Please continue to visit this page and our Facebook Page for updates on Summit's response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

September 21, 2020 - Governor Cooper's Announcement Last Thursday

Dear Summit Families,

Last Thursday afternoon Governor Cooper announced that elementary schools can transition school operating plans from Plan B to Plan A in Kindergarten through 5th grade (https://governor.nc.gov/news/public-schools-now-able-implement-plan-elementary-schools). This announcement means that in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade, schools are encouraged but now not required to maintain 50% occupant capacity and 6 feet social distancing in classrooms. 

At Summit, we are fortunate that our small class sizes and facility capacity already enable us to offer on-campus learning for all students and still operate at 50% density measures in our classrooms. With safety and health procedures in place, we have been able to maintain on-campus learning for the first four weeks of the school year. 

With this in mind, and recognizing that our small class sizes have meant that we have not been restricted by the 50% classroom density requirement that is now lifted in K-5 schools, Governor Cooper’s announcement does not change our operating plan in K-5 classrooms. We will continue our current on-campus learning plan following the existing safety and health procedures we have in place.

For further reference on what plan A means in relation to Plan B and Governor Cooper’s announcement please see below:

  • Under Plan A, face coverings are still required for all people on campus when 6 feet distancing cannot be maintained, and 6 feet social distancing is still required when students are in lines and when people are congregating. Under Plan A, all other safety measures remain in place. And, middle and high schools must still maintain Plan B or C measures.

  • Governor Cooper cited stabilizing numbers of new cases in making this decision, and State Superintendent Mark Johnson noted a recognized interest in students being able to safely return to on-campus learning. Transitioning to Plan A creates the option for schools across the state to resume on-campus learning for their full K-5 student population that previously may have been restricted in doing so because of classroom density restrictions under Plan B. Schools and local districts still maintain flexibility in choosing Plan B or C for their schools based on local conditions and needs.

The health and safety of our Summit family and the continued mission-centered education of our students continues to be our guiding principles in navigating the school year. We are grateful for the remarkable support and dedication of our Summit family in ensuring we keep these guiding principles at the forefront each day.

Please feel free to contact me, Mrs. Chalker (K-8), or Mrs. Bennett (9-11) if you have any questions.

One Summit Family, 

Kurt


 
September 2 - Remote Learning Class Schedules for September 3-4
 
 

August 25, 2020 - Voluntary COVID-19 Testing at Summit

Dear Summit Families,

I’m writing to inform you of a new opportunity to offer Summit employees and students (with parent consent) voluntary COVID-19 testing at Summit on a weekly basis. This opportunity is made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Highlands-Cashiers Health Foundation. 

The purpose of the voluntary testing program is to offer an additional level of safety to our Summit community in our return to on-campus learning.

The Highlands-Cashiers Health Foundation has contracted Mountain Park Urgent Care and Walk-In Clinic in Sylva to offer voluntary testing at Highlands School, Blue Ridge School, and Summit at no-cost to the schools, students, or staff. Trained health care providers from Mountain Park will administer the testing on site at each school one-day per week starting the week of September 12 and ending December 18.

A few details on the testing:

  • The proposed test is a mid-turbinate nasal swab that goes about one inch into the nose (not the more invasive high nasal swab). 

  • Students (with parent consent) and staff who participate in the program will be assigned a scheduled weekly testing time.

  • Nurse Becky will coordinate scheduling and escort participating students to the test at their scheduled time.

  • The test is entirely voluntary and requires parent consent for students to participate.

  • In cases of a positive test, school administration and the local health department would be informed and appropriate notification protocols would be followed.

This program is fully funded by the Highlands-Cashiers Health Foundation, is entirely voluntary, and participants are able to opt-out of the weekly testing program at any time. 

I’ve included a consent form and diagram of the offered test for your information. If you would like your child to participate in this testing program, please email Becky Baker (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), our Interim School Nurse, a signed copy of the consent form for each of your participating children. Forms must be received by September 2 for participation. 

Please feel free to contact me or Nurse Becky with any questions.

With gratitude,

Kurt

Consent Form

 

 
August 7, 2020 - Summit Start of School Year Updates
 
Dear Summit Families,
 

We are looking forward to welcoming your child back to Summit for the 2020-21 school year! I’m writing to share with you the following information and resources in preparation for starting our school year:

  • One Summit Family Plan | On-Campus Health and Safety Procedures

  • Summit Family Health Pledge

  • Family Training Videos

  • Virtual Book Day 

Please carefully review the information below in preparation for the start of our school year, and let us know if you have any questions.

One Summit Family Plan | On-Campus Health & Safety Procedures

As a reminder, the details of Summit’s health and safety procedures for on-campus learning are outlined in our One Summit Family Plan, linked below for your reference. Please review the details of the plan and take time over the next week to talk to your child about the new health and safety procedures that will be in place on campus this year.

 

Summit Family Health Pledge

The Summit Family Health Pledge enlists our shared commitment as faculty, students, and families in upholding the necessary guidelines and procedures to keep our Summit family safe. We will require all faculty, staff, families, and students to sign and agree to the pledge in returning to on-campus learning. 

If your child is participating in on-campus learning, once you have reviewed our One Summit Family Plan and our Family Training Videos (below), please use the link below to access and sign the Summit Family Health Pledge by August 17. Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions.

Family Training Videos

In follow up to the procedures detailed in our One Summit Plan, we have developed two family orientation videos to prepare you and your child for starting the school year. If you have selected remote learning for your child, you should have received a separate email with more detailed information on Summit’s remote learning plan.

One Summit Family Training Video V.1

English: https://youtu.be/anKalTL6zQM

Español: https://youtu.be/gMsMukDZALo

This video walks you through the Summit Family Health Pledge and our health and safety protocols on campus, including new procedures for drop-off and pickup, visitors, and food and drinks.

As a follow up to this orientation, each teacher will be sending out a classroom orientation video on August 17 to explain the details of health procedures in their classrooms, including classroom arrangements to ensure social distancing, procedures for face coverings--including mask breaks, and procedures for lunch and recess.

Google Classroom Training Video

English: https://youtu.be/pwGKBHqp07s

Español: https://youtu.be/irBJ9-Yhqeo

This video provides an orientation on Google Classroom, the digital platform we will across all grade levels to support both on-campus and remote learning.

Virtual Book Day | Tuesday, August 18

Book Day will be held on Tuesday, August 18 and will be hosted virtually this year. On Monday, August 17, your child’s teacher(s) will send you a welcome email including an invitation and link to join a virtual classroom orientation on August 18. 

Please note that Book Day is a scheduled school day and attendance will be taken. Both parent and student attendance is required.

Below is the schedule for Virtual Book Day classroom orientations:

  • 9:00 - 9:30      Kindergarten (Ms. Hopper & Mrs. Pineda)   
  • 9:45 - 10:15    1st Grade (Mrs. Turner, Ms. Sowell & Mrs. Qemali)  
  • 10:30 - 11:00  2nd Grade (Mrs. Schiele, Mrs. LaFontaine, Mrs. Burnette & Mrs. Gajda)  
  • 11:15 - 11:45   3rd Grade (Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Hughes & Mrs. Chandler)  
  • 12:00 - 12:30  4th Grade (Mrs. Stiwinter & Mrs. Koonts)  
  • 12:45 - 1:15    5th Grade (Mrs. Buck & Mrs. Iannacone)  
  • 1:30 - 2:00      6th grade (Dr. Moody, Mrs. Brannon, Mr.Buck, Mrs. Moore & Mr. Littlefield)  
  • 2:15 - 2:45     7th & 8th grade (Dr. Moody, Mrs. Brannon, Mr.Buck, Mrs. Moore & Mr. Littlefield)   
  • 9:00 - 9:30     9th grade (Mr. Hughes, Mr. Loyd, Mrs. Stewart-Payne, Mr. Whitman, Mr. Robinson) 
  • 9:45 - 10:15   10th grade (Mr. Hughes, Mr. Loyd, Mrs. Stewart-Payne, Mr. Whitman, Mr. Robinson) 
  • 10:30 - 11:00   11th grade (Mr. Hughes, Mr. Loyd, Mrs. Stewart-Payne, Mr. Whitman, Mr. Robinson) 
  • 3:00 - 3:30     New Family Orientation with Summit Family Association

 

What about dropping off classroom supplies?

Because we are unable to host on-campus orientations for Book Day this year, students will bring their school supplies with them on the first day of classes on Wednesday, August 19. We will have support staff available to assist students in bringing supplies to their classrooms as needed. 

Remote Learning Supply Pickup: 

For students participating in Remote Learning, curriculum materials and digital devices will be available for pickup on Tuesday, August 18 from 9:00 - 3:00 in the Breezeway (outside the office).

--

As always, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback. Thank you for your support! We look forward to a safe, healthy, and successful school year as One Summit Family!

With gratitude,

Kurt

 
 

 
July 21, 2020 - Summit Reopening Plans and Next Steps

 

Dear Summit Families,

I’m writing to update you with Summit’s reopening plans for the start of the 2020-21 school year beginning August 18. 

Since Governor Cooper’s announcement last Tuesday confirming that schools may reopen for in-person learning under “Plan B” health and safety guidelines, our administrative team has worked to update Summit’s reopening plans. Our plan updates reflect both faculty and family feedback, and our continued priority to protect the health and safety of our students, families, and faculty while ensuring the continued education of our students with integrity to Summit’s mission. 

In this update, I’m sharing with you (1) Summit’s updated plans for reopening school on August 18, (2) a summary of family survey responses, representing a snapshot of the feedback and suggestions that helped inform our schedule for reopening, and (3) our next steps in preparing for the start of the school year, including updating plans on beginning-of-year events.

One Summit Family: Our Commitment to a Safe and Healthy School Year 

This is a time that is unlike any other we have faced as a school. Our ability to keep our students, faculty, and families safe, and ensure our students’ continue to learn, grow, and thrive academically, social-emotionally, physically, and in character will require our commitment as one Summit Family. We all must do our part, and we must continue to remember that regardless of whether or not one family has chosen to return to school remotely and another has chosen to return to school on-campus--we are all in this together. 

