Summit News, Winter 2020

Page 1








A message from the

Head of School This year’s Summit News and State of the School Report are a declaration of resilience and a testament to resourcefulness. That we live in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) is beyond question. Yet, we are meeting volatility with vision, uncertainty with understanding, complexity with creativity, and ambiguity with agility. With irrepressible ingenuity and indefatigable commitment, Summit is making the most of demanding moments by drawing on the collective genius of our community. As these articles demonstrate, we are leaning on one another and launching into new possibilities: •

Summit’s partnership with H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem points to hands-on learning with community partners as a cornerstone to our unique student experience.

In the crucible of a pandemic, Summit’s athletic program has adjusted, focusing on creative ways to solve problems and allow students to safely exercise and socialize, building strong bodies and sturdy confidence.

New Lower School Director Tom Gething is, like the entire community, undeterred by challenge, noting “Once you get kids on campus, a lot of things that we worry about go out the window because we focus on the thing that has the most meaning and that’s the teaching and learning.”

Summit transitioned from our on-campus experience to relationship-based distance learning in a mere matter of days in March, and over the ensuing nine months our teachers and staff have transformed our campus while always inspiring learning­—both virtually and in person.

Our Dream School Initiative work continues to grow, striving, as DSI tri-chair Stephanie Flores de Valgaz states, “For every stakeholder in this community to understand what it means to be inclusive and culturally responsive, but also to understand the role they play, and seek ways to create belonging in their corner of the universe.”

Our teachers continue to develop and refine approaches to teaching and learning that successfully apply our enduring progressive principles to this new context of a hybrid world.

Never have Summit’s roots been deeper nor our reach further.

Onward and Upward,

Michael Ebeling




















SUMMIT NEWS ISSUE 12 WINTER 2020 2100 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27106 | 336.722.2777 | Photography: Martin Tucker | Writing: Lisa Emmerich | Design: One Hero Creative, Inc. Editor: Sarah Dalrymple, Director of Alumni and Community Engagement Summit School admits students of any race, religion, color, and national or ethnic origin.




Hands-on learning with community partners is a cornerstone of the Summit student experience. Lower School Director of Student Support, Bekah Sidden, explains how Summit’s partnership with H.O.P.E. (Help Our People Eat) of Winston-Salem grew out of a desire to find a local service where young children could really get involved and make connections from classroom learning directly to their community. H.O.P.E. is an especially good fit because it began as a grassroots community effort and is very family friendly. Sidden says, “beyond the classroom and the school grounds, there are other ways students and families can become more involved: students have delivered food on Sundays, held fundraisers, packaged food, and prepared healthy treats to include in the weekly lunches.” Summit students planted their first H.O.P.E. garden on the lower school playground in the spring of 2016. The project has been so successful that Summit first graders now plant and harvest twice during the school year. The project begins each fall when first graders learn about soil, composting, and planting courtesy of local non-profit Minglewood Farms. This background information ties directly to the science curriculum. Andrea Clauset, first grade teacher adds, “parent volunteers often perform some of the ‘heavy lifting’ to till the soil but this year the Summit maintenance staff helped with the preparation.” The students plant fall crops including spinach, broccoli, rainbow chard, kale, collard greens, and lettuces. Students Kate and Beverly said, “we dug a hole for the lettuce and our hands got dirty, but it was not too messy— there were worms hiding in the dirt.” Thomas added, “watering is the best part. We fill a bucket each day when we are on the playground.” During the fall growing season, a H.O.P.E. representative engages with students to review their mission—to use community-wide volunteer support to prepare and bring

nutritious weekend meals to the thousands of children in Forsyth County who are at risk for hunger. The student audience learns that providing fresh produce from a garden at Summit will serve children in their community. In 2019, the students toured the new H.O.P.E. facility; this year, the tour was virtual. According to first grade teacher, Kristen Keene, “one of the highlights of this visit is the chance to see the H.O.P.E. truck. This year we saw the truck via Zoom.” Before Thanksgiving break, students and teachers harvest the garden and load the produce onto the H.O.P.E. truck. As an added donation the students collect change in ‘truck banks’— the monetary donation augments the vegetable donation. But not before a valuable classroom lesson is learned; counting coins is part of the math curriculum. In the spring, the students plant again and harvest before the school year ends. During each school year, Summit first graders contribute two cycles of fresh produce which enables H.O.P.E. to serve thousands of children each week. The students are putting service into action all to benefit children and families in Winston-Salem. Cara Byrum, first grade teacher, said, “this lesson directly ties to our social studies curriculum—our responsibility as citizens, our role in the community, and taking care of the community.”

“This lesson directly ties to our social studies curriculum—our responsibility as citizens, our role in the community, and taking care of the community.”


Boys clad in shorts and t-shirts crouch at the line of scrimmage on the back field during football practice. Each one holds a yellow pool noodle. Coach Ryan Mihalko blows his whistle and the athletes run through a play. Pool noodles go flying as the players, wearing face masks, tag one another out. Mihalko explains that he came up with the idea of using pool noodles to keep football players apart in order to stay safe from COVID-19 during the fall season. “We’re making the best of what we’re safely allowed to do,” Mihalko said. “It’s keeping us safer and our kids are learning a lot. It has enabled us to focus on other facets of football that you might not emphasize if you had contact. We’re talking about the mental game. In the long run, our kids will be smarter football players.” The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Summit’s athletic program to adjust, focusing on creative ways to solve problems and allow students to safely get some exercise and socialization. “Our approach this fall was to be as robust as possible without violating the distance rules,” said Ken Shaw, Summit’s athletic director. “It’s hard. But I feel very optimistic. Whether it’s contact or non-contact, kids need that outlet. I just believe that fitness and skill-based wellness is a good thing for kids.” In March of 2020, when all students attended school from home, coaches tried to keep athletes engaged, reaching them by video, Zoom, or email. Track coach Ashley Petronzio sent workout schedules, videos, and inspirational messages via email to her team, which has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years with more than fifty athletes on the team in the spring. “Returning to campus in the fall required another adjustment,” Shaw said. In addition to football, Summit offered volleyball, field hockey, tennis, and cross country during the fall season. Athletes practiced four days a week, there were no competitive games, and all sports were noncontact and masked while inside.


