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