Summit School Recognizes Diversity & Accepts Differences

“Summit School is a place where over 600 students with neurodevelopmental disabilities are able to call home. They’re able to show up every day and get an incredible education. Summit is unique from the standpoint of other schools and educational institutions here in Montreal from the sense that all of our experts, all of the extra services that this population needs is housed under one roof.

So if there’s a student or a child who needs to see an occupational therapist, it’s in a house. If there’s a student who needs to see a speech therapist or a physiotherapist or a social worker, everything is under one roof. We have three campuses, two in Saint-Laurent, one in downtown. We have children who are aged four years old until 21. Ultimately what we try to do is allow each and everyone of our students the opportunity to achieve their potential, to awaken their potential on an individual level.

What works for one kid, what’s a success for one might not be even capable for another one. But whatever that kid, whatever that child is able to do, our staff and professionals work together to make sure that that child is able to achieve it in the most positive ways. We are a private school in the public interest.

What that means is that the Ministry of Quebec Education offsets pretty much all of the tuition needs of our families. So that could range to the tune of close to $23,000 a student. And when you have 600 students, that ends up being a very significant portion of the Quebec allocations. There’s always more.

There’s always a need to do more. But when you look at it from a financial perspective, our beautiful province has said we recognize the needs of these populations. And we’re going to do what we can in order to help make their lives easier, in order to help make sure that these kids are able to be contributing members of society to the best of their capabilities.

So that’s where Summit comes into place, where we have beautiful job training programs for our students once they reach the age of 18, downtown. We travel train them on how to get to the downtown campus. We teach them skills that they can then go and become hired in the for-profit world. We have a leather program where we teach the students how to sew and how to make beautiful items out of leather.

We have a floral program where we teach the students how to make flower arrangements. We have a print shop and a print studio where we teach them and instruct them and give them actual experience at what it takes to make print copies, what it takes to make binders, what it takes to do all these things. We have an incredible tech bistro program where they learn how to work in an industrial kitchen.

We have professional chefs that come to the school and they work with our students. They teach them so that when they apply and when they work in one of these jobs, they’re already familiar. We have a beautiful creative arts program, where just this past February our students performed a play called Letter to My Disability, which came from a school exercise of them actually writing letters to their disabilities.

And we created a play it was actually put on at the Segal Center for five shows, which is beautiful. And when you think about it from a vocational training standpoints, these students if they’re aspiring actors, which some of them are, now have on their resumes that they performed at the Segal Center, which is something that separates them from a lot of the other aspiring actors in a positive way where they’re recognized for what makes them different.

Which then echoes what the Montreal culture is all about, recognizing diversity, accepting people’s differences, and knowing that there’s a way to succeed in spite of whatever limitations one might have.”