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frequently asked questions

General questions about summit

Do the students at Summit wear uniforms?

Yes, Summit students have a dress code of khaki pants and blue polo shirts.  During the 2014- 2015 school year, we are phasing out previously approved colors.

Does Summit offer transportation?

Yes! The Summit School is excited to announce an opportunity for families to arrange transportation services for the 2015-16 school year. At this time, routes have been established for the following areas:

Anne Arundel County
Calvert County
Prince Georges County

More specific information is available upon request. In addition, many families form carpools.

Does Summit offer before and after school care?

The Summit School provides after school care through a homework enrichment program until 5:00 p.m. at an additional cost. Before-school care is not available at this time.

Do any students matriculate back to mainstream schools before 8th grade?

Yes, depending on how long a student attends Summit and the progress that they have made, they might be able to return to a mainstream private or public school prior to 8th grade.  The decision to leave Summit prior to 8th grade is usually made after much discussion between the school and family and is carefully weighed on an individual basis.

What are the qualifications of the teaching staff at Summit?

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.  To see a full list of our faculty and their qualifications, click here.

Does The Summit School offer testing, comprehensive evaluations, and tutoring services apart from the school program?

Yes, The Summit School offers these services through The Summit Resource Center.  The Summit Resource Center provides comprehensive evaluations, as well as tutoring services for reading, writing, math, SAT prep, and college placement.  Some of our tutors can help children with foreign language and with science and history as well.  For more information about The Summit Resource Center, please click here.

About our program

What areas of academic difficulty are addressed by Summit’s program? And what diagnoses are not appropriate for Summit’s program?

Most Summit students are diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, or have executive function and working memory challenges.  Our students experience difficulty with reading decoding, auditory processing, language processing, receptive/expressive language, information retrieval, sustained attention, and rote memory.  However, our students are bright and are strong conceptual thinkers, good problem solvers, creative, and interested in science, social studies, music, art and sports.

Our program is not appropriate for children with Asperger’s/autism spectrum disorders or a primary diagnosis of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavior disorder, severe communication disorders, or who fall below the average range on measures of cognitive ability.

How are Science, Technology, Arts, and Extracurricular activities addressed in the program?

Our students experience a well-rounded program.  Science and Social studies are part of our core curriculum and we follow the MSDE curriculum.  Technology instruction is integrated across the curriculum with specific skill competencies assigned to each grade level. Laptops are used in many classes for group and individual projects. A 1:1 iPad program is in place for six, seventh, and eighth graders.

Do students who attend Summit do tutoring outside of the school day?

No, Summit’s program is designed to fulfill each students’ academic profile needs during the school day.

Will my child be prepared for high school after leaving Summit?

The Summit School’s program is designed with the intention that our students can ultimately attend a private or public mainstream school.  For more than 25 years, Summit has successfully transitioned our students to high school, college, and beyond.

Does Summit help students and their parents with the transition to other schools?

Yes, Summit has carefully designed a guidance program for every student that begins during his or her seventh-grade year (and before if students leave earlier).  Parents are very involved in the process and are given many resources to help make the best choices for their student.  Some activities include an evening with a panel of former Summit students, who are now in high school, meetings with school leadership, and educational evaluations for the students.

What schools do Summit students attend after graduation?

Upon leaving Summit, our students frequently attend schools such as:

  • Archbishop Spalding High School, Severn, Maryland
  • Beth Tfiloh School, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Bishop McNamara, Forestville, Maryland
  • Broadneck High School, Annapolis, Maryland
  • Elizabeth Seton High School, Bladensburg, Maryland
  • Gunston School, Centreville, Maryland
  • Indian Creek Upper School, Crownsville, Maryland
  • Jemicy School, Baltimore, Maryland
  • McLean School, Potomac, Maryland
  • Mt. St. Joseph High School, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Seton-Keough High School, Catonsville, Maryland
  • Severn School, Severna Park, Maryland
  • Severna Park High School, Severna Park, Maryland
  • South River High School, Edgewater, Maryland
  • St. John’s College High School, Washington, DC
  • St. Mary’s High School, Annapolis, Maryland
  • St. Mary’s Ryken High School, Leonardtown, Maryland
  • St. Vincent Pallotti High School, Laurel, Maryland
  • The Calverton School, Huntingtown, Maryland
  • The Lab School, Baltimore, Maryland
  • The Lab School, Washington, DC
  • Wye River Upper School, Wye Mills, Maryland

About the admissions process

Will Summit accept my child mid-year?

