FAQs 

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Is SEF and/or the grants it funds ever used as a recruiting tool to attract quality teachers to Summit's public schools?  
 
 
 
What is SEF?
SEF is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of education in Summit by providing innovative teacher and district grants to the public schools. These educational grants have served to enhance the learning experience of Summit children at every grade level and at every school in the community, thereby benefiting the more than 3,000 families with children attending Summit's public schools. During our 25 year history, we have contributed over $3 million in grant money supporting hundreds of programs for teachers and the district.  
 
 
Who Should Support SEF?
Whether you have children attending the Summit public schools or private schools, whether your children are grown or gone or you have no children at all,  the health of our public schools should be important to you.  An excellent school system helps formulate thoughtful people, stimulate creative thinkers and produce leaders.  Great schools also ensure strong property values and attract people to town who place a high value on education.  As Summit residents, we all have a stake in supporting the continued excellence of our public schools and can do so by contributing to SEF.  
 
 
Don't Property Taxes Cover School Expenses?
In a word, no.  The actual cost of educating Summit Public School students greatly exceeds the amount of funding provided by state and local taxes.  As federal and state education aid dries up for communities like Summit, public schools rely on philanthropy. 
 
 
Who Benefits from SEF Initiatives?
Don't Property Taxes Cover Most School Expenses?
In a word, no.  The actual cost of educating Summit Public School students greatly exceeds the amount of funding provided by state and local taxes.  As federal and state education aid dries up for communities like Summit, public schools must increasingly rely on philanthropy.
 
 
What is a Typical SEF Grant?
SEF grants comes in all sizes and shapes.  There are grants for $50 and some for $85,000.  Grants funded by SEF benefit struggling learners, gifted students, and everyone in between.
 
 
Who Can Submit a Grant?
SEF grants can be initiated by the teachers, parents and/or the district.  Every SEF grant proposal goes through a rigorous 6-point review process including reviews by the building principal or department supervisor, followed by the superintendent.  The grants then go through two rounds of review by the SEF grants committee before they are put before the SEF Board of Trustees for a vote.  Finally, each grant is reviewed by the Summit Board of Education. 
 
 
Does SEF Fund the Same Grants Each Year?
Many of the innovative pilot programs funded by SEF get rolled into the school budget going forward.
  • The Writing Center and the Math Center at SHS, which are staffed throughout the school day by a teacher and heavily used by students, began with a SEF grant.  These centers are a core component of the SHS experience and are now part of the school budget.
  • Other programs that began as pilots and were later incorporated into the school budget include the film studio at SHS, the Mandarin Chinese program, and the Columbia Teacher's College Reading and Writing Curriculum.
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Can SEF Fund a Teacher?
Yes, SEF has funded teachers' salaries in the past.  Typically, the funding has been associated with new curriculum initiatives.
 
 
 
Is SEF and/or the grants it funds ever used as a recruiting tool to attract quality teachers to Summit's public schools?
Yes!  In fact, administrators in our school system have repeatedly noted that the active role of SEF in our schools is a major draw to attracting superior educators to Summit.