Our “One Summit Family” plan is grounded in this belief and reflects our commitment to reopening Summit’s campus with the highest standards of health and safety for our students, faculty, and families. The plan is linked below for your review:

One Summit Family - Plan B (English):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HwO4lBBK5CVX2OSHhEBWOW89SOah59wb/view?usp=sharing

One Summit Family - Plan B (Spanish):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qiVGhkpTDukRTpyvsm6azNQkQy29KUoP/view?usp=sharing

I ask that all families take the time to review this updated plan in detail, with attention to the following key components:

  • Summit Family Health Pledge: The Summit Family Health Pledge enlists our shared commitment--faculty, students, and families--in upholding the necessary guidelines and procedures to keep our Summit family safe. We will require all faculty, staff, families, and students to sign and agree to the pledge in returning to on-campus learning. Each family will receive a copy of the Summit Family Health Pledge via email to sign and return electronically.
  • Plan B School Schedule: Summit is able to host on-campus learning due to our already-existing commitment to small class sizes, as well as the quality of our facilities and expansive campus. These qualities of a Summit education enable us to accommodate social distancing guidelines necessary for on-campus learning.

We have outlined a phased reopening plan for on-campus learning at Summit to support successful implementation and adjustment to on-campus safety procedures, and to also build capabilities for a remote learning scenario if it ever becomes necessary for Summit to transition to Plan C (remote learning). 

    • Week 1: Hybrid Schedule
      • August 18: Virtual Book Day 
      • August 19-21: On-Campus Learning, 8:30 - 3:10
    • Weeks 2-3: Hybrid Schedule
      • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: On-Campus Learning, 8:30 - 3:10
      • Thursday, Friday: Remote Learning
    • Starting Week 4: Full-Day and Full-Week Schedule
      • Summit will transition to a full-day schedule for the full-week of learning beginning September 8. 

 Flexible Schedule Options: 

The phased reopening plan also includes flexible schedule options. On 4-week intervals, families can elect Remote Learning Only or to continue the Hybrid Schedule once we resume full-day/full-week learning the week of September 8.

Rationale:

Campus safety procedures and guidelines will require adjustments and learning new habits and routines to keep our campus safe and open for learning. We believe that gradually transitioning into full-day, full-week learning over the first three weeks of the year will best support our students, faculty, and families in learning, adjusting to, and effectively adopting the necessary guidelines for on-campus learning. The three-week transition period will also support our ability to refine and improve procedures and provide further staff training and support as may be necessary. 

Additionally, we recognize that the next school year will be fluid and require us to be prepared for potential periods of remote learning if necessary based on state and/or local health and safety conditions. By implementing a short-term hybrid schedule to start the year, our students, teachers, and families will be able to develop the necessary routines and structures to support a more successful pivot to remote learning if ever necessary for health and safety reasons. With this purpose, teachers will be on campus during Hybrid Schedule Remote Learning days to support collaboration and coordination as a faculty as we implement, refine, and continuously improve our remote instruction practices.

  • Plan B Health and Safety Procedures: We have made updates to clarify key procedures, including use of face coverings (when masks are required, and when mask “breaks” are appropriate) and guidance on social distancing (required when stationary, opportunities for outside learning and breaks).

Please continue to keep in mind that this remains and will continue to be a fluid situation. We will refine our plans as needed, and we will be prepared to pivot plans as may be necessary or required to ensure the health and safety of our students, families, and faculty.

Survey Results

Thank you for the feedback you have shared to help us ensure our plans best support our Summit family as we navigate the year ahead. We received responses from over 100 families on our most recent school reopening survey. In sharing with you our updated reopening plans and school schedule, I want to share with you the overall survey results:

How do you prefer your child return to school in August?

  • 85% of families prefer their child return to school through On-Campus Learning
  • 15% of families prefer their child return to school through Remote Learning

If you prefer your child return to school for on-campus learning, what is your preferred schedule for doing so? 

  • 67% of families who prefer on-campus learning prefer a full-day, full-week schedule
  • 33% of families who prefer on-campus learning prefer a hybrid schedule (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday on-campus learning, Thursday/Friday remote learning)

While there are differences in preferences for how we return to school, from across my many conversations with families and in the comments shared in surveys, I have heard a common theme from across our Summit family--

We all place deep value on the qualities of a Summit education on campus in the community of fellow classmates, teachers, and families. And, we all care deeply about the health and safety of our children, faculty, and families and must ensure that Summit’s reopening plans protect our Summit family. For some families, this means returning to school remotely, and for others this means returning to school for on-campus learning with a commitment to upholding safety protocols and procedures. 

Some of our students will return to Summit for on-campus learning in August. Some of our students will return to Summit for remote learning in August. But ALL of our students will return to Summit. To the best of our ability, we will support every student and family in returning to school in a safe, healthy, and joyful way. 

Our Next Steps

Our team will now work to ensure our readiness to implement our plans for the start of the school year. Below are a few key next steps we will take over the coming weeks:

1. Town Hall Meetings | July 22 - 23

I will be hosting virtual town hall meetings this week and next to answer any questions you may have about Summit's plan for reopening. I welcome you to join any one of the following sessions to discuss your questions:

  • Wednesday, July 22: 12:00 PM
  • Wednesday, July 22: 5:00 PM
  • Thursday, July 23: 8:00 AM

Town Hall sessions will be held via Zoom and can be accessed using the link sent to your email.

You are also welcome to contact me at any time with your questions.

2. Update on Start of Year Event Plans | Week of August 3

We will be working to finalize plans for the following key events to start the school year, and will update families by the week of August 3 with further details.

  • 8th Grade Graduation - August 13 / POSTPONED: We have decided to postpone 8th Grade Graduation, which had been scheduled for August 13, in light of Governor Cooper’s decision to extend Phase 2 until at least August 7. An update on August 7 will inform our options under guidelines for group gatherings
  • Book Day - August 18: Book Day will be held virtually this year to accommodate limits on group gatherings and our desire to keep our campus safe for reopening. We look forward to sharing with you a schedule and details for our Virtual Book Day this year!
  • Move Up Day / TBD: We will not be able to host on-campus Move Up Day this fall due to limits on group gatherings. We look forward to updating you on plans to celebrate our students moving up to the next grade level in other ways!

3. Family and Faculty Training | Weeks of August 3 and August 10

To support a successful implementation of our plan, we will put together a training video for all families and students to develop a shared understanding of the priorities, expectations, and procedures of which we will all share responsibility across our Summit family. We will also design our training for faculty and staff to leverage the existing strengths and talent on our team and further develop our shared capabilities and mindset to best execute on our priorities this year and Summit’s larger mission.

One Summit Team. One Summit Family.

In closing, I want to thank you for your patience, support, and partnership in ensuring our students, families, and faculty are best supported in rising to the challenges before us this year. 

As I’ve shared previously, this next year will be different, but I have full faith that, together, we will ensure Summit continues to be the school that we know and love. We are indeed all in this together as a Summit family.

Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions, concerns, or feedback as our team strives to best support our students, families, and faculty in this year ahead. We will continue to keep you updated as we approach the start of the school year.

One Summit team. One Summit family.

With gratitude,

Kurt

 


 

 July 15, 2020 - Summit Reopening Plans and Next Steps
 

Dear Summit Families, 

I am writing to update you on the status of Summit’s reopening plans in light of Governor Cooper’s announcement yesterday afternoon, and to share with you our next steps as we finalize our plans at Summit.

As shared yesterday, Governor Cooper announced that schools may reopen in August following Plan B procedures and guidelines. Plan B allows for in-person instruction with safety measures and social distancing procedures in place, as outlined in Summit’s current draft of Plan B shared with families last Tuesday, and with the updated requirement of face coverings for all K-12 students and staff when within 6 feet of others. Additionally, under Plan B, families may elect a remote learning option for their student if they are not comfortable returning to campus for on-campus learning. Based on local health metrics, schools may also elect Plan C (remote learning).

As I have shared with you before, we continue to be guided by two priorities--protecting the safety and well-being of our students, families, and faculty and ensuring the continued education of our students with integrity to our mission. 

With these priorities at the forefront, over the next three weeks, our team will take the following steps to finalize our reopening plans as we prepare for the start of the school year at Summit:\

1. Plan B Family Survey | July 15 - 17

Last week we shared Summit’s draft Plans A, B, and C for your review, feedback and questions. Summit’s Plan B is linked below for your reference:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eTPGIrQUkqXiHyIBp550yPkX7mBv0fw4/view?usp=sharing

As we work to refine and update our plans for returning to school on August 18, we are requesting that every family complete the survey linked below. This is an updated survey specific to Summit’s reopening under Plan B. In this survey, we are seeking your feedback on our school schedule for on-campus learning, and your family’s preference for how your student returns to school--either for on-campus learning or for remote learning.

https://forms.gle/HVXhXsk2WqccyN3L7

Please complete your survey by Friday, July 17.

2. Updated Plan B | Week of July 20

We will update Summit’s Plan B to reflect feedback from faculty and families shared in surveys and Town Halls over the last two weeks, and further feedback shared this week in light of the Governor’s announcement. 

Once we have updated our plan, and our Board of Trustees has reviewed and approved of its content, I will share the revised version with all faculty and families.

3. Town Hall Meetings | Week of July 27

Once we have shared our updated plan, we will host a second round of Town Hall meetings to discuss your questions, concerns, and further feedback as we prepare for the plan’s implementation in launching our school year. We will share Town Hall session dates, times, and Zoom access information when we send out our updated plans.

4. Family and Faculty Training | Weeks of August 3 and August 10

To support a successful implementation of our plan, we will put together a training video for all families and students to develop a shared understanding of the priorities, expectations, and procedures of which we will all share responsibility across our Summit family. We will also design our training for faculty and staff to leverage the existing strengths and talent on our team and further develop our shared capabilities and mindset as a team to best execute on our priorities this year and Summit’s larger mission.

These steps will lead us into the start of our 2020-21 school year on August 18. It is important that we all understand, however, that this remains and will continue to be a fluid situation. We will refine our plans as needed, and we will be prepared to pivot plans as may be necessary or required to ensure the health and safety of our students, families, and faculty.

I will close here with a message I have shared previously, and that I believe to be so incredibly important to our success as a school this year.

This next year will be different, but I have full faith that, together, we will ensure Summit continues to be the school that we know and love. We are indeed all in this together as a Summit family.

Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions, concerns, or feedback as our team strives to best support our students, families, and faculty in this year ahead.

One Summit team. One Summit family.

