By Emily Neelon |

In a sea of public and private schools in Portland, Summa Institute stands out. With a mission “to awaken the inherent greatness of humanity”, Summa Institute is a non-profit organization located in Downtown Portland that is focused on cultivating the personal growth of both children and adults. Founded in 1985, it strives to bring family development, education and research together through a progressive learning community.

Summa Institute works to accomplish the goal of increasing well-being through three separate, but connected components: Summa Academy, Summa Professional Development and Summa Research Core.

With a one to eleven student-teacher ratio and multi-age classrooms, Summa Academy educates students ages four to fourteen. The academy hopes to sustain physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual and social development through it’s unique approach to learning that emphasizes family involvement. Each of the 130 students enrolled at Summa Academy receives a learning plan personalized to their own educational needs and goals.

Summa Professional Development is a resource center offering seminars, workshops and retreats to professionals and educators hoping to learn developmental theories relating to child nurturing. Through engaging in the center’s programs, adults can come to understand the world from a child’s perspective and in turn lead to personal self-awareness and greater well-being.

Summa Research Core analyzes, evaluate and improves upon the programs and ideologies of Summa Academy and Professional Development. By monitoring the academy and professional resource center, Summa researchers hope to increase well-being among students, parents, and educators alike.

Summa’s three pronged approach to education is a noteworthy alternative to traditional schooling.

“Lots of people have come up with programs for children, for infants, for teenagers, for parents, for pregnant women – but who has come up with a true, viable, intensely growth-oriented program for an integrated family unit? Years and years of intense discipline, studying, learning and what they have now is a vision of a whole integrated family growth process. The reports of people who have gone through this are enthusiastic beyond belief,” writer Joseph Chilton Pearce said of Summa’s innovative efforts.

Summa Institute will be visiting PRP throughout the week to speak more about their efforts to redefine education.

Monday, March 16, 2015: Dan Packard interviews Ba Luvmour, Summa Institute Founder and Headmaster:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015: Steven Shomler interviews Josette Luvmour, Summa Institute Founder and Director of Family Development and Professional Development:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015: Steven Shomler interviews  Amber Kara, Executive Director of Summa Institute and Director of Summa Academy.

Thursday, March 19, 2015: Jeff Thomas interviews Albee Kara, Summa Institute’s NLR Program Facilitator and Finance & IT Manager: