Independent schools are distinct from other private schools. We are independently governed by a board of trustees. We do not depend upon church funds as faith-based schools do; nor do we receive tax dollars like public schools. Independent schools are supported by tuition dollars and philanthropic giving.
Summit is a member of the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools and the National Association of Independent Schools. We are accredited by SAIS.
To be eligible for NAIS membership, a school must be independently governed by a Board of Trustees, practice nondiscriminatory policies, be accredited by an approved state or regional association, and hold not-for-profit, 501c3 status.
Fast Facts from NAIS:
- Over half a million children in the U.S. attend independent schools.
- Many more families choose independent schools than is commonly perceived.
- Families of color constitute 28 percent of the U.S. independent school population.
- There is considerable diversity at independent schools.
- Across the U.S., the median percentage of families who receive financial assistance at independent schools is 23 percent.
- Independent schooling is available to families from a very broad range of income levels.
Many factors set independent schools apart from other private schools, for-profit schools, and public schools. Of these distinguishing characteristics, it’s the school’s mission that matters most. It is the factor that must resonate with parents’ values, philosophies, and beliefs. Schools that are mission-driven are empowered to create a tailored educational experience.
At an independent school, the staff, the parents, and the students share a belief system about education, and the resulting synergy among parents and educators creates a learning experience superior to schools not mission-driven.
A school’s curriculum, faculty, and families are carefully matched to the mission to ensure that the student learning experience is optimal and family satisfaction is high. The mission allows the school to assemble its student body based on philosophy and values, not zip codes.
No less important is the fact that independent schools operate under the highest method of accountability: since no family is compelled to select an independent school, if the school fails in its mission, a family can leave that school and choose another option for their child. Independent schools can survive only if they are extraordinarily successful at achieving their mission.
Another vital distinction at independent schools is the outstanding quality of the faculty. Faculty at independent schools are selected for their expertise in their subject areas, their skill in conveying their knowledge, and their ability to inspire their students. They are evaluated for excellence each year, and since there is no tenure at independent schools, only the finest instructors get to teach there long term.
Independent schools believe deeply that families should be able to choose those schools that will best educate their children. As the mission of each independent school is unique, by selecting an independent school, parents can obtain an education that is customized for their child.