With gratitude,

Kurt 


July 14, 2020 - Governor Cooper's Update on School Reopening Plans

Dear Summit Families, 

This afternoon Governor Cooper announced that schools may reopen in August following Plan B procedures and guidelines. The governor cited recommendations from health officials and continued monitoring of state health metrics in making this determination (https://governor.nc.gov/news/north-carolina-k-12-public-schools-require-key-safety-measures-allow-person-instruction).

Plan B allows for in-person instruction with safety measures and procedures in place, as outlined in Summit’s current draft of Plan B shared last Tuesday, and with the updated requirement of face coverings for all K-12 students and staff. Additionally, under plan B, families may elect a remote learning option for their students if they are not comfortable returning to campus for in-person learning. Based on local health metrics, schools may also elect Plan C (remote learning).

Summit's faculty will meet tomorrow morning to discuss today’s updates, Summit’s reopening plans under Plan B, and our next steps as a faculty and with our families to update our reopening plans to reflect feedback and to support a safe, healthy, and successful start to the school year. 

Tomorrow afternoon, I will update families with confirmation of Summit’s reopening plans and our next steps as we prepare for the start of the school year.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Thank you for your continued support.

With gratitude,

Kurt


 

July 7, 2020 - Summit's Reopening Plans: Plans A, B, and C
 
 Dear Summit Families,
 

As we await a decision from Governor Cooper on how schools can reopen in the fall, I’m writing to share with you Summit’s plans for resuming learning according to the three potential scenarios outlined by the Governor’s Office and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services: 

  • Plan A: on-campus learning with minimal social distancing restrictions

  • Plan B: on-campus learning with moderate social distancing restrictions

  • Plan C: remote learning 

 Summit’s Plans A, B, and C

Summit’s plans for each of these scenarios are linked for your review:

The decision of which plan we implement will be determined by the pending decision from the Governor. However, in this interim period, we want to provide you with as much information as we have at this time. 

It is my firm belief that our success in best supporting our students and carrying forward Summit’s mission in this next year will depend heavily on the steadfast teamwork of our board, faculty, and families. In this spirit, our administrative team remains committed to consistent and transparent communication each step of the way.

Training and Education on Summit’s Reopening Plans

Faculty will be trained in each of these plans so that we are prepared for whatever scenario we face next year. Additionally, when the Governor does confirm how schools are able to reopen, we will provide all families and students a recorded video training that can be accessed from home on the relevant procedures for opening school.

Our Guiding Priorities

As we prepare for next year, maintaining our utmost diligence in protecting the safety and well-being of our students, families, and faculty remains an equal priority to ensuring the continued education of our students with integrity to our mission.

It is our goal to open our campus for students in a safe and responsible manner that will maintain the health and safety of our children, faculty, and families---and to the fullest extent possible, keep our campus open for learning throughout the school year.  Toward this, Summit’s campus operating plans reflect careful review and deliberate adoption of the state’s health and safety guidelines and requirements for the reopening of schools.

If based on the Governor’s decision we are able to open school under either Plan A or Plan B, our team will be prepared to host student learning on Summit’s campus for the full school day, and to the highest standards of health and safety as required by the state. Additionally, regardless of the determined reopening plan for the school, every family will have the opportunity to elect a “Remote Learning Only” plan for their individual child. 

Family Survey and Town Hall Q&A Sessions

I encourage you to review the plans in detail, and ask that you please complete the survey linked below to share your feedback, indicate your preferences, and communicate your questions so that we can best support your family in opening the 2020-21 school year. 

School Reopening Survey for Families

Additionally, I invite you to participate in a family town hall Q&A session to discuss Summit’s reopening plans and your questions. Sessions will be held at the following times:

  • Thursday, July 9 from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

  • Thursday, July 9 from 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

  • Monday, July 13 from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

  • Monday, July 13 from 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM


Town Hall sessions will be held via Zoom and can be accessed using the link sent to you via email. You are also welcome to contact me at any time with your questions.

 2020-21 Calendar and Events

We plan to maintain our school calendar as previously set for next year, with our first day of school (Book Day) on August 18. Book Day will look different next year to be in line with school reopening guidelines, and we will be sure to share the details as we have more information. 

We are also thrilled to welcome our new families to Summit in August, and look forward to sharing more details on new family welcome and orientation plans in the coming weeks.

Additionally, 8th Grade Graduation is still scheduled for August 13 at 10:00 AM, and at this time we are planning for the ceremony for graduating 8th grade students and families to be held in Summit’s courtyard. Move Up day is still scheduled for August 21 at 8:45 AM. We will share details on both events in the coming weeks as we have more information on which reopening plan we are able to follow.

 One Summit team. One Summit family.

Keeping our campus healthy, safe, and open for students will require the shared commitment and responsibility of our full Summit family--board, administration, faculty, families, and students. We are indeed all in this together, and we will all have to make sacrifices and be flexible to new protocols and procedures to keep our campus safe and open for learning. 

And, doing so does not have to mean sacrificing who we are at Summit. We are fortunate that the many qualities that make Summit unique as a school will also benefit us in adapting to the guidelines in this next year-- small class sizes, high-quality facilities, expansive outdoor learning spaces, and most important of all--a deep sense of community among our faculty, students, and families. 

This next year will be different, but I have full faith that, together, we will ensure Summit continues to be the school that we know and love. 

Thank you for your continued support.

With gratitude,

Kurt

 


 
May 26, 2020 - A Message from Kurt Pusch and Weekly Bear Express

 

Dear Summit Families,

When we started this year, we did so with an appreciation of our founding principles at Summit, intending to strengthen our roots as we embarked on Summit’s 23rd year and a next chapter in our school’s story. Chief among those principles, our Seven Virtues remind us that a Summit education embodies the whole-child, that learning is an experience that grows character just as much, and at times more so, than academics. In teaching our students, Summit has long been grounded in the belief that parents are our children’s first teachers. As teachers, we join parents as partners, privileged to bring our children together in a community of learning for the experience of their formal education at school, but no less apart from the values and lessons taught at home.

We did not expect that our year would conclude as it has. We have been challenged to continue our children’s education distanced from classrooms, teachers, fellow classmates, and the profound sense of place on our campus that bring all of us together in a community of learning. Families have faced new challenges, balancing parenting, working, and the new responsibility of teaching from home. 

This has been the most unprecedented of years, and one that has surely shown who we are at Summit. I am grateful for that.

Summit will be Summit again. Our Summit family will join together again in our courtyard for Round Up. Students and teachers will gather again in classrooms. Our teams will take the field again. The sounds of children at play on our campus will return. I expect we may all bring a new perspective on our Seven Virtues and a deeper appreciation for community and place as the center of learning.

Thank you for your unparalleled support this year. We are most grateful for your partnership in the education of our children, and look forward to joining together on our campus again soon. Enclosed you will find updates for the 2020-21 school year as we conclude this year. We will continue to be in communication throughout the summer as we prepare for our students’ return to school in August.

Have a wonderful summer!

With gratitude,

Kurt

Important Updates from Kurt on the 2020-21 School Year

  • 2020-21 Calendar: Last week I shared that the state legislature has required all North Carolina public schools, including charter schools, to add 5 instructional days to our calendar for next year to address lost learning time in schools’ transitions to remote learning this year. Summit was able to transition to remote learning fairly quickly, but we are still obligated to meet this requirement. Accordingly, based on faculty input and Board of Trustees approval, we have added the following 5 instructional days to our calendar by repurposing 4 teacher work days and reinstituting the MLK Service Day: August 18 (new first day of school), August 19, January 4, January 18 (MLK Service Day), April 5. Note that our new start date is August 18, two days earlier than originally calendared. We will be sending out the revised 2020-21 calendar this week.
  • Maintaining High Academic Standards: Summit has remained committed to supporting our students’ continued growth toward college-readiness through this last quarter of remote learning, and we will continue to maintain high academic standards as we support our students return to school next year. We are preparing our curriculum and scheduling to ensure students have the opportunity to meet and exceed grade level standards through the 2020-21 school year. We look forward to sharing our goals and plans for the 2020-21 school year upon our return in August.
  • Summer Learning Programs: In keeping with our belief in supporting our students to meet high expectations, we will be offering summer learning opportunities in a few high-priority academic areas at no cost to families. Programs will be offered through a virtual learning platform, and each will provide synchronous instruction from a Summit teacher. This week, we will send out additional information on summer learning program offerings and instructions for registering. 
  • Returning to School in 2020-21: As I shared last week, we are preparing to return to school on campus in August, and currently await expected guidelines from the state on necessary health procedures in doing so. Additionally, so that we are prepared to support continued student learning throughout the school year, we are also preparing contingency plans should the state direct schools to return to remote learning at any point in the school year. To be clear, we believe there is no substitute to our students’ learning experience on campus, but we must be prepared to support our students regardless of the circumstances as we continue to navigate the current public health crisis. We will continue to be in communication throughout the summer to keep our faculty and families informed of any updates in preparing for the start of the 2020-21 school year.
  • 8th Grade Graduation and Move-Up Day for 2019-20: 8th Grade Graduation will be held August 13 at 10:00 AM at Summit. Move-Up Day will be held on August 21 at 8:45 AM. Please hold the dates! We will send out more information in the weeks leading up to each event!

Click here to read the final Bear Express of the 2019-20 school year!

 

 
May 18, 2020 - A Message from Kurt Pusch and Weekly Bear Express

 

Dear Summit Families,

True to what makes Summit so special, your partnership as families through these last nine weeks has been nothing short of heroic. As we conclude this most unprecedented year and plan for the 2020-21 school year ahead, I want to express my deepest gratitude for the resilience, flexibility, and teamwork that you have brought to these last two months. I also want to update you on our planning for the start of 2020-21 school year, and invite your feedback and insight to help us prepare, and in some cases reimagine, how we will best serve our students and carry forward our mission in what we expect to be a dynamic year ahead.

While we plan, and hope, to return to “normal” teaching and learning at Summit in August, we also must prepare for the possibility that our community will continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic through the coming school year. Accordingly, state and public health guidance may continue to impact our normal school operations as we navigate the year ahead. The state is currently developing guidelines for the reopening of schools, which will inform our steps at Summit. We are actively working to ensure Summit’s readiness to support our students and families in whatever scenario may be necessary. Whether we are returning to a normal school year, returning to remote learning, or a combination through the school year, our planning and decisions will be guided by two priorities: (1) the health, safety, and well-being of our students, families, and faculty; and (2) the continued whole-child learning of our students consistent with Summit’s mission. If we must transition to remote learning again next year, we will do so with the utmost care in supporting our students through a design that is most functional and sustainable for families. 