“Wearing a mask during sports is hard but it’s not unbearable,” said Angelina Paparoupas, an eighth grade student who plays basketball and soccer at Summit. “It’s going to help us when we’re not masked because our endurance will be better.” Shaw also implemented a new program called Fun Fridays to offer variety to student athletes. The Friday options included ultimate frisbee, baseball and softball, lacrosse, girls cardio, basketball, strength and conditioning, and biking. A silver lining to the COVID-19 circumstances was that coaches were able to drill into athletes’ skills more deeply. “When you get into the routine of a [regular] season and you’re practicing three days a week and playing matches two days a week, it’s really hard to do a deep dive into a particular skill,” Shaw said. “Usually the day after you play a match is reactionary. You’re trying to fix everything that went wrong.” For example, field hockey coach Meredith Bynum ’98 spent time teaching players a complex move called a reverse hit in which an athlete turns their stick upside down, keeping it level to the ground while sweeping across their bodies. The “new normal” also offered students who have never played a sport the opportunity to try something new without the pressure of competition. Ninth grade student Vivi Finch has played Summit sports since Sixth Grade—and this year tried tennis for the first time. Her favorite aspect of the Fun Fridays program is the way it brings different grades together. “I was able to build close friendships with some eighth graders that I might not have had without sports,” Finch said. “The new procedures for athletics during the COVID-19 pandemic took some adjustment,” Finch said. She and her varsity tennis teammates sat in a “zigzag” pattern on the bus to the courts, then took care to stay six feet apart during practice.


“It was different,” Finch said, “but I feel that we got what we needed. We got exercise and we bonded with friends.” Shaw said many students tried sports they had previously not tried. “A group of football players who might not have played football as a contact sport had a lot of fun during the fall season,” he said. “If you can make it challenging and fun at the same time and find that balance, kids will keep coming back,” Shaw said. “I think it’s really important for morale. Being able to play for your school is such a big part of the student experience.”

“I think it’s really important for morale. Being able to play for your school is such a big part of the student experience.” As winter season approaches, the athletics program will have to adjust yet again. But that’s nothing new, Shaw said, because each school year is different. “Every grade, as they enter Upper School is a little bit different, so that always drives the direction we go in,” Shaw said. “We’ve seen some sports really gain a lot of interest...and that drives what we offer.” Summit offers about 18 different sports per year, with more than 35 teams in a typical year. More than ninety percent of upper school students play at least one school sport. Winter sports will include volleyball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, strength and conditioning, and biking. Some sports began competing in late November. “Even if there aren’t competitive games, students look forward to having sports at the end of the day,” Shaw said. “That’s part of a whole child experience.”


RETIREMENTS As educators in this special community, we share an understanding: Children learn best from those they love and respect and by whom they are loved and respected. We will miss the educators below who left Summit at the end of the school year. In equal measure, we are excited about the opportunities that await them.

BARBARA SCANTLAND Barbara joined the Summit faculty in 1999 and has been the lower school coordinator of student support services, a learning specialist, and tutor. Most recently she spearheaded much of our work in serving academically gifted students. Barb collaborates with colleagues across grade levels and is an ever-present encouragement to each. Recently Barb wrote, “The opportunity to be surrounded by such talented colleagues, awe-inspiring students, and trusting parents has been a gift that I will always cherish.”

MARTIN TUCKER For more than 15 years, Martin has shared his love and passion for photography with the Summit community in a way that leaves a beautiful and lasting imprint. In reflecting on his time at Summit, Martin shared, “Over the years I’ve averaged 10,000 photos a year. I’ve always felt that the heart of Summit was its stories—from a day in the life of a child or teacher, to behind the scenes of the chef and his/her staff, to the construction of the Athletic Center and the Arts & Technology buildings. I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve said I had the best job at Summit.” We wish Martin all the best as he pursues a possible documentary and another book. We hope to see him occasionally for special events on campus, behind a camera, where he shines.

TRISH MCRAE In the 33 years Trish has been a part of our Summit community, she has influenced many colleagues, families, and students to be the best versions of themselves. Trish started her time at Summit as an assistant teacher in Lower School and then became a writing lab teacher in lower grades. In the more recent years, Trish has been a support leader for upper school students and families. From teaching study skills to coordinating our testing program, Trish has played an integral part of our upper school community. Her love and compassion for our students and their families are deeply appreciated and serve as a lasting legacy. Trish shared, “Early in my Summit life, when I used children’s literature to introduce mini-lessons in writing lab, Doug Lewis asked me what my favorite children’s book was. I told him Peter Pan. Summit is my forever Neverland.”


Tom Gething LEADS SUMMIT’S LOWER SCHOOL Lower School Director Tom Gething sits cross-legged at his desk, gesturing to a diagram he has drawn with a dry erase marker on his office wall. The chart lists the qualities of a Summit graduate: prepared, honorable, curious, accepting, and socially responsible. Several months into an extraordinary school year, he has begun working on a strategic vision for how best to connect the lower school’s curriculum to these characteristics. Gething came to Summit with a reputation for leadership and strategic vision, a commitment to progressive curriculum as well as a lively sense of humor and a strong work ethic. It turns out he is also undeterred by a challenge. Although he begins his tenure at Summit in the midst of a pandemic, Gething says the “vibe” that attracted him to the school has kept him feeling positive throughout the fall. “One of the things you notice here straightaway is how well everybody has adapted to get the school open and to this point,” Gething says. “We have to have recognition that we’re very fortunate here. Our parent body has been very supportive; teachers have been incredible; we have the resources that other schools don’t have, and that’s a privilege.” In some ways, Gething believes the school year feels more normal than he might have expected. “That’s because of the kids,” he says. “Once you get the kids on campus, a lot of the things that we worry about go out the window because we focus on the thing that has the most meaning and that’s the teaching and learning.” Gething comes to Summit from several years as Head of School at The Lancaster School, a progressive preKindergarten through 12th grade independent school in Mexico City, Mexico. He has taught students in many grade levels, from pre-Kindergarten through high school; he has


