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Speak Up Summit Advocates for Quality Public Education in Summit NJ :: Speak Up Summit

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Advocating for Our Schools

President’s CornerMelanie Wilson Head Shot



By Melanie S. Wilson


Speak Up Summit

2007 - Present


Statement from Speak Up Summit on the Five-Year Facilities Plan


Summit has not seen any proposal like the five-year facility plan in about a decade.  The last time we made such a huge investment in the future of our schools was the $23 million high school renovation project.  That investment was not one to make our high school “state-of-the-art” or “futuristic,” but merely one to keep it competitive with the schools in the surrounding communities.

Getting that proposal passed was no easy feat.  The Board of Education and Speak Up Summit, then with Ann Bushe at the helm, worked tirelessly to ensure that the school community was heard.  They helped spread the word that investing in our schools was an investment in the future of Summit.

Now, it is time to act again.  The proposal which will come before the Board of School Estimate next week is critical to the success of our school district.  There are parts of the proposal that do no more than bring our facilities up to safety minimums.  The BOSE has a responsibility to the children of this town to pass the five-year plan. Read more...

Previous President’s Corner Articles

+ Fall 2010

+ Winter 2011

+ Spring 2011

Fall 2011

Education in the News


11 States Get Failing Grades on Public School Policies  The NY Times 1/7/2013





Our annual discussion with the Administration and the Board of Education will be held

Saturday, February 7 at 9:00 am

Marco Polo restaurant

527 Morris Avenue

9-9:30 breakfast/meet and greet; program begins at 9:30

We expect to discuss the “hot items” impacting the district now including, PARCC testing, Common Core, budgeting, teacher contracts, full-day kindergarten, block scheduling, construction projects and much more.  This meeting is open to the public. 


Please support Speak Up Summit!

Donations may be made at the State of the District discussion on February 7th.


We always accept membership dues on our website via PayPal.


2014-2015 Meeting Dates


September 16

October 14

November 18

January 20

State of the District  February 7

March 24

April 21

May 19


All regular meetings take place at 8:30 AM at 175 Colonial Road, Summit.  

For more information contact Melanie Wilson at 908.598.1617.


For the latest news, information and helpful education links, please “like” our Facebook page.





By Speak Up Summit President Melanie S. Wilson

February 1, 2013


Speak Up Summit is a community advocacy group designed to promote excellence in Summit public schools.  Two parts of our mission statement are to provide independent oversight of the schools, the board of education and the superintendent’s office to ensure that our schools are providing the best educational experience possible, and to speak up on those issues affecting our children’s ability to receive an excellent public school education.

To that end, Speak Up Summit is endorsing the addition of Full-Day Kindergarten in our district. Read more...

Speak Up Summit Year in Review



Speak Up Summit was formed in 1995 to provide a unified voice in supporting the quality of our town’s public education.  As a well-informed group that communicates what it learns to others, it speaks up on issues that affect our children’s learning.  Membership is open to everyone who believes that an excellent public school system is vital to community well being.


This year, Speak Up Summit hosted two major events that kept the community informed.  In October, in conjunction with the League of Women Voters, Speak Up Summit hosted a standing room only audience at the Summit High School media center.  The forum was divided into two separate events, with the first being a debate between the three candidates for mayor, and the second between the six common council candidates.  The discussions focused on issues facing Summit public schools, such as what criteria would be used for school board appointments, questions about school vouchers and charter schools, and what could be done about unfunded mandates like the anti-bullying laws.  The discussion also Read more...

Speak Up Summit Year in Review

2010 - 2011


On May 16, Speak Up Summit will be recognized by the Board of Education at its annual reorganization meeting for its efforts in preserving excellence in Summit’s schools during the 2010-11 school year.

Here are the highlights of our year.

Our big achievement of the year was the launch of this new web site which we hope evolves into the go-to place for education news and information.  The web site posts articles of general educational interest from local and national media, information on pending legislation, recently enacted laws that affect Summit, budget news, meeting Read more...

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Did you know?

  • There is a new 8th grade social studies curriculum at LCJSMS that focuses on Government and Citizenship;People, Politics, and Issues that Shape our Society;Law and Justice; andEconomics and the Connected World. 
  • The SHS Cross Country teams secured the 2012 Union County Championship.   The Varsity and JV Girls as well as the JV and Freshman Boys teams all topped their competition to bring the title to Summit High School. This is the fourth consecutive title for the Varsity Girls and the third consecutive title for the JV Girls.
  • Sophomores from health classes at SHS took  part in the inaugural “Drunk Busters” Program, which was purchased jointly by the Board of Education and the Summit Police Department.  The program, which has students drive a pedal car while wearing goggles that impairs vision shows students the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  All SHS sophomores will take part in this program, The program will also be given to SHS juniors and seniors this spring prior to proms.
  • The Rotary Club of Summit and New Providence honored eight Summit students at their “Red Ribbon Day” on Monday, October 22nd. The luncheon, held at the Grand Summit Hotel, celebrated the creative work of fourth and seventh graders from the district who were chosen to present their pieces on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
  • Franklin fifth grader, Eric Wei, participated in Bergen County Academies Annual Math Competition on Sunday, October 14th and won first place in grade five competition.
  • The district guidelines for determining class size are as follows:  The class size for primary grades (K-2) shall generally not exceed 22, and in the intermediate grades (3-5) the class size shall generally not exceed 24. At the secondary level (6-12) class size shall generally not exceed 25.   
  • Summit High School now offer AP Computer Science
  • The student staff members of Spotlight, Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School’s yearbook, on October 17 received tips from yearbook expert Stephen Kent at an afterschool workshop.  Kent visited LCJSMS meet with the students who compile the yearbook and their advisor, English teacher Tara Cooper Weiss.

