Building Math Minds in preschool and kindergarten: An informative parent presentation open to the community on April 5th from 6 – 7:30pm

Summit invites parents of preschool and kindergarten aged children to learn how to support your child’s learning in math. All in the community are welcome – Invite your friends!

A complimentary light dinner will be provided.  RSVP requested:

Building Math Minds: April 5th from 6 – 7:30pm

Parent only presentation at Summit School of Ahwatukee ~ 4515 E. Muirwood Dr., Phoenix, AZ 85048

Gain valuable insights into developing important foundational math skills for your child. Learn how numeracy and number sense are developed in preschool and extended in kindergarten. Parents will get ideas to support higher level mathematical and critical thinking skills, allowing your children to excel in elementary and middle school.

The presenter is Ms. Molly Danforth, a twenty year teacher with experience in first through third grades. Ms. Danforth holds both a Master’s and Bachelor’s in Education, and has earned National Board Certification. She has additional training in Cognitively Guided Instruction, Intel Math, as well as several other math courses.  As Summit’s kindergarten – 2nd grade math coordinator she uses her expertise to enhance classroom math instruction and assessments, and further professional development in mathematics.

Summit School of Ahwatukee is a nationally accredited elementary and middle school, and an NAEYC Accredited Preschool chosen year after year as the BEST PRESCHOOL by the Ahwatukee community!

1st Place Best Of 2016

Raising Readers in preschool and kindergarten: A parent presentation open to the community on March 30th from 6 – 7:30pm at Summit School of Ahwatukee

Summit invites parents of preschool and kindergarten aged children to learn how to support your child’s learning in reading. All in the community are welcome – Invite your friends!

A complimentary light dinner will be provided both evenings.  RSVP required to

Raising Readers: Ideas for inspiring literacy skills in preschool and kindergarten children

March 30th from 6 – 7:30pm

A parent only presentation at Summit School of Ahwatukee ~ 4515 E. Muirwood Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85048

Learning to read words is only the first step in developing a kindergartners literacy skills. Discover how comprehension and understanding of language make reading the backbone of learning and inquiry. Gain insights into important strategies that teach children to do far more than read words, but to understand, think and communicate ideas from reading.

The presenter is Faith Angelakis, a twenty year teacher with a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, and a Reading Specialist endorsement, a full Structured English Immersion endorsement, and CLIP (Collaborative Literacy Intervention Project) certification. In her role as Summit’s literacy specialist, Ms. Angelakis helps teachers plan literacy instruction, and models and team-teaches lessons with her colleagues.

Summit School of Ahwatukee ~ 4515 E. Muirwood Dr. Phoenix, AZ 85048 ~ 480-403-9506

Summit School of Ahwatukee is a nationally accredited elementary and middle school, and an NAEYC Accredited Preschool chosen year after year as the BEST PRESCHOOL by the Ahwatukee community!

1st Place Best Of 2016


Open House

Summit School of Ahwatukee  ~  LEARN TO LEAD

 Parents and the community are invited Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Open House  /  Curriculum Presentations  /   Student Art Exhibit

  • 5 – 7 pm              ART EXHIBIT:   Preschool – Eighth Grade Art ~  Multipurpose Room
  • 5 – 6 pm              MIDDLE SCHOOL PRESENTATION ~  Knowledge Center
  • 5 – 6 pm              KINDERGARTEN CURRICULUM PRESENTATION ~ Kindergarten classroom
  • 5:30 – 6:45 pm  OPEN HOUSE:    Elementary ~ Middle School  ~ Preschool

ART EXHIBIT:   Preschool – 5th grade and Middle School Art Elective:  5 – 7 pm in the Multipurpose Room

The Multipurpose Room is transformed into a gallery under the direction of visual arts teachers Kathleen and Selene Kupper.  Students display creative works related to art, architecture, design, engineering, textiles, and media arts.  Catch a glimpse of a previous year’s exhibition:

MIDDLE SCHOOL PRESENTATION:   5 – 6 pm in the Knowledge Center (Library)

Parents and Students are invited to hear about our highly successful, nationally accredited middle school program from middle school teachers and Head of School, Mark Bistricky. Understand why students excel academically and socially, preparing for success in high school, college and beyond.


Join us in the kindergarten classroom, for a special curriculum presentation given by the teachers. See and understand the differences of a Summit Kindergarten education. View student work, projects, learning materials and examples of thematic integration. Discover why in 2011 The Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) selected the Vitruvius Program at Summit School of Ahwatukee as the Winner of the National School award: the Best Art/Design/Architecture school program in the United States!

OPEN HOUSE:    Elementary and Middle School      5:30 – 6:45 pm

Parents and students are welcome to a self-guided tour of kindergarten through eighth grade to see examples of student projects and learning that demonstrate Summit’s educational approach of developing thinking and understanding, and to meet our highly experienced teachers.

Explore all grade level classrooms, the elementary and middle school science labs, Spanish classrooms, technology lab, library, and music room. On this evening the physical education teacher will be in the library.  The art studio will not be open, but student works will be on display in the multi-purpose room.

OPEN HOUSE:    Preschool     5:30 – 6:45 pm

At Summit, we are committed to our student’s personal and academic growth from the moment they enter our NAEYC accredited preschool, until the day they graduate eighth grade as young adults. Walk through the environment that ignites learning and joy.

Children and parents invited to experience a “Pop-Up Adventure Playground”: A one day, free community event centered on learning and fun

Summit School of Ahwatukee invites the community to a free event for families with children of all ages, to experience a unique, open-ended, play-based experience that allows children’s creativity and ingenuity to soar.

A “Pop-Up Adventure Playground” awaits your family on December 3rd, from 10am to 2pm, on the campus of Summit School of Ahwatukee, near 46th street and Chandler Blvd in Ahwatukee.   Families from Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, Ocotillo and the Ahwatukee / Foothills are all welcome!

A Pop-Up Adventure Playground provides an extensive supply of “loose parts” which are materials that can be combined, moved, carried, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with others like large boxes, cardboard tubes, fabric, yarn, rocks, sticks, boxes, tires, markers, tape, and so, so much more.  Children are invited to take home their creations.

This free community event is literally popping up all over the globe, Cairo, Shanghai, Mexico City, New York. The December 3rd event is the first in Phoenix, and will be provided free of charge through a partnership between Treasures4Teachers, Pop-Up Adventure Play and Summit School of Ahwatukee.

“These events are a fantastic way for people of all ages to come together,” exclaims Morgan Leichter-Saxby, Co-Founder of Pop-Up Adventure Play. “Play is so important for children’s growth and development and for their happiness.  Pop-up adventure playgrounds are also a fun way to bridge our differences within the community and connect on a deep level, sending a clear message that you don’t need money to play!”

“Summit School of Ahwatukee is thrilled to work with Treasures4Teachers to host this experience,” exudes Andrea Benkel, the Director of Early Childhood Education. “Loose Parts Play is the foundation for critical thinking and creativity and is the original “Maker Space.”  As a NAEYC accredited preschool and an elementary and middle school devoted to teaching critical thinking skills for all students, we celebrate the “minimakers” in all children and look forward to the engineers, scientists, artists, mathematicians and technology innovators that will have their visions come to life at this event!”

Leading the quest to provide this important play-based learning experience for children in our community is Barbara Blalock, Founder and Executive Director of Treasures 4 Teachers.  “Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds are truly a gift for children and families.  We are on a mission to educate parents on the value of play; especially child directed play, using wonderful materials called “loose parts” which are materials that have no specific outcome other than to build on a child’s imagination.”

Blalock is a leader in our community who has worked tirelessly to enhance educational opportunities to children. She is a former educator, who was later employed to help preschools bring the quality of their programming up to a level required to earn national accreditation through the NAEYC.

In 2004, Blalock witnessed a student having to use her shoe as collateral for a pencil, because the teacher didn’t have enough pencils.  That day, she realized she needed to do something to help teachers who often don’t have even the basic supplies they need for their students. Armed with only her passion and her now emptied Ahwatukee garage, she began Treasures 4 Teachers, a creative reuse center for teachers to get the supplies they need for free or at a low cost, so their students can be successful.

Always thinking big, Blalock was inaugural success was securing donations from Intel, Motorola, the NFL and Goodrich. Today a plethora of local business, schools and private donors keep a 12,000 square foot facility filled in Tempe, serving thousands of teachers and students.

The December 3rd event volunteers will include Summit School students from Spanish Honors Society, National Junior Honors Society, 8th grade ambassadors, and 5th graders who have applied and earned the designation of “self managers”, a leadership position earned by demonstrating strong abilities to independently and successfully manage activities and school. These Summit 5th graders will be entrepreneurs for the day, with the goal of organizing and building a profitable business to sell snacks at the event. Students will select a business name, procure a healthy food choice to sell, set price points, design signage, and create a work schedule. Their profits will be donated to a charity.

How important is play-based learning? To quote a famous supporter of children, the beloved Mr. Rogers: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning.”

Summit School of Ahwatukee is located at 4515 E. Muirwood Drive, one black south of Chandler Blvd on the corner of 46th street and Muirwood Dr.

The “greater” the visual the “less” kids struggle: Teaching greater and less then to your kindergartner. Ideas from an Expert

Author: Erin Vosseller, Kindergarten teacher, Summit School of Ahwatukee
Published in the Ahwatukee Foothills News, October 2016
Picture by Summit staff, Micki McIntyre

Most of us grew up memorizing math facts and definitions of terms. This short term memory trick may work for test success, but does little for understanding and applying math to solve real problems.

Can you recall trying to remember which way the greater than/less than symbol should be placed?  Would it have helped if you first designed your own large alligator mouth to place between real objects?

kindergarten-math_greater-than-less-than-sized-for-websiteChildren excel when math is taught through concrete, sensory experiences. The younger the child, the more important it is to provide hands-on, visual tools to create a deep understanding of concepts. This especially true when it comes to numbers and math symbols.  Children may be able to count very high, but does the number 58 really mean anything to them?

When introducing greater than and less than symbols, kindergartners need to have already built a strong understanding of more and less. My kindergartners do a lot of work with manipulatives when learning this and other math concepts. This helps them build a visual memory of numbers so that they can find patterns and see the relationships that numbers have to each other.

There are many things we do at Summit School of Ahwatukee to help children understand symbols and other abstract ideas. A fan favorite in my class is turning greater than and less than into a very hungry alligator, which would rather eat more, something that children can relate to. Our alligators always open their mouth towards the larger group of objects or larger numbers.

Children who are still working on building a visual understanding of numeric values can use objects or drawings to represent numbers. To create a visual, put items on two sides of a table, or in two boxes, or create spaces with tape for your objects. Many stores have inexpensive buckets of cubes or animals, or you can use Lego bricks, pennies, or other favorite things you have at home.

Ask your child to look at the items and ask which they think has more, from a visual perspective. Next have them count by touching each piece to confirm their prediction. Now place the alligator mouth so he can happily eat the most! Don’t forget to have your child make an equal sign on a card to use as well.

Use sticky notes, cards, or dry erase boards for your child to write the number next to each group.  This helps create a mental picture of the number and what it represents. Another idea is to use balance scales.  Students can weigh groups of objects to help them see more, less and equal while putting the correct symbol in the middle.

Making an alligators is fun, and kids can use it to model and talk about numbers in different ways. The alligator is a visual reminder to them about what the symbol means and they soon move on to using the symbol itself.

As children are ready to progress, use larger numbers or even expressions, such as 3 +2 on one side with 5 – 1 on the other.

It is also very important for children to talk through their thinking, explaining the strategies they use.   Take turns with your child reading the expression he or she made, and ask them to teach you how to determine which is greater or less and why. Explaining their thought process takes understanding to a deeper level.

In our kindergarten classroom, we ask students look at each other’s work, listen to each other describe the strategies they used, and begin to analyze someone else’s approach to see if they make sense.  Learning is enhanced when math is a team sport!  It should be a noisy process as children think out loud, ask questions, and listen to and talk with each other.

They should read the expressions they write, testing them to see if they make sense.  With the alligator project, one child might say, “10 is less than 12” while showing classmates the visual he or she created.  We teach children to listen carefully and either agree or disagree respectfully and explain why, combining a successful social skill with mathematical reasoning.

Seeing + touching + listening + explaining = visualizing and understanding! Why is this important? Think about your job.  How often does your boss ask you what 28 + 52 equals? Isn’t it more likely that you are asked to analyze a problem, and find a solution that can be communicated and implemented? Let’s prepare our children for more than test grades. Let’s help them prepare to be successful in life.

Erin Vosseller enjoys using her 18 years of experience to teach kindergarten at Summit School of Ahwatukee. She holds a bachelors of arts in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona, an Early Childhood Endorsement, a full SEI endorsement, and is CLIP (Collaborative Literacy Intervention Project) certified.  She also volunteers as an Assistant Director of Arizona Camp Sunrise and Sidekicks, a camp for children with cancer and their siblings, sponsored by the Southwest Kids’ Cancer Foundation.

Summit Alum hailed by NASA for winning design

kyle-corretteFormer Summit Student Kyle Corrette creates a 3-D model featured on NASA’s website, as his design was selected as the teen winner of the “Future Engineers 3-D Printing Star TrekReplicator Challenge.

Kyle’s brainchild was one of 405 submissions from 30 states. His design was selected by a panel of judges from NASA, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation and Made In Space, Inc.

Kyle’s success was also featured in Popular Science

In 2016, Kyle was named as semifinalist for a National Merit Scholarship. Finalist will be selected later this year.

When asked about his experiences at Summit, Kyle shared this: “One of Summit’s strengths is the ability to bring out the best within its students; kids can develop their logic skills in Mrs. Yocum’s science classes, while also cultivating their creativity as part of Chris Dorsey’s band. The school environment is geared towards building a stronger all-around person, so that no matter what discipline a student chooses to pursue, they have the ability to utilize more than one intellectual strength in their endeavors – something which I would say is absolutely necessary to be successful.

