Upper School

Think again. And again.

Behind everything we do is a purpose: the fulfillment of potential. Our classroom is a culture of thinking. Our inclusion of the 9th grade is with intention.

We look at things differently. We explore the 'what ifs'. We ask why. Often.

Because knowing why something doesn't work can be just as important as knowing why it does. Satisfying a thirst for deeper understanding helps our students grow into lifelong learners, doers and achievers.

Upper school students are empowered, at a critical developmental stage, with an independence that fosters creativity and responsibility.


Summit's Upper School program is designed to continue the development of well-rounded students. In addition to challenging academic courses in English, world languages, math, science, and social studies, students also participate in a broad range of experiences in athletics and interscholastic sports, the visual and performing arts, technology, and service learning.

Our advisory program guides students' social and emotional development. Students work closely with one staff member who knows them well and serves as their advocate in the larger community.


Portrait of a Teacher

The faculty of Summit School commit to these characteristics as defining features of our work in serving the needs of our students, their families, our colleagues and the school.

As an educator striving to develop the full potential of each child, I...

  • Enjoy and respect children
  • Understand the important stages in child/adolescent development
  • Observe children, giving particular attention to the unique qualities of each child
  • Facilitate and guide, fostering discovery, thinking, creativity and the construction of knowledge
  • Teach for deep understanding by designing a curriculum organized around meaningful problems, projects, and questions
  • Encourage students to form habits of mind as mathematician, scientist, historian, reader, writer and artist
  • Cultivate in students Summit’s core competencies
  • Gauge students’ understanding through multiple forms of progress-oriented and authentic assessment
  • Honor children as citizens, encouraging them to participate in a democratic society

As a lifelong learner committed to professional growth, I...

  • Reflect on the art of teaching and study the science of learning, always seeking to apply what I learn
  • Engage in ongoing personal and professional growth, embracing its inherent change
  • Study the Progressive Education tradition and apply its evolving principles in my practice: both pedagogical & curricular
  • Strive for excellence in my planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction and professional responsibilities

As a fully engaged member of the Summit community, I...

  • Demonstrate an attitude of service and flexibility, and use strengths and talents in a variety of ways to benefit the entire school community
  • Actively engage parents in partnerships for the good of the child
  • Model and uphold Summit’s Code of Conduct
  • Participate positively and with joy in the community life of the school


Grades 6-8

Students continue to develop skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. They study mythology, the short story, and classic and contemporary literature. Research projects are often integrated with social studies topics and help students develop their ability to analyze and synthesize information effectively. The process of brainstorming, organizing, drafting, revising, and editing with emphasis on vocabulary from 6+1 Traits of Writing continues across grade levels. Grammar and vocabulary study are included in reading and writing activities.


Mathematics courses in grades 6 and 7 are designed to strengthen fundamental skills needed for Pre-algebra and to develop the ability to think and write algebraically. Pre-algebra experiences in 7th grade lead to either Algebra I in 8th grade or to Algebra IA, the first part of the algebra course that will be completed in 9th grade.

Social Studies
Sixth graders study the Western Hemisphere, with a focus on Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America. In 7th grade, the focus turns to the cultures of the Eastern Hemisphere, highlighted by Ancient Greece, Egypt, and the Middle East, Medieval Europe, and the religions of India and other countries of Asia. In 8th grade, a survey course of U.S. History completes the middle school curriculum.

Science courses are taught in a lab setting and explore scientific principles, use the scientific method, and are based on inquiry models. In 6th grade, the curriculum surveys physical science, earth science, life science, and the systems of the human body. The Earth Science course in 7th grade and Introductory Physical Science in 8th grade build breadth and depth to the foundations laid in 6th grade.

World Languages
World Languages emphasize the development of skills in both the written and spoken language as well as greater cultural awareness. A focus on French, Spanish, Latin, or Mandarin Chinese is offered to students beginning in 6th grade.

9th Grade Academy

Summit 9th graders combine the confidence and independence they have gained in lower grades with an ever-increasing maturity to become the true leaders of our school community. The ninth grade year at Summit introduces students to their first year of high school within an academically challenging, supportive, caring, and encouraging environment that capitalizes on the 9th graders position as the oldest students on our campus.

The Summit 9th grade experience offers honors courses in English, Geometry, Biology, and World History and a variety of course options.

Students may continue French, Spanish, Latin, or Mandarin Chinese, and may opt to take an independent online Earth Science course and/or Art I.

Life/SCALE, a half-credit, required course, includes life skills, leadership opportunities, and a career internship. Life/SCALE also emphasizes new ways of thinking, time management, positive relationships, and increased responsibility for leadership.

Ninth grade experiences develop greater confidence in students, and by year's end produce young adults who are ready to continue developing their talents and academic potential while contributing to their next school environment-wherever that may be. The Summit 9th grade experience builds a foundation for leadership and academic success through:

  • Service project leadership
  • Honors level classes
  • Older student to younger student mentoring
  • Executive Council leadership
  • Sports Team and Arts Activities leadership roles
  • Camp High Rocks community building with classmates
  • Small classes with talented teachers and caring mentors
  • Student-led conferences
  • Daily advisory sessions
  • College preparation program including tour of a local college campus and participation in a workshop on the college application process
  • High School Portfolio design including suggested goals for 10th, 11th, and 12th grades
  • Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory
  • Career Internship experience
  • Leadership Luncheons with area business and academic leaders.