At The Summit School, HOW we teach is as important as WHAT we teach. It is a school where DIFFERENCE can mean EXCEPTIONAL, where learning outcomes are identified and measured.

Widely recognized for academic excellence and research-based methodologies, teachers maximize students’ strengths and support areas of weakness.

Summit empowers students and prepares them for success in high school and beyond. With a strong foundation, the possibilities are endless.


It’s Not Just What We Teach, It’s How We Teach

The Summit School was founded in 1989 to “celebrate and educate bright students who learn differently.”  Now in our 29th year, The Summit School continues to educate children with unique learning profiles to their full potential. Imagine, if you will, making soap bubbles on a table to learn about radius and circumference. What better way to learn about buoyancy and structural design than by working as a team to create a cardboard boat that will not only float in a swimming pool, but is able to transport a student. These types of learning experiences are outside the norm in a traditional school setting, but the unusual is the usual at Summit. Summit teachers rise to the challenge to find concrete, hands-on methods to teach higher level concepts. Research validates that the innovative methods employed by Summit teachers are the way to educate students with learning differences.

Learning Differences

Thanks to ever-evolving technologies, a world of information is at our fingertips. Imagine the challenges of mastering information when you cannot read, or the challenges of collaborating with others when it is difficult to organize and express your thoughts in writing or conversation?

Learning differences impact a person’s ability to receive, store, process, retrieve or communicate information. While we all learn differently, one in ten individuals experiences a significant learning difference that impedes his or her ability to learn in traditional settings. These individuals may struggle with reading, writing, math and organization.

“When I came to Summit, it was like someone gave me the key to my brain.”

-2017 Summit School graduate

For many children with learning differences, school can be a place where the world of information is visible, but just out of reach. They wonder: Why can’t I read? Why is math so difficult? Why does the teacher talk so fast? Why don’t I finish my work as quickly as the other students? Why is homework so hard? Family life suffers – after school becomes a time for tears and arguments over homework. Parents wonder “Will this ever end?” They see their children struggle in school and don’t know why. It does not have to be this way. Parents and children know this once they enroll at Summit.

“I told a new student, we’re going to find a way for you to learn that’s not too easy, or too hard, it’s JUST right.” Her face lit up and she gave me a hug. ‘I want to go to this school! You’re going to teach me how to read!’”

-Pam, Summit faculty member

Investment of Time and Resources

Our results are undeniable: nearly all (98%) of Summit’s students graduate from high school. This is above the national average for all students (83.2%) and well above students who have been classified with a specific learning disability in the public-school system (70.8%).

Summit helps students who learn differently by supporting teachers who teach differently. Summit teachers receive professional development before they begin teaching at Summit and on a regular basis throughout each school year.

This investment of time and resources pays off. Not only are our graduation rates astounding, Summit teachers have been recognized at the highest level for their innovative approach and educational excellence. In the past ten years, a Summit teacher was named Anne Arundel County Teacher of the Year five times.

It goes without saying that the last twenty plus years has brought many changes to education. Research has provided new insights for understanding and teaching students with dyslexia and other learning differences and technology has drastically changed the way we communicate, teach, and generate knowledge. The Summit School recognizes and embraces the need to stay true to our mission and at the same time plan for the future – a future where our students excel and one where Summit continues to expand as a trusted resource to our community.

Respect, Acceptance, and Celebration

Each year The Summit School engages in a unique learning opportunity.  We select a theme and weave the theme into discussions, activities, events and other opportunities to learn and grow as individuals and as a school.  At last summer’s teacher retreat in June, our faculty chose the theme Respect, Acceptance, and Celebration for the 2017-2018 school year.  This year’s theme reinforces our commitment to the values we hold dear and indisputable: holding each and every member of our community in our deepest regard, and in line with our foundational philosophy, affirming that every individual is respected and celebrated for all they bring to our teaching and learning environment. We believe in the integrity and compassion of our students and we will use every opportunity to reinforce these positive traits in all that we do at our school.

We welcome you to visit our website, find out about our teaching and learning community and all that we offer – a day school program, Camp Summit, as well as comprehensive evaluations and tutoring. Give us a call, come by for a visit.  We look forward to talking to you about what we love best, understanding and teaching children.

Yours, in the service of children,

Dr. Joan A. Mele-McCarthy, CCC-SLP
Executive Director


The Summit School educates children with unique learning profiles to their full potential.