The faculty also highlights each student’s individual talents, aiding their self-confidence and personal growth. In the last few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure to meet and converse with astronauts, NASA engineers, leaders of nationwide STEM organizations, highly accomplished people within the media, and the CEO of Makerbot, one of today’s most prominent tech companies. If Summit hadn’t helped me to gain the self-assurance needed to be a competitor within this challenge, I would never have had these amazing experiences. In the future, I plan to continue to progress within the engineering field, and be a part of meaningful projects within the technological world. Everyone has to start somewhere- Summit was an excellent place to begin.”  Kyle attended Summit from Kindergarten through 7th grade

Summit alum Ben Fitch chosen to intern for U.S. Senator

ben-fitchSummit proudly shares the success of alumni Ben Fitch (class of 2009), who was chosen to serve as an intern for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, in Washington D.C.

Ben is a rising senior at the George Washington University pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Economics with a minor in Statistics.

In 2016, Ben was selected for the Atlantic 10 All Academic Team for the second consecutive year.  He currently maintains a 3.87 GPA and expects to graduate Summa Cum Laude in May of 2017.

Ben has long believed that renewable energy and increased efficiency provide an unique economic opportunity at every level of the private sector. His passion is renewable energy, which he has explored through his undergraduate career with a number of environmental, energy, and developmental economics courses.

Ben is also working as a research assistant on a global oil market project, conducting long-term economic analysis of international oil markets under the direction of Professor Frederick Joutz. Responsibilities include data preparation and analysis through programs Excel and E Views, as well as drafting reports.

During the 2015-2016 school year, Ben served as the Varsity Men’s Swimming and Diving Team Captain. Under his leadership, the program broke nine records and was nominated for community service team of the year. Ben was awarded the Men’s Community Service Athlete of the Year Award. This was particularly significant because the George Washington University Athletic Department won the NCAA Division 1 community service national competition.

Ben was also recently elected to the executive board of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and is serving as the community service chairman. He is designing and executing a strategic plan for community service for every varsity team.

Forward Together: from Head of School, Mark Bistricky

This week the faculty had opportunity to dig more deeply into our goal of equipping our students with both the content knowledge and the 21st century skills they will need for the future.  What are 21st century skills?  They start from a foundation of robust content knowledge.  Building on this base, students are challenged to develop their skills in the areas of creativity and innovation, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.  We call these the 4C’s, and they will be our emphasis this year.  21st century skills also include themes such as global awareness and economic/business/entrepreneurial literacy.  Information, media and technological skills are additional critical components, as are life skills such as initiative, adaptability, cross-cultural skills, productivity and leadership.  Many of these themes are already integrated into Summit’s curriculum, and our goal is to accentuate and expand their emphasis from Preschool through 8th Grade.

You may be wondering how a 21st century classroom looks differently than those we remember from our own days in school.  Here are a few examples:  teachers are learning facilitators, asking challenging questions and assisting students as they work through problems.  Because the learning process is as important as the product, teachers may not provide all the answers, but allow students to push through struggles to find the solutions themselves.  Students often work in teams, applying what they have learned to solving real-world challenges in areas such as the environment, economics, health or global issues.  Students demonstrate learning in a variety of ways– learning portfolios, multidisciplinary projects, and presenting plans and results. Summit’s focus on 21st century education will augment and extend our curriculum content as students develop their ability to apply what they have learned in creative and meaningful ways.

On behalf of the Summit staff, we are grateful to be able to serve your children and partner with you in helping them reach their full potential.

Mark Bistricky, M.Ed.
Head of School

Always moving “Forward Together” – Head of School update

The new school year is just a few days away, and we have been busily preparing for the students’ return.  The past week of teacher professional development and team building has us all energized and ready for an extraordinary school year.  Our theme for the year, Forward Together, will keep us focused on deepening relationships with our students, peers, and families as we continue to build momentum for Summit’s future.

I am very pleased to share the enhancements Summit has made in the past few months.

To continue fortifying our math program, we created two Math Coordinator roles.  Molly Danforth (2nd grade teacher), and Ashley Burbach (4th grade teacher), will be our Math Coordinators for Kindergarten – 2nd and 3rd – 5th grades respectively.  In these roles, Ms. Danforth and Ms. Burbach will provide leadership and coordination to bolster our math program’s rigor, comprehensiveness and enrichment, to meet student learning needs.

Completing the “Fund the Future” projects has been a priority for us this summer. Additional curriculum materials were added, and three campus improvement projects finished, with one more in the works that will be completed very soon.

Hands-on learning in Science has always been a curricular strength at Summit, and with the new FOSS Science kits, Elementary and Middle School Science classes will reach even higher levels of innovative thinking.

In preschool and kindergarten, innovative OSMO technology and iPads will now be augmenting our curriculum. OSMO actively engages students in physics, numeracy, literacy, coding and spatial skills, using brain-based interactive games.

The security improvement project is now complete. This included installing a magnetic secured entry system on the main lobby doors, removing a wall section that obstructed visibility to the side entry door, installing a new door to the nurse’s station to allow for greater visibility and access, and rebuilding the reception desk to improve its security and functionality. These enhancements will make the lobby a more secure entry point.  The secured entry system will be in full use later this fall, restricting entry to the front lobby, and requiring visitors to be buzzed in.

We also made major progress on Phase 1 of the playground improvement projects.

On the elementary / middle school playground, we installed new rubber mulch throughout the playground area, and are nearing the final installation of three shade structures over the playground and bleachers, as well as installing a mister system in these areas.  To provide safe playing surfaces for our students, we re-sodded the field, removed the gravel from around the grass area, and removed the boulders behind the basketball court.

The preschool playground also offers even more to our youngest learners. The fencing around the bike storage was removed, and pavers added near the sidewalk, significantly increasing the area for children to ride bikes and wagons and enjoy.

Thank you once again to our parents and supporters for your generous contributions that enable us to improve the Summit experience for all our students!

I’m looking forward to seeing you at Back to School Night!

Go Sabre Cats!

Mark Bistricky Head of SchoolWarm Regards,
Mark Bistricky
Head of School
Summit School of Ahwatukee

IOWA Assessment Testing Results: Summit School of Ahwatukee Students Score High Nationally

IOWA Assessment Testing Results

Student achievement results are an important way for parents to compare schools and make choices for their child.  We are frequently asked if we have standardized test results to provide evidence that Summit School of Ahwatukee provides a high quality academic program.

We are proud to share summaries of our standardized assessment scores as evidence of Summit students’ high achievement in science, mathematics, reading, and writing.

From 2006-2014, Summit grades 3-8 participated in state-wide AIMS testing and these data consistently indicated 90% to 100% of our students met or exceeded state standards in reading, language arts, mathematics, and science (science was tested only in grades 4 and 8).  In 2015 the AIMS test was discontinued by the State of Arizona.

Beginning with spring of 2015, Summit elected to use the Iowa Assessments  as  it is a well-established, nationally norm-referenced test that measures student learning in alignment with the College and Career Ready Standards, which served as the foundation for our more rigorous Summit Standards.

We proudly share our students’  2015 results for all subtests and composites within the domains of English language arts/reading and mathematics, as they are exceptional.

1) Where does Summit School stand in comparison with other schools nationally?

In every subject and grade level tested, Summit’s performance ranks at or near the top among the national distribution of schools. This can be gauged by examining the national percentile ranks of Summit’s average student standard scores among all schools’ averages in the national norming sample for the Iowa Assessments. These school-normed national percentile ranks are provided by grade and subject, and indicate Summit’s relative standing in a national distribution of schools. For example, all grades at Summit had a national percentile rank of 99 on the English Language Arts (ELA) Total. This means that in all grade levels tested, Summit students collectively performed better in ELA than those in 99 percent of schools. Similarly, on the Math Total scores, Summit students in grades 3-5 and grades 7-8 performed better, on average, than those in 99 percent of schools, and Summit 6th graders performed better than those in 95 percent of schools.

National Percentile Ranks of Summit’s Average Standard Scores among Schools Nationally

Iowa Assessments Administered in Spring 2015

Grade Reading Written Expression Conventions of Writing Vocabulary ELA Total Mathematics Computation Math Total Core Composite
Grade 3 99 96 99 99 99 99 99 99 99
Grade 4 99 99 99 99 99 99 97 99 99
Grade 5 95 98 99 94 99 99 97 99 99
Grade 6 91 96 99 89 99 95 98 95 97
Grade 7 94 99 99 98 99 99 98 99 99
Grade 8 93 97 99 90 99 99 99 99 99

2) How does a typical Summit School student perform in comparison with other students nationally?

A typical Summit student standard score is the average student standard score among Summit students in the named grade level and subject; this average score provides a reasonable estimate of students’ collective performance. The student-normed national percentile ranks shown in the table below indicate where the average Summit student’s score in a particular grade and subject is located in the national distribution of student scores. Nationally, the typical, or average, score for a grade level and subject is the scale score that corresponds to the 50th percentile of the national distribution of student scores. The table below shows that a typical Summit student ranks very well in comparison with the national distribution of students. The average Summit student is at or above the 81st percentile nationally on all ELA, Math, and Core composites.

National Percentile Ranks of Summit’s Average Standard Scores among Students Nationally

Iowa Assessments Administered in Spring 2015

Grade Reading Written Expression Conventions of Writing Vocabulary ELA Total Mathematics Computation Math Total Core Composite
Grade 3 86 81 84 87 87 90 85 90 88
Grade 4 86 84 82 90 92 86 81 87 88
Grade 5 77 80 81 79 87 84 80 85 84
Grade 6 74 79 81 75 85 78 81 81 81
Grade 7 78 82 84 88 90 83 81 85 86
Grade 8 76 79 88 77 88 88 84 89 88

Another way to gauge student performance is to examine grade equivalent scores. Typical Summit students, in all grades and subjects tested, achieve standard scores that are comparable to those of typical students who are several grades higher. Grade equivalent scores are decimal numbers provided by the test publisher that describe a particular standard score’s location on an achievement continuum scaled to reflect the grade level and months at which a typical student earned this same standard score (i.e., the grade level and months at which the same standard score would be at the 50th percentile). For example, the average standard score for Math Total among Summit’s 7th graders corresponds to the Math Total standard score earned by a typical student nationally who is near the end of 11th grade. More specifically, Summit’s reported grade equivalent for Math Total in grade 7 was 11.9, which indicates that the average student in the national sample achieved this scale score when 9 months into 11th grade. All other grade equivalent scores in the table can be interpreted in a similar manner.

Grade Equivalents of Summit’s Average Standard Scores by Grade and Subject

Iowa Assessments Administered in Spring 2015

Grade Reading Written Expression Conventions of Writing Vocabulary ELA Total Mathematics Computation Math Total Core Composite
Grade 3 6.0 5.7 5.5 5.5 5.7 5.7 5.1 5.5 5.5
Grade 4 7.6 8.4 7.1 7.0 7.6 7 6.3 6.8 7.1
Grade 5 7.9 9.4 8.9 7.5 8.6 8.4 7.7 8.2 8.3
Grade 6 9.0 11.1 10.7 8.4 10.0 9.3 9.4 9.3 9.6
Grade 7 11.2 13+ 13+ 11.1 13+ 12.2 11.6 11.9 12.6
Grade 8 13+ 13+ 13+ 11.4 13+ 13+ 13+ 13+ 13+

As we all know, test scores are only one part of the equation supporting the academic excellence at Summit School of Ahwatukee. Summit is a unique, affordable, and high performing private school with data to prove it!

Thank you for continuing to send your children to, or for considering attending  Summit School of Ahwatukee!

Summit School of Ahwatukee Preschool offers eight – $6,000 scholarships

Summit School of Ahwatukee is proud to partner with Quality First, First Things First, and the United Way. Through these programs we can offer eight children a $6,000 scholarship to join our NAEYC, nationally accredited preschool for the 2016-17 school year.

Preschool scholarships are for Summit’s academic school year, August 3, 2016 through May 17th, 2017, for a five day program. Hours are 8am – 3:15pm.

The scholarships are based on family income, with limits set by the state. Qualifying families are responsible to pay the tuition not covered by the scholarship, and the cost of before and after school care, or enrichment classes, if needed.

Learning in Summit’s NAEYC accredited Preschool is fun and enriching. The developmental, experiential, play-based curriculum, utilizes Teaching Strategies Gold objectives for teaching and learning. The curriculum is research-based, developmentally appropriate, and taught by experienced teachers, who nurture cognitive, social and emotional growth. Preschool also includes classes in Art, Spanish, and Music, Tumbling and Library. Preschoolers can range in age from 30 months to 5 years old, but must be fully independent in the bathroom.

Ahwatukee Foothills News voters have named Summit School of Ahwatukee one of the Best Preschools for 8 years in a row! Why? Students gain skills, above and beyond those needed, to thrive in kindergarten. They develop a joy of learning and inquiry.

Summit is a private preschool, elementary and middle school, located in Ahwatukee, on 46th street and Muirwood, just south of Chandler Blvd.

Click here to see if your family qualifies for a scholarship to attend the Best Ahwatukee Preschool_Summit School of Ahwatukee   then click on “Preschool Scholarships through Quality First” or call Summit’s admissions office at 480-403-9506 or to schedule your personal tour.

The importance and success of high quality Science instruction at Summit: Kindergarten – 8th grades

In creating a world-class academic program for 21st Century learners Summit has established a strong reputation for teaching communications, math and science.

  • Communication is the process of expressing our thinking and understanding, including the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  • Math has been called the language of science and Willis Harman, a noted engineer, social scientist, academic, futurist, writer, and visionary, described Science as “…the cognitive authority of the world.  It’s where we turn for our understanding of reality.”
  • Science is the language of precision and inquiry used around the world.

Science: At Summit we use the Full Option Science System (FOSS) curriculum as the foundation of our teaching.  Science classes are taught in lab settings, beginning in kindergarten and continuing through middle school.  Over the past three years we have been making changes to this core curriculum using ideas from the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) which include connections to Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) practices, crosscutting concepts, disciplinary core ideas, and the Summit Core Standards for English Language Arts and Math.

