Welcome: A Message from Rich Wilson

The Summit Way

I believe four characteristics distinguish The Summit from all other schools. We are Catholic in the Notre Dame tradition. We find strength in the individuality of each child. We set high expectations. And we are innovative. I’ve come to call the core ideology and strong culture that have contributed to our school’s longstanding success “The Summit Way.”

We view ourselves as stewards of God’s creation and we partner with parents to develop each child into a well-rounded human being. Other schools may focus their efforts on helping children get into a good college successfully, but our goal is to develop children who can not only navigate college successfully but go on to succeed in life. Our alumni are equipped with the skills and the global perspective to improve the world they inherit. The evident success of The Summit Way is measurable and continues to attract discerning Cincinnati families to our doors.

The 1997 best seller Built to Last identified 18 “visionary” companies and attempted to discern what made them special. The companies had to be famous, at least 50 years old, and have a clear brand image. All of these firms had a strong culture which attracted and shaped the employees who joined. They also had a “core ideology” to which its employees were devoted. Businesses like Disney, Hewlett Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Wal-Mart, and P&G were on the list.

If that book were written about Cincinnati education, I believe Summit Country Day School would have topped the list of schools that were built to last. Among independent schools, Summit’s founding in 1890 would make it one of the oldest such schools in town. Cincinnati Magazine has rated The Summit above all other Catholic schools in recent years.

While we can point to many measurable standards of The Summit’s continuing and lasting success, we do not believe ratings are what is most important or what distinguishes Summit from other schools. We believe how the school helps to develop each and every child is paramount. Evident success with one child compels parents of other children to seek out a Summit education for their progeny.

Like the “Built to Last” companies, Summit has a “core ideology” and a strong culture that have contributed to its long term success. I’ve come to call this “The Summit Way.” There are four characteristics of The Summit Way that distinguish this school from all others:

Catholic Context in the Notre Dame Tradition – Our role model in life is Jesus Christ, who calls each one of us to lead lives of love, leadership and service to others. These values guide the character development of the children in our care. In addition, we respect, embrace, and learn from other faith traditions. The legacy of the Sisters is a thread that runs through the fabric of this school and distinguishes Summit from all other secular schools in town.

Each and Every Child – The fundamental principle behind a Notre Dame education is developing a well-rounded child. The five pillars (academic, spiritual, physical, social and artistic) define key areas to be developed. Within those areas, teachers, staff, and coaches teach the skills, behaviors, and knowledge required for long term success. They seek to know, understand, and love each and every child. This core ideology helps our students reach their full potential and distinguishes Summit from the mass education schools in town.

High Expectations – Much is expected from all those who are fortunate to be a part of the Summit community. An undercurrent of excellence flows around all that we do. Our motto is “Aim High,” and that applies to all people and activities on campus. This approach to life and to educating children is what guides teachers and coaches to bring out the best in every child. Few schools in Cincinnati are as exacting and demanding as the Summit Country Day School.

Innovation – People sometimes joke that nothing ever changes at Summit, but history shows that to be a false perception. From the days of the Sisters to today, Summit identifies changing circumstances, researches best practice, experiments with ways to address change, analyzes the results, keeps what works, and discards what doesn’t. Naturally, the professional development of our faculty is a high priority. No conventional educational theory describes how Summit helps children grow in grace and wisdom. Though our teaching style is eclectic, the resulting approach to educating students is unique, innovative and has stood the test of time.

The success of The Summit Way is evident. Our alumni are equipped with the skills and the global perspective to improve the world they inherit. As long as we remain true to these hallmarks of a great education, Summit will last for the next 120 years and beyond.

Rich Wilson
Head of School