  • Summit High School students and teachers held an “Ultimate for the Cure” Frisbee tournament at Wilson Park on October 23.  Co-hosted by the Susan G Komen for the Cure and the Outdoor Earth Clubs, the event raised funds to help in the fight against breast cancer.  With the support of local businesses, the Summit Boosters, the Gargiulo and Cobern families, as well as Summit High School staff, the clubs raised over $1,000 for the Susan G Komen Foundation.

  • More students in the Summit High School Class of 2011 are attending the country’s “most selective” colleges than in the entire history of the school district. 

  • Of the 19 students who took BC Calculus AP exam, 18 received a 5 - the highest score on that exam, and over 87% of our students scored 3 or higher on their AP exams.  We’ve never had a higher proportion of kids taking the AP exams than we had this past year. 

  • At the high school, student failures dropped significantly.   In 2006-2007, 84 students failed one or more courses.  This past year 52 students failed one or more classes.   

  • Scores on the Biology Achievement Test given by the state, jumped from 64% passing in 2009 to 87% passing in 2011.   Many of our students received perfect scores.

  • For the first time, Mandarin is being offered at LCJSMS, starting in 6th grade.  Soon the district will have a comprehensive 6 -12 Mandarin program. 

  • Computer Science is now again being offered at SHS.

  • Erik Parks is the new assistant principal at the middle school.  He will  focus on curriculum and instruction.

  • The safety and functional renovation of the High School auditorium is scheduled to be complete midyear.

  • The Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School now has a new concrete entry so no longer will you have to squeeze through the bushes and slog through the mud. 

  • The district has hired 35 new teachers, 14 classroom aides, 4 custodians, 2 behaviorists, 2 instructional facilitators, 1 nurse, 1 guidance counselor, and 1 new administrator.

  • The Summit Educational Foundation raised over $350,000 last year and over the last 3 years raised over 3 million dollars in pledges for an endowment.

  • Summit Kindergarten Teacher Suzanne Shire has co-written an article, Strategic Teaching: Fostering Communication Skills in Diverse Young Learners, published in the March 2011 issue of the Journal of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

  • Brayton parents Andrew and Christine Gotesman have donated $100,000 in grant money to the district for the creation of early childhood and college scholarship programs for Hispanic students to help bridge the Achievement Gap. While 21.9% of non-Hispanic Summit students scored partially proficient on recent NJ ASK tests, 48.9% of Hispanic students did so.

  • During the first marking period, 42% of LCJSMS students earned made 1st Honor Roll. For the 2nd and 3rd marking periods, when the requirements were updated to include only those earning grades of A or A- in all classes, the percent of qualifiers dropped to 18 percent.

  • HCM, (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy) is responsible for 40 percent of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. The Summit Boosters Association, working with the John Taylor Babbitt Foundation, is working to raise awareness about the need for AED’s (Automatic External Defibrillators) on our playing fields.

  • Summit High School Senior Mark Jones made history January 2011 at the State Relay Winter Track Championships by clearing 7 ft. in the high jump, only the ninth athlete in state history to accomplish that feat. Jones is currently ranked second in the nation in the event.

  • Of the 40 Sports Awards for Coaches, Athletic Directors and Trainers chosen December 2010 by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, Summit was the only district to earn more than one Award, with honors going to Football Coach John Liberato, Boy Lacrosse Coach Jim Davidson, and Athletic Trainer Karen Minista.

  • Jen Schwarzenbek, SHS Varsity Field Hockey coach and first grade teacher at Franklin School, was inducted November 22 into the Westfield Athletic Hall of Fame, which honors Westfield High School’s outstanding alumni athletes.

  • The stability of the student body over 13 years of schooling remains extremely high: 55% of 2010 Summit High School graduates began their Summit education in Kindergarten?

  • The performance on SAT testing remained significantly above state and national levels, but with a major shift from SAT to use of the ACT as a college admissions “test of choice.” Over the past five years, the number of students utilizing the ACT has increased 300%?

  • New Jersey ranks 46th in the nation for the amount of education funding from the state (correspondingly driving up local property taxes)?

  • School taxes, as a percentage of municipal taxes has remained constant over the past 15 years?

  • There are currently 73 charter schools in the state - the staffs in 10-15 of these schools are represented by teacher unions?

  • Teacher health insurance costs and extraordinary costs for special education are exempted from the 2% tax cap?

  • Real data (e.g., from test scores) that can be used to evaluate teacher performance is available for only about 20% of the education staff?

  • State average per pupil costs for students in charter schools is slightly higher than the average per pupil costs for students in the regular public schools?

  • Did you know that Summit High School graduate, Beth Kowitt, class of 2003, is the youngest writer ever to have a cover story at Fortune Magazine?


Summit Annual Assessment Report 2009-2010

District test scores

NJ School Report Cards

NJ School report cards

Summit Right Now
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