Independent Grade School in Downtown Portland | Summa Academy


A K-8 independent school in downtown Portland.

Summa Academy opened its private independent downtown Portland school in 2013 with the goal of not only educating children, but also ensuring the whole child is developed. Our focus on emotional intelligence, family involvement, mixed-age classrooms, and project-based learning through individual learning plans is unique in Portland. Learn more about the history of Summa Academy.

the four goals of Summa Academy

Project-based learning and personalized learning.

Community—Summa Academy unites family development, education, and research through an unprecedented child-centered, family-supportive project-based learning community in which inspiration and wisdom emerge.

Personalized Learning— We relate to each student as an individual, teaching to his or her strengths and creating opportunities for development in areas of his or her greatest need. 

Multi-age—In mixed-age classrooms, students move from easier to more difficult material and from simple to more complex strategies according to their capacities and learning styles. We view and respect students as individuals. Curriculum is tailored for each student to promote social, emotional, physical, aesthetic, and cognitive development. Students are required to produce ideas, integrate knowledge, and complete tasks that have real-world applications.

Project-Based Learning—Ambitious and creative shared projects allow students to address community issues, deepen communication skills, interact with people of all ages, use technology, and present their work to audiences beyond the classroom. Project-based learning excites students as they engage new skills and enjoy the satisfaction of a completed work.

Whole Child Approach - Summa Academy is Portland’s only Natural Learning Relationships school. Education is most effective when it nurtures the physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual development of its students. That is why we maintain these 4 goals of education, while many other independent schools focus primarily on the first goal.


Where emotional intelligence and academic excellence meet


The Pyramid of Academic Excellence

Summa Academy integrates a student’s strengths and challenges, a customized developmentally accurate learning plan, our years of research in child and brain development, and, with the support and interaction of our parents, creates a unique education that prepares students for the future.