a Special Education consultant for the AEA. Also, Rebekah Ford has been hired to serve as our 3/4 Teacher during Shawna’s maternity leave. Rebekah is an Orton-Gillingham trained teacher and a wonderful addition to our faculty.
We look forward to introducing our new faculty to you in our next virtual Town Hall which is tentatively scheduled for June 30th, at 6:30 p.m. Please look forward to this announcement as well as other updates as they unfold over the next few weeks.
Paul G. Pressler
Head of School