By: Krystle Crossman
Cheryl Swift and Natasha Campbell had one thing on their minds when they decided to create the Summit Academy Charter School in Brooklyn. They wanted to make sure that all students were able to live up to their academic potential no matter what area they lived in or what their family’s income was. They wanted to see children from diverse areas and families come together in a classroom and learn everything that they possibly could and everything that they wanted to. Their staff helps students who may be struggling. They figure out what it is that their students want to learn and they try their hardest to make sure that their students are getting everything that they possibly can out of the academy. The proof is in the numbers. 93% of their graduates are currently enrolled in college. 100% of their students pass the eighth grade testing. 95% of their students who graduate get accepted to college. These numbers are incredible but Swift and Campbell are not stopping there. Their goal is to get 100% college enrollment by next year.
The pair was invited to the Ellen Degeneres show to talk about the school and why they started it. Ellen had sent a camera crew to the school to talk to some of the students who are enrolled there to see how they felt about the charter school. The message was slightly different from all of the students but had the same meaning. They all said that they felt special, they felt smart, and they felt like they have the support to achieve any dream that they put their mind to. Some of the students come from low income families and felt that they were not being pushed as hard as they should be at public schools. Some of them felt that they were being held back because the teachers expectations of them were not set high enough. All of the students were extremely appreciative of the charter school because now that they felt that they were getting the support that they needed and the help that they wanted in order to achieve their academic goals. At the end of the show Ellen surprised the two women who started the school with a $25,000 check courtesy of Walmart.
Summit Academy is a nonprofit school and they do not charge tuition for any of the students that enroll there. The demand is very high for a spot so it can be hard to get a student into the school because of this. Campbell and Swift have put together an amazing staff who are ready to support any student that comes through the doors. They want all of the students to feel welcome and to feel like they are somewhere where they are safe and where they are happy while they are learning. Between what the students say about the school and the student statistics it is clear that Campbell and Swift are on the right path.