We believe there is no true substitute for a student’s learning experience at school in the community of teachers and classmates, and this is especially true with our philosophy of whole-child learning at Summit. But, regardless of the situation, we will prepare to support our students and families in a manner consistent with our mission, and will remain in ongoing communication over the summer as we do. In preparing for these potential scenarios next year, we’ve set up two upcoming opportunities for you to share your feedback and ask any questions you may have about next year:


  • 2019-20 Feedback Survey: Complete a 5-minute anonymous feedback survey that you will receive by email this week


  • Virtual Town Hall Q&A Sessions: Participate in one of our virtual town hall Q&A sessions:

May 21 at 9:00 AM

May 21 at 12:00 PM

May 26 at 5:00 PM

In a separate communication, we will share information to access our Virtual Town Hall sessions via Zoom.

In the meantime, I do want to update you on several updates for closing out this year and planning for the 2020-21 school year:


  • Materials drop-off and pick-up procedures: Enclosed with this week’s Bear Express we’ve included procedures for picking up personal belongings from campus and dropping off school materials and equipment. Please let us know if you have any questions.

  • 8th Grade Graduation and Move-Up Day for 2019-20: 8th Grade Graduation is tentatively scheduled for August 13. Move-Up Day is scheduled for the morning of August 21. We will communicate more information in the coming weeks.

  • 2020-21 Calendar: We plan to maintain our August 20 start date. We will, however, be making adjustments to our calendar to reflect recent state legislation requiring all public schools to add 5 additional instructional days to our calendars. We will finalize these adjustments in the next week, and will send you the updated calendar as soon as we do. 

  • Additional Academic Supports in 2020-21: We are planning our curriculum and schedule for next year to ensure “unfinished” learning from this year is fully addressed and our students, kindergarten through 11th grade, continue to progress toward college-readiness. The summer months remain important opportunities for our students to continue their academic and social-emotional development through regular reading, writing, practicing math, and unstructured play and learning. Our teachers will provide guidance on summer plans to support readiness for the next grade level as we wrap up the year. 


Next week we will send out important reminders and dates for the start of the 2020-21 school year. We will also continue to communicate throughout the summer with updates and additional information.

Please let our team know if you have any questions over these next few weeks of the year! We look forward to seeing you next week for our end-of-year “drive through pep rally” on May 28!

With gratitude,

Kurt

PS: Here is a link to your weekly Bear Express! https://bit.ly/2XifqDm


 
May 5, 2020 - Wellness Wednesday Newsletter
 
It is Wellness Wednesday! Please click here to read our weekly health and wellness newsletter. In this week's edition, Mrs. Laughridge covers "Giving During Covid-19" and "Self-Care Part Two: Child-Focused." Nurse Zandra shares with us some tips on "Managing Seasonal Allergies" and "Drinking More Water." We are also excited to have a featured article by Ms. O'Dwyer about staying active at home. Enjoy and have a healthy week!
 

 
May 4, 2020 - Weekly Bear Express, Virtual Spirit Week, Teacher Appreciation Week
 
Dear Summit Families, 
 
Please click here for your Weekly Bear Express, including a letter from Head of School Kurt Pusch and information on Virtual Spirit Week and Teacher Appreciation Week. 
 
Have a great week! Summit Strong!
 
SCS Spring Spirit Week 2020 10
 

 
April 29, 2020 - SCS Final Grade Determination Procedures
 

Dear Summit Families,

Please click here to review Summit's procedures for determining final grades for this school year in accordance with the State Board of Education's recently adopted policy in light of statewide school closures.

If you have any questions about the state's policy or Summit's plans for implementation, please feel free to contact me, Mrs. Chalker, or Mrs. Bennett.

Thank you for your continued flexibility and support as we work to navigate these current circumstances. We appreciate all you are doing to support your children's continued education. Please continue to let us know if there is anything we can do to best support your family through this final stretch.

With gratitude,

Kurt


 

April 29, 2020 - Weekly Wellness Wednesday Newsletter
 

Introducing Wellness Wednesday! Each Wednesday we will share a health and wellness newsletter featuring articles from School Nurse Zandra Wingfield and K-5 School Counselor Janna Laughridge. Click here to view the first edition and expect a new edition each Wednesday! 

If you have any questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


 

April 27, 2020 - A Message from Head of School Kurt Pusch and Weekly Bear Express 
 

Dear Summit Families,

In this final month of our school year, most extraordinary that it is, we remain poised to finish strong and celebrate the many successes of our students and our Summit family.

In setting our course for the year, we certainly did not anticipate our current circumstances. Yet, as a community, we have remained steadfast in our purpose to navigate these challenges together, true to our mission, and drawing on the strengths of Summit that make our school community so special--Strong Parent Partnerships, Whole-Child Learning, and our Seven Virtues.

Through these final weeks of the year, we’ll be looking to share and celebrate the many beautiful moments that reflect these unique strengths of our school and that have defined our year together--from our time together on campus, through our time continuing our students’ learning from home. Please continue to share with us your stories, pictures, and the many unique artifacts of your children’s learning so that we can lift up these moments with our Summit family in celebrating our year together.

To kick-off this season of celebration, next week Summit will be lifting up our Summit spirit through a Virtual Spirit Week! See details in our Weekly Bear Express. 

Keeping with the season of celebration, next week (May 4-8) is also Teacher Appreciation Week! We hope you will also take the opportunity to share gratitude with your child’s teachers for all that they continue to do for our children!

We look forward to celebrating our Summit family with you as we finish this year out strong!

With gratitude,

Kurt

 

 
April 24, 2020 - COVID-19 Update: Extended School Closure
 
Dear Summit Families,

In follow-up to my note this morning, I’m writing to update you on the status of Summit’s closure. This afternoon, Governor Cooper announced that the statewide closure of public schools will be extended through the end of the 2019-20 school year.

On account of this updated executive order, Summit’s campus will remain closed and we will extend our remote learning program through May 28, the last day of classes for this school year. While we had hoped to conclude our school year back on campus and together as a Summit family, Summit stands with this decision and remains committed to serving our state and country’s effort in protecting the health and welfare of our families and communities.

Additionally, in response to the State Board of Education’s newly adopted policy on year-end grading for this year on which I updated you this morning, we are currently finalizing our plans to implement this policy at Summit and will update you by early next week with our plans and procedures in finalizing grades for this school year. Also of note, the State Board of Education has cancelled EOG testing for the 2019-20 school year. AP exams will still be administered in high school following a modified administration.

Specific to high school, Mrs. Bennett will be contacting each of our high school students and families to schedule conferences regarding the specific expectations of implementing this grading policy as it pertains to high school graduation credits and college admissions.

Looking ahead to the reopening of our campus in our next school year, our team continues to prepare for supporting our students’ return to school in August as well as our readiness for any adaptations in our program that may be necessary as this situation evolves.

While we recognize the challenges and limitations of continuing our children’s education through remote learning, I believe that our continued efforts in finishing this school year strong, to the best of our ability, represents an important commitment to uphold with our children. The circumstances of learning have changed, but we should expect that the standards and expectations that our children will face in their readiness for college and life will remain high. I believe this to be true for all of our children, and especially true for our high school students in their final years of preparation for the rigors of college and careers beyond. May we continue to lean into this time as not only lessons in our children’s academic growth, but also lessons in life through which our children will grow in character.  

Summit remains committed to supporting our students and families, and are incredibly grateful for your support. As I shared in my note this morning…

I believe that, more than anything, this experience and the unbelievable response of our parents and teachers will shape our children to be stronger, wiser, and more resilient as people.

You all are doing an amazing job.


With gratitude,

Kurt


 
April 24, 2020 - Update from the State: Year-End Grading Policy

 

Dear Summit Families,

Yesterday afternoon Governor Cooper announced that he will be providing an update on the status of school closure later today. As we have more information this afternoon, I will update you on the status of Summit’s school closure.

Also yesterday afternoon, the State Board of Education approved a temporary Year-End Grading Policy to inform grading measures in schools through this period of school closure and remote learning. The grading policy is detailed in the attached press release from the State Board of Education, and summarized below:

  • K-5: Students will not receive traditional grades for the year. Instead, they will receive year-end feedback from teachers using a format determined by the school. 

  • 6-8: Students will receive a “pass” or “withdraw” grade for the year, where a “withdraw” does not equate to a failing grade, but rather an indication of a lack of evidence of mastery. A grade of “pass” will be assigned to any student who was passing the course as of March 13 or who worked to improve to the point of passing after March 13 through remote learning. Middle school students taking Math I will have the same grading options as high school students for the course.

  • 9-10: Students will have the option of choosing between a grade of “pass or no credit” or a numeric grade for their spring semester courses. If a student chooses a numeric grade for the spring semester, the score will be based on the grade they were earning as of March 13 in the class. If a student was failing a course as of March 13, they have the opportunity to improve their grade through remote learning, otherwise that course will not appear on their high school transcript for credit.

Our administration and faculty will work to develop procedures for implementing this policy in determining student grades for the 4th quarter and will update you with more information by early next week. 

While this policy will inform grading procedures for our final quarter at Summit this school year, the importance of this time with our children remains unchanged. We are grateful for all the time, effort, and love you continue to pour into supporting your children’s learning. I believe that, more than anything, this experience and the unbelievable response of our parents and teachers will shape our children to be stronger, wiser, and more resilient as people.

You all are doing an amazing job.

With gratitude,

Kurt

State Board of Education Press Release: Year-End Grading Policy

 


 

April 23, 2020 - HEALTHY SNACKING! A Message from Summit's School Nurse:
 

Hey Summit Friends!

I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe! Here is a special message I wanted to share with our students on the importance of healthy snacking at home: 

 https://youtu.be/cUNE1IZ0rTQ

Sometimes it can be helpful to put into practice what we’ve learned, so a fun activity you can encourage your children to do as well is to draw a picture that illustrates healthy snacking. Some ideas to use for a creative drawing include: why good nutrition is important for our bodies, how each fruit and vegetable helps our bodies in different ways, how healthy eating can be fun, etc. If your child/children would like to participate, I’d love to collect their drawings and showcase them on our next wellness video or on social media! Please send those to me by Tuesday, April 30th, if your students are participating.

