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  Our Program

The academic program at Summit School of the Poconos is comprised of several focal points: daily instruction & sensorial materials; project-based work; STEAM; health, wellness & movement; and civics.


Daily Instructional Lessons:


Daily instructional lessons will be provided in the areas of math and language arts at every grade level so that students develop a comprehensive foundation from which to explore. Small class sizes and age-mixing will allow teachers to group students based on ability rather than strictly by grade level or age, which provides a meaningful, competency-based education.


Early childhood students will work with manipulative (sensorial) educational materials. All children are born with the gift of curiosity and a desire to learn. Being thoughtful about what children touch, hear, see, and smell during a learning experience can turn an ordinary lesson into a lasting memory.


Project-based work:


Project-based work, both teacher-led and student-chosen, allows students to make interdisciplinary connections rather than learning within academic “silos.”


At lower grade levels, projects are primarily be teacher-led and will often be completed as a group effort. Teachers ask investigative questions and encourage students to find answers and problem solve, which will sometimes mean allowing them to fail before they succeed. It is important for teachers to reframe failure as a necessary part of the learning process and determination as an essential component to success.


As students mature and move into higher grade levels, they are encouraged to chose the projects or aspects of projects they’d like to focus on, allowing them to explore areas of interest in a significant way and helping them develop a deep sense of individual-self at an earlier age than most. Upper-middle school and high school-aged students will understand the correlation between their project-based work and academic standards, and their work will organically transition to learning experiences that are more individually driven. They do, however, continue to work closely with teachers and field experts as mentors as they complete projects.


All projects will align with the Pennsylvania State Department of Education academic standards.



STEAM:


STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Emphasizing these subjects within a comprehensive curriculum was originally driven by the business community. The goal? To prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s competitive workforce. In the real world, content knowledge is layered and interwoven, not practiced in isolation. The abilities to collaborate, express creativity, demonstrate innovation, and effectively communicate are skill sets necessary to compete in tomorrow’s job market. Educating students for success is vital toward our collective future.  STEAM is not a program, but a philosophy that integrates seamlessly into project-based work.


It is impossible to encourage creativity and innovation without a focus on the arts. Art will be incorporated into our curriculum through different activities and classes.


Health, Wellness & Movement:


There is a correlation between learning and movement—the mind-body link—that is sadly, often overlooked. Allowing creative movement in the classroom releases students from a passive learning posture—bottoms glued to seats and dissociated—and engages them physically and mentally. When students participate through movement, they show increased oxygen levels in their brains, which encourages creativity. Allowing students to experience curriculum in a physical manner helps them connect to what we are hoping to teach them on much deeper level.


Exercise really does grow the brain! Recess, play, access to plenty of fresh air (even if it’s cold, why not bundle up?), and classes and electives with physical fitness and activities at their core are essential components to educating our youth.


We have the great privilege of using Trout Lake Retreat Center (aka The International Sports Training Camp) in Bartonsville as our home base in the beautiful Pocono Mountains. Five hundred acres of natural habitat surround this beautiful property with a hundred-acre lake that is full of ecology, waiting to be studied. Sports fields and basketball courts abound and are available for student use. The possibilities are endless.


Students will participate in morning moment and meditation and reflection. We also participate in additional elective activities during the year such as ski club.  


Civics:


Civics is close to the heart at Summit School of the Poconos. We regard ourselves as a school community, responsible for our actions, responsible to each other, the community outside of our school, and a duty to be good stewards of the earth.


Around the world, democracy is being threatened, yet it is at the core of America’s promise of opportunity in exchange for hard work. Our students are expected to work hard. They are expected to be kind and respectful of their teachers, themselves, and one another. In exchange, they are rewarded with many freedoms often absent from a traditional school setting.


Understanding the importance of self-regulation and compromise is vital for success in adulthood. Through our civics program, a “school meeting” is held once a week, wherein all students and staff members attend, each of whom is entitled to one vote on matters brought forward by any member of the school—student, staff, or board.


Students help make the rules that govern our school. This allows them to actively participate in the management of their educational community, provide ownership of rules, and an understanding as to why they exist.


A “justice committee” or “JC” will meet every day and will serve to represent fairness within our school community, peaceful resolution of conflict focused on restorative justice, and a genuine respect for all students and staff.


Perhaps more than ever, our country is in need of young leaders. By incorporating a democracy-rich environment with our teaching methods and philosophies, students learn how to participate as active, engaged members of their society and posses the ability to carry this into the real world, beyond their school experiences.