Science is inherently interesting, and children are natural investigators. Children learn science concepts best by doing science which is why 50% of middle school classes and over 70% of elementary classes focus on experiments; hands-on experiences with objects, organisms, and systems.  Hands-on activities are motivating for students, and they stimulate inquiry, curiosity and collaboration. Students at all grade levels investigate experiment, gather data, organize results, and draw conclusions based on their own actions.

Each year our fourth and eighth graders participate in the AIMS Science tests which are administered to students in public and charter schools across the state.  The AIMS test reports the percentage of students that meet and exceed state standards for science. The table below illustrates that over 90% of Summit students met or exceeded standards for the past six years.

Grade 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 AVG
4th 100% 100% 98% 91% 92% 97% 96%
8th 96% 100% 100% 100% 100% 93% 98%

We are very proud of our two amazing Science teachers, Andrea Yocum (middle school) and Lori Phillips (kindergarten – grade five), for inspiring our students to learn and love the language of Science.

At Summit we prepare your children for success as the students, workers and citizens of the future.  Thank you for continuing to send your children to Summit School of Ahwatukee.


If Adelle can name an album after her age then Summit is going to re-name January the “Happy 15th Month!”  This month we are celebrating our 15th anniversary!  Décimo quinto cumpleaños feliz!

Summit Parents are Invited! As a way of commemorating this special birthday we would like to invite parents to join our students and staff on Monday, February 1st  at 10:00 a.m. to take a group picture on the play field.  We would like everyone to wear a white-colored top so we can form the number “15.”

Let’s celebrate fifteen great reasons why your children belong at Summit:

  • Community – Students, teachers and parents who care about education and work together to make Summit strong!
  • Great Teachers – Educators who are passionate about inspiring learners and leaders for life!
  • Preschool – The happiest place on earth where child-centered education and life-long learning begins.
  • Elementary – Grades Kindergarten through five are the “wonder years” of learning to learn.
  • Middle School – Academic rigor, social development, study skills, electives, community service and athletics prepare well-rounded young adults for success in high School, college and beyond.
  • A Rich Variety of Special Curricula – Science, Spanish, Art, Music, Physical Education, Technology, and Library, designed to enhance our comprehensive liberal arts approach to learning.
  • Learning – Critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, presentation skills and communication are the 21st century skills that we teach, what  your children need to thrive and what they deserve from their education.
  • Safety – Summit provides the physical, social, emotional, and psychological safety that children need to be confident and unique.
  • Character – Summit’s Character and Respect Education (CARE) program combines character education and positive discipline in order to teach and support the behaviors that create a safe and healthy learning environment, and strengthen social and academic skills and confidence.
  • Leadership – Providing opportunities to cultivate the leader within each child is a priority at Summit.
  • Diversity – Our community values and celebrates our differences.  We need more talented kids and diverse families to join us!
  • Technology –  Teacher and student use of tech tools provides new opportunities for teaching, learning and creating.
  • Affordable – Keeping tuition reasonable, offering scholarship assistance, and Arizona’s prívate School tax credit helps families stay at Summit.  Can you afford not to have your child receive a high quality Summit education?
  • Happiness & Success & High Achievement in every experience, everyday in every classroom.

Thank you to our parents for sending your children to Summit!

Warmest regards,

Patrick O’Brien, Head of School

Summit School of Ahwatukee

Community Invitation to attend an inspiring documentary film “Beyond Measure”: dynamic learning environments that inspire

Summit School of Ahwatukee invites Summit families, friends and the community to experience the inspiring feature-length documentary film “Beyond Measure” on Thursday, January 14th from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm on the Summit School of Ahwatukee campus.

View a Trailer of Beyond Measure

The event is hosted by the school free of charge, however, registration is required. Click here to reserve a seat.

Six years after 2010’s award-winning movie “Race to Nowhere” rose to national prominence, Reel Link Films brings the inspiring film, “Beyond Measure” which shines a light on tenacious and cutting-edge alternatives to the stifling, high-pressure education system presented in its predecessor film.

Where many past documentaries have dwelled on the education crisis and the policies to blame, “Beyond Measure” follows public schools across the country as they take matters into their own hands, innovating from the inside. By spotlighting success stories, the film shows that it is possible to rise above America’s fixation on achievement tests and build a richer, deeper, more empowering, and student-centered education culture from the ground up. The Summit School of Ahwatukee is very proud to be able to feature this documentary.

“Beyond Measure is a road map for communities looking to put true learning at the forefront of their school experience,” says Timothy Quinn, Former President, Princeton Board of Education. “It demonstrates what students, educators and parents can achieve when they look beyond merely improving upon an outdated model of instruction to creating dynamic learning environments where every student can thrive.”

Notable people featured in the film include Sir Ken Robinson (international education expert and presenter of the most watched TED talk of all time), Linda Darling-Hammond (education advisor for President Obama’s 2008 campaign), and bestselling author Daniel Pink (Drive and A Whole New Mind). The film team includes Oscar-winning editor Jeffrey Friedman (Common Threads) and Executive Producer Lynda Weinman, founder of The film coincides with the release of director Vicki Abeles’ new book, also titled “Beyond Measure”. The book, published by Simon and Schuster, examines cultural and educational symptoms of the academic rat race and suggests steps big and small that readers can take to reclaim their schools and children’s lives. Called America’s “wake-up call” by Maria Shriver and praised by New York Times bestselling author Brigid Schulte as “one of the most important books of the early 21st century,” “Beyond Measure” is now available in book stores.

Reserve your complimentary seats today! Click here to reserve a seat.

Tuesday’s are BEST November 17, 2015

The purpose of BEST is to enrich the educational experiences and opportunities for the Summit School of Ahwatukee community through a close partnership among families, administrators and teachers.

In this Issue…

  • Activities Calendar
  • Request for Pictures of the Javanese Gamelan
  • Family Fun Night Update
  • Gift of Time Staff Appreciation ~ Volunteers Needed
  • Stay Connected

BEST Activities Calendar

20 Fri ~ Photo Retakes
24 Tue ~ Turkey Trot
25 – 27 ~ Thanksgiving Break, No School

4 Fri ~ Spirit Day, Pizza Lunch — 11:40 am – 12:55 pm
5 Sat ~ Family Fun Night at Perfect Pear Bistro, Parents Only — All Day
8 Tue ~ Winter Concert — 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
7 – 9 ~ Gift of Time Staff Appreciation Event
18 Sat ~ End of 2nd Quarter

Request for Pictures of the Javanese Gamelan

I hope you all enjoyed the exotic Javanese gamelan ensemble “Children of the Mud Volcano,” directed by ASU Ethnomusicology Professor Dr. Ted Solís. Dr. Solís was one of my main professors when I was at ASU, and it was great seeing him. He is hoping that some of you took videos or photos of his group and has asked me to help collect them. If so, please email Chris Dorsey.

Thank you!
Chris Dorsey

Family Fun Night Update

Thanks to everyone for joining us at last month’s Family Fun Night!

FFN_Fired Pie

Gift of Time Staff Appreciation ~ Volunteers Needed

It’s that time of year again! The annual Gift of Time Staff Appreciation event will be held Monday, December 7 – Wednesday, December 9, 2015. We are looking for volunteers to donate their gift wrapping talents and time and volunteers to donate some much needed holiday supplies. Please see the Sign-Up Genius for more information.

Many thanks,
Heather Wolownik & Jill Graham

Stay Connected

For questions or comments related to this newsletter, please email Neil Buckley.

To put your name on a committee, please email our Volunteer Coordinator or
speak with the Chairperson directly.


Future Head of School shares his vision and why he is excited to join Summit School of Ahwatukee

Written by By Joyce Coronel and published by the Wrangler News, November 20, 2015

Summit School of Ahwatukee will have a new leader for the 2016-17 school year, and he’s fired up about challenging students to learn in innovative ways. Mark Bistricky, who has led private schools in Arizona and California, becomes head of school for Summit, effective June 30.

Mark_Bistricky_Future Head of SchoolWith an undergraduate degree in history and master’s degrees in history and education administration, Bistricky comes to his new role eager to prepare students for the future.

“I think it’s critical for schools like Summit to connect innovation with education and to be forward-looking (and) entrepreneurial,” Bistricky said.

“Business and non-profit leaders say they need workers who can think outside the box, who can create, who can apply imagination, who combine facts and figures and source material from different areas in new ways,” he said.

What’s more, Bistricky notes, the traditional model of education, which consists of digesting information presented and then spitting it back on standardized tests, isn’t going to cut it.

“The problem is that there’s a very low level of learning that takes place in that model. They’re not being challenged to develop the kind of critical-thinking skills (or) the creative skills, the ability to apply what they’ve learned,” Bistricky said.

“I think that Summit already does a tremendous job of equipping the students with those kinds of 21st century skills, and I hope to be able to continue to develop those kinds of programs at the school.”

When asked about the specifics on how innovative learning could best take place, Bistricky gave a description of how students could learn about the desegregation of schools during the 1950s.

In Bistricky’s model, rather than hearing a lecture and receiving work sheets that provided a narrative describing the benchmark case of Brown versus Board of Education, students could learn at a deeper level by taking on the roles of make-believe members of the school board and of parents upset about desegregation and its related issues.

They’d be busy doing research about their character, engaging in dialogue, finding primary sources and sifting through period literature.

There could also be an artistic component where students create a picture or a portrait that symbolizes emotions or feelings or symbols of a particular period in history. They would have an opportunity to stand up in front of the class to make an argument or have the poise to answer questions from other characters in the play.

Bistricky also sees students going beyond classroom walls to learn.

“I think it’s really important for us to be a community school, one that is very connected, and that we’re inviting people in,” Bistricky said. “We want to create a learning community in which all want the same thing: for the child to be challenged.”

The pre-K through eighth-grade independent school boasts low student-teacher ratios and an extensive liberal arts curriculum.

“Independent schools can do innovative things with multi-disciplinary, project-based learning, where students are not just learning material but they’re actually putting it into practice in a real world setting,” Bistricky said.

So how did he catch this innovation bug?

“I first started teaching and ultimately became an administrator when I was living in San Jose, in Silicon Valley, during the technology boom in the early 2000s. So that experience and seeing the innovation and the creativity and the applied learning that was present with all of the technology companies and start-ups, it was a very exciting time for ideas and putting those ideas into action.

“And so I think that helped to form (who) I’ve become,” Bistricky said.

“I want to be an innovative educational leader who’s helping to pioneer new models that will serve our students more effectively in preparing them for a future that doesn’t exist and we can’t entirely predict.”

All this excellence and innovation doesn’t come cheap.

However, through a blend of tuition tax credits, corporate scholarships and financial aid scholarships, “It’s more accessible than you might think,” Bistricky said.

Math with Meaning: This is not your mother’s 6th grade math class.

By Melissa France, 6th grade math teacher, Summit School of Ahwatukee

Most of us grew up memorizing mathematical formulas and theorems to apply to numerical problems on a test.

Could we solve the test problems? Hopefully yes. Did we have any concept of why we memorized them, or what use the algorithms had in life? Rarely, if ever.

Fortunately, a sixth grade math class at Summit School of Ahwatukee looks and feels very differently than what we experienced.  The room is not full of children quietly computing calculations. Students are engaged! T hey are talking about math with each other and the teacher. Focusing on the task at hand, they work in teams to creatively arrive at various ways to find solutions to real scenarios.

Let’s take a look at how a recent lesson, regarding a cash box and a middle school dance, unfolded in sixth grade. Students are sitting with a partner and each partnership is presented with this problem: Emma was selling tickets at the middle school dance. At the end of the night, she picked up the cash box and noticed a dollar lying on the floor next to it. She was concerned about what to do with it and wondered whether the dollar belonged inside the cash box or not. The price of tickets for the dance was 1 ticket for $5 (for individuals) or 2 tickets for $8 (buddy pricing).  She looked inside the cash box and found $200 and ticket stubs for the 47 students in attendance.  Does the dollar belong inside the cash box or not? Convince me that your answer is correct.

6th grade math 1

Students immediately started trying to solve this problem using many different strategies. The best part about my job as a teacher is watching and listening to this learning take off! Instead of standing in front of the room and lecturing the entire class period, I get to facilitate the learning that is started through student engagement and excitement!

How does this engagement and excitement happen? What am I looking for in my classroom?

I want my students to be able to be mathematically proficient in making sense of problems and to persevere in solving problems. This was apparent as the students began to analyze the given information to develop possible strategies for solving the problem. Students didn’t stop and ask me for help when they got stuck, they talked it out with each other and kept going.

I want my students to be able to be mathematically proficient in reasoning abstractly and quantitatively. Students demonstrated this to me as they began to translate the given information into a mathematical representation.

I want my students to be proficient in constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others.  Not only were the students speaking mathematically while sharing their approaches and strategies respectfully with their groups, they were recognizing and using counterexamples to refine assumptions being made and disputing or disproving the given arguments! Wow! Our math classrooms at Summit look and sound a lot different than the classrooms I experienced as a sixth grade student.

math in 6th gradeWere you able to solve the problem? Does the dollar go in the cash box or not? Can you justify your answer? Our sixth graders did so be sure to ask them to check your work…don’t forget to justify your answer!




More about Melissa France
Mathematics: Sixth Grade
Life Skills: Seventh and Eighth Grade
Student Council Advisor: Fifth – Eighth Grade

FRANCE_MELISSAMelissa France earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education in 1998, with a minor in Psychology from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She is a member of NCTM, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Mrs. France brought her mathematics and leadership skills to Summit in 2001. She also serves a leadership role in Summit’s math curriculum; supporting teachers in the use of research based best practices, differentiating instruction and challenging students.

Mrs. France also serves as Summit’s Student Council Advisor, guiding students in leadership roles for school wide community service projects and spirit building activities. As a result of her service and leadership, she was named Educational Mentor of the Year in 2014 by the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce.

Mrs. France was also a recipient of a “Golden Gator, Excellence in Teaching Award” from Xavier College Preparatory High School. This award recognizes junior high teachers who have been inspirational to Xavier’s freshmen students.