I also have a link with some nutrition tips you can review with your children at the conclusion of this video (carrots have a high content of vitamin A, yogurt is a great probiotic, etc.) Link: https://bit.ly/350L6kf

Happy snacking and hoping to see everyone soon!

Blessings,
Zandra Wingfield
School Nurse, BSN, RN
Summit Charter School

 

 
April 20, 2020 - A Message from Head of School Kurt Pusch and Weekly Bear Express 

 

Dear Summit Families,

I hope you enjoyed your spring break! We are so grateful for your support and partnership as we ensure our children’s continued education through our remote learning program. 

As we look ahead, I know many are wondering about the status of this year’s campus closure beyond May 15, and what the status of our opening for our next school year will be. As of today, the statewide school closure has not been extended. However, we continue to monitor this situation and should we not receive updated orders from the state by April 30, we are prepared to make a decision on the status of our final two weeks of the school year at Summit based on what we believe is best for our students, faculty, and families. 

If we do extend remote learning through the end of the school year, we will reschedule Move Up Day and our 8th Grade Graduation ceremony to a date at the start of our next school year. These traditions remain important rites of passage at Summit, and we will ensure their continuation when it is safe for us to do so. 

Regarding the start of the 2020-21 school year, we continue to plan for our scheduled opening on August 20. We will keep you updated over the coming months with additional information for the start of our next school year. 

We are eager to welcome our students, faculty, and families back on campus when it is safe and appropriate to do so. Until then, we will continue to do all that we can to support our students and families and carry forward our mission of engaging students in learning experiences that stimulate discovery, inspire excellence, and nurture a positive influence in an ever-changing world.

Additionally, we continue to keep our website updated with resources available in our community, including meal assistance, telehealth, and internet assistance. Please let us know if you have any questions, needs, or feedback to help us best support your family. 

With gratitude,

Kurt 

P.S. Here is your weekly Bear Express!


 

April 9, 2020 - Third Quarter Grades
 

Dear Summit Families,

I hope this note finds you well. I'm writing regarding final grades for the 3rd academic quarter. 

3rd quarter grades are now final in PowerSchool and can be accessed from the PowerSchool parent portal. If you would like a copy of your child's report card, please notify Mrs. Koonts (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and we will arrange for a report card to be mailed to you. 

Summit will be on spring break from Friday, April 10 - Friday, April 17. School administration remains available to students and families for support. We hope you have a relaxing, healthy, and fun spring break!

With gratitude,

Kurt


 
April 7, 2020 - Update from School Nurse
 

Hi Summit Bears!

Another week is here of learning to adjust to life in the virtual world and looking out the window to see beautiful springtime blooming all around us. In a world of uncertainty right now, I'm thankful we can lean on each other and our little community here in the mountains. 

Here's a few updates I thought would be helpful to send out this week:

1. Virtual "Call When Sick" Visits: If you haven't already done so, please take some time to check out the "Call When Sick" telemedicine service, courtesy of Vision Cashiers. For a $100 yearly subscription, families receive virtual medical support through telephone and online services with no co-pays, no deductibles, and no needing to wait in a physical clinic to be seen. To sign up for this subscription, go to www.callwhensick.com, follow the prompts, and download the Healthiest You App. All information is confidential and there are informative FAQs on the website as well.

2. Office Hours for School Nurse: As a friendly reminder, please keep in mind that I am available between 9 am and 3 pm every weekday and would be happy to talk with you over the phone, via a scheduled Facetime appointment, or through email. Please do not hesitate to reach out. I miss all of our students and would love to be of service to your families in any way I can, if even just to be a familiar face or to talk through symptoms!

3. Tips on Student Well-Being During Quarantine: This was a FANTASTIC article published by Forbes on some tips/advice on working from home with your children. Some of my favorite points included creating or refreshing vision boards with your children to help them focus on personal or family goals, using daily positive affirmations, finding new healthy recipes to make together that will boost the immune system, involving your children in your daily workouts, etc. I enjoyed reading this article as a parent myself :) The link can be found here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/biancamillercole/2020/03/20/18-tips-on-how-to-cope-with-children-on-quarantine/#34693a01e6e8

4. Proposed Health Newsletter - Requesting Recipes!: I am in the beginning stages of planning a monthly health newsletter that will be fun, creative, and engaging for our students. This will include topics on physical & mental and emotional health, nutrition, etc. It was also suggested by one of our awesome teachers to add a column featuring healthy meal recipes from our Summit families :) If you would like to participate and send in a recipe to be featured, please send them to me at your earliest convenience! I will compile them for future use and look forward to sharing your recipes with all of our families. 

5. Reminders on Health and Wellness During Quarantine: Now more than ever, it is so important for us to keep open conversations with our kids that encourage healthy habits and nutrition. A few things we can continue to incorporate into our daily learning with our children include proper hand washing, sneezing or coughing into elbows, boosting our immune systems through healthy, nutritious foods and probiotics, staying active and spending some time outside enjoying the fresh air and sunlight every day, etc. If you would like extra, age-appropriate resources to share with your kids on these topics, please let me know!

My hope for all of our Summit families is this - stay well, stay healthy, and know that you are so appreciated for the hard work you put in for our students. Take some personal time to enjoy the sunshine this week for yourself too :) 

Blessings, 

Zandra Wingfield 


 
 
April 6, 2020 - A Message from Head of School Kurt Pusch
 

Dear Summit Families,

It is hard to believe we are now into our fourth week of remote learning. We miss our students and families around campus, and hope you all are staying well! Thank you for all you continue to do to support your children’s education and wellness through this time.

We continue to monitor our school closure with updates from the state. As of now, school remains closed until May 15, though we are planning for the possibility that the closure may extend beyond. We will continue to keep you informed as we have more information. Our priorities remain focused on supporting our families and continuing our students' academic and whole-child learning through remote learning. Please continue to let us know if you have questions or feedback.

You should have received your child’s weekly learning plan in your email on Friday, April 3. Please let us know if you have any questions. We have a few recommendations as you support your child’s learning from home this week:

  • Continue to maintain a schedule and sense of routine as much as possible, including structured time for learning and scheduled time for breaks and play. Keeping a sense of consistency can help keep students on-track, and also provides a sense of assurance amidst so much change.
  • Teachers have worked to keep lessons simple and focused on the most essential learning. Please utilize the instructions teachers have provided to help students accomplish their learning goals for the week. 
  • Please continue to encourage your children to apply their best effort and strive for excellence in their work. Remember that our teachers are available for support!

Moving forward, we will continue to follow our school calendar. Spring Break starts this Friday and continues through next week. Accordingly, students will not have new assignments during the break.  

I hope that you all are staying well and continuing to find new opportunities in this time with your children. We miss all of you and look forward to seeing you again sometime soon!

With gratitude,

Kurt

P.S. Here is your weekly Bear Express!

 

 
APRIL 6, 2020 - Meal Assistance for Tuesday 
 
The Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau has a new link for their dinner program. Thank you to the club and all the local dining establishments for this wonderful program for the community. Last week, they distributed nearly 400 meals in just three days! The Tuesday meal is made possible by the club and Chile Loco.
 

 
 
APRIL 3, 2020 - Telemedicine Service from Vision Cashiers
 
Vision Cashiers is offering Summit and Blue Ridge families the "Call When Sick" telemedicine service. With this service, for $100 per year, families receive medical support through telephone and online services. A subscription provides 24/7 access to doctors by phone / FaceTime with no copays, no deductibles, and no clinic waiting rooms where germs might be spread. Go to Callwhensick.com, follow the prompts, and download the Healthiest You App. All information is confidential and there are informative FAQs. Thank you, Vision Cashiers! 

APRIL 2, 2020 - Meal Assistance for Friday Evening
 
The Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau has a new link for their dinner program. Thank you to the club and all the local dining establishments for this wonderful program for the community. Last week, they distributed nearly 400 meals in just three days! 

APRIL 2, 2020 - Booster Club Donation  
 
Today our Booster Club donated their supplies to the Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau, the Cashiers-Glenville Volunteer Fire Department, and Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry. Thank you, Shelley Boswell and Heather Johnson! We love our community. 

APRIL 1, 2020 - Summit Closure Article Corrections

Dear Summit Family,

Today, April 1, 2020, the Crossroads Chronicle published a story on Summit's closure. Unfortunately, the information they reported on was from statements the school made nearly three weeks ago. The story reported that field trips would be postponed until May 1. Please note that Summit and all programming, including field trips, continues to be closed until at least May 15. The article reported that school packets are available to be picked up at the school. With the governor's mandatory shelter-in-place order on March 27, Summit's remote learning plan continues to rely on virtual learning through internet or telephone/cell phone communications.

In regards to the internet, I am pleased to share that the Summit Charter School Foundation will be donating internet access for Summit families that cannot afford it, in an effort to support your homebound learning environment. Please contact your principal if this is a need for your family and many thanks to our Foundation board members for their generosity!

Please know that we are extremely grateful for the Chronicle's service to the community through their reporting and these are simply factual inaccuracies we must address. Please continue to check your emails regularly and our COVID-19 Information Page for up to date information: https://www.summitschool.org/about/news

With gratitude,

Kurt


MARCH 30, 2020 - Weekly Bear Express 
Good Morning Summit Families, 
Click here for your weekly Bear Express.
Have a great week, stay safe and healthy.
Summit Strong. 

MARCH 28, 2020 - Remote Learning and Stay-at-Home Update

Dear Summit Families,

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful Saturday! I’m writing with a brief follow-up in regards to updated guidance from Governor Cooper’s stay-at-home order issued on Friday. According to the executive order, schools are considered places of essential business “for purposes of facilitating remote learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions, provided that Social Distancing requirements set forth below of this Executive Order are maintained to the greatest extent possible.”

Following this guidance, Summit will continue to limit faculty, family, and student contact on campus and will maintain remote learning through virtual means as much as possible. If your family does not have access to internet, please let us know so we can work to arrange alternative plans. 

