Inclusion Policies at Summa Academy | Portland Progressive School

Inclusion, Connection, Participation.

These three words taken together describe the ethos of Summa Academy. While the majority of our students have no extraordinary learning or developmental needs, we believe those with and without need for accommodations benefit by mentoring each other and learning together. As a progressive, independent school in Portland, we have the freedom to truly include students with different needs.

Our commitment to Academic Excellence and Emotional Intelligence extends into all aspects of life at Summa Academy. We provide the foundation of inclusion, connection, and participation for our community to engage in meaningful and compassionate learning together.

The respect and support for diversity and inclusion extends to all Summa activities. Whether it is the development of curriculum, professional development, parent meetings, Project-Based Learning, or mixed-age classes. As a prime example, we do not punish students, because we believe punishment is a form of exclusion. Instead, we patiently and carefully mentor them to come to deeper appreciation of their own emotions and needs as well as the emotions and needs of others. This approach creates an environment of trust and respect which is essential for inclusion and diversity.


Summa Academy welcomes students with dyslexia. The essence of our approach is to bring forth confidence and skill in all facets of their education. We have two specific programs that we offer to dyslexic students, The Barton System, and Sound to Symbol Praxis. We use the Personal Learning Plan to identify their strengths and create natural growth opportunities in Academic Excellence and Emotional Intelligence. Natural Learning Relationships provides developmental precision so that all curriculum is engaging and relevant for the student. Free from stigma, our dyslexic students at Summa Academy prosper and thrive.


At Summa Academy we assess students with ADD/ADHD on a case-by-case basis. Our experience shows that these diagnoses are imperfect. We also find that students who may have struggled in other schools often succeed at Summa. After meeting the student and family and collecting all relevant information, we carefully evaluate our ability to provide for the needs of the individual student. When we accept a student with ADD or ADHD, we do so with great care and certainty for a successful experience for all.

Neurodiversity at Summa Academy

Summa Academy is neither a school for students who have been identified as special needs nor do we do exclude students based on labels. We support our students and their families, sometimes which includes inclusion-focused services, accommodations, communication and assistive technologies.

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. Please not that we do not have a team of special education teachers. We have a small group of dedicated, hardworking professionals committed to each and every student, raising the bar for Academic Excellence and Emotional Intelligence.

Art is a part of each and every day at Summa Academy