Notre Dame de Namur

Educating the Whole Child

The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur founded The Summit in 1890 and, although we became independent in 1984, we continue to have an affiliation agreement with the Sisters and carry on in their tradition. Their foundress, St. Julie Billiart, was concerned with educating the whole, individual person. She believed the best education is based on personal knowledge and understanding each child. She challenged her teachers to find the right psychological insight to help each child to blossom. She also believed every person should be taught whatever is necessary to prepare a person for a satisfying and productive life, so she encouraged the full range of formative work to develop the gifts which God gives to each child. Summit's mission to develop the academic, physical, religious, social, and artistic facets of each student is a direct result of St. Julie's convictions on the nature of education.

Expectation of Excellence
Beyond building the school at the highest point in this area, the Sisters named the school The Summit to remind us all of the heights of humanity to which we should aspire. The expectation of excellence was an important principle of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and it is for us as well. We try to help each student become a better thinker or writer or scientist or mathematician. Every teacher's job is to bring out the potential in each child. For many years, one of our mantras has been "Aim High," because we encourage students to become the best version of themselves they can be.

Kindness and Caring
The Sisters believed that kindness and caring were the best ways to help children develop. They emphasized respect for the dignity of each child. We believe that every child who comes to The Summit is a gift to the school. It's our privilege to have each one here. 

Joy in Learning
Helping children appreciate the joy of living was an important principle of the Sisters. St. Julie who was constantly reminding her teachers that children are not miniature adults. They can't concentrate for long periods of time. They need variety, recreation and play in their lives. These aspects of development can be as important as their academic development. That's why our faculty and staff constantly look for ways to bring fun and joy into the classroom. We want our graduates to be lifelong learners. Ensuring that joy pervades the classrooms, halls, athletic fields and everywhere students spend their time during the day is critical to kindling each child's love of learning.

Caring for the Less Fortunate
St. Julie's special care for those who are most vulnerable and disadvantaged continues to inspire our own practices. St. Julie said: "Good will alone is not enough; it must also be put into practice." That's why outreach to those in need is practiced in all grade levels. We take these words of Jesus to heart: "To whom much is given, much is expected."  

The Sisters founded this school with the knowledge that its students would be well positioned to make decisions for society. Through our unique blend of rigorous academics,  character-based leadership and creative problem-solving, we are committed to educating our children to become the peacemakers and changemakers that Christ called them to be. 

Arched front door with Notre Dame inscription

Notre Dame Hallmarks

Hallmarks are the essential characteristics, values and activities of a Notre Dame de Namur learning community. The hallmarks answer the question: “What makes a learning community a Notre Dame Learning Community?” The culmination of discussions between the sisters and their learning communities resulted in these seven Hallmarks that concisely and beautifully express the values of a Notre Dame Learning Community.

  • We proclaim by our lives even more than by our words that God is good.
  • We honor the dignity and sacredness of each person.
  • We educate for and act on behalf of justice, peace, and care for all creation.
  • We commit ourselves to community service.
  • We embrace the gift of diversity.
  • We create community among those with whom we work and with those we serve.
  • We develop holistic learning communities which educate for life.

Faith Formation and Other Faith Traditions

boy with hands in prayer on magazine cover

About 40 percent of The Summit's student population is not Catholic.

So why do parents – Catholics and non-Catholics alike – send their children to The Summit? Read this story in The Summit magazine.