We will limit contact on campus to the following:

  • For faculty without access to internet in their homes to plan and prepare remote learning for students

  • For administration to carry forth necessary operations of the school

  • For families and students to access Summit’s wireless internet from our parking lot while staying inside their vehicles

 Additionally, you can find more information on free or affordable internet service offerings in North Carolina at https://www.ncbroadband.gov/covid19broadband/.

Through the duration of the stay-at-home order, we will suspend our work drop-off and pick-up procedure on campus. Teachers will provide assignments and feedback virtually. If necessary, administration will mail needed work to families without internet. 

You can review the full details of Governor Cooper’s stay-at-home order here.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued support, patience, and flexibility. 

With gratitude,

Kurt

 

MARCH 27, 2020 - Remote Learning Update
Dear Summit Families,

Thank you for all you continue to do to support your children’s learning through this time. Your response as parents to this situation has been remarkable. We are so grateful for your partnership in support of our students’ learning, no matter the circumstances. Thank you!

I’m writing with a few updates as we close out this second week of remote learning and our community and statewide response.

  • Shelter-in-place order: This afternoon, Governor Cooper announced a mandatory shelter-in-place, ordering North Carolinians to stay home unless for essential business effective Monday at 5:00 PM. With this order, Summit’s remote learning plan will rely on virtual learning through Internet or telephone/cell phone communications. We fully understand that this will prove limiting for some families, and ask you to please let us know if your family is unable to access information or instruction that we provide as we move forward.

  • Remote learning plan -  next week: As we shared earlier this week, next week is a review and catch-up week for student learning. We will not be assigning new lessons or assignments to allow time for students to catch up where needed and for teachers to review necessary material with students.

  • Remote learning plan - starting week of April 6: This past week, we’ve been working to update Summit’s remote learning plan as a school to ensure we are best supporting the continued learning of our students based on best practices from our teachers the past two weeks, and feedback from families and faculty. Our goal is to ensure our students are able to continue their learning with integrity to our mission and a value for the whole-child, and to do so in a way that is sustainable to our families, students, and faculty.  We look forward to sharing updates for learning plans the week of April 6 later next week.

  • School calendar: As we look ahead, our goal is to maintain our existing school calendar. Based on the most recent updates from the state, we do not anticipate a need to extend our school year or alter spring break. Currently, our remote learning plan satisfies the instructional hours required of all public schools in North Carolina and is in accordance with all requirements and recommendations from the state in response to the statewide school closure. We will continue to update you as we receive more information from the state.

  • Optional summer classes: While we are doing our utmost to support all students’ continued learning through remote learning, we also are taking steps to ensure students who may need additional learning support are able to access additional instruction when the school closure is lifted. We are exploring the possibility of offering optional summer classes for students who may need additional learning support and will keep you updated as we have more information.

  • Community resources: We will continue to update this page with resources available to families through our community partners. Please let us know if there are any other ways Summit can best support your family through this time.

Thank you for all you continue to do each day in support of your children’s education. We look forward to the day sometime soon when we reunite on our beautiful campus. Until then, stay strong. Summit strong!

With gratitude,

Kurt


MARCH 26, 2020 - A Message to our Supporters from the Foundation
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented and challenging time for the entire world. In this important message from the Summit Charter School Foundation, we want to inform you of the decisions Summit is making during this public health crisis and how you can further support our school and community as we navigate this time of uncertainty. Enclosed please find a letter from Head of School Kurt Pusch, information on the ways you can help empower our children, and examples of Summit's remote learning in action. Let's work, together, to persevere and turn the tide against COVID-19. 
Continue reading this message here: https://mailchi.mp/summitschool.org/covid19response

MARCH 25, 2020 - Information on Community Resources
Dear Families, 
Below please find updated information on community resources.  Please continue to let us know ways that Summit can best support your family through this time. We are here for you. 
 

MARCH 25, 2020 - A Message from School Nurse Zandra Wingfield

Hello precious Summit families, 

I hope and trust that you are all doing well! I know that many changes in our lives during this time have been an adjustment for all of us, but I am encouraged to see the way our school and community have banded together to make it through as a team. Thank you for all that you do as parents/families!

A few things I wanted to send out to you that I believed would be helpful from a medical perspective:

1. Common symptoms to look for with Covid-19: I've had some people reach out asking about their specific symptoms, and I understand the current information out there can be hard to sift through. The CDC cites that common symptoms (which may appear 2-14 days after exposure) include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The biggest difference from other similar diagnoses like allergies or the common cold/flu (from what I've read and heard) is the rapid, sudden onset of symptoms unique to the coronavirus, like shortness of breath. IF you have developed a dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath (or any one of these symptoms) and you feel that you need to be tested, please call your local provider and talk with them about what to do next. I myself have had allergies in the past few days that have put me on alert, and found it helpful to read through the distinct symptoms to look for. These resources may help to differentiate between allergies, common cold, influenza, and coronavirus as well:

2. EMERGENCY warning signs of Covid-19: The CDC cites that these include (but are not limited to) trouble breathing (some people have stated that it feels like they can only use 20% of their lungs), persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face. Again, these can appear rapidly and suddenly, so please be aware and seek medical attention immediately if you develop these symptoms. More on these specific symptoms can be found here 

3. Covid-19 Local Testing Centers: If you or someone you know is wanting to be tested, the link below has a list of the testing sites/drive thru testing centers nearest to our community (currently, the only counties listed are Henderson, Buncombe, and Jackson counties):

4. Virtual Visits: Many practices/clinics and health care systems are starting to roll out virtual visits or e-visits for those who want to talk with a health care provider over the phone about their symptoms. Please check with your health care provider's office/hospital as this may be an option for you as well. Mission Health is offering virtual visits for $25 at the link below: 

As always, I am here for you and your family's needs during this time. Please let me know how best I can help you! Stay safe, continue to practice social distancing and proper hand hygiene, and know that we are here for you and eager to see all of your faces again! Reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

Zandra Wingfield


MARCH 23, 2020 - NC Public Schools to remain closed through May 15
Dear Summit Families,

This afternoon Governor Cooper announced that all North Carolina Public Schools will remain closed through May 15. This announcement does confirm the longer-term scenario for which we were preparing. Our team is now working to confirm Summit’s plan for supporting our students and families through the coming months, and will update you in the next few days with more information.

Currently, there are a number of actions in motion at the state that will impact the details of our approach over the coming months. The North Carolina State Board of Education voted earlier today to request a one-year waiver for federal student testing requirements, and we expect that end-of-year state testing will be cancelled for the current school year. We are also awaiting confirmation from the state of any requirements of schools, including instructional hours, through this extended closure.

While these details are worked out at the state level, our overarching mission as a school, and the priorities that have guided us through this past week, remain unchanged. We will continue to focus on supporting our students continued learning, and we will seek to do so with integrity to our mission, our Seven Virtues, and a deep commitment to our partnership with our families. Our circumstances are more challenging, but I have full confidence that, together, we will be an even stronger Summit on the other side.

Thank you for all you do.

With gratitude,

Kurt


MARCH 23, 2020 - Weekly Bear Express 
Good Morning Summit Families, 
Please click here to view your weekly Bear Express, including a letter from Kurt Pusch on the closure, Summit's new online radio station, examples of home-bound learning, and community resources for families in need. 
Hope everyone is staying dry, safe, and healthy!
Summit Strong. 

MARCH 20, 2020 - An Update from Kurt Pusch on School Closure and Remote Learning

Dear Summit Families,

Thank you for all you have done this week to support your children’s learning through this most unprecedented situation. You all are simply amazing, and our team is incredibly grateful for your partnership.

We are continuing to monitor the situation daily with guidance and direction from the state. Yesterday Governor Cooper announced that the statewide school closure will extend beyond March 30. At this time, we do not have confirmation of how long schools will remain closed, but we are preparing for a longer-term scenario. As we have more information, we will continue to keep you informed on what this means for our response and plan to support students and families. Please continue to let us know ways that Summit can best support your family through this time. We will regularly post updates to our website and Facebook page of resources available through our community partners.

As we move forward, supporting our students’ academic and social-emotional learning remains a priority for our team. Our plan for next week is to continue our remote learning program currently in place, with a few adjustments in response to feedback we’ve heard this week:

  • Most importantly, please know that we recognize the challenge that this situation brings on families. Self-care and supporting our children’s health and well-being is more important than anything. We encourage time for rest, breaks, play, and time outside.
  • With this in mind, our faculty is working to make adjustments to remote learning plans to reduce the workload for next week. Expect any updates to be communicated by Monday.
  • We will strive to consolidate and streamline communications. We know that parents and students are receiving a high volume of information, and we want to simplify communications to alleviate this issue as much as possible.

Our office will be open for work dropoff and pickup on Monday from 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Please note the following procedures:

  • Please notify your child’s teacher(s) if you need paper copies. 
  • In an effort to maintain social distancing, we will permit 3 parents in the library at a time. 
  • Please apply hand sanitizer (we will have available) before coming into the building. 

Thank you for your understanding and patience with these precautionary measures.

Additionally, in an effort to limit exposure on campus, we will be closing our office Tuesday - Friday next week. Teachers and school administration remain available to students and families. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions, feedback, or needs.

Thank you for all you are doing to make the best of this situation. We are so incredibly grateful for your support.

With gratitude,

Kurt


MARCH 19, 2020 - Virtual Round Up Planned for Friday, March 20
Nothing can stop Summit's tradition of Friday Round Up! Join us tomorrow for a Virtual Round Up by visiting Summit's new online radio station at www.summitbears.airtime.pro. Beginning at 8:00 AM, DJ Gilleland will stream a live Round Up playlist and share school announcements. Don't Stop Believin' -Your Summit Family
SCS VIRTUAL ROUND UP 1

MARCH 19, 2020 - A Meal Assistance Message from Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau
We understand that for many in our community, food security is a challenge during this time. The Club is partnering with the Library Kitchen and Bar to provide meals at no cost for families who are in need on Friday, March 20th. If your family is in need of a meal, please follow this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5TMGC5B and complete the survey. Please note that the survey window will close on at 12:00 NOON on Friday.

We will be distributing meals prepared and pre-packaged by the Library chefs curbside from the Boys & Girls Club from 4:00-5:30. Please pull in front of our building - 42 Community Place - within your scheduled time window and remain in your vehicle. We will bring the food to you.

BGCP will be partnering with the Library again on Friday afternoon. We cannot thank Slabtown Pizza enough for their generosity on Monday and Tuesday nights. We are hoping to continue these partnerships and expand on this endeavor.