taught math, science, design technology, and theory of knowledge. He has also written, produced, and directed several musicals and coached soccer teams. Gething has held several other administrative leadership positions in schools across three continents in Brazil, Sudan, and the United Kingdom. Gething earned his bachelor’s degree from University College in London and his masters of education in international education administration from Endicott College in 2012. When Gething talks to education professionals around the world, they often ask him how Summit’s students are doing—if they attend school in person or through relationship-based distance learning this year. He tells them that he thinks Summit students have handled pandemic learning “incredibly well.” “They show a lot of resilience,” he says. “They show that they definitely want to be back in school, whatever the changes in the conditions. They want to be here and they want to learn.” Gething was drawn to Summit because of the strength of relationships within the community and the school’s commitment to high quality teaching. “It’s an incredible staff in terms of ability, willingness to work for the kids, and friendliness,” he says. “The openness and the idea of knowing every child is very important.” Gething’s leadership philosophy is to empower others. He hopes to “help teachers be the best they can be because, if they’re as good as they can be, it will rub off on the kids. You’ve got to create the right conditions. Sometimes you can change the weather, and sometimes you just put an umbrella out for people.”

Energized by working at Summit during what he calls a historic moment and a complicated period in the United States, Gething hopes to deeply understand the school, Winston-Salem, and the national community as he sets teachers and students up for success. “For me coming in, that’s one of the most interesting things to see where I can help,” he said. “You have to understand everything about a place and that’s going to take a long time, and it’s going to have to start by stripping away a few presumptions, and then understanding where everything comes from.” “Independent schools have an opportunity and a duty to stand for something. As leaders in education, independent schools should use their position in the community to advance education as a tool for developing people in such a way that it can be shared and reflected beyond our boundaries,” Gething says. “Although our ultimate responsibility is to the students that we have, if we do our jobs well, we might actually be able to help with something a bit bigger,” he says. “It’s really important to know what you’re trying to do and are you doing it for the right reasons.” Leadership in an independent school, he says, is about working out how the mission of the school aligns with reality. When we define our values, he says, we define our curriculum. Again, Gething gestures to the words on his whiteboard describing Summit graduates. “It is our job to give our students the tools to think and act for themselves and in the service of their community,” he says. “If we do our job properly we give them the knowledge and skills to think critically and act creatively for a future we cannot predict. We want young people to be able to embrace this uncertainty with hope. If we do our job properly, Summit positions its students to create their future.”



INITIATIV Students in Samantha Heath’s seventh grade math class clicked onto a colorful Flipgrid site that offered them a menu of intriguing topics to research, such as gerrymandering or the impact of zip code on SAT scores. As part of a lesson studying proportions, seventh graders explored inequity in healthcare, elections, education, and other systems.

From a reexamination of Native American study in the Lower School to the incorporation of more diverse texts in upper school language arts classes, teachers have found creative ways to build students’ understanding of bias and privilege, help them think critically about complex social issues, and learn to challenge injustice.

Antiracist work might not seem like it fits in a math classroom but, according to Heath, there are many creative ways to incorporate equity and inclusion into any discipline of study.

“We have to recognize that if we’re going to be a school that embraces diversity...that demands we ask questions about curriculum, the content of what we teach,” said Tom Gething, director of lower school. “That discussion isn’t just about what we include, it’s about what we do not include. There’s a lot of space for enrichment.”

While the work of integrating issues of inequity and injustice into classroom curriculum can be messy and difficult, Summit’s faculty is committed to doing so as part of the school’s mission to grow socially responsible, accepting, honorable, curious, and prepared students.


Although Summit has long been committed to equity and inclusion, this summer’s tragic deaths of George Floyd,


Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and many others, motivated Summit faculty and staff to step up their actions to address these concerns. “If people were dipping their toes into inclusion, this movement spurred them to continue that work,” said Dream School Initiative (DSI) tri-chair and Upper School Spanish teacher Stephanie Flores de Valgaz. Summit’s diversity and inclusion work sits under the umbrella of the Dream School Initiative, or DSI, a project named after founder Louise Futrell’s dream of creating a school where “everybody could be a somebody.” While Summit did not start with a diverse population of students—the school was integrated in the late 1960’s—

the school has, in recent decades, engaged in a comprehensive effort to attract and retain students and faculty who are racially, socioeconomically, culturally, and religiously diverse. Shortly after antiracism demonstrations began in cities throughout the country this summer, Summit issued a statement of solidarity. Head of School Dr. Michael Ebeling wrote in his statement that the school is “continuously working towards creating a more equitable, just, and inclusive community within and beyond Summit.” A schoolwide antiracism effort during the summer included book clubs, professional development opportunities, and a parent newsletter.


During the 2020-2021 school year, DSI Committee members have served as liaisons to faculty, staff, and administrators in the development of personal and professional goals that reflect discussions of diversity, equity, and inclusion, according to Lesley Lamb, a DSI Committee member. Administrators, staff members, and teachers are all creating SMART goals, Lamb said. “SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely,” a useful tool that helps people “maintain

“SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely,” a useful tool that helps people, “maintain accountability of their progress through developing relevant pathways that will lead to successful personal and professional outcomes.”


accountability of their progress through developing relevant pathways that will lead to successful personal and professional outcomes.” Lamb is leading non-teaching staff through the practical application of these concepts in their roles at Summit. She has hosted virtual gatherings to provide a space for staff to discuss their roles and contribution in creating an inclusive community at Summit. Director of Development Jeanne Sayers has the responsibility of helping the school’s administrative team review their diversity, equity, and inclusion work through four lenses: practice, policies, programs, and people. “Working together as the school’s leadership team allows us to see the impact one decision makes on any number of those lenses. For example, if we would like to increase the diversity of our teachers (people), we know we have to take a deeper look at our practices and policies around how we recruit, hire, and retain all teachers, and specifically diverse teachers. As the administrative team, we also have an opportunity to work with Michael [Ebeling] and our board of trustees. While the board is not involved in curricular decisions, it does have the fiduciary responsibility to allocate the resources we need as a school to hire the best people to deliver a program that is inclusive of the wider community.” It’s part of what Flores de Valgaz calls the ultimate goal of the DSI: “For every stakeholder in this community to understand what it means to be inclusive and culturally responsive, but also to understand the role they play, and seek ways to create belonging in their corner of the universe.”