The Summit School envisions a future in which students with learning differences mature into self-sufficient, self-advocating, and successful adults.


Summit was founded in 1989 by Dr. Jane R. Snider, former Executive Director, in response to a need in the greater Annapolis/Baltimore metropolitan community. Parents were traveling to Baltimore and Washington D.C. for their children to receive the specialized education that they needed to succeed.

For its first 5 years, The Summit School found its home in an old mansion in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  By December 1995, Summit had outgrown the mansion and relocated to its current location, a former horse farm, situated on 15 picturesque acres in Edgewater, Maryland.

Summit was founded as a mission driven school devoted to helping every child reach their full potential.  Dr. Joan A. Mele-McCarthy, current Executive Director, continues the mission and leads Summit as a model program for bright students with dyslexia and other learning differences. Summit remains the only school in Anne Arundel County to serve this population of students exclusively.

Campus Tour


Facts Worth Knowing

  1. Each year, Summit enrolls approximately 110 students in grades one through eight. Class size varies depending on subject and grade.
  2. Our classes for reading and math are small, intimate groupings giving each student the opportunity to gain skills by actively engaging in instruction and robust dialogue with teachers and peers. Our other content classes are a bit larger with two assigned teachers allowing for differentiated instruction and cooperative projects.
  3. All our faculty members are carefully selected because of their educational background, diagnostic skills and earnest desire to participate in a dynamic teaching environment built on collaborative efforts, shared ideas and on-going professional development.  Our faculty receives training and on-going mentoring throughout the school year from professionals who are well-respected in their fields.  Speech-language pathologists, a school psychologist, occupational therapist, technology coordinator and librarian add additional support.
  4. Over the past 29 years, our graduates have successfully joined their peers in well-known high schools and attended rigorous colleges and universities across the country. Our alumni have successfully pursued careers in education, science, speech-language pathology, technology, human services, finance, Naval aviation, doctoral studies, acting, film production, fashion and graphic design and business.  We are enormously proud of them. Their stories are testimony to the work that we do and the importance we had in their success.
  5. Transportation is available.  More specific information is available upon request.
  6. To schedule an in-person tour, please contact our admissions director at kathy.heefner@thesummitschool.org.

meet our faculty

Awards and Honors


Summit Teacher, Kelly Rampmeyer, named Private School Teacher of the Year for Anne Arundel County.


Dr. Joan A. Mele-McCarthy, Summit’s Executive Director, appointed by Governor Larry Hogan to be the Chair of the Task Force to Study the Implementation of a Dyslexia Education Program.

Dr. Jane R. Snider, Summit’s Founder, was inducted into the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Fame.


Dr. Joan A. Mele-McCarthy, Summit’s Executive Director, elected ASHA Fellow.

Summit teacher was named Private School Teacher of the Year for Anne Arundel County.


Dr. Joan A. Mele-McCarthy selected by Leadership Maryland for its 20th Anniversary Class.

Dr. Joan A. Mele-McCarthy named Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Awardee.


Summit Teacher is named Private School Teacher of the Year for Anne Arundel County.


The Summit School is selected as a 2008-2009 National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) School of Excellence.

The Summit School is awarded Non-profit of the Year by the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce.


Summit teacher was named Private School Teacher of the Year for Anne Arundel County.


Dr. Joan Mele-McCarthy is awarded the prestigious Roland J. Van Hattum Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation, the non-profit arm of ASHA, for her outstanding contribution to the field.


Blue Ribbon Schools Foundation named Summit one of six finalists out of over 1300 schools in their 21st Century Schools of Distinction.


Summit teacher is named Educator of the Year by the Maryland State Department of Education.


Rick de los Reyes,
Board Member

Ellen Webber Libby,
Chair Emeritus

Joseph H. Budge,
Chair Emeritus

Jane Snider,

Daniel Grove,
Board Member

Joan Mele-McCarthy,
Board Member, Executive Director

Elizabeth A. Crabtree,
Board Member, Chairman

Chris Lamon,
Board Member, Vice Chairman

Ann Alsina,
Board Member, Treasurer

Peter Davis,
Board Member, Secretary

Nick Clark,
Board Member

Rosie Donahower,
Board Member

Suzette Langley,
Board Member

Jim Montgomery,
Board Member

Nate Pope,
Board Member

Paul Woodburn,
Board Member