Summit School of Ahwatukee Thanksgiving Food Basket Community Outreach Project ~ October 28 – November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving project_turkey imageWHAT? Thanksgiving basket food collection for Homeward Bound

WHEN? Collect food donations beginning Wednesday, October 28, through Friday, November 20, 2015

WHY? To provide a family in need with a complete, nutritious holiday meal

WHERE? Please return items for the basket to your classroom teacher by Friday, November 20, 2015

HOW? Select a feather from the turkey representing a food item needed to complete a family basket. Purchase the chosen item and return it to your classroom.

QUESTIONS? Contact any member of the Summit Student Council or Mrs. France

Thank you for sharing with others this Thanksgiving season!

Tuesday’s are BEST October 13, 2015

The purpose of BEST is to enrich the educational experiences and opportunities for the Summit School of Ahwatukee community through a close partnership among families, administrators and teachers.

In this Issue…

  • Activities Calendar
  • BEST Board Meeting this Friday at 8:30am
  • October Volunteer of the Month
  • Fall Book Fair Report
  • Staff Appreciation Report
  • Lunch Aide Needed at Summit!
  • 7th & 8th Grade Families – H.S. Presentations
  • Stay Connected

BEST Activities Calendar

16 Fri ~ BEST Executive Board Meeting – all are welcome, 8:30am – 9:30am
21 Wed ~ Family Fun Night at Fired Pie in Ahwatukee
27 Tue ~ High School Information Day at Summit, 1:15 pm – 2:00 pm and 2:05 pm – 2:50 pm
30 Fri ~ Middle School Dance in MPR, 7pm – 9pm

7 Sat ~ Global Awareness Day (Community Event at Summit)
13 Fri ~ BEST Executive Board Meeting – all are welcome, 8:30am – 9:30am
20 Fri ~ Photo Retakes

BEST Board Meeting this Friday at 8:30am

Hey Everybody! The BEST Board is having a meeting this Friday, October 16th from 8:30 – 9:30 am in the Conference Room. You are welcome to join us!

October Volunteer of the Month

Congratulations to John Gwinn!

October Volunteer of the Month_october

Fall Book Fair Report

Boof Fair_imageI would like to extend a huge thank you to the community for their participation and support of the Fall Book Fair! We successfully raised $2875 for the Knowledge Center! As you may know, our Knowledge Center is supported solely by BEST, namely revenues generated from our three book fairs each year. This is an amazing feat for a school, and we are proud of the commitment that our Summit Community has to supporting the KC, and also to Lori Christianson for her organization and fiscal responsibility in running our Knowledge Center.

Also, a big shout out to all of the Book Fair volunteers who helped with decorations, the book fair set-up, running the registers, handing out donuts and closing up the fair. Without all of them, the Book Fair would not be possible. Your work is priceless!

The following are our Fall Book Fair numbers:

Total Sales 2015 Fall: $11,498
Avg/Day: $2,300
Books Sold (Assumption*): 1271
Avg/Student*: 4
KC Funding: $2,875

With Gratitude,
Jennifer Hetrick
Book Fair Chairperson

Staff Appreciation Report

Do you ever wonder what the Staff Appreciation Committee does throughout the year? Here’s a sneak peek into September!

Staff Appreciation_image1 Staff Appreciation_image2

In September, the Staff Appreciation Committee focused on character traits. Each week Staff Appreciation hosted a raffle for the staff based on various character traits. In addition, the Staff Appreciation Committee hosted Grab n’ Go Curriculum Night Dinners and the first Chips and Dips Bar, which ended up being a huge success and staff favorite!

Coming up Next… The Staff Appreciation Committee will host the Annual Fall Soup Luncheon on Monday, October 26 for the staff. Traditionally, soups, breads, salads and desserts have been homemade by the community for the staff. Please see the Sign-Up Genius and choose an item you would like to share: Sign Up Genius We need your help!

The Staff Appreciation Committee provides the drinks, paper goods and décor. The Staff Lounge bulletin board for October has already been transformed, too.

Staff Appreciation_image3

Do you want to show your appreciation for the Summit Staff? Email Jill or Heather, Staff Appreciation Chairs, for more information!

Lunch Aide Needed at Summit!

We need another lunch aide daily from 11-1. If you or someone you know would like to help us out, and make a little money along the way, please contact Carrie Slade. Here are the details:

The position works with another Lunch Aide and teachers during the shift.

Position: Lunch Aide, part-time during school year
Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Approximately 10 hours/week
Dates: Days when school is in session
Pay Rate: $10.00 per hour

Job Duties:

  • Prepare kitchen items for lunch (ie: fill forks, spoons, napkins, placemats)
  • Set up benches
  • Make sure there is enough milk in milk cooler for students (take crate to milk cooler if necessary)
  • Monitor students for 3 separate lunch schedules (grades 3-5, grades 6-8, grades K-2)
    • Help students open lunch items
    • Make sure students are sitting down or excuse students to get items or use restroom
    • Make sure students are using proper lunch etiquette with voices and behavior
  • Clean/wipe tables before the start of each new lunch period and at the end of last lunch period
  • Tear down tables and put them away
  • Bag and empty trash (no more than 10 lbs)
  • Keep kitchen area clean and wiped down
  • Report low inventory of kitchen items to facility manager o Will act as back up to custodians if they are not working/on campus which includes sweeping and mopping floor
  • Turn on/off PA system
  • On occasion, will help deliver food/lunches to preschool students
  • On occasion, will help with pizza on spirit days (4x/year)

Requirements: Carrie will assist them in gathering these requirements:

  • Current Food Handlers Card
  • Fingerprint Clearance/Background Check
  • Current CPR certification
  • Current First Aid certification

Please contact Carrie Slade if you are interested in applying. Thank you!

Private High School Presentations, October 27th

Public high schools will present at Summit later this year.

All Summit Parents are invited – It is never too early to learn about high school choices.
All 7th and 8th grade students will attend.

Private High schools presenting on October 27th include:

  • Brophy College Preparatory: all boys, Catholic
  • Phoenix Country Day School: coed, private
  • Seton Catholic Preparatory: coed, Catholic
  • Valley Christian High School: coed, Christian
  • Xavier College Preparatory: all girls Catholic

Presentation times:

  • Presentation One: 1:15 – 2:00 PM
  • Presentation Two: 2:05 to 2:50 PM

Parents: If for any reason you do not want your child to attend these presentations, you may pick them up early that day. Please let teachers know of your plans in advance. We will not have an alternative class for 7th and 8th grade students to attend.

Please contact Kathy Konrad with any questions.

Stay Connected

For questions or comments related to this newsletter, please email Neil Buckley.

To put your name on a committee, please email our Volunteer Coordinator or
speak with the Chairperson directly.


Tuesday’s are BEST September 22, 2015

The purpose of BEST is to enrich the educational experiences and opportunities for the Summit School of Ahwatukee community through a close partnership among families, administrators and teachers.

In this Issue…

  • Activities Calendar
  • Book Fair This Week!
  • Sabrecat Volleyball
  • And the Winners Are…Sabrecat Spirit Trophy Winners
  • Masquerade Casino Night
  • 7th & 8th Grade Families – H.S. Presentations
  • Stay Connected

BEST Activities Calendar

21-25 ~ Fall Book Fair and Picnics at school
24 Thurs ~ 4th Grade Picnic, 11:30 am – 12:02 pm│1st Grade Picnic, 12:20 pm – 12:50 pm
25 Fri ~ MS Picnic, 11:55 am – 12:27 pm│1st Grade Picnic, 12:20 pm – 12:50 pmPhoto Retakes
26 Sat ~Masquerade Casino Night at Summit, 6pm – 9pm

16 Fri ~ BEST Executive Board Meeting – all are welcome, 8:30am – 9:30am
21 Wed ~ Family Fun Night at Fired Pie in Ahwatukee
27 Tue ~ High School Information Day at Summit, 1:15 pm – 2:00 pm and 2:05 pm – 2:50 pm
30 Fri ~ Middle School Dance in MPR, 7pm – 9pm

7 Sat ~ Global Awareness Day (Community Event at Summit)
13 Fri ~ BEST Executive Board Meeting – all are welcome, 8:30am – 9:30am
20 Fri ~ Photo Retakes

Book Fair This Week!

Don’t miss Summit’s 2015 Fall Book Fair!

This year’s theme is “Monsters” and you won’t believe the transformation when you enter the Knowledge Center!

Stop by the KC anytime this week during morning drop off, lunch hour or after school and peruse our vast selection of “Books with devouring!” Don’t forget Donuts @ DropOff on Tuesday morning and Pick Your Picnic throughout the week!

All proceeds support the KC!!Boof Fair_image

Book Fair Hours:

  • Morning 7:30 am – 9:00 am
  • Lunch 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
  • After School 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm

The Book Fair will close at 1:00 pm on Friday!

Gratefully your Book Fair Chairs,
Jennifer, Heather & Stephanie

Sabrecat Volleyball

Hey Sabrecats,

Join us this Friday and Saturday to cheer on our 7th/8th grade girls volleyball team! We’ll be taking on the Horizon Honors volleyball team in a double header on Friday starting at 4pm, and on Saturday don’t miss out on an awesome opportunity to catch the girls playing in the Fall Volleyball Invitational tournament put on by PCPS.

And the Winners Are… Sabrecat Spirit Trophy Winners

Well done, Sabre Cats! There was lots of school spirit on campus last Friday for our first Ice Cream Friday Sabrecat Spirit Day! The kids looked great in their Summit t-shirts, and the winners of the Sabrecat Spirit Trophies are…

Elementary School Sabrecat Spirit Award: 2A Mrs. Anderson

Middle School Sabrecat Spirit Award: 7th Grade with Mrs. France

Masquerade Casino Night

Summit School’s Casino Night is coming up on Sept. 26th, 6pm – 9pm.
RSVP to Jessica Suzuki.

FALL_2015 final

Private High School Presentations, October 27th

Public high schools will present at Summit later this year.

All Summit Parents are invited – It is never too early to learn about high school choices.
All 7th and 8th grade students will attend.

Private High schools presenting on October 27th include:

  • Brophy College Preparatory: all boys, Catholic
  • Phoenix Country Day School: coed, private
  • Seton Catholic Preparatory: coed, Catholic
  • Valley Christian High School: coed, Christian
  • Xavier College Preparatory: all girls Catholic

Presentation times:

  • Presentation One: 1:15 – 2:00 PM
  • Presentation Two: 2:05 to 2:50 PM

Parents: If for any reason you do not want your child to attend these presentations, you may pick them up early that day. Please let teachers know of your plans in advance. We will not have an alternative class for 7th and 8th grade students to attend.

Please contact Kathy Konrad with any questions.

Stay Connected

For questions or comments related to this newsletter, please email Neil Buckley.

To put your name on a committee, please email our Volunteer Coordinator or
speak with the Chairperson directly.


Tuesday’s are BEST September 15, 2015

The purpose of BEST is to enrich the educational experiences and opportunities for the Summit School of Ahwatukee community through a close partnership among families, administrators and teachers.

In this Issue…

  • Activities Calendar
  • September Volunteer of the Month
  • Family Fun Night at Fuddruckers
  • Masquerade Casino Night
  • 7th & 8th Grade Families – H.S. Presentations
  • Stay Connected

BEST Activities Calendar

16 Wed ~ Fuddruckers Family Fun Night
17 Thurs ~ NO SCHOOL; Parent Conferences
18 Fri ~ First Ice Cream Friday School Spirit Day – wear spirit shirt!
21-25 ~ Fall Book Fair and Picnics at school
21  Mon ~ PS Picnic, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm│3rd Grade Picnic, 11:30 am – 12:02 pm │K Picnic, 12:20 pm – 12:50 pm
22 Tues ~ Donuts @ Drop-off, 7:45 am – 8:15 am│5th Grade Picnic, 11:30 am – 12:02 pm │2nd Grade Picnic, 12:20 pm – 12:50 pm
24 Thurs ~ 4th Grade Picnic, 11:30 am – 12:02 pm│1st Grade Picnic, 12:20 pm – 12:50 pm
25 Fri ~ MS Picnic, 11:55 am – 12:27 pm│1st Grade Picnic, 12:20 pm – 12:50 pmPhoto Retakes
26 Sat ~Masquerade Casino Night at Summit, 6pm – 9pm

16 Fri ~ BEST Executive Board Meeting – all are welcome, 8:30am – 9:30am
21 Wed ~ Family Fun Night at Fired Pie in Ahwatukee
27 Tue ~ High School Information Day at Summit, 1:15 pm – 2:00 pm and 2:05 pm – 2:50 pm
30 Fri ~ Middle School Dance in MPR, 7pm – 9pm

7 Sat ~ Global Awareness Day (Community Event at Summit)
13 Fri ~ BEST Executive Board Meeting – all are welcome, 8:30am – 9:30am

September Volunteer of the Month

Congratulations to our September Volunteer of the Month, Jennifer Hetrick!

Each month the teachers nominate volunteers for making a difference in their classroom and/or around the school. Thank you to Jennifer for her dedication and hard work as BEST Book Fair Chair the past two years. The Book Fairs are very important to the Knowledge Center, as well as the Summit community. We appreciate the planning and time Jennifer gives to make these events a great success! As part of celebrating Jennifer this month, she gets sole use of the Volunteer of the Month parking spot, located alongside the MPR, for the entire month of September. You are a rock star, Jennifer!

Family Fun Night at Fuddruckers

Our next FFN event will be September 16th from 4:00pm-9:00pm at Fuddruckers in Tempe. Come have fun with your fellow Summit Community while supporting BEST.

FFN_Fuddruckers_flyer image

Masquerade Casino Night

Summit School’s Casino Night is coming up on Sept. 26th, 6pm – 9pm.
RSVP to Jessica Suzuki.

FALL_2015 final

Private High School Presentations, October 27th

Public high schools will present at Summit later this year.

All Summit Parents are invited – It is never too early to learn about high school choices.
All 7th and 8th grade students will attend.