Yes, Summit accepts applications on a rolling basis.  Students are admitted to Summit throughout the school year.

Does The Summit School offer financial assistance?

Yes, Summit offers financial assistance through SMART Tuition on the basis of demonstrated need and how much scholarship money is available.  Please click here to read more.

Do financial aid awards to individuals change from year to year?

Once financial assistance is awarded, The Summit School strives to continue financial support in subsequent years, on the basis of demonstrated need.

Are there any school costs beyond tuition?

No, all school activity fees are included in tuition.  Additional costs could be incurred for lunch, athletics, and Summit logo wear.

Does the admissions process include a visiting day for my child? What can they expect on that day?

Yes, once you have submitted your application, your child will visit Summit during a regular school day for an admissions screening and to participate in classes with their peers.

Does Summit accept students who are funded by their county school system?

Yes, please click here to read more about the non-public placement referral process.

What opportunities does Summit offer to learn about the school?

Summit welcomes your phone calls or emails at any time.  You may also schedule a personal tour or attend a scheduled Drop-in Tour.  Click here to view Drop-in Tour dates.

About the summit resource center

Does my child have to attend The Summit School to use the services in The Summit Resource Center?

No, the services offered by The Summit Resource Center are for all students, regardless of which school they attend.

Does The Summit Resource Center accept insurance for testing, comprehensive evaluations, or tutoring?

No.  However, you may check with your insurance to see if an out-of-network evaluation will be reimbursed according to the terms of your policy.  Insurance does not reimburse for tutoring.

Do I need to bring my child to Summit for their testing and evaluation?

Yes, Summit testing takes place on our campus in Edgewater, Maryland.

Do I need to bring my child to Summit for tutoring?

No. Tutoring can take place at a location convenient for you and your family.  Our tutors can meet you at your child’s school, The Summit School, your home, or the local library.  We work around what is best for you.

When should I have my child tested/evaluated?

A parent knows best.  If you feel that something is not right, it is helpful to seek answers through a comprehensive evaluation.  If your child demonstrates delayed speech or speech sound production issues that causes his or her speech to be difficult to understand, a speech/language evaluation at the age of two or three is very appropriate, and certainly, not too early.  If early oral language symptoms are not evident, but if your child shows difficulty learning to read, a thorough evaluation should be completed.   First grade is not too early to have your child assessed, especially if you receive teacher reports that your child is struggling and if your child comes home from school very frustrated, shies away from reading and writing tasks, and expresses doubts in his or her ability to do well in school.  And, if you do not have your child evaluated early in their school career, don’t worry!  It is never too late; many bright students have made it to high school, and are diagnosed for the first time as a teenager.  For information about having your child tested at The Summit Resource Center, please click here.

What documentation do I receive when the testing/evaluation is completed?

At your closing appointment with the clinician who administered your child’s testing, you will receive a complete diagnostic report which reviews the findings of all of the tests that were administered and what that means for your child and his academic or speech and language profile. Suggestions for moving forward are included to help guide you towards academic success for your child. If applicable, accommodations are included as well, as a tool for your child’s school.

About Dyslexia & learning differences

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is not reading words backwards or writing letters backwards.  That is a common misconception.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) defines dyslexia as a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. Individuals with dyslexia typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding. Dyslexia can be inherited in some families, and recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to developing dyslexia.

Many individuals with dyslexia have difficulty with word retrieval, working memory, and written language.  Since every individual is unique, common patterns exist, but no two children show the same symptoms exactly.  Most children with dyslexia are bright, many are gifted, and can compensate to a certain point until their level of confusion surpasses typical teaching methodology.  Nevertheless, most children with dyslexia struggle to recognize sounds that letters make, do not sequence the sounds in a meaningful way, and have to be taught to read in a systematized, multi-sensory, structured way with a reading system based on teaching the phonology (sound system) of our language.

How is dyslexia diagnosed? 