In Memoriam

Donna and David Shores The Donna Shores Diversity Fund was established in loving memory of Donna in 2002 by her colleagues at Summit, with additional funding from the Summit School Parents’ Association and other friends. In recognition of Donna’s 29 years of master teaching at Summit, this fund supports diversity through financial aid. When Donna’s husband of 38 years, David, passed away this summer, his bequest included a generous legacy gift for the Donna Shores Diversity Fund. Jeff Turner, current director of co-curricular programs and former first grade teacher, recalls, “Donna was a mentor, a friend, a colleague, a supporter, and a giver. She was gracious, generous, kind, gentle, funny, irreverent, and dignified. Donna loved and accepted every child she taught.

She respected every parent. She issued no judgement. She was a champion of the struggler. Donna was humble and truly enjoyed doing for others with no expectation of being noticed or thanked. When the holidays came around and we were showered with teacher gifts, she felt unworthy. She would say, ‘What an embarrassment of riches.’ A banner over the front of her classroom read ‘Consideration of Others’ and this was a guiding principle for all she did and inspired the children to do.” While she did not ask for recognition, Summit is grateful to her, David, and their sons Craig ’81 and Christoper ’83 for allowing us to honor her legacy by providing financial assistance to families whose diverse backgrounds enrich the experience of all of us who belong at Summit School.


Summit transitions to

Relationship-Based MARCH 12


Summit faculty gathered in the Loma Hopkins Theater; at this meeting, an announcement is made that students and faculty will begin relationship-based distance learning effective March 18th through April 9th.

The technology staff sent Chromebooks home with all students in grades 6-9; Chromebooks were distributed to families in Lower School who needed them for home use. They made sure all staff had mobile devices and Zoom Pro accounts in order to work remotely. In addition, the team investigated software systems and applications that would improve distance learning through the spring and summer and in preparation for the 2020-21 school year.

APRIL 28 Summit announces relationshipbased distance learning will continue through the end of the 2019-2020 school year; in keeping with a commitment to the safety, health and well-being of students, families, and faculty and in view of Governor Cooper’s executive order.

JULY 6 Summit Summer opens for five weeks with 284 registrations in 39 one-week camps.


AUGUST Henry Heidtmann, media & broadcast teacher and classroom technology specialist, installs FRED (Front Row Experience Device) in each hybrid classroom to prepare for fall relationship-based distance learning; students who are learning from home now have a ‘front row’ seat in their classroom.

AUGUST duWayne Amen, director of facilities, rents eight tents, erects a large tent owned by the school, purchases six shade cloths for the Early Childhood division; when added to the existing outdoor spaces, Amen provides faculty with a total of 21 outdoor teaching spaces.

Distance Learning APRIL 3 Families are informed that relationship-based distance learning would extend through May 15th; the decision is made in view of information and insights from local medical and health care professionals regarding COVID-19.

MAY 28


32 students in Summit’s 9th grade class experienced our first-ever drive through, socially distanced graduation; families decorated their cars to show school spirit and staff greeted and cheered from the front sidewalk.

Michael’s Midweek Message was delivered to faculty, staff, and parents. The first in a series of communications from Michael Ebeling, head of school, the videos were released each Wednesday throughout the summer and were presented to inform the school community about a variety of relevant topics.

AUGUST 25 Faculty and students resume on-campus instruction with 557 students and 167 full-time and parttime faculty; approximately 7% of families choose relationship-based distance learning for the first quarter.



Eighth graders sit in socially distanced groups of three, discussing autobiographical narratives they’ve written in Language Arts class. Two of them have earbuds in, chatting over Zoom with a hybrid student who is learning from home. Meanwhile, in the Lower School, a hybrid student’s face lights up on the computer screen as first graders sitting in a circle in their classroom share morning greetings with him.


While pandemic learning looks different inside Summit’s classrooms—with students wearing masks, seated farther apart, and regularly pumping hand sanitizer—it also looks different for students who are learning from home. “Offering virtual learning this fall was important because it enabled Summit to support all students, allowing them access to Summit’s progressive education and maintaining supportive relationships, even if their circumstances didn’t allow them to be on campus physically,” said Misty Hyman,

director of upper school. Summit’s version of virtual school is known as relationship-based distance learning. “The transition to relationship-based distance learning alongside classroom learning required new technology, new teaching methods, and new professional training for teachers,” she added. Over the summer teacher leaders from Summit’s Ebeling Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CEI), alongside Division Directors, partnered with One Schoolhouse, a progressive, independent online school, to bring best practice virtual teaching methods to Summit. “The One Schoolhouse approach has equipped us with tools to support teachers in determining clear learning objectives and outcomes for their courses,” said Anthony Myers, hybrid learning coordinator, upper school math teacher, and one of the three chairs of the CEI. Along with CEI chairs Catherine Helm and Dan Helm, Myers participated in a month-long professional development course from One Schoolhouse. In the course, Summit’s leaders collaborated with colleagues from across the country to discuss best practices for teaching and learning both broadly and specifically relating to the pandemic. The course provided Summit leaders with “clear direction for training our colleagues in building hybrid learning experiences,” Myers said. “By striving for


