My husband and I recently took a tour of Summit View School, a Nonpublic School, which has two campuses in the Southern California area. We toured the San Fernando Valley campus with the Director of the School, Nancy Rosenfelt. Summit View specializes in educating students from first through twelfth grade with Learning Disabilities; meeting their unique needs and requirements. Summit View also uses many specialized instructional programs to teach the students such as: Schools Attuned, Wynn, Multisensory Phonemic Awareness Program, Read Naturally and many more. The two campuses have a total of 275 students and small class sizes. Summit View is a Nonpublic School, which means it is privately operated, but still State Certified and regulated by the California Department of Education. It also means that a majority of their Students have Individualized Education Programs (IEP) and have been placed there by a local public school district; however, they still have many students who pay tuition in order to attend. Sounds like a great school…….right? But even more important than being a great school, it’s a wonderful environment!
From the minute I walked in the front door of the campus, I felt a warmth and calmness not usually found in a school environment. The main reason for this was Summit View’s Director, Nancy Rosenfelt. As we toured around campus, she interacted with all of her students by name and encouraged each and every one of them to talk with her. When my husband mentioned how nice it was to see her camaraderie with the students she responded by saying, “These kids are my heart.” Some of the senior class had just returned from a trip overseas and Ms. Rosenfelt discussed the trip with many of them, even coaxing a few students who seemed to be shy to participate in the discussion. Each classroom we walked into was calm and pleasant; not chaotic at all! Even while students were walking through the hallways changing classrooms, the atmosphere remained peaceful. Something our kids that attend large public schools are not used to seeing. Can you imagine an environment where kids are nurtured and taught by their individual abilities versus being forced into a one size fits all concept? Wishful thinking I guess, because it’s not how the public school system was designed over 100 years ago.
Our tour took place their first day back after spring break and we were privileged to be able to spend some time in each grade level. In the younger grades, there were only 8 or 9 students in a class but if a student needed even more individual attention they were be pulled out of class for smaller group or individual help. Many of the classrooms we visited had smart boards and many of the students had alpha smarts. Students were encouraged to participate and express themselves in every grade level.
Since we visited on their first day back, some of the teachers were testing their students on various academic skills, in order to measure the level of regression that occurred during spring break. I’ve personally never seen a teacher test for regression in academic skills right after returning from vacation; I think it’s a great idea! They were preparing to see which of their students might benefit from Extended School Year (ESY) services.
Not only does Summit View address various Learning Disabilities, at the same time they are also preparing their students for college as well. As many as 97% of their students go on to attend college, including some very well known universities such as UCLA, UC Berkeley and the University of Arizona. This is an accomplishment most schools can only dream of. Because of everything Summit View has accomplished, they are protective of the environment they have created. During their admission process they want to make sure new students will fit into both the learning and social/emotional environment they have created. If you would like more information on the Summit View School you can visit their website at www.SummitView.org. Summit View is one of the Help Group Schools, to learn more about the Help Group visit www.thehelpgroup.org.