Please stay tuned for more information. #CashiersStrong


MARCH 18, 2020 - Teaching from Home: A MobyMax Parent Guide
MobyMax created a handy guide for parents that details how to use MobyMax at home with their children. It includes a description of the program, sign-in instructions, and suggestions for what students should work on. 

MARCH 18, 2020 - Gratitude and Community Resources for Meals
Dear Summit Families,
Thank you for your resilience and flexibility through our first day of remote learning. The strain of this situation is real. Balancing responsibilities of work, family, and our children’s education amidst the uncertainty around us is a challenge. I am grateful for our Seven Virtues and the sense of partnership that are the core of who we are at Summit, and in these times, can be our strength. We are all in this together, and we are so deeply grateful for all you are doing to rise to this challenge we face as a community.
Our faculty and staff continue to be available for support. Our teachers are available between 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM for any questions or needs. Additionally, Mrs. Wingfield is available for any school health-related questions, and both Mrs. Laughridge and Mrs. Bennett are available to provide mental health support and resources as needed. Please continue to share your feedback on how we can best support your children, and you as parents, through this time.
Additionally, we also want to share other resources available through our community partners. Currently, the Boys and Girls Club is coordinating with local restaurants to provide free dinner for families in need. Dinners are available for pick up at the Boys and Girls Club by RSVP. Here is the link to the survey to submit a dinner order: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XQLFHQD. Fishes and Loaves continues its Monday and Thursday schedule via drive-thru for dinner needs. In addition, Summit families living in Jackson County can sign up for meals through Jackson County Public Schools. Jackson County has a bus route that delivers daily meals as well as weekend food packs on Fridays. Families can sign up at www.jcpsnc.org to have their home added to the bus route. Whether or not this is a need your family faces, we encourage you to share these resources with others. We will continue to keep you informed of additional resources and information as this situation evolves.
With deepest gratitude,
Kurt

MARCH 14, 2020 - Statement from Summit Charter School in regards to COVID-19

Dear Summit Families,

This afternoon Governor Roy Cooper announced the closure of all North Carolina public schools for at least the next two weeks, March 16 - 30.

With this announcement, Summit’s closure announced on Friday will now extend through March 30. We will proceed with our next steps for remote learning that I shared yesterday. Our teachers will provide students and families instructions for the remote learning plan specific to their classroom by Monday afternoon, and any resources or materials that may need to be picked up at the school will be available on Tuesday between 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM.

Our faculty and staff will remain available for students and families by e-mail, or through other means as determined by individual teachers, between the hours of 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM, Monday-Friday.

Thank you for your patience, flexibility, and support through this time. Please let us know if you have any questions or if we can be of support for your family.

Sincerely,
Kurt Pusch
Head of School


MARCH 13, 2020 - Statement from Summit Charter School in regards to COVID-19

Summit Charter School has made the decision to close school and all related programming next week, Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20, as a proactive measure in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak across our country. In addition, we have suspended all field trips effective Monday, March 16 through May 1 in following guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

While there has not been a reported case of COVID-19 in our community, we believe that this measure is necessary in ensuring our proactive efforts to mitigate the transmission of the virus. Our administration and staff continue to prepare for and closely monitor this situation, and next week will assess an extended school closure. We will keep you informed of any additional updates in our school’s response to ensure the safety and best interests of our students, families, faculty, staff, and the community.

To the best of our ability, our faculty will provide remote learning for our students to minimize lost instructional time with students. On Monday, our faculty will prepare plans to support remote learning for our students through next week and for the possibility of a closure beyond next week. Each teacher will provide students and families instructions on the remote learning plan specific to their classroom by Monday afternoon. Where possible, we will provide instructional and learning activities on-line through learning platforms already in use in our school (MobyMax, Khan Academy, and Google Classroom). We recognize that access to the Internet may be limited in some cases, and teachers will prepare copies of learning packets that will be available for pick-up at the school on Tuesday, March 17 from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM.

Our faculty will be available to answer any student questions by e-mail, or through other means as determined by individual teachers, between the hours of 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM, Monday-Friday. Please continue to check your email regularly throughout the week.

At this time, we do not intend to extend the school year or alter our calendar. It is our goal to provide remote learning for our students to fulfill necessary instructional time during this period of our school’s closure.

We will continue to closely monitor this situation and keep you informed of any updates. Please continue to check your email regularly for the latest updates and information.

Thank you for your patience as we work to keep you informed. Please know that Summit seeks to be a resource for our families through this time. Please let us know if you have any questions.


HIGH HAMPTON DONATES CLIMBING TOWER TO SUMMIT CHARTER SCHOOL

By Plateau Daily News (Click on the link above for full story and pictures) 
January 7, 2020

Students at Summit Charter School can now rope up and ascend the climbing tower recently donated by High Hampton Land.

President Brien Peterkin said High Hampton is known as a place for outdoor pursuits, recreation and exploration, and sharing that with generations young and old. When the approx. 40-foot climbing tower had to be moved for construction, donating it to a local school made sense.

“We are fortunate to live in an area where our kids can explore nature and the mountains right at their doorstep and we want to encourage that,” said Peterkin. “I hope giving them access to a climbing wall pushes kids to take risks and overcome fears while getting some fresh air. Climbing could end up being a passion for students, and now with the climbing tower it is more accessible than ever.”

Peterkin added that the granite faces in the mountains make for some of the best climbing in the country, and hopes the climbing tower teaches kids the skills to climb and gives them confidence to try climbing outdoors on actual rocks

Summit Head of School Kurt Pusch said the climbing tower will bring access to rock climbing as a supervised activity for students on campus and will be a significant boost to Summit’s rock-climbing club.

He added that the tower will serve as another unique resource on campus to support place-based learning experiences that engage students as learners beyond the traditional classroom.“Our place-based learning approach seeks to utilize concepts of inquiry and design-thinking to engage learning experiences through our local resources and community,” said Pusch. “The climbing tower will enhance hands-on, experiential learning opportunities that are central to our mission and educational approach.”

Summit High School Principal Lauren Bennett is an experienced rock-climbing instructor and will be heading up programming for the climbing tower. Summit students and families will be updated with plans for integrating the climbing tower into the climbing program in the coming weeks.

Peterkin said High Hampton has a long-standing history of philanthropy in the Cashiers community and although currently closed, it’s still an important part of High Hampton’s identity. In 2019, High Hampton residents raised approx. $100,000 for 13 local organizations.

“When the property was operational, the climbing tower was used regularly by visitors and property owners,” said Peterkin. “The tower still has so much life and love left in it. Rather than moving it to storage or letting it sit unused, we decided to donate it to a local school. Many of our staff, members, and owners are longtime supporters of Summit with strong ties to the school. We couldn’t think of a better second act for the tower than to move it to their campus for continued, regular use.”

The climbing tower was installed behind the high school last week. Pusch said the new addition to Summit’s campus is a testament to the community and parent support that have been cornerstones of the school’s program since its founding.

He extended special thanks to Peterkin and Charlie Tickle of High Hampton for the donation, as well as parent Josh Crawford for donating his time and resources to transition the tower to Summit’s campus, and for coordinating a team of volunteers to ensure its readiness for use.

Also, special thanks to parent volunteers Roman Placko, Scott Westendorf, Eduardo Marquina, Edward Marquina (8th-grade student), Buz Stone (grandparent), and Patrick Holden for supporting this effort, and to community members Josh Young of Young Tree Service, Jeff Stillwell, AJ Morales, Kyle Buff, and Summit alum Chandler Stoltzfus for helping as well.

SUMMIT CHARTER SCHOOL RECEIVES GRANT FROM HIGHLANDS CASHIERS HEALTH FOUNDATION TO FUND SCHOOL NURSE

Full-time Position to Improve Student Access to Health Professionals, Student Attendance, and the Overall Well-being of Student Body  

CASHIERS, NC – November 21, 2019 – Summit Charter School, a tuition-free K-10 public charter school in the Cashiers-Highlands plateau, today announces it has received a grant from the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation to fund a full-time school nurse for one year. Zandra Wingfield has fulfilled the full-time position and started on October 16. This is the first time the school has had the funding capacity to hire a nursing position. Summit strives to graduate students who are academically prepared, engaged in the community, healthy, and strong in character.

“We are extremely grateful for the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation’s generous support of our whole-child focus at Summit.,” says Kurt Pusch, head of school. “For the first time in our school’s history, Summit is able to staff a full-time school nurse to directly serve student and staff wellness on our campus. We believe that as a community school, being able to provide this level of care on campus is an important service to our families, students, and staff, resulting in long-term benefits to our students' growth and development. This would not be possible without the generous support of the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation.”

Zandra Wingfield graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is a Registered Nurse. During her time at the University of Florida, she received the UF College of Nursing Alumni Council Book Award, the UF College of Nursing MSC Patriot Award, and the LT Fouke UF Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Leadership Award. Her previous work experience includes roles at the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at UF Health, Bayada Home Health, Lifepoints Corp, and Highlands Family Medicine. She is married to Eric Wingfield and has a three-year-old son named Samuel who attends Cashiers Valley Preschool.

"I feel tremendously honored and grateful to be joining the Summit Family! In the four years that my family and I have lived in the area, we have grown to love the unique bond that our small community shares and cannot imagine living anywhere else,” explains Zandra Wingfield, Summit’s new school nurse. “It is a huge blessing to work with an incredible team of people who truly love and care for these students, all while getting to continue pursuing my passion for pediatric nursing in this beautiful town we call home. I have been welcomed with open arms, had some laughs and sweet moments with students so far, and love hearing and watching the vision of Summit's leadership and staff come to life on a daily basis. I'm very excited to grow in my role as Summit's school nurse, and to play a small part in tending to and watching these future leaders grow up to bring change to our world!"

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a school nurse has a crucial role in the seamless provision of comprehensive health services to children and youth. Not only do school nurses have the expertise to provide proper care, they help keep children in class and allow faculty to focus on their core missions. A 2014 Kaiser Health study determined that without a school nurse on campus, teachers spend 26 minutes a day each on health-related matters. With a school nurse around, that number drops to six minutes a day.

“A child’s health is an invariably important factor in their learning,” continues Pusch. “Providing a school nurse for our Summit students will improve student access to health professionals, student attendance, and the overall well-being of our student body.” 