A thorough evaluation must be conducted by a psychologist, neuropsychologist, speech-language pathologist, or a specialist trained in the administration of individual, standardized tests, or a team comprised of two or three of these professionals.  This comprehensive evaluation must include three parts to provide a thorough picture of the child’s learning strengths and weaknesses: a cognitive battery, an achievement battery, and an oral language battery The cognitive battery must include psychological processing testing to assess how the child reasons and analyzes (verbally and nonverbally), and how he or she has acquired facts and general knowledge.   The cognitive portion of the evaluation should also assess long-term, short-term, and working memory.

An achievement battery includes assessment of reading (decoding, comprehension, reading vocabulary) and should include timed and untimed tests.  The battery should also include assessments for math computation assessment and math problem-solving. The achievement battery must include written language skills assessments such as spelling, sentence structure, story writing, etc.

The oral language battery, a very necessary component to a comprehensive evaluation, is often not administered, but provides more detailed information that provides insight into the underlying language skills that can support or hinder achievement in reading.   An oral language battery should include assessment of receptive and expressive language knowledge and processing.  Specific components of the oral language battery assesses semantic knowledge and use of words (vocabulary, sentence, and conversational discourse), knowledge and use of syntax (word order) and grammar (word function) in sentences, and the child’s understanding of phonology (the rules the guide the way sounds are sequenced in the language).

A comprehensive evaluation is like putting the pieces of a puzzle together; all the pieces must be linked to make the correct diagnosis and to understand how to plan a course of teaching specific to the child.  For information about having your child tested at The Summit Resource Center, please click here.

What is dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia is a broad term for severe difficulties in math that describes a learning profile that includes a difficulty learning basic arithmetic facts or retrieving them once they are learned, a developmental delay in the learning of arithmetical procedures, and poor comprehension of numeral magnitude (Butterworth, 2005; Butterworth & Reigosa, 2007; Geary, 1990; Geary, 1993; Jordan et al., 2003).  It includes math problems ranging from inability to understand the meaning of numbers to inability to apply math principles to solve problems. Dyscalculia involves inability to understand the meaning of numbers which means the quantities they represent. Students with dyscalculia cannot understand basic operations of addition and subtraction. They may not understand complex problems such as multiplication, division, and more abstract problems. Because they do not understand math concepts, they do not remember and cannot build on them to master more complex problems. As with other types of learning disabilities, dyscalculia is believed to involve the language and visual processing centers of the brain. Evidence suggests learning disabilities such as dyscalculia may be inherited or can be caused by problems with brain development.  There is some association between dyslexia and dyscalculia in children and adults.

What is dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder characterized by writing disabilities.  Specifically, the disorder causes a person’s writing to be distorted or incorrect.  In children, the disorder generally emerges when they are first introduced to writing.   They make inappropriately sized and spaced letters, or write wrong or misspelled words, despite thorough instruction.  Children with the disorder may have other learning disabilities; however, they usually have no social or other academic problems.  Cases of dysgraphia in adults generally occur after some trauma.  In addition to poor handwriting, dysgraphia is characterized by wrong or odd spelling, and production of words that are not correct (i.e., using “boy” for “child”).

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Retrieved on October 14, 2013  http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dysgraphia.dysgraphia.htm.

What is verbal apraxia of speech?

Verbal apraxia or dyspraxia, is a speech disorder in which a person has trouble saying what he or she wants to say correctly and consistently. It is not due to weakness or paralysis of the speech muscles (the muscles of the face, tongue, and lips).

Developmental apraxia of speech (DAS) occurs in children and is present from birth. It appears to affect more boys than girls. This speech disorder goes by several other names, including developmental verbal apraxia, developmental verbal dyspraxia, and childhood apraxia of speech. DAS is different from what is known as a developmental delay of speech, in which a child follows the “typical” path of speech development but does so more slowly than normal.

One of the most notable symptoms is difficulty putting sounds and syllables together in the correct order to form words.  Longer or more complex words are usually harder to say than shorter or simpler words.  People with apraxia of speech also tend to make inconsistent mistakes when speaking.  The causes of DAS are not yet known, but often there is a family history of communication disorders or learning disabilities.

What are Executive Function challenges?