Private High schools presenting on October 27th include:

  • Brophy College Preparatory: all boys, Catholic
  • Phoenix Country Day School: coed, private
  • Seton Catholic Preparatory: coed, Catholic
  • Valley Christian High School: coed, Christian
  • Xavier College Preparatory: all girls Catholic

Presentation times:

  • Presentation One: 1:15 – 2:00 PM
  • Presentation Two: 2:05 to 2:50 PM

Parents: If for any reason you do not want your child to attend these presentations, you may pick them up early that day. Please let teachers know of your plans in advance. We will not have an alternative class for 7th and 8th grade students to attend.

Please contact Kathy Konrad with any questions.

Stay Connected

For questions or comments related to this newsletter, please email Neil Buckley.

To put your name on a committee, please email our Volunteer Coordinator or
speak with the Chairperson directly.


Tuesday’s are BEST September 1, 2015

The purpose of BEST is to enrich the educational experiences and opportunities for the Summit School of Ahwatukee community through a close partnership among families, administrators and teachers.

In this Issue…

  • Reminder – BEST Fall Forum this Thursday night at 6pm
  • Activities Calendar
  • Unlocking the Mystery Behind Spirit Days
  • Global Awareness Day – Call for Volunteers
  • Book Fair
  • Masquerade Casino Night
  • Stay Connected

Reminder – BEST Fall Forum this Thursday night at 6pm

The BEST Fall Forum is this Thursday night, September 3rd from 6-7:30pm in the
Knowledge Center. This is for all members of BEST, that is Summit parents and
staff. Please make other arrangements for your children. We will cover BEST
business, hear from our Head of School, and from Summit’s Board of Trustees
Chairperson. Meet new people and ask questions. I look forward to seeing you there!
– Kristi

BEST Activities Calendar

3 Thurs ~ BEST Fall Forum (All Parents) – KC, 6pm – 7:30pm
7 Mon ~ NO SCHOOL; Labor Day
16 Wed ~ Fuddruckers Family Fun Night
17 Thurs ~ NO SCHOOL; Parent Conferences
18 Fri ~ First Ice Cream Friday School Spirit Day – wear spirit shirt!
21-25 ~ Fall Book Fair and Picnics at school
21  Mon ~ PS Picnic, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm│3rd Grade Picnic, 11:30 am – 12:02 pm │K Picnic, 12:20 pm – 12:50 pm
22 Tues ~ Donuts @ Drop-off, 7:45 am – 8:15 am│5th Grade Picnic, 11:30 am – 12:02 pm │2nd Grade Picnic, 12:20 pm – 12:50 pm
24 Thurs ~ 4th Grade Picnic, 11:30 am – 12:02 pm│1st Grade Picnic, 12:20 pm – 12:50 pm
25 Fri ~ MS Picnic, 11:55 am – 12:27 pm│1st Grade Picnic, 12:20 pm – 12:50 pmPhoto Retakes
26 Sat ~Masquerade Casino Night at Summit, 6pm – 9pm

16 Fri ~ BEST Executive Board Meeting – all are welcome, 8:30am – 9:30am
21 Wed ~ Family Fun Night at Fired Pie in Ahwatukee
30 Fri ~ Middle School Dance in MPR, 7pm – 9pm

7 Sat ~ Global Awareness Day (Community Event at Summit)
13 Fri ~ BEST Executive Board Meeting – all are welcome, 8:30am – 9:30am

Unlocking the Mystery Behind Spirit Days

Are you confused about the difference between a Spirit Day (September 11th) and an Ice Cream Friday when you are supposed to wear your spirit shirt for a spirit contest? (September 18th) I can understand why! Spirit Days with pizza are run by the Student Council and have a theme attached to them, such as sports, or wacky day. Students and staff dress according to the theme. Student Council was just elected (congratulations to our new school leaders!), and they will be meeting this week to decide on all the themes for spirit days this year. Stay tuned…On these days, pizza is served from Preschool – 8th grade. Parents need to send money in with their child earlier in the week to pay for this pizza. Look for information and a flyer about the pizza to come home during that week.

Ice Cream Friday spirit contests are new this year. Student Council and BEST are teaming up for this new idea and launching the first one on September 18th. On these days, EVERYONE should wear their new blue Sabrecat spirit shirt to show their spirit. Everyone Preschool – 8th grade can bring $1 in that day to purchase ice cream from student council. There will also be a school spirit contest among elementary grades and middle school grades that day. The goal is to demonstrate as much Sabrecat spirit as possible that day. Specific ideas on how to do that will be shared before that event. The class in elementary school and in middle school that shows the most spirit that day will win the Sabrecat Spirit Trophy to take back to their classroom and proudly display until the next Ice Cream Friday spirit contest (those happen quarterly). Once it’s time to relinquish the trophy, the class will leave a legacy in or on the trophy as a memento of their class. Over time, the trophy will acquire décor and memorabilia from different classes, and be a proud representation of Summit Sabrecat Spirit! Please note that there is no trophy for preschool, as it’s not a good fit for them at their age. However, they will be shown how to display Sabrecat spirit and they will participate in all other parts of the day.

If you still need to purchase a Sabrecat Spirit Shirt for your child, please contact Melissa France, Student Council Advisor, and she will get you one. They are $10 each. If you would like for your child to have a spirit shirt, but financially it’s an obstacle, please contact Melissa France and she will arrange for BEST to sponsor a shirt. We want everyone to be able to participate! Let’s go Sabrecats!

Global Awareness Day – Call for Volunteers

Do you have a cultural experience or talent you would like to share with the Summit Community? Maybe it’s a special dance or a favorite food. Are you part of a group that performs cultural art? We want you! Plans for the BEST fall community event, Global Awareness Day, scheduled for Saturday, November 7th, are underway! This will be a day of global cultural celebration on the Summit campus for all Summit families! We will welcome a variety of entertainment, art, activities and food to enjoy. We will have a combination of professionals and Summit families who contribute to this wonderful day! If you would like to contribute to this event, please contact Kristi Kreiner. Thank you!

Book Fair

This year’s book fair is coming up on the week of September 21st to September 25th. We are looking for decorating volunteers to help make the space look great. The decorating meetings are:

  • September 9th, 1pm – 3pm
  • September 10th, 9am – 11am

If interested, please contact Jennifer Hetrick.

Masquerade Casino Night

Summit School’s Casino Night is coming up on Sept. 26th, 6pm – 9pm.
RSVP to Jessica Suzuki.

FALL_2015 final

Stay Connected

For questions or comments related to this newsletter, please email Neil Buckley.

To put your name on a committee, please email our Volunteer Coordinator or
speak with the Chairperson directly.


Summit School of Ahwatukee Selects Next Dynamic Head of School

Summit School of Ahwatukee is proud to announce that Mark Bistricky has been appointed as the next Head of School, effective June 30, 2016. Summit is a private, independent school of approximately 350 preschool through 8th-grade students in Phoenix, Arizona, that is committed to promoting academic excellence and developing in its students a love of learning through an innovative, thematic curriculum.

The search process for a new head was initiated last year due to the planned retirement of Pat O’Brien, who has led Summit for the past eight years through a period of growth in enrollment, academic programs, and extracurricular offerings, as well as the attainment of accreditation. Mr. Bistricky was hired through a rigorous, multistage, international search. Corey Saba Basha, Chair of the Summit Board of Trustees, led the search efforts in conjunction with a Head of School Search Committee comprising five trustees and assistance from the national search firm Triangle Associates/Heads Up Educational Consulting.

The Board of Trustees unanimously agreed that Mr. Bistricky has the ideal experience, skills, and personal traits to lead Summit School of Ahwatukee in accordance with its mission. Describing his enthusiasm for this position, Mr. Bistricky noted, “In addition to the excellent faculty and staff, what attracted me to Summit is its commitment to research-based and innovative education. Many schools teach students facts. Facts are important, but they are not enough. The world’s need for individuals who can synthesize and apply knowledge imaginatively to solve problems will keep growing. Summit School is perfectly poised to meet this critical need and to expand its reputation as a leader in education.”

Mr. Bistricky was raised in Phoenix. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Whittier College (magna cum laude), he holds two Master of Arts degrees: one in History from University of Arizona, and the other in Education Administration from Santa Clara University. He has over seven years of experience as head of school/principal, including positions in both private and parochial schools. Mr. Bistricky is currently Head of School at Tesseract School in Phoenix. Prior to this position, he had served as Head of School at Valley Christian High School in Chandler, Arizona, and as Principal at Holy Spirit School in San Jose, California.

Mr. Bistricky is a dynamic professional who will bring creativity, passion, and strategic vision to guide the school in the spirit of a liberal arts approach that fosters development of students’ academic, social, creative, and physical skills. Regarding desired qualities for the Summit Head of School, Corey Saba Basha noted, “I envision a person who will teach our children to manage in the world we live in today and also in a world we have yet to encounter, who can manage in chaos, who is willing to roll up their sleeves and show leadership in all domains at Summit, and who is willing to teach shoulder to shoulder and lead by example. Mark Bistricky, our new Head of School, has demonstrated the ability to do just that.”

Tuesdays are BEST August 18, 2015

The purpose of BEST is to enrich the educational experiences and opportunities for the Summit School of Ahwatukee community through a close partnership among families, administrators and teachers.

In This Issue…

  • BEST Activities Calendar
  • Skateland Family Fun Night
  • Book Fair
  • Masquerade Casino Night

BEST Activities Calendar

21 Fri ~ Skateland Family Fun Night 4pm – 6:30pm

3 Thurs ~ BEST Fall Forum (All Parents) – KC 6pm – 7:30pm
7 Mon ~ NO SCHOOL; Labor Day
16 Wed ~ Fuddruckers Family Fun Night
17 Thurs ~ NO SCHOOL; Parent Conferences
18 Fri ~ First Ice Cream Friday School Spirit Day – wear spirit shirt!
21-25 ~ Fall Book Fair and Picnics at school
26 Fri ~ Masquerade Casino Night at Summit 6pm – 9pm

Skateland Family Fun Night

Skateland_outfront Did you get your Skateland ticket for the Family Fun Night this Friday 4pm – 6:30pm? If not, you can still pre-purchase tickets or buy them at the door. Hope to see you all there!


Book Fair

This year’s book fair is coming up on the week of September 21st to September 25th. We are looking for decorating volunteers to help make the space look great. The decorating meetings are:

September 9th, 1pm – 3pm
September 10th, 9am – 11am

Masquerade Casino Night

Summit School’s Casino Night is coming up on Sept. 26th, 6pm – 9pm.FALL_2015 final


2015 Let’s Move! Active Schools NATIONAL AWARD: Summit School of Ahwatukee ~ the top physical activity and physical education distinction for K-12 schools

Let’s Move! Active Schools, a sub-initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign announced its 2015 National Award honorees.

Summit School of Ahwatukee was one of 15 schools in Arizona and five hundred and twenty-five U.S schools representing 37 states, recognized for their outstanding efforts in creating an Active School environment and increasing physical activity and physical education opportunities for students.

The Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award is the top physical activity and physical education distinction for K-12 schools. The award celebrates a school’s commitment to integrating at least 60 minutes of physical activity before, during and after the school day.

“These schools are raising the bar by creating Active School environments where students are happier, healthier, and higher-performing.  I am thrilled with their success through Let’s Move! Active Schools – they’re helping to create a new norm where physical activity is a fundamental aspect of a young person’s success both in the classroom and in life,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.

Letter from Michelle Obama to Summit School of Ahwatukee ~ National PE award 2015

This is the second time Summit School of Ahwatukee has earned received this national honor.  “We owe so much to our physical education teacher, Kathy Dean, who has worked tirelessly to help create a culture of health and wellness at Summit,” Head of School Patrick O’Brien proudly shares.

Studies show that Active Kids Do Better. Physical activity not only helps kids stay healthy and strong, but it can also lead to higher test scores, improved attendance, better behavior in class, and enhanced leadership and interpersonal skills.

“The Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award is the nation’s top physical activity and physical education distinction for K-12 schools,” said Charlene Burgeson, Let’s Move! Active Schools Executive Director. “We commend Summit School of Ahwatukee’s exemplary work and commitment to active learning environments. Summit’s faculty, staff and students are paving the way to a healthier, higher-performing and more successful generation of youth.”

To earn a Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award, a school must have met significant benchmarks in five areas: physical education; physical activity before and after school; physical activity during school; staff involvement; and family & community engagement.

Summit School of Ahwatukee’s programs exceed in all these areas, in large part thanks to PE teacher Kathy Dean, who was instrumental in developing Summit’s physical education curriculum focusing on physical and nutritional health. She also initiated the middle school sports program, and created a before school running club at which 50 or more students and parents voluntarily run or walk on the school’s field twice each week.

Dean began and continues to organize the annual family turkey trot, and the school’s field day, which also focuses on developing leadership in middle school students who help run the event. Last year she held a successful pedometer challenge for the school’s teachers and staff, encouraging healthy goals for daily steps.

Students benefit academically from Dean’s initiatives as she provides training to staff, sharing “brain break” activities teachers successfully use in the classroom to help young minds stay fresh and engaged.

However, from the student’s perspective the most important and best loved initiate of Dean’s is the daily morning recess / snack break enjoyed by kindergarten through eighth grade students. In addition to lunch recess, students thank her in spirit each day as they enjoy ten minutes on the playground tire jumper, shooting hoops, running on the field, or simply chatting with classmates as they enjoy a healthy snack. “We all need a break to stay fresh and motivated,” explains Dean.

Why does she do it? “The biggest reward for me is the tremendous buy in from the entire school community: teachers, staff, parents and kids, to lead healthy, active lives,” says Dean with visible warmth.  “It is true that active kids are more successful academically, but they are also happier. You can actually feel the joy of students, teachers and parents on Summit’s campus. It is wonderful to experience.”

Honorees are provided with a banner, certificate and congratulatory letter from the First Lady. Recognition packages were generously sponsored by BOKS, Build Our Kids’ Success, a free before- and during-school physical activity program aimed at getting kids’ bodies moving and their brains ready to learn.

