Unlike most wilderness programs, Summit has a fully equipped Academic Center.
Throughout their involvement with the program, students will:
- Attend school in classrooms staffed by core-subject teachers
- Have the opportunity to earn academic credits in individually selected courses
- Practice skills that will transfer to private or public school settings
Summit’s Academic Director communicates with parents and schools to develop a customized academic course schedule targeting the specific needs of the student. Students with learning disorders and other special education needs are assessed and supported by our Academic Director who interacts with all students daily.
Academic Curriculum and Methodology
The Summit catalog of more than 60 courses includes options in all subject areas at all levels of instruction. In addition, course options are modular, allowing students to select course material that starts at the beginning of a semester and, if necessary, even in the middle of a semester.
During the admissions process parents are provided a copy of the course catalog and encouraged to sit down with their child’s school guidance counselor to select the most appropriate course of study while at Summit Achievement.
For example, if the student is currently studying Algebra I and is beginning the second semester in this course, the student may select to enroll in Algebra I, Semester 2, at Summit. In this way, the student, with assistance from parents and school personnel, is able to select the courses that best suit their needs and result in the least learning time being wasted.
Most students enroll in 3–4 courses upon admission to Summit. A half-credit can be earned if they complete the course in full (whether that be at Summit or after they leave Summit, from their home or school).
The web-based curriculum helps students gain comprehension in multiple subject areas at the same time by interacting with multi-disciplinary and multi-subject curricula.
The curriculum methodology is multi-sensory with the material being presented through:
- Online interactive modules that benefit different learning styles
Supplementing the web-based curriculum for each course are textbooks, writing assignments, and research materials.
Students attend school three days per week on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, for a total of 22 weekly instructional hours, including study halls.
The school program is structured much like a traditional school. There are four classrooms, each staffed by a core-subject teacher who provides supervision and instructional assistance where needed at a maximum ratio of one teacher to eight students.
Classrooms are equipped with laptop computers that each have a safety feature that blocks access to email, social networking, gaming, and other online temptations. Class periods are 60-75 minutes in length with a short break between periods.
During class periods, each student works individually, using a laptop computer to access the accredited web-based curriculum. When a student has demonstrated mastery of the material in a lesson, they can proceed to the next lesson without waiting on other students to finish. On the other hand, if the student has difficulty understanding the material, their Summit teacher is available to offer them individualized instruction on any course-related topic they are challenged with.
Additionally, a lecture may be replayed or an interactive module repeated. Through this process students have ownership of their learning, gaining confidence and pride in concrete accomplishments.
Students receive accommodations based on information in any provided IEPs, 504 plans, and other learning differences that may have been previously unidentified, all under the advice of the Special Education Coordinator on staff.
Each classroom teacher has detailed information regarding every student’s individual set of needs and are immediately available to assist students in mastering difficult concepts, provide encouragement, and offer an alternate approach to learning material.
Each student builds an academic portfolio including:
- Individualized learning style assessment report
- Daily and weekly academic checklists to assist with organization and executive functioning
- Weekly individualized goals for coursework, class performance, and study skills collaboratively set with an academic advisor
- Weekly academic reflection assignments
- Daily coursework progress logs
This portfolio, along with the student’s grade report, lesson progress outline, and transcript provides a concrete presentation of the academic work completed by the student while at Summit.