consistency and clarity, we can ensure that the hybrid learning experience focuses less on navigating technology or determining what work needs to be done and more on problem-solving, habits of mind, critical thinking, and playful learning.” Although Summit was well-positioned for relationship-based distance learning when COVID-19 hit in the spring, administrators knew that summer teacher training could further improve teaching and learning under a strange set of circumstances. “It allowed our faculty leaders the opportunity to learn and understand best practices of hybrid learning with real life strategies for teachers in the classroom under possible moments of friction,” said Hyman. Dan Helm, an upper school language arts and social studies teacher, said “it was important to learn from an online school with goals similar to Summit’s. While Summit is never going to be an online school, teachers can apply the same principles in a different context,” he said. “It was important to notice how well-suited online and hybrid learning can be to progressive teaching and learning,” added Helm. “We don’t need to sacrifice our principles. We can still create student-driven learning experiences. We can still focus on learning that is meaningful for life.” The One Schoolhouse course inspired the CEI chairs to create a sequence of online learning modules for teachers across the school. Myers said the training modules “focused on orienting ourselves to a new approach rooted in the same philosophical foundation that makes Summit, Summit. In particular, the modules prioritized the importance of cadences, or the rhythms that exist in our classrooms, and templates, which are the structures undergirding those cadences.” Upper school teachers learned to develop weekly At-A-Glance documents to help in person and online students stay on track, while lower school teachers learned to deliver content through Seesaw, a digital learning app that supports differentiation and creativity while promoting student ownership over their learning. In addition to demonstrating how hybrid teaching and learning practices could fit into the culture and mission of Summit, the One Schoolhouse course focused on keeping the relationship between students and teachers at the center of the school experience. “We are bringing students into the classroom virtually and finding opportunities to engage them with their teachers and peers,” Myers said. “I have been blown away by the way Summit teachers have continued to inspire learning in their students from afar.” In the fall, teachers adjusted further, adding new technology like noisereducing headphones to better support the hybrid experience. Some teachers also got a boost from hybrid teaching assistants who help make sure everything goes smoothly for students learning from home. Eighth grader Perry Skorich learned from home for the first quarter of the year. He said, “I was able to finish all of my work because I wasn’t distracted. And at the end of the day, you are still a student at Summit, no matter where you are.”




Douglas Award

Congratulations David Stoeri

Congratulations to David Stoeri, the 2020 recipient of the Marian Millaway Douglas ’69 Award for Faculty Excellence. The Marian Millaway Douglas ’69 Award for Faculty Excellence was established in December 2000 with generous funding from Sandra Adams, Ann and Borden Hanes ’60, and Marian ’69 and Jim Douglas in response to the Great Expectations II Capital Campaign for faculty excellence. Any teacher who has taught at Summit for five or more years is eligible for this award. Recipients must demonstrate the following: • Commitment to the teaching profession • High expectations for students • An ability to connect with students • Involvement in the total school program • Energy, excitement, and passion for teaching • Willingness to work with colleagues • Loyalty to the school • A desire to go beyond what is expected

David can be described as:


One of a Kind


A Creative Force


Fun AND Funny

Outside the Box (wayyyy outside)

To quote a colleague, this teacher is “quintessential Summit, does everything with a smile, is a lifelong learner, a trusted colleague, and deeply committed to the student experience.” According to an administrator, “this educator’s influence on the Division is deep and profound. This teacher is loved by children and colleagues alike for a collaborative and giving spirit; always puts others first. Students from previous years visit often or leave love notes on the whiteboard.” He has contributed in countless ways to the life of the school for close to 20 years and willingly shares sizable creative talents across the campus. From morning meetings, to Pioneer Day, to Afternoon Academy, to Camp Pathfinder, to camping for a week in Maine for 5th Grade Enrichment, the list goes on and on. Stoeri creates a magical world that ignites the love of music, words, stories, and humor. Watch out as you navigate the classroom—oversized plants, musical instruments, student

art, a yoga ball, twirling mobiles, a bike, and briefly, a loud, annoying parrot. And to top it off, this world even comes with its own vocabulary. A highlighter is called a shiner. A sharpie is known as a stainer. And the yoga ball is a shapop! Thanks to him, Summit has been blessed with a composer in residence creating original pieces including a birthday song that deserves worldwide use, a song for Summit’s year of raising money for safe water in Africa called “A Wonderful Watery World,” and the morning meeting song “Reach and Rise” that includes a verse customized for each grade in the Lower School. “Reach and rise for the top. Reach and rise, don’t you dare stop! Reach and rise, you’re on your way. Your heart will be brighter today!” To borrow a few lines from his birthday song, “Hip hooray for David Stoeri! He brightens this earth.”


State of the School Advancement & Enrollment Mission-aligned students and families continue to enroll in the inspiring and innovative educational community at Summit School. This year, Summit welcomed 113 new students and 83 new families, an uptick of 41% in new enrollments from last year. Total enrollment for the 202021 school year comprises 557 students: 198 students in the Upper School, 182 students in the Lower School, 95 students in Early Childhood, and 82 students in the Triad Academy division. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, individual class sizes are limited to 15 students per classroom to help maintain social distancing as well as the health and safety of Summit’s students and faculty. All grade levels are full and many have robust wait pools of interested applicants. In order to meet increased demand, an additional Eaglets, Kindergarten, and third grade class were added to the Lower School over the summer months. The Eaglets class, designed for students who are

Human Resources

CINDY KLUTTZ 3 years of age, and just in its fourth year of existence, now encompasses two full classrooms. Early Childhood continues to be a strong entry point for families joining the Summit community with two full classrooms in Junior Kindergarten and three full classrooms in Kindergarten this year. Summit enrolls a diverse student population with students from 27 different zip codes and 14 distinct ethnic backgrounds; striving to pursue inclusivity is an essential facet of the Summit community. Students of color represent 18% of the overall student population. Twenty percent of the students enrolled at Summit receive need-based financial aid; Summit awarded $1.4 million in financial aid dollars for the 2020-21 school year. In addition, generations of families in Winston-Salem continue to share in the esteemed Summit experience, as evidenced by the 116 children of alumni who are enrolled this year.