Summit School of Ahwatukee Mathematics inspires deep understanding, critical thinking and confidence in Preschool through Eighth Grade

Summit School of Ahwatukee mathematics curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students who have varying backgrounds, knowledge and skills.  The three main goals of the program are to develop mathematical skills, to foster an attitude toward mathematics that encourages subsequent learning and application of mathematical concepts and skills, and to prepare students for high school, college and careers that will require a strong mathematical foundation.

Summit’s Core Standards for Mathematics are based on Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards, Mathematical Practices and Math Progressions.  These standards define what is to be learned by the end of a school year or course. The math curriculum, materials and activities are developed by educators, aligned to the standards, focused on important math skills and concepts, well-articulated across all grades and intended to be responsive to the unique needs and interests of Summit School of Ahwatukee students.

Scroll below the graph to read more about the mathematics curriculum materials, student assessments, differentiation, and home learning by grade.


Math Progression_Summit School of Ahwatukee_a sequence chart


PRESCHOOL: Using research-based activities from the Erikson Institute’s Big Ideas in Early Mathematics, preschool students develop strong foundational numeracy skills that align with Summit Core Standards. Numeracy is embedded daily in all core content areas, and is also introduced through large and small group activities.

GRADES Kindergarten – 5th: Foundational skills and concepts are taught using Math Expressions (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

GRADE 6: Foundational skills are extended to prepare students for success in Pre-Algebra and Algebra using Digits (Pearson).

GRADES 7 & 8: Coursework is sequenced to prepare students for success in high school mathematics using Pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry texts (McDougall Littell).


At Summit School of Ahwatukee, our mathematics classes foster an environment where students are seen as mathematicians and leaders. Each class, or mathematical community, encourages mathematical discussion among the students. In our math classrooms, students communicate their thinking, analyze the suggestions of others, justify their conclusions, respectfully debate a mathematical idea and defend their reasoning. Participating in these types of discussions allows our students to further develop their mathematical language and communication skills, take ownership of mathematical ideas and gain a deeper understanding of the mathematics being discussed. Our lively and enthusiastic math classes create an environment where students understand the importance of mathematics in their life and future careers.


Throughout the school year, students at Summit are being assessed, formally and informally, to identify their mathematical strengths and areas for improvement. For example, at the beginning of each math unit, each student completes a pre-assessment that assesses the mathematical concepts for the upcoming math unit. The data from the pre-assessment enables the teacher to identify which specific skills each student has already grasped, the skills to which they need more exposure and concepts the students have not yet been introduced. Identifying the students’ prior knowledge allows each teacher to differentiate the unit’s lessons according to the students’ needs.

In addition, students are frequently informally assessed during math lessons so that the teacher can adjust future lessons according to what each student needs further practice or instruction.

Assessments are an important component of Summit’s mathematics program as the formative and summative assessments provide teachers, students and parents with feedback on each child’s mathematical progress and growth.


Another central component of Summit School of Ahwatukee’s mathematics program is differentiation. Our teachers provide learning opportunities that keep each student’s individual academic needs, interests, learning style and readiness in mind in order to ensure productive student growth.  For example, when a student needs to be challenged with a specific math concept, Summit teachers will provide enrichment activities for that student. Enrichment activities and flexible grouping strategies allow students to expand their learning by studying the particular concept in more depth, and applying the math skills to new situations. Activities that involve accelerating students into above grade level textbooks or out of grade level groups are not used in Summit’s elementary classes as students in these grades are developing a strong mathematics foundation so that they will experience success in later mathematics courses.


Summit students are given opportunities to reinforce classroom math learning at home, beginning in kindergarten.  Our home learning assignments support and enhance our academic instructional programs. Math home learning assignments typically include two components: practice and application of current math concepts being studied, and cumulative review of previously taught math concepts. The math home learning assignments are not only beneficial to the students but to parents as well. Communicating with your child as they complete their assignment, or after they complete it, gives a parent an understanding of how the child is doing mathematically.

Because we value family and leisure time, most of Summit home learning is designed to take place four nights per normal week, Monday through Thursday, and not on weekends, holidays or breaks.

Celebrating 15 Years of Excellence ~ Summit School of Ahwatukee

From the Head of School, Summit School of Ahwatukee

This year’s theme is “Celebrating 15 Years of Excellence: Summit Serves. Summit Leads. Summit Exceeds.”  Summit School of Ahwatukee was founded on January 15, 2001 as a non-profit independent school.  The founders of the school envisioned a school community where students would attain academic excellence while respecting individual achievement and diversity.

The school has flourished over the years and has gained a strong reputation as an excellent preschool through eighth grade, supported by a highly- involved parent community.

Summit’s elementary and middle school are nationally accredited through North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI). Preschool recently earned national accreditation for the third time through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).  Both of these accreditations signify the completion of rigorous self-study processes, commitment to continuous improvement and critical reviews by external accreditation teams.

In addition to an exceptional academic curriculum, we are so fortunate to have the highest caliber of teachers and staff, who make a positive difference in the lives, learning and success of your children.  We are also very proud of our students who are confident, articulate, engaged and happy about learning, and respectful of each other and their teachers.

We happily welcome our new and returning families who join us this year in celebrating fifteen years of excellence.  As we face the future together, I feel very fortunate and honored to be your Head of School.  Our remarkable partnership with all of you, the strong support of our parent organization, “BEST” and the Board of Trustees, and our incredibly caring and talented staff makes Summit School of Ahwatukee a very special school community, where children fall in love with learning and are inspired to be learners and leaders for life.

Warmest regards,
Patrick O’Brien
Head of School
Summit School of Ahwatukee
4515 E. Muirwood Drive, Phoenix, Arizona 85048
Main School Phone: 480-403-9500
Fax: 480-403-9599
Toll Free: 1-866-713-8102

Developing strong reading skills in young children is a journey, not a race 

Written by: Faith Angelakis, Literacy Specialist Summit School of Ahwatukee

Faith Angelakis, the reading specialist at Summit School of Ahwatukee, has a poster hanging prominently on her office door that says: 10 Ways to Become a Better Reader: 1) Read, 2) Read….10) Read. “I often hear students chuckle as they walk by and read the poster,” says Angelakis with a smile. “It may seem simplistic, but reading to young children may be the biggest head start to building a solid literacy foundation, preparing child to read well when the time is right.” Here are just a few of the benefits that parents teach when reading aloud to children.

• Reading fluency: Hearing an adult provides an excellent example of smooth, properly phrased, and expressive oral reading. When it is time for your child to read, the lessons modeled will be remembered and emulated.

• Story language and vocabulary: When an adult reads, the child hears language and vocabulary that aren’t always used in everyday conversations. Reading builds vocabulary and your child’s ability to understand and communicate both orally and with descriptive written words.

• Directionality and 1:1 correspondence are important. Point at the words as your read to your child; this teachers that English is read from left to right, that spaces around the print indicate where a word starts and ends, and that each spoken word matches one on the page.

• Developing a love of reading may be the most important of all. Think of all the literature, textbooks, news, or professional reading we do in a lifetime. It shouldn’t be a chore. Make reading time with your child part of the daily routine. Your child will associate reading with positive experiences, developing an intrinsic motivation to continue.

• Talk about the book: Simply recounting what was read may help memory, but what does your child think about the book? What other setting could the story be in? What other choice could the characters make or what would your child do? Show how changing a word or voice can change the meaning.

Let the racers race. Making reading part of your family’s routine will do more than earning some reading “prize”; it will lay the foundation to a successful journey to reading and learning.

About the Author:


Faith Angelakis holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, a Reading Specialist endorsement and is CLIP certified, (Collaborative Literacy Intervention Project).

Through collaborative efforts with grade level teachers, she leads the school’s preschool and elementary literacy team. Ms. Angelakis works with teachers, to help them continue to develop professionally, by modeling lessons or team-teaching units. She also helps teachers plan literacy instruction for the year, and provides professional reading materials about the most recent teaching techniques.

Additionally, Ms. Angelakis works directly with students in kindergarten through third grade classrooms, teaching reading to small groups of students, at their instructional reading level.




First and Fourth place state math honors earned by Summit School of Ahwatukee 7th and 8th graders


Algebra may be a high school level class, but middle school students at Summit School of Ahwatukee thrive in advanced coursework. This year seventh grader Emma Lee earned the highest score in the state on The Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics (AATM) annual state-wide Algebra competition.

Her Summit School of Ahwatukee classmates also excelled. Mayari Merchant tied for the fourth highest state score. Elena D’Avanzo and Eric Wilda placed in the top 10% of all Arizona students taking the exam.

Their teacher, Christy Menard is thrilled, but not surprised. This is the fifth year that Menard’s students have placed in the top ten percent, or in the top four state scores. “My students have an amazing aptitude and attitude about learning and excelling,” exudes Menard. “They are wonderful young adults who love the challenge, are respectful, and collaborate to support each other to be the best they can in and out of class. They make my job as their teacher extremely fun and rewarding.”

Merchant agrees, “My friends and I have such a healthy competition betwixt us that we push each other beyond what we think we are capable of.”

D’Avanzo credits her teacher and classmates, “I have always loved math but Mrs. Menard helped to expand my love for the subject and enrich my learning. Having a class filled with caring friends inspires me to better myself and encourage others.”

“Mrs. Menard is the best teacher, and makes math simple” agrees Wilda, “and great classmates give me the courage to excel and be the best I can be. Thank you Mrs. Menard and Summit for believing in me.”

What does Arizona’s first place recipient think? “Math class with Mrs. Menard is a place where all students can interact with each other, and get to explore new ways to get to the solution, explains Emma Lee with a warm smile. “Friends like Mayari, Elena, Eric and all my classmates at Summit will be with you all the way, until you can solve for “x.”

An excelling middle school prepares students for success in high school and college. One component: high skill levels in technology

For the past three years, Summit has had a 1:1 iPad program, asking students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades to obtain an iPad for use in classes. The goal is to expand the use of technology by students, and to provide opportunities to enhance collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creative skills.

During this time we have seen technology change rapidly.  Now tablets of all kinds are available, and families often own multiple personal computers of differing operating systems, in addition to tablets and cell phones.  Students will need to have technological skills that can translate to any platform.  Therefore, our technology model needs to shift to meet this need.

Summit School of Ahwatukee is proud to announce that beginning in 2015 – 2016, the middle school will shift its 1:1 technology model to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).  Families will now have several options when deciding what form of personal technology each student should bring.  This is manageable for us since each student will have access to Microsoft Office 365, which means that everyone – regardless of device or platform – will use Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and other Microsoft products to produce work.  Cloud-based storage will provide a means for students and teachers to share work back and forth.

An Android, iOS, or Windows tablet will be acceptable, as will a Windows or Apple laptop.  Devices will need browsing capability but will not need data plan agreements as students will use our Wi-Fi connections while at school.   Students must use the network while at school to ensure compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act.

Cell phones will not be allowed as devices used in the classroom for educational purposes.  Use of any device is subject to the Acceptable Use Agreement and its addendums, found in our Middle School Handbook, and is also subject to the guidelines established by the school and teacher for classroom management.  Any inappropriate use will fall under the school’s discipline policy.   Similar to other personally-owned items, the school is not liable for the loss, damage, misuse or theft of personally-owned devices.  It is the responsibility of each family to provide adequate insurance for devices and to protect them with cases.  In addition, Summit cannot provide technical support or install software on personally-owned devices.

In the fall, we will offer both student and parent “boot camps” to help your family understand how this device will be used in the classroom.  Summit is excited to transition to the next stage of technology use in the middle school, and we are pleased to offer this opportunity for students to experience learning using the same devices they use to engage with their multimedia world, and to inspire learning while creating independent, critical thinkers.

Warm regards,
Patrick O’Brien, Head of School
Summit School of Ahwatukee

The depth and joy of learning in elementary specials classes at Summit School of Ahwatukee

There is nothing ELEMENTARY about Learning in Art, Music, Science, Spanish and Technology in kindergarten – fourth Grades

 April 2015

ART ~ Kathleen Kupper & Selene Kupper


Transportation designs evolved from sketches to final models as students explored the career of industrial design. Printmaking studies invite students to create linear etchings and images that overlay a colored painting. Vocabulary and printmaking processes provide the working techniques to make multiple images. The framed prints are ready for student portfolios. The classroom theme of Growing Things unfolds in the studio with a series of projects. Our first project begins with the story of a student’s science experiment that rains oversized vegetables across the world! We discuss Cezanne’s still life paintings. Students develop drawing skills by realistically depicting a still life of fruits and vegetables. Observational skills are sharpened.

First Grade

First Grade art students researched, sketched, and illustrated depictions of animals and habitats. Realistic drawing, wettodry glazes, and wetonwet watercolor techniques were learned as students produced works for the culminating event. Props for stages sets were constructed to add texture and depth. In addition to producing a glass bowl for the Summit Auction, students learned the working techniques and vocabulary for fused glass art. Using skill and imagination, each first grade student has created their own glass art to take home.

Second Grade

Second Grade constructed handmade pamphlet bound books with waxed linen and beaded spines. The books become part of a classroom writing project. Using fusible millefiori, glass flowers, students created an enchanting vase for the Summit Auction. In addition, the students used millefiori to make their own fused glass surprises! We are studying the artworks of Georgia O’Keeffe and exploring watercolor glaze techniques and compositional devices. As students become immersed in the new classroom theme, we will begin looking at industrial and graphic design through a series of new design projects.

Third Grade

Third Grade was introduced to batik designs from African, Indian, and Indonesian cultures as we celebrate Summit’s Global Awareness Day. Research and sketches evolved into final resist drawings on fabric. Textile paint glazes activate the symbolic drawings with vibrant color stories. Removing the resist added another dimension to our excitement and discovery. Crisp white line drawings emerged and activated the fabric surface. Hand stitches of colored floss complete the works. We completed a collaborative glass platter for the upcoming Summit Auction. In addition, we are exploring new directions in fused glass art. Each student is creating multiple glass components that will form their own complex glass art.

