FAQ for Portland Private School
- What is your stance on state standardized testing?
No, just no. Standardized testing is not conducive to Academic Excellence or Emotional Intelligence. Instead, we provide in-depth assessments of our students’ progress. Parents always know where their students are at and they have free access to educators and administrators if any questions or concerns arise. Summa Academy is a private, independent school, which means we are not required by the state of Oregon to do standardized testing
- How do you approach the Common Core?
Summa Academy meets and exceeds the demands of the Common Core in three ways.
- Greater sophistication in the teaching of academic skills. For example, our 10 and 11 year-old students learn Latin and their understanding of language and vocabulary soars. Subject matter becomes practical and relevant through applications during Project-Based Learning.
- Educator-student relationship. Summa educators are masters of connection. They trust and are trusted by their students. With an 11:1 student-to-educator ratio and the students’ Personal Learning Plan, educators know their students’ strengths and challenges. This allows the creation of curriculum to optimize student success.
- Confident students. Because Summa has an Emotional Intelligence curriculum, students learn to trust themselves, increase problem solving skills, and navigate social interactions including conflicts that naturally arise in a learning community. As students gain skill in navigating emotion and social challenge, confidence increases, and joy in learning abounds. Student graduate from 8th grade with confidence, feeling capable and ready for the academic and social challenges of the high school they chose to attend.
- Do you admit students with special learning needs?
We recognize the benefits of bringing together a diverse group of learners. While the training and dedication of our educators and our small class sizes allow us to teach a variety of students, we do not employ specialists to support highly specialized needs. As a small independent school, we are aware of our limitations when considering students for enrollment or re-enrollment. We are dedicated to offering all students accommodations such as the Barton System for dyslexic students. In addition, we offer Sound to Symbol Praxis, and many opportunities for body movement during academic learning. If you are wondering if Summa Academy is a good fit for your child, please give us a call, we would be happy to meet with you.
- How do you handle students with food sensitivities?
Please note we are a nut free (almonds are OK) environment.
We prohibit the sharing of food and we cannot give food to your child without prior permission.
All students are required to bring their own food from home. Children should have snacks and lunch packed in a container that will fit in a cubby. We have a refrigerator onsite that can be utilized if need be, however, we ask families to pack lunches so they last all day in the lunchbox. We have two microwaves for student use. All students should also have a water bottle attached to their lunch pack. All items should be labeled with the child’s name. In the case that a child comes to school with no lunch or snack, the parents will be notified.
- Is Summa a school for students with special needs?
No, we are not a school for students who have been identified as special needs nor do we exclude students based on labels. We reserve the right to determine if Summa Academy is a good fit for any individual learner. We accept students who we believe will flourish in our environment. Every classroom has a mix of unique individual learners. We do not discriminate based on gender, socioeconomic class, culture, or neurology. We nurture and inspire both Academic Excellence and Emotional Intelligence throughout a student’s time with us.
- Why are parents so important to Summa?
We create a strong partnership with our parents because this relationship is of critical importance to the success of the student. You know your child best, and we want to learn from you through the Personal Learning Plan meetings, the BRIDGE program, and parent/educator conferences.
- What is Natural Learning Relationships™?
Natural Learning Relationships is Summa Academy’s guiding philosophy.
Natural Learning Relationships describes our essential qualities or inherent capacities (natural) that move us through life to gain knowledge, appreciation, or mastery (learning) nurtured by mutual respect in which inspiration and wisdom emerge (relationships).
We teach Natural Learning Relationships to Summa Academy parents and educators alike. It gives us a common language with which to understand our children/students better, and allows us to bridge the gap between home and school.
- What is your stance on homework?
Homework is optional at Summa Academy. Because of our 11:1 student to educator ratio, the educators know the students’ level of comprehension in any learning moment. Students are given ample time in school to complete assignments, eliminating the need to take it home. There is no need for students to use family and home time to prove their academic prowess. There are instances when a student may choose to, or need to, take an assignment home to ensure it is completed. In those cases, parents are communicated with ahead of time, so they know what to expect.
- How much does Summa Academy cost?
For more on enrollment, go here.
- Where is Summa Academy located?
We are located in downtown Portland, Oregon, between the Hawthorne and Ross Island Bridges. Convenient freeway access and mass transit stops, make Summa easily reachable from all quadrants of the city and surrounding areas. Summa is located three blocks from the Portland Street Car, and two blocks from the new Orange Max Line, which comes across the Tilikum Bridge.
Despite our downtown Portland location, we have ample and welcome playscapes outside for children to safely and freely explore, and our play area if surrounded by a fence for your child’s safety.
Go here for more about our campus.
- Is Summa Academy and/or Natural Learning Relationships based in religion?
No. Summa Academy is non-sectarian. Natural Learning Relationships is not affiliated with any religion or spiritual philosophy.
- Is Summa Academy part of the Beaverton, Oregon school district?
No. That’s a different Summa, Beaverton’s TAG program. Many of our students are considered gifted and talented, however, we do not have a testing entry requirement.
- How many students attend Summa Academy?
We currently have 53 students in four mixed age classrooms. We are growing organically and hope to be close to 65 students by the fall of 2017. We will grow slowly over the next few years to a cap of 130 students.
- Is Summa Academy Accredited?
Summa is currently engaged in the accreditation process with Advanced Ed. This process can take up to 3 years, but we hope to complete it by the fall of 2018.