During this time of national health concerns and school shut down, Desert Sands Unified School District students and staff are focused on staying safe. The articles that will appear in this column over the next several weeks have been taken from the archives. For the next several weeks, we will reintroduce you to the seven high schools of Desert Sands Unified School District. They all provide an outstanding education and offer many extra-curricular activities. But each is unique, offering traditional and non-traditional means of providing students with a path to high school graduation, college preparation, and workplace success.

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Each school year, nearly 300 credit deficient students begin their tenure at Summit High School.  Our students find their way to Summit for a variety of reasons: reasons that have little to do with the efforts of  public educators. For some, they need a smaller environment. For others, they are struggling with social/emotional issues that have impeded their ability to embrace the social and economic benefits of a high school graduation and post-secondary opportunities.

The staff at Summit High School relishes the challenge of rebuilding capable young adults; understanding that many times their struggles are not educational, but social. At Summit High School, a band of teachers and a single counselor have ascribed to a single mission that at the very core centers on relationship building. Understanding Maslow’s premise, each Summit staff member prescribes to those very principles. Prioritizing student needs is to understand that before we can provide valuable educational components, we must ascribe to Maslow’s second most important basic human requirement, a student’s emotional and intellectual safety.

Together, We Are Reaching the Summit

The Summit Coffee House Study Area

Summit High School is committed to addressing the whole child. Students are greeted each morning as they enter school by name. At Summit, they are not given an opportunity to hide in the rafters, we remove the ability for them to be invisible on our campus. Via student award ceremonies, trips to Balboa Park, San Diego State University, University of California at San Diego, and La Jolla Cove Beach, students are exposed to environments and opportunities that have escaped them their entire life. At the beginning of 2020, Summit took nearly 20 students to Mission Beach. Having the opportunity to observe a seventeen year old Southern California raised young man sink his toes into the soft beach sand and become mesmerized by the approaching waves, personified Summit’s purpose.

Adhering to the whole child theme, Summit provides opportunities for students to be a part of competitive athletic teams (volleyball, softball, basketball, and soccer).  In the same breath, students are encouraged to be civic-minded. For three years, students have been introduced to a number of civic events that hopefully have broadened the notion that they are citizens of the world and their prosperity hinges on their ability to build relationships with others.

Together, We Are Reaching the Summit

Summit High School shares its campus with Horizon.

Academically, Summit has shown growth according to our California CAASPP exam for three consecutive years. In 2019, Summit’s growth in math and English language arts (ELA) was second amongst the seven secondary schools in our district. With 41% of our students meeting standard in ELA, we rank amongst the very best continuation schools in the state. This honor must be attributed to a collective staff of teachers and support personnel committed to doing the most difficult work.

Information on student meal service and supplemental learning during school closures can be found by

Lead photo caption: Summit High School Award Ceremony



Image Sources

  • The Summit Coffe House Study Area: DSUSD
  • horizon: DSUSD
  • Summit High School Award Ceremony: DSUSD