Robin Tindall, executive director and CEO of the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation, says, “Our Foundation is pleased to support Summit Charter School’s commitment to nurturing the health of its student body. This initiative directly aligns with our focus areas of improving access to healthcare and support for education. We wholeheartedly congratulate them on putting our grant funds to use in fulfilling this important need.”

About Summit Charter School

Summit Charter School is a tuition-free K-10 public charter school in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina that engages students in learning experiences that stimulate discovery, inspire excellence, and nurture a positive influence in an ever-changing world. A picturesque mountain campus and state-of-the-art facilities in the Cashiers-Highlands plateau provide an ideal setting for students and teachers to embrace high expectations, build meaningful relationships, and practice the seven virtues of the school’s daily Summit Pledge: “Each day in my words and my deeds, I will do my best to live these seven virtues: Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Self-Discipline, Perseverance, and Giving.” Learn more about Summit’s transformative place-based education and whole-child approach to learning at summitschool.org.

About The Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation

The Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation was established on February 1, 2019 as a 501 (c) 3 public charity with a purpose to improve the health and wellbeing of Highlands, Cashiers, and surrounding communities. As the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital conversion foundation we are committed to continuing a several-decade legacy of generosity and vision to ensure vibrant and healthy living for our year-round, seasonal and visiting families and individuals. Through partnerships with organizations, key stakeholders and caring donors, The Foundation aims to make positive and lasting change through investing in projects and programs that advance innovative solutions and improvements in peoples’ health and wellbeing. The Foundation follows best practices in administering and evaluating grants and projects as well as measuring and reporting outcomes. The Foundation also includes collaborative partnerships that serve the health and wellbeing of all people in western North Carolina, with particular emphasis on Macon, Jackson, Swain, Graham, Clay and Cherokee Counties and the Qualla Boundary. For more information please visit the website: www.hchealthfnd.org or call 828-482-6510. 

SCS Zandra Wingfield and Kurt Pusch 112019

Summit’s new school nurse Zandra Wingfield with head of school Kurt Pusch on Summit’s campus.

SUMMIT HOSTS GRAND OPENING OF HIGH SCHOOL AND SUMMIT CENTER 

SCS Grand Opening 2019

On Thursday, September 26th, Summit Charter School in Cashiers, N.C. hosted the grand opening of its new facilities, including a high school building and the Summit Center, which includes the school's first-ever gym and classrooms for music and art education.
The grand opening program included remarks by new Head of School Kurt Pusch, speeches by high school students, and a performance by the middle and high school chorus. Following the program, the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting and guests enjoyed student-led tours of the 6,600 square foot high school and the 18,686 square foot Summit Center. During the 2018-19 school year, Summit welcomed its first ninth grade class and will continue to add a high school grade every year until the inaugural high school class graduates in 2022. 
The new high school building includes state-of-the-art classrooms with interactive projectors and a science lab. The building also includes a student lounge, two conference rooms, admin workspace, and offices.   
The Summit Center, which in addition to the athletic facilities, houses music & art classrooms, performance capabilities, administrative offices, locker rooms, and a concession stand.   
Pictured in Ribbon Cutting Photo 
Summit high school students, Head of School Kurt Pusch, High School Principal Lauren Bennett, the All-Volunteer Construction Committee (John Lehotsky, Ann Betty, Josh Crawford, Wally Seinsheimer, Amy Corcell-not pictured), Capital Campaign Chairman Linda Quick, Neal Conley of Bobbitt Design Build, Cashiers Area Chamber Executive Director Stephanie Edwards and Chamber Board Members Sarah Jennings, Wendy Lupas, Brandy Letson and Mary Lanning. 

SUMMIT CHARTER SCHOOL CHORUS SWEEPS COMPETITION AT CAROWINDS

Chorus Earns First Place Overall and Multiple Accolades in its Second Year

CASHIERS, NC – May 28, 2019 Summit Charter School, a tuition-free K-10 public charter school in the Cashiers-Highlands plateau, traveled to Charlotte on May 18th to compete against 15 schools in the nationwide “Music in the Parks” competition. Summit’s middle school chorus received a Superior rating, took first place in middle school choral, and earned highest choral group overall. Music in the Parks is a nationwide festival featuring performance opportunities for band, orchestra, and choral performers. Each competition features exceptional adjudicator panels sharing their expertise with participants. 

“I am ecstatic for our kids to reach this monumental achievement,” says Jesse Loyd, choral director. “This is only our second year of having a chorus at Summit and our students have blown both the community and their competition away. Music in the Parks provides a phenomenal opportunity for our chorus to experience a world-class stage with renowned judges. And as an added bonus, we rewarded our students with a fun day at Carowinds following their performance.”

Summit’s middle school chorus performed two songs: “The Water is Wide” by Ruth Elaine Schram and “The Drunken Sailor” by Emily Crocker. The award-winning performance at the Charlotte competition concludes an unprecedented season for Summit’s middle school chorus. Prior to sweeping Music in the Parks, the chorus participated in two performances in 2019, including a state competition and a concert at The Bascom in Highlands, North Carolina. Each performance received high accolades and was made possible by a grant from The Rotary Club of Cashiers Valley.

Jesse Loyd concludes, “This is a very proud moment for Summit and myself. It is rewarding to see my students get recognized for their perseverance and dedication to music. I am so proud of what they’ve accomplished this year and hope their success continues to inspire them to pursue a love of music.”

SCS Middle School Chorus

Middle School Chorus, Choral Director Jesse Loyd, Piano Accompanist Tracie Jernigan 

About Summit Charter School

Summit Charter School is a tuition-free K-10 public charter school in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina that engages students in learning experiences that stimulate discovery, inspire excellence and nurture a positive influence in an ever-changing world. A picturesque mountain campus and state-of-the-art facilities in the Cashiers-Highlands plateau provide an ideal setting for students and teachers to embrace high expectations, build meaningful relationships and practice the seven virtues of the school’s daily Summit Pledge: “Each day in my words and my deeds, I will do my best to live these seven virtues: Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Self-Discipline, Perseverance and Giving.”

During the 2018-19 school year, Summit welcomed its first ninth grade class and will add a high school grade every year until the inaugural high school class graduates in 2022. Following this spring’s opening of the Summit Center, which houses athletic facilities, a performance area and music and art classrooms, the school will open its new high school building. Learn more about Summit’s transformative place-based education and whole-child approach to learning at summitschool.org.


SUMMIT CHARTER SCHOOL HIRES DIRECTOR FROM NATION’S TOP CHARTER SCHOOL NETWORK

Kurt Pusch joins Summit after leading six charter schools in Colorado serving pre-K to high school students

CASHIERS, NC – March 1, 2019 – Summit Charter School, a tuition-free K-9 public charter school in the Cashiers-Highlands plateau of North Carolina, today announces the appointment of Kurt Pusch as its next director, effective July 1. Pusch will succeed Billy Leonard, who has served Summit as interim director since July 2018. 

In making the announcement, Edward Cole, board of trustees chair and search committee co-chair, says, “We consider ourselves very fortunate to have someone of Kurt’s award-winning experience as an administrator and educator. He has spent the past 15 years with KIPP, the nation’s largest and highest regarded network of public charter schools.” Cole continues, “Kurt’s demonstrated ability to lead a school to high ranking academic achievement, increase faculty retention and decrease student attrition was quite impressive. He is well-versed on the advantages of a charter school, has a passion for outdoor education and aligns well with Summit’s place-based and whole-child approach to learning.”

Most recently, Pusch served as Chief Schools Officer at KIPP Colorado Schools, overseeing six charter schools serving nearly 2,000 students from early childhood through twelfth grade with the mission of educating students to develop the knowledge, skills and character for success in college and life. Prior to his tenure at KIPP, where he also served as principal, academic dean and middle school history teacher, Pusch was a Teach For America Corps Member, serving as a fourth grade teacher at Northside Elementary School in Norlina, NC. He graduated from The Lovett School in Atlanta, Colgate University in Hamilton, NY and received his Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from National Louis University in Chicago, IL. He will receive his Executive Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in June 2019.  He is married to M.C. Pusch and has four children, Briggs (8), Kate (6), McKinley (4) and Henry (2).

“My wife M.C. and I feel deeply privileged by this opportunity for our family to join the Cashiers-Highlands community and to serve Summit Charter School,” says Pusch. “In our time getting to know the staff, students, families, and supporters of Summit, we have felt the values and sense of community that clearly make the school such a special place. I look forward to joining the team at Summit, and doing my very best to serve the school as director over the years ahead.”

Pusch was selected following a highly-competitive national search. The seven-member search committee included Lauren Bennett (High School Principal and Guidance Counselor), Ann Betty (Board of Trustees Vice Chair), Travis Boswell (Board of Trustees), Edward Cole (Board of Trustees Chair), Amy Corcell (Foundation Board), Jim Hendrix (Former Summit Interim Director) and Lisa Lehotsky (School Office Manager and Former Teacher). Ann Betty, search committee co-chair and board of trustees vice chair, says, “Kurt was an enthusiastic and unanimous choice. As both a professional and cultural fit, Kurt is a win-win for the Summit community.”

Josh Crawford, foundation board chair, explains, “We are all so excited about Kurt, but don’t want to forget what a tremendous job Billy Leonard has done this year as interim director. We are very thankful for his leadership and steadfast devotion to the school during a year of major transitions and milestones. Billy will certainly leave a lasting legacy at the school.”

About Summit Charter School

Summit Charter School is a tuition-free K-9 public charter school in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina that engages students in learning experiences that stimulate discovery, inspire excellence and nurture a positive influence in an ever-changing world. A picturesque mountain campus and state-of-the-art facilities in the Cashiers-Highlands plateau provide an ideal setting for students and teachers to embrace high expectations, build meaningful relationships and practice the seven virtues of the school’s daily Summit Pledge: “Each day in my words and my deeds, I will do my best to live these seven virtues: Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Self-Discipline, Perseverance and Giving.”

During the 2018-19 school year, Summit welcomed its first ninth grade class and will add a high school grade every year until the inaugural high school class graduates in 2022. Following this spring’s opening of the Summit Center, which houses athletic facilities, a performance area and music and art classrooms, the school will open its new high school building. Learn more about Summit’s transformative place-based education and whole-child approach to learn at summitschool.org.