Summit School Program Overview

April 2018

Since 1968, Summit School has helped thousands of children develop the academic and interpersonal skills to lead productive and successful lives. Summit School is a therapeutic day treatment program approved by the State of Illinois as a 14-7.02 private special education center and is accredited by AvancED. In addition to holding licensure from the State of Illinois, Summit School staff members must pass background checks and participate in multiple days of professional development.

Summit School offers an array of services to support the educational and therapeutic needs for students in kindergarten through high school graduation. Class sizes are reduced and capped at 10 students to focus on the instructional supports needed by each student. Each student’s program is guided by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Summit School is State of Illinois approved to serve students in the areas of Specific Learning Disabilities, Other Health Impairment, Emotional Disability, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Summit School has a 178 day school year with Extended School Year available, if recommended by the IEP team. The academic program is based on the same standards followed by all Illinois public schools, and offers a 300 minute instructional day in highly structured and nurturing classrooms. Instruction is based on a technology rich interactive format. A team of teachers and support staff use throw projectors, Chrome books, laptops and iPads to engage students in curricular activities and projects to make the curriculum more relevant for students. Related services such as speech language therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling are offered as integrated or pull out services as determined by the IEP. Students demonstrate their academic progress in Reading, Language Arts and Math by taking the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment in the Fall, Winter and Spring.

Each elementary student receives instruction in Language Arts, Reading, Mathematics, Social Studies, STEM Science and PE. Students are grouped and receive academic instruction based on the skills and goals identified through his/her IEP. As an IEP team determines a student may be ready, mainstreaming to a home school may occur.

High school students have a number of options through Summit School. Summit School offers a continuum of courses to meet the diverse instructional needs of students and the various graduation requirements of the home schools. In addition to taking the required classes of the various levels of English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and PE, students will also find art, technology and vocational classes at Summit School. In the case that a particular class needed by a student is not available, Summit School contracts with Pearson Education to offer classes through the Connexus website. Students who are enrolled full time at Summit School have the opportunity to earn credit in six classes each semester. Summit School is AdvancED accredited and all of the credits earned at Summit School transfer back to a student’s home high school. During an IEP meeting, a team may decide that a student may be eligible to return to home school for part of the day. Summit staff members communicate closely with the home high schools to ensure that students successfully earn all of the credits necessary to meet the graduation requirements of the home school. When students are ready to graduate, they may participate in the Summit School completion ceremony, as well as, the home school graduation ceremony. Students receive a Certificate of Program Completion from Summit School and are eligible to receive a diploma from the home high school.

A very important component of the Summit high school program is the team developed Transition Plan. The team helps the student develop an individual life plan for after high school. Part of that plan involves future employment. Summit School annually receives funding through the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide a Secondary Transitional Experience Program (STEP). Through this program, students become DHS clients and can participate in a job training program that entails employment on the Summit School campus or out in the student’s home community.

Students who come to Summit School need a program that can help them develop self-regulation, organizational skills, time management and reciprocal social skills. Because many of the students referred to Summit School become academically disengaged and/or behaviorally unregulated during their school day, the staff developed the EAGLE program using components of the ALERT, Zones of Regulation, PBIS and Character Counts programs. The EAGLE program helps students acquire skills necessary to self-monitor, accept feedback and empowers them to make positive decisions that lead to successful classroom experiences. This program is additionally supported by weekly counseling, opportunities for social lunch groups and sensory diets, as needed.

The EAGLE program of Summit School is a positive behavior system where students continuously self-evaluate their acquisition of behaviors which lead to successful academic achievement and excellence of character. In addition to the behaviors that lead to academic success, the program uses the six pillars of the Character Counts Curriculum: Respect, Responsibility, Caring, Trustworthiness, Fairness and Citizenship and the Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) which has been in place at Summit for a number of years. The PBIS program is a statewide program which emphasizes students engaging in positive behaviors of respect, relationships and responsibility.​​​

The EAGLE program is a level system in which each letter of the word EAGLE begins the title of a level in the program: Excellence, Achievement, Goal Attaining / Goal Developing, Learning, and Entering. With the increased number of younger students at Summit School, the staff expanded the original program to include components of the Zones of Regulation program and added the Eagle Nest level. As part of the program, students carry a three ring binder that includes an explanation of the EAGLE program, the Summit School Student Parent Handbook, daily sheets for the students to complete when self-evaluating, a monthly tracker sheet and dividers to hold work for academic classes. Each day, students self-evaluate their positive behaviors. At the end of each period throughout the day, students fill out their reflections for that period and consult with their teacher for validation. A student’s daily homework assignments are recorded on the back of the sheet. The students carry the binder with them throughout the day and home each evening. A parent would thus be able to monitor student performance throughout the day, as well as, check on homework assignments.

Summit School was founded to provide instruction for students who have, for one reason or another, been unsuccessful in the public school setting. Summit School serves students from over 40 public school districts in the Chicago area, and works diligently to maintain a positive relationship with these districts in order to facilitate the option of students possibly being able to return either full or part time to their home school. It is important to the staff at Summit School that students consider themselves a part of their home school, and the staff does encourage students to return for classes and extra-curricular activities in their home districts.

Please contact Summit School at or call 847-468–0490 for further information.