The 2019-20 school year kicked off with twice the excitement when roll call revealed five sets of twins in the fifth grade of The Summit’s Harold C. Schott Middle School.
Placing multiples in same or separate classrooms has long been a debate between educators, parents and state lawmakers. Until 2005, it was common practice to place twins in separate classrooms. Change came in May of that year when the State of Minnesota passed the first “Twin Legislation Bill” giving parents the primary voice in the decision for how their children should be placed. To date, the State of Ohio does not formally comply with Twin Legislation but presumes instead that separate classrooms are the default placement for twin sets.
At The Summit, we currently have 22 sets of multiples distributed across the grade levels from 18-month-old toddlers to 18-year-old seniors. For a school this size to have such a high number of families with multiples is remarkable. We sat down with Lower and Middle School Director Mike Johnson and Middle School Guidance Counselor Kara Russell to learn what makes The Summit Country Day School a top choice for families with multiples.
“Outstanding education is not a one-size fits all approach,” says Mr. Johnson. “With our low student-faculty ratio, we work with students in a way that best supports their learning needs, not just with groups of multiples but with all our students. An example of this is our advisement program which helps students identify their individual strengths to address the developmentally-appropriate challenges they will face during their academic careers.”
“The small class sizes here allow teachers to get to know students individually to avoid assumptions that multiples are an extension of one another,” says Mrs. Russell. “After doing research on best practices related to educating twin sets, I’m more intentional about how I counsel twins. Asking direct questions relating to each child’s experience of being a twin empowers the way we are able to support them academically and socially. Families have different perspectives on what is appropriate for their family, and we work together to find solutions for when it is appropriate to separate or to integrate.”
Valuing the individuality of each twin, parents, teachers, the counselor and the students themselves collaborate on whether to keep twins together or place them in separate classrooms.
It is especially helpful for parents of multiples to know that The Summit’s Signature programs – Personalized Instruction, Character Education Program and Social Skills Program empower students to take classes and become engaged in activities which support their individual interests allowing them grow socially, spiritually and academically.
Lisa Cox is a former faculty member of New York University. She is a member of the communications team at The Summit Country Day School.