Fourth Grade

Fourth grade studied batik designs from African, Indian, and Indonesian cultures as we celebrate Summit’s Global Awareness Day. Research and sketches evolved into final resist drawings on fabric. Textile paint glazes activate the symbolic drawings with vibrant color stories. Removing the resist added another dimension to our excitement and discovery. Crisp white line drawings emerged and activated the fabric surface. In preparation for the Taliesin West fieldtrip, we are learning about Wright’s architecture and contributions to twentieth century culture. Imagining we are apprentices in the Fellowship, students design and model their own desert shelters. We are looking forward to the tour of Taliesin West.

MUSIC ~ Jennifer Horne


We created music that was inspired by various photos of nature. We enjoyed listening to our creations and having our classmates try and figure out which photo the music was based on. We are also being introduced to how the steady beat in music can be shown with green magnets placed on the board. These magnets can also be arranged to show a song’s melody, how it goes up and down in pitch.

First Grade

We have been creating music to represent the animal and/or habitat we are studying in the home classroom. We are also developing our singing skills through the Habitat Song.

Second Grade

Our focus has been tempo—or the perceived speed of the music. Using a song from American musical heroine Ella Fitzgerald (“ATisket ATasket”), we first passed a ball around the circle on the steady beat at various speeds—slow, fast, medium, getting faster, getting slower, etc. We showed the tempos we used with pictures that look like sine waves – big waves spaced out for slower music and waves closer together for faster music. We have also created our own music and identified the tempo of our music or how it changes tempo.

Third Grade

Coinciding with their study of sound in Science class, we are exploring how to make a variety of sounds with just one object. We recorded these sounds and then listened to them not knowing which object we were hearing. We were challenged to identify the object and more importantly describe the sound’s tone color with apt adjectives, such as “crackling,” “squeaky,” etc. We also started to explore various ways of categorizing these objects and their sounds – based on material, the quality of the tone color, etc. Finally, we are in the stage of inventing and making our own instruments using recycled materials. We will also learn about the HornbostelSachs system of classifying musical instruments.

Fourth Grade

Our focus has been texture in music. We are learning how songs can be put together with various parts—such as a bass line, an ostinato (a repeated pattern), a melody, chords, a rhythmic part, and perhaps another melody. Using the song “I Love the Mountains,” we learn the various parts and decide which part should begin the song, which should come in next, third, etc. We make a texture chart to show when each part plays—kind of like a musical score. Eventually, we will examine a score that uses traditional musical notation. We are also or will be creating our own music in small music and making a texture chart that shows each part and when it plays.

SCIENCE ~ Lori Phillips


The kindergartners are strengthening their observation skills while learning about trees. So far the students have learned the functions of the main parts of a tree (roots, trunk, branches, and leaves), participated in several activities (discussions, puzzles, games, and observations of real trees) to identify properties of conifer and broadleaf trees, and compared and contrasted a variety of leaves. Their favorite activity by far, however, has been the tree scavenger hunt! In teams of two, the kindergartners ventured outside using their observation skills to locate a tree based on the properties they were given in a picture of just a small part of a tree.

First graders

The first graders have begun to study the moon. The unit began with a discussion of what objects are in the “sky”. The brainstorming list contained everything from an insect to a satellite.  As the students shared their thoughts, the list was separated into two categories. After some more discussion and thinking, the students were able to figure out that the list had been sorted into a category of objects that are always in the “sky” (celestial) and others that come and go (transient). We then discussed the night sky vs. the day sky and received confirmation that the moon can sometimes be seen during the day. The first graders were also introduced to model making as they made scale models to represent the size of Earth and our moon. First grade students will also be discovering what causes the moon to appear to change shape (phases).

Second grade

The second graders have finished up their Science / Technology unit. After gaining an understanding that technology is not just electronics and computers, students researched one technology that used science to solve a problem, including clothing, eyeglasses, and baskets. We have also focused on a few scientists that have made contributions to society through their discoveries and inventions. Students have been exposed to Isaac Newton and his Three Laws of Motion, Alexander G. Bell and his telephone, Thomas Edison and his kinetoscope, and Dorothy Hodgkins and her study of crystals. While learning about these scientists, the second graders have also seen inertia in action as they tried to get a hex nut into a bottle, learned how sound travels as they made cup phones, reviewed how the eye sees as they made thaumatropes, and observed properties of salt crystals.

Third graders

The third graders learned a variety of properties of light and sound. They discovered that there are different types of sources (luminescent, and non luminescent), the path light takes, what causes different reflections (regular, diffused), why a pencil appears to bend in water (refraction), and that visible light is actually a spectrum of colors. While exploring sound, it was confirmed that sound is caused by vibrations and that sound can be used to send messages such as a fire alarm. Third graders worked with a variety of instruments (tongue depressor, sound generator, kalimba, xylophone, waterphone, and string beam) in which they discovered that the strength of a vibration changes the volume of sound and that pitch is affected by both the speed (frequency) of a vibration as well as the length of the object that is vibrating.

Fourth grade

Fourth graders have been exploring electricity and circuits this quarter. Working together they were able to figure out how to get a light bulb to light up with a Dcell and two wires, and then with one wire. They were then given additional components to make a circuit that they did not have to hold together. While exploring their completed circuits, the fourth graders came to understand concepts such a series and parallel circuits, short circuits, open and closed circuits, and conductors and insulators.

SPANISH ~ Elsa Conti

Kindergarten amigos

Kindergarten amigos began to practice terminology from “los sentimientos” (feelings) unit. The kindergarteners practiced the expressions: “me siento feliz” (I feel happy) “me siento triste” (I feel sad), “me siento sorprendido” (I feel surprised), “me siento enojado” (I feel angry.) Also, students began to study “ Transportes” (Transportation) unit. Students practiced the words: “el carro” (car), “el taxi” (taxi), “el carro de policía” (police car), “el avión” (plane), “el tren” (train), “el bote” (boat), “el autobús” (bus), and “la bicicleta” (bicycle).

First grade

First grade amigos reviewed vocabulary and songs from last quarter’s curriculum and began to practice terminology from “criaturas del mar” (ocean creatures) unit. The first graders practiced the words: “el delfín” (dolphin) “el pez” (fish), “el pulpo” (octopus), “la tortuga del mar” (seaturtle), “el tiburón” (shark), “la estrella del mar” (starfish), “la medusa” (jellyfish), and “la ballena” (whale.) Also, students reviewed animal’s vocabulary from The Polar region, The African savannah and The rainforest as they played an interactive game on the smartboard.

Second grade

Second grade amigos reviewed vocabulary and songs from last quarter’s curriculum and began to practice terminology from: “El alfabeto en español” (Spanish alphabet.) The second graders compared and contrasted the English and Spanish alphabets and reviewed the letters “ch” “ll” “ñ” and “rr”. Also, students researched words that start with letters “a” (agua, azul, amigo, arriba) and “e” (elefante, estrella, excelente, escuela) and played “lotería del alfabeto en español” (Spanish alphabet bingo.) Also, students took turns presenting their “Ocupaciones” (Occupations) power point presentations.

Third grade

Third grade amigos reviewed vocabulary and songs from last quarter’s curriculum and began to study “Los Países de Latinomérica” (Latin American Countries.) Students brainstormed different countries where Spanish is the official language. They began a powerpoint; which included countries, capitals and flags of Latin American countries. They learned different facts about Argentina. Also, the third graders wrapped up last quarter’s unit by finishing “Mis favoritos” (My favorites) and “Los Animales” (Animals) powerpoint presentations.

Fourth grade amigos

Fourth grade amigos learned how to describe their favorites by using the expression: “Me gusta” (I like). “Me gusta jugar el fútbol Americano” (I like to play football,) “Me gusta leer el libro Sobrevivi” (I like to read the book Survival) “Me gusta comer la pizza” (I like to eat pizza,) “Me gusta cantar Blank Space” (I like to sing Blank Space,) etc. Students reviewed basic Spanish dialogues and began to practice terminology from “El Sistema Solar” (The Solar System) unit. Also, the Fourth graders continued to present their weather projects. I am very impressed with the students’ ability to read their scripts in Spanish and their unique and creative ways to display their movie. Parents, thank you so much for your support!

TECHNOLOGY ~ Gail Soderquist


Students continue to practice their keyboarding skills in Dance Mat. We have a poster in the lab where they can record their name when they finish a level during class. Students also practiced typing a document recently about the Statue of Liberty and a spring poem. We also reviewed some computer vocabulary and talked about how we get the Internet in the lab. Satellites and how they help us with communication on earth was also a topic of discussion during class.

 First grade

Students have been creating some items for the upcoming culminating event about animals and habitats. One class session they edited headings for their posters by changing fonts and colors. These were then saved to their folder on the network. They also imported a photo of their animal and typed captions underneath, which was a several step process. They did a wonderful job doing these tasks in class!

Second grade

Students have been practicing their keyboarding skills and also doing some activities that tie in with their theme of business and economy. One of those activities was a virtual lemonade stand where they had to choose different options in order to end up with a profit for their business. Another activity was called Coffee Shop where they had similar choices and one where they had to keep track of their spending and debt. Last week students created flyers for their class snack business.

 Third grade

The environment and endangered animals has been the theme that we have been tying lab activities into lately during class. There are a number of interesting web resources where students have learned about these issues. Currently they are working on a PowerPoint presentation about a particular endangered animal, which includes descriptions and reasons why they are threatened. Next week we will be working on a word processing activity about recycling.

 Fourth grade

Students have been doing keyboarding practice in during class, and also learning about Mythology on various web resources. Recently they began working on a presentation on this topic, and will learn how to add music to it. The next presentation program we will learn about is Prezi, which is a web based tool with so many exciting options.

Mighty Hearts – A Mighty Impact

Homeward Bound announced that Summit School of Ahwatukee wins this year’s “Mighty Heart Award” for collecting the most diapers per student of all participating schools in Arizona!

Homeward Bound, Arizona’s largest provider of transitional housing, is expressing its gratitude by scheduling a day for the Phoenix Suns Gorilla to visit Summit’s preschool through eighth grade students, and by giving a $1,000 to the school!

And what do Summit’s student council and its adviser Melissa France, who spearhead the annual drive, plan to do with the money? Pay it forward of course, by increasing Summit’s donations to Homeward Bound’s Diaper Drive and Thanksgiving Basket drive for 2014!

“I am so proud of our students and our community!” exclaims France. “Thank you Summit, from the bottom of my heart, for all of your help and support. Together we are helping our students learn the importance of giving back!”

This is the second time that Summit School of Ahwatukee has led Homeward Bound’s annual drive. In 2011they collected 20,493 diapers – more than any Arizona school.

“Melissa and Summit School have provided over 200,000 diapers, which helped our clients and been shared with other non-profit organizations across the valley,” shares Vicki Piña, Homeward Bound’s Special Projects Manager. “Melissa is a wonderful and caring woman that we love and appreciate.”

Beyond the obvious benefit of the donations, is the impact on the future leaders of our community, our children. Each year France takes her student council to Homeward Bound to tour and see firsthand how their projects impact kids and families. Eileen Rogers, Founder of the Annual Baby Diaper Drive, believes that this type of involvement “allows students to develop their creative and leadership skills, ultimately creating empathetic and amazing future adults who will be good citizens in our communities.”

Earlier this year, the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce named Melissa France the Educational Mentor of the Year, in part due to her leadership with the Summit student council and their ten year support of Homeward Bound.

Homeward Bound is a nationally recognized model of success. The 12 to 24 month program provides transitional housing and comprehensive services to assist families achieve economic independence, secure long-term, safe, decent, affordable housing and break multi-generational cycles of homelessness, welfare dependence and domestic violence. To learn how you can help:

Four Summit School of Ahwatukee Alumni Qualify as 2013 National Merit Semifinalist

Summit School of Ahwatukee congratulates 2010 graduates Marissa Patel, Kelsey Harrison, Nora Mencinger, and Bomi Johnson who are now part of the prestigious and elite group of 2013 National Merit Semifinalists.

“Often high schools of 2,000 to 3,000 students have at most only a handful students earn this distinction. For Summit to have four students in a graduating class of 29 is exemplary,” exclaims Head of School, Patrick O’Brien. “We are clearly proud of these graduates, and of the caliber of our teachers and curriculum.”

Marissa Patel - resized for Facebook

Marissa Patel, a Summit valedictorian, attends Xavier Preparatory High School. She aspires to attend an Ivy League school and becoming a doctor. Her weighted GPA of 4.5 indicates that her dream will likely become reality.

 “At Summit I discovered my love for learning,” exclaims Patel. “The middle-school years really helped to prepare me for my high school experience. Through the broad curriculum and engaging teachers, I was able to create a strong foundation for the wide-range of subjects taught in high school. The close-knit bonds made during my eight years at Summit allowed me to have the confidence to face the larger environment of high school. I am incredibly thankful for the liberal arts education as it has shaped who I am today!”

 Who Patel is today is a very busy and accomplished leader. She is a member of Xavier’s Key Club, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honors Society, National Spanish Honors Society, National Honors Society, Quill and Scroll Honors Society, Unity in Diversity Club, a Student Ambassador, a sprinter on Xavier’s track team, and the current Editor-in-Chief of the school yearbook. Additionally, this year Patel and sister Monika created the first Xavier / Brophy Hope-a-Thon event: a cancer fundraiser walk for the City of Hope, to benefit cancer research and patient treatment.

Kelsey HarrisonKelsey Harrison, also a senior at Xavier, received Summit’s 2010 Sabre Cat Award which recognizes enthusiasm, service, attitude and academic excellence. The award proved to be given to the right person as Harrison still volunteers in Summit’s preschool summer camps. Also an accomplished guitarist, she began taking lessons with Summit’s middle school music teacher Dr. Chris Dorsey, when she was 5, and remains a student of his today.

At Xavier, Harrison continues her legacy of service as the Spanish Club president, and an active member of The National Honor Society, Key club, Spanish National Honor Society, the Diversity Committee, Leadership Council, and the Academic Decathlon team.  Additionally, she is a teacher’s assistant for AP biology and AP chemistry. She is an AP scholar with distinction and has won awards related to the National Spanish Exam.  She began Spanish as a student in Summit’s preschool. Amidst all this Harrison has earned a 4.5 weighted grade point.  Harrison exclaims, “Summit is a great community and the teachers are amazing.  Because of Summit I was well prepared for advanced classes at Xavier.” 

