FAQs

What is SEF?

Summit Educational Foundation (SEF) is a volunteer-driven 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 enrich the learning experience of Summit children at every grade level and at every school in the community.

Who benefits from SEF?

Every one of the 4,000+ students and 100% of the staff in the Summit Public Schools are impacted by SEF grants. We have been an essential partner of the district since 1986, contributing over $8 million in grants supporting hundreds of programs throughout the district. Key initiatives include literacy programs, enhancing learning environments, and cutting-edge technology programs. Smartboards, document cameras and the 1:1 technology initiative all started with SEF funding.

Why should I support SEF?

SEF donors value strong public schools. An excellent school system helps formulate thoughtful people, stimulate creative thinkers and produce leaders.  Great schools 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?

Federal, state and local taxes provide the minimum requirements for our schools. Funding from SEF allows the Summit Public Schools to innovate and expand programs beyond the basics. In the words of Superintendent Hough, “SEF makes us whole.”

Who can submit a grant and how are they approved?

SEF grants can be initiated by any district staff person. We look for grants that are innovative and can be replicated when successful. Every SEF grant proposal goes through a rigorous 6-point review process including reviews by the building principal or department supervisor and 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.

 What is a typical SEF grant?

There is no typical grant, SEF grants come in all sizes and shapes! There are grants for $250 and some for $250,000. Grants funded by SEF benefit struggling learners, gifted students, and everyone in between.

 Does SEF fund the same grants each year?

SEF gets a variety of grant applications every year and we look for well-thought-out ideas that enhance the educational experience. Often, teachers see what their peers have done with SEF funding and make similar requests. Many of the innovative pilot programs funded by SEF get rolled into the school budget going forward.

Do all schools receive the same grants?

SEF supports innovation in the classrooms and different teaching styles. Our grants allow individual teachers to pilot programs and materials that can be implemented broadly when successful. Historically, the distribution of grants across the district is equitable.

Does SEF fund teachers?

SEF can fund district staff when an unbudgeted need arises. Past positions include the SHS College Counselor and the Hispanic/ELL Academic Outreach Coordinator. Both of these positions were later added to the district budget. The district budget covers all classroom positions.

Is SEF used as a recruiting tool for the Summit Public Schools?

Yes!  In fact, school administrators have repeatedly noted that the active role of SEF is a major draw to attracting superior educators to Summit. Teachers know that education is highly valued by Summit residents.

How can I get involved in SEF?

Learn more about volunteer opportunities.