We are grateful for the high quality faculty at Summit who have been able to engage and enrich the student experience, even in these challenging times. Their care is evidenced by the individual attention given to each student and the high level of passion they bring to the work they do regardless of the challenges they face. Two of the school’s strategic Human Resources initiatives are:

increasingly diverse faculty to our community. Fortyone percent of the faculty we hired in 2020 are People Of Color; these talented new hires have much to offer in support of Summit’s mission. For new teachers, we have carefully planned and thoughtfully prepared our onboarding, realizing that properly welcoming our new faculty and staff is an investment into Summit’s relationship with them.

1. increased diversity among staff and

Additionally, we have furthered professional development opportunities through increased investment in The Ebeling Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CEI). The school was forced to be creative with the type of professional development that could be offered, with many programs that were previously in-person moving to an online format. Supporting our faculty and staff is a team effort bolstered by a strong community of educators.

2. continuous improvement through professional development. The pandemic tested our adaptability, flexibility, and agility during the hiring season. But in spite of the challenges in hiring that COVID-19 brought, we made progress on the strategic initiative to increase diversity in our faculty and staff. This year, we welcomed an




Thanks to the continued generosity and philanthropy of the Summit community, we raised $1,842,690 in the 201920 fiscal year in support of our mission, programs, faculty, and student experience.

2020. We postponed the event to September 9, hoping it could be in-person. Despite transitioning to a virtual event, we exceeded our $100,000 goal by more than 30%, with over 300 viewers in attendance.

Summit received a transformative gift to increase the endowment for the Ebeling Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CEI) to more than $1.4 million. The CEI was founded in 2012 with a mission to offer professional education workshops and conferences that use the latest research, science, and best practices to develop the talents, skills, and passion for teaching among faculty and administrators.

When long-time first grade teacher, Donna Shores, passed away in 2002, her family and friends established the Donna Shores Diversity Fund to provide financial aid. We recently received an estate gift from her retirement account that added $273,000 to the endowment fund.

Lunch with Henry Winkler, a fundraiser for financial aid for the Triad division, was originally scheduled for March 12,

Athletics Summit Athletics enjoyed another successful year on the fields and courts. Coaches and players leaned into our mission of “transformational athletics” and committed to core values that extend beyond X’s and O’s in order to build character for life. While JV Girls tennis focused on GRIP (Gratitude, Respect, Initiative, Preparation), JV Field Hockey focused on HEART (Hustle, Effort, Action, Respect, Trust). These and all Summit teams learned that there is more to the game than just competing. Kudos to all coaches and players in their pursuit of core values. COVID-19 affected Summit Athletics in a way many of us never dreamed as our spring season came to a screeching halt in early March. Many of our teams had already begun spring play while others were still prepping. Our coaches handled the transition to virtual practice with the professionalism of which we would all be proud. Workouts at home, Zoom sessions to stay in touch, and video tutorials became the ‘now normal’ for coaches and players. As we returned to school in fall of 2020, teams focused on skill and fitness workouts. Masks and physical distancing replaced contact as we were determined to do our part to limit the spread. Summit

Finally, save the date for Summit School’s Dream Big Gala, March 20, 2021! For the first time ever, the gala will be virtual. We are confident that it will be just as fun as our live event and know you will support us in this new format.

KEN SHAW student-athletes look forward to the day when they can return to normal competitive sports. One area of focus was to give students more of a voice. Grade level meetings each season focused on individual and team successes and challenges and how all programs could be celebrated and improved. Topics included leadership development, managing athletics and academics, and scheduling. Students will continue to have a prominent voice for positive change within our program. Many of our teams joined an athletic conference, the CCC, Central Carolina Conference. Congratulations to our boys soccer and girls tennis teams for winning the conference championships in the inaugural season. The Central Carolina Conference was formed with peer schools Canterbury, Wesleyan, North Davie, South Davie, and Ellis. Student participation remained high with 92% of upper school students participating in at least one sport. We will continue to grow our program and meet student needs in a healthy and safe environment. Go Eagles!



Ebeling Center for Excellence & Innovation The Ebeling Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning’s (CEI) mission to support teachers’ professional growth in ways that have a direct impact on student learning received profound and enduring support through a transformational gift to its endowment by Zanne and Bud Baker, former parents and current grandparents. The pervasive and robust role of the CEI is reflected in the Lower School, Triad and Upper School sections of this State of the School Report. The following highlights reflect the thriving nature of the professional development, growth, learning, and ever-evolving expertise of our Summit teachers: •

This summer, faculty across the school participated in professional development geared toward hybrid learning, including a remarkably in-depth far-reaching multi-week course offered by the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools on reimagining teaching and learning in the face of COVID-19.

As the culmination of a rigorous application process, three faculty members were appointed as CEI Chairs charged with studying and applying current research, science, and best practices in teaching & learning as well as supporting curriculum design & development and pursuing thinking & practice partnerships with mission-aligned schools, organizations and colleagues.

The newly appointed Faculty Chairs of the CEI developed internal training modules for all of our faculty to support the transition to hybrid learning in our classrooms. Lower School implementation of Writers’ Workshop continued with teachers attending the Summer Writing Institute through the Reading and Writing



Project from Teachers College, Columbia University, and beginning the process of implementing a new 1st to 5th grade program to teach grammar. •

In keeping with Summit’s Strategic Plan initiative to pursue inclusion as an essential facet of our community and under the leadership of our Dream School Initiative team, our entire faculty and staff engaged in a day-long workshop on culturally responsive teaching presented by a regional expert, presenter and author Dr. Crystal Cooper. This work was furthered this summer through a book study of Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain.

Academic Mini Courses have been introduced in grades 6-8. These six to eight week interdisciplinary courses are highly engaging, innovative, and collaborative. In these cross-curricular units, students are able to develop a passion and a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. These classes also provide an opportunity to support diversity of thinking and learning for our students.

With the Triad Division as one of 17 schools in the country that is accredited by the Orton-Gillingham Academy, our faculty continues to work toward its next level of credentialing. This year four faculty members will be applying for Associate Level accreditation, bringing the total number of credentialed faculty to 22 of the 28 faculty.

CEI chairs, division directors and head of school engaged in hybrid training specifically designed for academic leaders and offered by internationally recognized One Schoolhouse on-line school and consortium.

