April 17, 2018
Dear ARHS & Summit Academy Parents and Guardians,
As many of you already know, Summit Academy, the district’s public day school, will relocate to the ARHS building for SY 18-19. Summit Academy will maintain its public day school status, and run as a separate school and on a separate schedule.
The purpose of this letter is to apprise the entire community of the move and overview the work that has occurred, to date, to ensure the re-location’s success.
We have chosen to co-author this letter as a larger statement to the community of our confidence in this project. We have been colleagues and friends for 14 years, working closely on a range of issues. That our schools are now in a position to co-occupy a single site does little to slow us down. In fact, the collaborative possibilities make us only optimistic about the future.
At the same time, we want to be thoughtful about the relocation. Melding two distinct cultures and sets of routines in the same building is not something to be casual about.
The central design challenge is to maintain Summit Academy’s identity as a school separate and apart from ARHS and, at the same time, take full advantage of the collaborative possibilities.
To date, we have taken several important steps to ensure that the transition is a smooth one. Here’s a quick recap:
Summit Academy students have visited and toured the ARHS site and met with the ARHS administrators.
Several Summit Academy families have also toured the site.
An entire ARHS faculty meeting was devoted to bringing both faculties together to discuss the move and plan for next year.
We have established a working group, comprised of faculty from both schools, that is charged with thinking through the range of logistic and programmatic challenges and opportunities that the relocation brings.
A remaining step in the transition plan is to have ARHS and Summit Academy students meet before the end of the current school year.
Lastly, we want to acknowledge the hard reality that forced this move upon us: a budget deficit of more than $1 million dollars for the upcoming fiscal year. Summit Academy was not the impetus for any cuts at ARHS. Instead, cuts to the high school’s elective program opened the door to consideration of the Summit Academy move.
We trust that both of our communities will approach the transition thoughtfully and work to develop a common culture, one defined by respect and appreciation.
Please feel free to contact either of us if you have questions or concerns.
David Slovin, Principal Mark Jackson, Principal
Summit Academy Amherst Regional High School
cc: Dr. Faye Brady, Director, Student Support Services