Children who have executive function challenges have a difficult time adapting to the teaching styles and rules of different teachers, conceptualizing, planning and implementing a research report (and even a simple book report), and performing tasks that have multiple layers (such as spontaneous writing and the need to integrate knowledge in spelling, capitalization/punctuation, sentence structure and handwriting).  Often, children with executive function difficulties become very frustrated because “they can’t do school” despite their ability to understand the concepts taught in the moment they are taught.

There are specific “hallmarks” of executive function challenges.  Some or several of the following list may be evident in a child or an adult:

  • Difficulty with working memory
  • Easily distracted by external or internal stimuli
  • Perseveration of response sets
  • Difficulty with initiating activity
  • Difficulty with maintaining effort
  • Difficulty with recognizing and/or utilizing feedback
  • Difficulty modulating activity without cues
  • Poor self-awareness of deficits
  • Anxiety issues despite seemingly grade level skills
Does dyslexia run in families?

Yes, research indicates that there are specific genes associated with dyslexia. Because no two people are alike, and because dyslexia is not a syndrome, the symptoms displayed by a parent could look very different for the child. When parents know that dyslexia or reading difficulties are present in the family, they should monitor their children’s progress carefully, starting at age two when children begin to develop spoken language, with continued careful diligence during the preschool years and early elementary school grades when pre-reading and writing skills are introduced.

When should I have my child tested/evaluated?

A parent knows best.  If you feel that something is not right, it is helpful to seek answers through a comprehensive evaluation.  If your child demonstrates delayed speech or speech sound production issues that causes his or her speech to be difficult to understand, a speech/language evaluation at the age of two or three is very appropriate, and certainly, not too early.  If early oral language symptoms are not evident, but if your child shows difficulty learning to read, a thorough evaluation should be completed.   First grade is not too early to have your child assessed, especially if you receive teacher reports that your child is struggling and if your child comes home from school very frustrated, shies away from reading and writing task, and expresses doubts in his or her ability to do well in school.  And, if you do not have your child evaluated early in their school career, don’t worry!  It is never too late; many bright students have made it to high school, and are diagnosed for the first time as a teenager.  For information about having your child tested at The Summit Resource Center, please click here.

How do I know if tutoring is enough?

Many children with dyslexia make progress with a tutor, but once a week is often not enough.  The research has demonstrated that intensive remediation is necessary, and the tutor must be trained in a method developed for children with dyslexia.  If your child is being tutored two or three times a week and progress is still very slow, it could be time to look for a specialized program that is even more intensive.

About Summer Camp Programs

Are the Summer Camp Programs open to students that do not attend The Summit School?

Yes, in fact approximately 65% of the students who attend our summer camps are not Summit students.  Many parents find that our camps give their children the boost that they need to help them succeed for the next school year.

Does my child have to have a diagnosed learning difference to attend Summit’s Summer Programs?

For Camp Summit, our July academic camp, if a student has not had formal testing within the past three years, they will need to have a screening administered by a member of the camp faculty.  For all of our other camps, no diagnosis, screening, or testing is necessary!  Please click here to view the Summer Camp Program descriptions.

About Supporting Summit

Is my donation to Summit tax-deductible?

Yes, The Summit School is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.  Our Federal Tax ID No. is 52-1583669. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.  If you have questions about giving to Summit, please contact Ginny Joy, Director of Institutional Advancement at 410-798-0005 ext. 142.

Why does The Summit School need private gift support?

The Summit School depends on, and is most appreciative of, the generosity and loyalty of our alumni, parents (current and past), grandparents, faculty and staff, corporations and foundations to continue to offer its first-class education for the unique learner.  Fifteen percent of the resources needed annually are supplied through private gifts.  Tuition increases can be controlled through the budget relieving support that charitable gifts provide.

Why does my participation matter?

Many foundations and corporations will only offer funding for schools that have a high percentage of support from the Board of Directors, Alumni and Parents.  Your gift is a show of your commitment to the school.

I can only make a small gift; does it make a difference?

YES!  Combined with gifts received from others, your support provides substantial funding for the ongoing programmatic needs of the school.  Every gift is an expression of support for Summit, every donor matters, every gift matters.

Are parents expected to be involved in non-academic activities of the school?

Parents are encouraged to be involved with fundraising events, student activities, athletics, and school maintenance.  Summit does suggest that parents contribute at least 15 hours of volunteer time each school year.  Volunteer activities vary and some can be done from home.  To view the ways to volunteer, please click here.