Finance & Operations Summit School remains in a strong financial position. Moving instruction from in-person on campus to relationship-based distance learning impacted Summit’s financial condition. The current year’s budget is vastly different from what we would have initially expected; we continue to monitor it closely. While we incurred additional expenses related to cleaning, sanitation, technology, and creation of outdoor learning spaces, we are also experiencing expense reductions for reduced activities in other areas. Elimination of many after school activities and food service resulted in lower revenues as well as decreased expense. For the Spring 2020 semester, savings from not purchasing food was refunded to families on a prorated basis. The school has taken advantage of CARES Act funding in order to preserve its financial stability.

CARTER STURKIE for some Summit families. The school strives to provide stability for students and wants to offer continuity whenever possible. To that end, the Emergency Relief Fund (ERF) was created to help those experiencing financial difficulty remain at Summit. For the 2020-21 school year, the average grant through the ERF program was slightly more than $5,600 per student. 2019-20 Financial Highlights •

63% of the budget (or almost $10 million) was allocated to salaries and benefits.

Summit’s endowment remained roughly flat at $15.1 million. The annual endowment draw contributes over $700,000 toward Summit’s operating budget.

Bond debt stood at $11 million with ongoing annual debt service of approximately $1 million.

The Board of Trustees recognized that uncertainty created by the pandemic could create financial hardship

Technology In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Summit technology team has worked to make the school year as normal as possible for our students, while providing the best learning outcomes and contributing to student safety. We have purchased software systems and hardware to prepare our students for remote learning if necessary while improving our networked campus. Some of the improvements we have made for the 2020-2021 school year: •

Full 1-to-1 take home Chromebooks in Upper School

Full 1-to-1 Chromebooks in Lower School

Student iPad pilot program in Triad 1st Grade

Seesaw portfolio software for Lower School

Content management system for student Chromebooks

Google Classroom Learning Management System (LMS) in Upper School

Device management software/remote control for staff and classroom computers

Expanded Wi-Fi mesh devices for outside classroom spaces


Relocation of more than 50 classrooms to account for social distancing needs to provide student safety

Increased resources for teachers to facilitate hybrid and remote learning

Veracross University training for faculty

Zoom meeting and webinar software implementation with highest security

Increased scheduling detail for hybrid learning in Veracross

Magnus Health implementation for health document tracking and COVID-19 screening

New Historical Academic Documents feature on the Parent Portal for Grades 1-9

Increased webcam availability for hybrid learning

In the ever-changing world of technology Summit works to provide the best for our students. Our main areas of focus are network infrastructure, student safety, and availability of technical resources. We believe that learning and exploration should happen everywhere and anywhere.



Lower School Very few of us could have foreseen the events of the last ten months. Much of what was once considered routine and normal has been disrupted. We have had to adapt to a complex set of challenges and demands. Where adaptation has proven necessary, our faculty have proven to be agile and resilient in addressing the true priority of our work, the continued education of our students. That adaptation has relied on ingenuity and innovation, often in ways that are well beyond our comfort zone. As a new member of Summit’s faculty, I have been fortunate to have witnessed the depth of the work and the quality of everyone’s commitment to Summit’s mission and philosophy. The most significant adaptation has been the development of the hybrid model of teaching and learning across the Lower School. During the summer months, teachers engaged in professional development with thinking partners in independent schools to gain skills and expertise to plan the re-entry into school and the hybrid program. The extensive work involved has paid off in our experiences during the first months of the 2020-21 school year and as we move forward we will continue to refine the program. The process has been aided by giving Chromebooks to all students in first grade and older and to introducing the Seesaw learning platform as a digital tool for supporting learning. In the midst of these challenges, the Lower School has found time to continue the work of developing the expertise of our teachers, to strengthen the curriculum, and build on past progress. The implementation of


TOM GETHING Writers’ Workshop continues as planned. Teachers attended the Summer Writing Institute through the Reading and Writing Project from Teachers College, Columbia University. Furthermore, we have begun the process of implementing a new 1st to 5th grade program to teach grammar. During the 2019-20 academic year, there was continued focus on developing teaching skills in the math classroom. One of our key tasks this year is to identify a new math curriculum and materials that we will introduce in August 2021. Parallel to this work, faculty will continue to receive four days of professional development in math teaching across the time of the 2020-21 school year. We continue to invest time and energy in developing the capacity of our faculty, including sustaining our work with Project Zero from Harvard. This includes continuing our work with Cultures of Thinking, which promotes critical thinking and developing independent learners, and the second year of our participation in the Pedagogy of Play project. All of this is not possible without committed faculty leadership, both formally and informally. As mentioned at the beginning of this report, faculty and staff have shown a continuing commitment to the school and tireless energy in both the daily work of teaching and learning, together with the ambition to continually improve what we do. We are certainly modelling the sturdy confidence we always wish to instill in our students.

Triad Academy Division


Like other divisions at Summit, the Triad Academy division had to pivot to relationship-based distance learning in March and return to campus in August under new and unusual circumstances. Our students and faculty have done a remarkable job social distancing and wearing masks to create a safe and robust learning environment. To prepare both our faculty and students for a return to campus after a five month hiatus, we offered a two week intensive Orton-Gillingham program called O-G to Grow, which replaced Camp Pathfinder. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, O-G to Grow was offered only to current and new Triad students.

Fluency Lab Incorporation features a customized approach whereby students spend twenty minutes each day focused on building reading fluency by using Read Naturally and writing fluency based on TWR strategies.

O-G to Grow provided an opportunity for our faculty to practice for the upcoming school year and for students to receive a review or introduction to Orton-Gillingham. We used what we learned in O-G to Grow to apply to our regular school day. Additionally our faculty has done a beautiful job in adapting to the technology for teaching eight hybrid students.

