Five Books

Your Middle Schooler Will Love

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A young foster girl named Liesel discovers a love for books. As she steals them, she teaches herself to read and shares the stories she finds with her neighbors. This unique story takes place during World War II and shows us all how books can be a comfort in a difficult time.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney

Fed up with the impoverished conditions of his school, Junior transfers to a wealthier school 22 miles away from the reservation. Being the only Native American there, he faces challenges involving race and features of his appearance caused by health problems. The deep themes dealing intolerance, violence, and friendship makes this book more suitable for those in the 8th grade.

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

When aliens take over Earth and subdue humans, the only option is survival. After losing both parents, Cassie is forced to take her safety and that of her friends into her own hands.  This is a must read book if your middle schooler is a fan of science fiction.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Auggie’s facial deformity makes it difficult for him to fit in with his peers. This touching book teaches a valuable lesson about seeing others for more than their appearance and why it is important to be accepting and kind to everyone.

Refugee by Alan Gratz

This incredible novel follows three different refugee children who lived at different times in history. Josef is a Jewish boy living in Nazi Germany in the 1930s who is forced to flee the country with his family. Isabel, a Cuban girl in 1994, sets out on a raft with her family to flee the rioting in her country. Mahmoud’s homeland of Syria is torn apart by violence in 2015 and he and his family begin their long journey to Europe. This book will give your child a glimpse into the struggle young ones around the world face and the strength and courage it takes to endure.

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Our Focus on Differentiation

One of the reasons parents continue to choose Summit Academy North Middle School is because of the high standards we have for our students.

The teachers and staff here dedicate themselves to the academic success of each child, and every year their efforts are rewarded when they see the accomplishments of each student. The only way this is possible is through differentiation.

Differentiation is really about a teacher’s ability to assess the needs of each of their students, instead of teaching to specific level. This means taking a personal interest in all of their students and understanding their learning styles, what motivates them, and being perceptive to things that may impact their ability to be successful.  Teachers skilled in the art of differentiation serve as advocates for their students and are the first line of defense in getting help for children with learning disabilities.

Even the best teachers need support in order for differentiation to be effective. Not only do we hire teachers who are quickly able to identify their students’ strengths and weaknesses, but all of our staff is confident that once they have done so, they will be able to make use of our many resources to help their students. From reading and math interventionists to dedicated special education teachers, we provide all of our teachers and students access to whatever is needed to create a successful learning environment for everyone.

At the end of the day, we are successful not simply because we recognize that each student is different, but because we do our best to bring them different solutions in a safe environment where we are all part of a family.

After all, different students deserve a different school.

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Teach Your Kids:

To Build Social Skills

Social skills are not second nature like many of us may think. Children learn social skills first through interaction with their family, and later through interaction with their peers.

However, as they enter school and refining those social skills can prove to be a challenge.

Why it’s Important

While middle school students are becoming more mature, they still may not be comfortable be operating outside of their comfort zones. Social media means kids have become limited in their physical social interactions opportunities to communicate without a screen between them. Helping children build social skills is essential in order for them to learn how to discuss their feelings, needs, and ideas. Additionally, building communication skills can help your child feel more comfortable talking about any problems they are having in school or with friends.

How to Do It

The most effective way to help your middle schooler to build social skill is to take them out of their comfort zone. There are more sports and activities available to this age group and taking advantage of them can force your child to spread their wings. Joining a club or sport will expose them to other students who have different ideas and who come from all walks of life. Having this type of interaction on a consistent basis is the key to students being able to converse well and become comfortable in a variety of social settings.

Additionally, you can assist your middle schooler in building social skills by simply talking with them daily and getting involved in their academic life and knowing about their relationships. Your guidance is what teaches them how to handle problems and deal with their emotions. Be sure to have daily conversations with them and to show them that listening is just as important as talking.

The example you set will go a lot further than any other method of teaching.  

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Kyle Pennanen

Age: 11

Favorite subject:


Favorite Teacher:

“Ms. Cleary.”

Why he loves Summit Academy:

“I love that Summit adapts to the student. I also like how there are many different opportunities to learn new talents.”


Megan Blaze-Nyland

Role at Summit Academy North Middle School:

Megan is a 7th grade math teach and has been with Summit Academy for 2 years.

Megan in three words:

Organized, easy-going, and energetic

Why she loves Summit Academy:

“I love building relationships with my students.”

Most memorable moment at Summit:

“Performing with students in the student talent show and teacher lip sync battle.”

Interesting fact about her:

“I got married this summer!”

Summit Academy is better because…

“The students and teachers treat each other like family. Our staff genuinely care about our students and we want the best for them.

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