Parent/Community Education

We continue to use The Writing Revolution (TWR) an evidence-based method of teaching writing that can be adapted to various subjects and grade levels. TWR transforms struggling writers into strong communicators by teaching specific techniques that correspond with the needs of each student and provides them with direct feedback. TWR also helps with reading comprehension, organizational and study skills, verbal expression, and analytical capabilities. Additionally, we incorporate elements of the teachings of William Van Cleeve and Diana King, experts in the field of Orton-Gillingham in TWR.

Faculty Credentialing As one of 17 schools in the country that is accredited by the Orton-Gillingham Academy, our faculty continues to work toward its next level of credentialing. This year four faculty members will be applying for Associate Level accreditation, bringing the total number of credentialed faculty to 22 of the 28 faculty.

As the research continues to demonstrate the importance of early diagnosis and intensive remediation of dyslexia, the Triad division has made a concerted effort to provide educational tools to help teachers, parents and professionals identify language based learning differences in children earlier. This year due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are offering a Subscriber Course through the Orton-Gillingham Academy. This course provides parents and community members with an opportunity to better understand the neurocognitive basis of reading acquisition and reading difficulties, and the research which supports the efficacy of the OrtonGillingham approach to literacy remediation.



Upper School In preparing our students for a future we can not predict, we never could have imagined that circumstances would require our faculty members to quickly and effectively pivot to relationship-based distance learning in March. Our faculty maintained their focus of keeping relationships and the whole child at the forefront of the distance learning experience while continuing to teach the skills and concepts necessary to learn and assimilate knowledge. Over the summer, a number of our faculty leaders engaged in hybrid training in teaching and learning and developed internal training modules for all of our faculty to support the transition to hybrid learning into our classrooms. Collaboration with other independent schools as well as time to reimagine curriculum were a focus for summer professional learning. The resilience our faculty and students have shown while transitioning to on-campus learning in a new environment this fall has been remarkable. Our faculty honor best practices in teaching and learning as well as keeping our community safe each and every day. Despite the challenges, faculty continue to show their love for learning as well as their passion for teaching. New this Year •

Academic Mini Courses have been introduced in Grades 6-8. These six to eight week interdisciplinary courses are highly engaging, innovative, and collaborative. In these cross curricular units students are able to develop a passion and a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. These classes also provide an opportunity to support diversity of thinking and learning for our students. Some of these mini


MISTY HYMAN courses include: Myths Around the World, Music History, How the English Language Survived, Code-Breaking, Modern Totems, Human Innovation, Civic Engagement, A Visual Tour of China, and Media Literacy and an executive functioning curriculum for sixth and seventh grade students. •

Implementation of a new schedule which includes 75 minute classes on an A/B day rotation. This provides predictability, continuity, and time to recall learning for students and meaningful time in the classroom to dive more deeply into learning in a hands-on manner.

A robust guidance curriculum has been added to our sixth grade studio rotations which complements our existing guidance program for Grades 7-9.

Social studies teachers focused on civil discourse, intentionally creating supportive opportunities for students to discuss complex topics while developing critical thinking skills and honoring different perspectives.

New Chromebooks have been provided for all upper school students to support technology needs and the transition to hybrid mode as needed.

We continue to develop our faculty leaders by offering internal workshops as well as opportunities to develop and collaborate with colleagues. We also continue to implement curriculum initiatives from last year which include Project Zero sponsored by Harvard School of Education, Pedagogy of Play, Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Institute through Columbia University, and math curriculum development throughout the year.

Co-Curricular Programs



Summit Summer 2019

In this year of change, we remain committed to our mission: The Summit Afterschool Program provides a safe and caring environment that flows from the academic day with a dedicated staff that inspires and engages the whole child, meets the needs of parents, and reflects the values of Summit School.

Registration for our 32nd summer season began on February 1. By March 14, the number of camps (109) and registrations (990) exceeded all previous years. As COVID-19 concerns increased, we considered the best approach to take with our program. Ultimately we decided that a smaller program with fewer weeks and lower class sizes was best. An altered program was designed including some of the previous camps. Special COVID-19 mitigation guidelines were created for all involved. The final tallies included 39 camps and 284 campers. We are grateful to the students, parents, and teachers who made this unique summer safe and fun.

Under the leadership of Wendy Rice, director of Summit Afterschool, changes have been made to procedures and grade groupings to match the School’s commitment to mitigating transmission of COVID-19. •

Ms. Rice’s office and the majority of the Afterschool equipment were moved to the Dining Room for Young Children. This temporary space allows the second Eaglets class to set up in the former room on the JrK hallway.

Future Plans We are considering our options for Summit Summer 2021 as well as Afternoon Academy programs. We are focused on providing safe, enriching, and fun opportunities.

Several new staff were added to the team to replace departing teachers and to insure that the grade-level cohorts continued from the school day.

Strategic Communications Without a doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our communications strategy. Our shift to relationshipbased distance learning in March shifted all of us to an essentialist mindset. The backbone of our strategy was to maintain a fully engaged community. Despite physical distance, Summit staff and faculty met the challenge to stay together in spirit to protect the mission of our school and our children’s learning experience. We continued regular communication throughout the summer via our COVID-19 website updates, our Community Guidance document, our COVID-19 Dashboard, and Michael’s Midweek Message (short weekly videos from Michael Ebeling). Summit already had a solid communications infrastructure in place, and we were able to maximize our impact on our community through multiple channels.

NANCY TUOHY Adjusting to this school year has been hard work for all of us. And yet, at Summit we never underestimate children. They love life’s complexity. They thrive on it. That fact led educational philosopher John Dewey to write, “I believe that education is a process of living and not a preparation for future living. I believe that the school must represent present life—life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries on in the home, in the neighborhood, or on the playground.” In 2020, our “process of living” is unique and different. With the guidance, support, and engagement of the Summit community, our children are living up to the challenge. Visit to stay up to date on our Campus Re-entry Plan.


NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID Winston-Salem, N.C. Permit No. 89

2100 Reynolda Road Winston-Salem, NC 27106-5115

March 20, 2021

S i x P r o m i s e s of S u m m i t


at Its Best

A Fertile Learning Environment

A Sturdy




S t a t e of the A r t


Educators Who Engage the Whole Child