Nora MencingerNora Mencinger, who will graduate from Mountain Pointe High School, hopes to attend MIT, combining her passion and abilities in science and math.  “I’m interested in going out of state as it will be a rich and hopefully rewarding new experience,” explains Mencinger. Her weighted grade point of 4.83 will likely have MIT anxious to have her enroll. When asked what influence Summit had on her education she shared, “Summit teachers provided a culture of encouragement and of always trying your best that prepared me very well for my successes in high school and beyond.”

Bomi Johnson Bomi Johnson, who will graduate from Desert Vista High School, is an accomplished musician on the piano and flute. She has won many awards for both instruments and has performed with numerous groups, including the Phoenix Youth Symphony, the American String Teachers Association National High School Honors Orchestra, the Arizona All State Band, and North Central Region Orchestra, and the National Honor Band of America. Johnson also runs with the Desert Vista Cross Country team and has leadership positions with the Desert Vista National Honors Society, Desert Vista STAND Club and is a member of the Model United Nations, Desert Vista Symphony Orchestra.

Giving her time and talent to the community is also important to Johnson, who volunteers at the Desert Botanical Garden, as a docent, camp counselor, and special events. She is also the president of the Melodic Minors, a charitable organization which consists of high school musicians in the Phoenix area, who play for various events, including musical fundraising for the Phoenix Youth Symphony.

 This is the fifth Summit graduate to earn this distinction.  2008 Summit graduate Brett Reardon was a National Merit Finalist. He was co-salutatorian of his 8th grade class at Summit. Brett Reardon

Summit School of Ahwatukee Student Council leads school’s 10th annual Thanksgiving drive to help Homeward Bound

Summit School of Ahwatukee Student Council leads school’s 10th annual Thanksgiving drive to help Homeward Bound

After each feather was plucked from the paper turkey, grocery items were purchased, baskets were arranged, letters were written and games and books were added, the Thanksgiving Baskets were complete! Large, functional thanksgiving turkey pixlaundry or wicker baskets brimmed over with all of the tasty ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, including gift certificates for perishable items, festive napkins, and a fall table cloth. Summit’s Student Council used funds they earned throughout the year to add children’s books and a board game to each basket! Special thanks to Andrea Evans-Elwell and Laura Bachrach for a large donation of books. Special thanks also go to all of the students who donated their Halloween candy for cash. The $40 collected from the candy was used to help fill in missing items from classroom baskets. All throughout the school, from Pre-School to 8th grade, students took pride in knowing that they helped a family in need enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with their families this holiday season.

Student Council Officers and Representatives delivered 30 overflowing Thanksgiving baskets to community outreach organization Homeward Bound, a Phoenix-based non-profit helping struggling families on Monday. Students were taken on a tour of the Homeward Bound facility in order to get a first hand look at the daycare, a housing unit, and the campus in which some of the recipients of our baskets are currently living.thanksgiving basket pix 1

Homeward Bound’s housing and social services has assisted thousands of families rebuild their lives by helping parents develop social skills and professional capabilities they need to live independent, successful and hopeful lives. Services include: transitional housing, case management, employment services, hands-on training by local professionals, education and life skills training, counseling, and nurturing, affordable child care. Visit to learn how to help.

Our kids are helping other kids this holiday season. Just one more reason I love working at the Summit School of Ahwatukee!photo 1 baskets

Summit School of Ahwatukee math teachers Christy Menard and Molly Danforth honored as finalists for the Private School Teacher of the Year Award

Arizona Council for American Private Education (AZCAPE) has announced the finalists for this year’s Arizona Private Education Excellence Awards, dubbed the “Private School Teacher of the Year” awards.

Two Summit School of Ahwatukee teachers, Christy Menard and Molly Danforth, have the honor of being selected as finalist from over two hundred nominations, made by administrators, teachers, parents, students and alums from both faith-based and independent private schools.









“AZCAPE looked for private school teachers and staff members who model integrity, fairness, compassion, and resiliency; have a passion for education and the community served; value innovation and creativity; instill leadership by example; and promote giving back to the community,” explains Sydney Hay, AZCAPE Executive Director. “We believe that our finalists are educators who, in the eyes of the community, model outstanding service to the students, and are passionate and committed to developing the potential in each student. They help their students see their dreams come true.”

Christy Menard teaches high school Algebra and Geometry to Summit School of Ahwatukee middle school students. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 her algebra students scored in the top 10% on the Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics state-wide Algebra math competition, with four students in the top 10 state scores.  Menard’s passion for math and teaching exudes from her classroom, where students can be found daily over lunch or before school, voluntarily spending extra time delving into math concepts.

Molly Danforth loves teaching second grade, and as a National Board teacher with a master’s degree, and close to twenty years of teaching experience her students are the beneficiaries. She also serves as Summit’s elementary math peer leader. “We differentiate math instruction based on the student’s level for each new math concept taught in kindergarten through sixth grade,” explains Danforth. “Couple that with hands-on methods of teaching, and having children explain their thinking, we truly get to develop our students’ deeper, critical thinking and problem solving skills.”

AZCAPE will recognize three teachers this year: one from preschool through 3rd grade, another from grades four to eight, and a high school teacher. The final winners will be announced at a reception held in the finalists’ honor on the evening of October 22, 2013 at the Goldwater Institute at 500 E. Coronado in Phoenix. 

 AZCAPE is an affiliate of The Council for American Private Education, a coalition of national organizations and state affiliates serving private elementary and secondary schools.  There are over 33,000 private schools in the United States; in fact, one in every four schools in the nation is private. 

More than five million students attend them nationally. CAPE member organizations including AZCAPE represent more than 80 percent of private school enrollment nationwide.

Summit School of Ahwatukee Student Council fosters leadership, responsibility, school spirit and promotes community service!

Summit School of Ahwatukee has had an active Student Council since 2001 led by Advisor, Melissa France.  Each August, students are encouraged to run for elected office. Students in fifth through eighth grades are elected through a process outlined by the Student Council bylaws, which requires students to obtain recommendations from three teachers, the Head of School, and five peers.

Next the candidates create a poster that demonstrates their strengths for the office they strive to achieve. Finally, students prepare a two to three minute speech to present to the student body on Election Day.

Students may run for the following positions based on grade levels.

President: 8th Grade
Vice President: 7th Grade
Treasurer: 8th Grade
Secretary: 6th Grade
Sergeant at Arms: 6th or 7th Grade
Grade level representatives: Two per grade in grades 5th – 8th

Community service is a key component of the Summit Student Council and is a student-wide focus.

Student Council at Summit School of Ahwatukee fosters leadership, responsibility, school spirit and promotes community service.”
Melissa France, Student Council Advisor

Student Council Store

Visit our front office to place an order for new Summit School of Ahwatukee spiritwear. Each year Student Council members decide on the apparel, purchase the items to stock in the store. Students also organize and manage the store, fill orders, and ensure delivery of orders to the community.

Who: Students in grades 5- 8 are elected to office in August in compliance with the by-laws. Student Council committee membership is a voluntary sign-up, open to all students in grades 6-8.

What: Student Council organizes the following events/activities for the school community. 
• Spirit Days and Pizza Lunch – Student Council selects the themes and sponsors contests or provides items to enhance the day, such as the Neon Bracelets for Neon Day. Student Council also organizes, orders, and serves pizza during Spirit Day.

• Community Service – Student Council organizes, advertises, collects and delivers annual Thanksgiving Baskets and diapers for the Diaper Drive. Both events help support  Homeward Bound, an organization that assists families transition from homelessness to independent living.

• Ice Cream Fridays – Student Council purchases, sells, and advertises for the monthly Ice Cream Friday sales.

• School Support – Student Council members also provide support to school in the form of events such as Jump Rope for Heart. Student Council supports Summit’s Character and Respect Education program (CARE) by providing students with an opportunity to be the Sabre Cat, save $5 on school store items, or receive certificates for free ice cream or pizza lunch through the CARE ticket drawing.

When: Student Council is active from August through May of every school year. Summit has had an active Student Council since 2001. Student Council meets weekly with Mrs. France, the faculty advisor, during lunch and recess time on Wednesdays.

Where: Student Council is mainly active on campus. 

Why: Student Council provides an opportunity for student leadership, school wide community service projects and spreading school spirit.

How Student Council supports the community:
The officers and representatives do speak and work with the larger community through their work in organizing and promoting school-wide community service projects. For the past several years the Student Council has spearheaded support of Homeward Bound through the school’s drives for Thanksgiving Baskets and the holiday Diaper Drive. Student Council officers and representatives tour Homeward Bound in November to learn more about this community location and the people we are helping.

How Student Council supports our school:
Student Council is able to fund activities and gifts to the school through the Spirit Day pizza lunch sales, ice cream sales, and school store profits. All monies made by Student Council are used to give back to the school and or the community.

Student Council spends an average of $250 a year to supply board games, $250 to purchase books and any missing grocery items to complete the Thanksgiving Baskets.

Additionally, Student Council purchases a gift to the school each year. Gifts have included:

  • Sabre Cat mascot costume
  • Podium used for Morning Meetings
  • Sabre Cat rugs outside the offices
  • Picnic benches for middle school lunches
  • Lifelong Guideline banners hanging in the Multi-Purpose Room
  • Stage curtains
  • A new set of encyclopedias for the Knowledge Center
  • A cart for recess athletic supplies
  • During the 2013-2014 school year Student Council was proud to sponsor a 7 speaker series for the school in partnership with notMYkid.

Student Council keeps records of all monetary transactions and reports it to the administration and business office quarterly.

Kindergarten – 5th Science: Look what they are learning now!

by Elementary Science Teacher: Lori Phillips


Kindergarten Scientists have continued their exploration of trees.  They reviewed the term property by going on a tree hunt.  They were given a variety of photos that were taken from our school yard trees.  Each pair of kindergartners had to identify which tree their picture was of by observing the properties in the photograph as well as the real trees.  This week we also began discussing the life cycle of a tree.

Some of the adventures the students will have before the year is through are: observing the inside of seed to see how a plant begins, gain an understanding of trees being a renewable resource, as well as making their own piece of plywood and particle board.

After the First Grade Scientists discovered that salt water has more matter and is therefore denser, they saw that this density enables objects to float easier in the ocean than in fresh water.  The students are now discovering general properties of water, such as it is adhesive and cohesive, it can be absorbed, and it can climb up.  After observing these properties in action with a drop of water and a paper towel, they are conducting an experiment to find out how this relates to plants.

Second Grade Scientists continued their exploration of some human body systems.  A model of the heart was constructed after learning its role in the circulatory system.  The next system they focused on was the respiratory system.  After learning the parts of the respiratory system, the students were amazed to find out that breathing occurs because of air pressure (which they learned about earlier in the year).  They made a working model of the respiratory system so that they can actually see this concept in action.  The final system the second graders will explore will be the digestive system.

Third Grade Scientists have held discussions, done some reading and some planting as they explore the functions of plants and what they need to grow.  Grass seed is currently growing, and the students will be using these plants to experiment on the needs of a plant.  There have been questions about how cacti survive with little water, so we will also be exploring that.

Fourth Grade Scientists have returned to circuitry as they learn the difference between a series and a parallel circuit.  They will be problem solving a fictional scenario of a string of lights next week, where they will employ their understanding of what they have learned about circuits.  The students will end the year by working with electromagnetism.

Fifth Grade Scientists have been exploring the human muscular systems (striped, smooth, and cardiac).  They have made leg and thumb models to better understand how skeletal muscles work (contract), tendons attach muscle to bone, and ligaments hold tendons and bones in place.  The current focus is the heart and circulatory system.  We are concluding that portion of our unit with a pig heart dissection!  We will conclude our unit with an introduction to the nervous system, where they will be conduction experiments that focus on stimuli and responses.


Summit School of Ahwatukee PE Teacher Honored – running club ranks among top 35 in nation

Why sit still when you can walk or run. It’s a theme that Kathy Dean has followed throughout her career, and one she is routinely instilling in the lives of her students at Summit School of Ahwatukee, home for a growing number of Tempe and west Chandler students.

Dean, the school’s physical education teacher, has received recognition for her achievement in helping improve school wellness by serving as a “Fuel Up and Play 60” program adviser, a program of the National Dairy Council and the National Football League in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Dean is the organizer and chief advocate for Summit’s before-school running club. In the 2010-11 school year, 90 students ran or walked more than 1,500 miles, with 10 of them running the equivalent of a full marathon. These healthy kids put Summit on the list of AAHPERD’s top 35 schools in the Let’s Move in School program, developed by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Dean, who is the school’s physical education and wellness specialist for children K through 8, attended Indiana University and Indiana State University, earning a BA degree in health, physical education, recreation and dance and music education. She has a Master’s degree from Indiana State in Exercise Physiology. Dean’s first teaching job was in a small, rural town in northern Indiana where she taught Kindergarten through 12th grade swimming and lifesaving. She later taught at Indiana University and Purdue University while her own kids were growing up, and worked as a wellness consultant for the Indiana Department of Education. She has also worked in as a wellness director for the Wayne Township School Corporation in Indiana and Medtronic Corp. in Tempe.

In 1997 Dean and her family moved to Phoenix, where she taught physical education and music in the Kyrene Schools. She started St. John Bosco School in 2001 and was instrumental in developing the athletic program and the athletic facilities. She has coached just about every sport and volunteered as well as taught fitness classes for the YMCA’s since she was 16.

Dean is current past president of the Arizona Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and serves on several committees, including Action for Healthy Kids and the Alliance for a healthier Generation. This is her sixth year teaching at Summit School of Ahwatukee.

Summit School of Ahwatukee middle school teachers receive “Excellence in Teaching Award”

Summit School of Ahwatukee middle school teachers, Andrea Yocum, Christy Menard and Amy Lecky, are recipients of this year’s Xavier College Preparatory Golden Gator Award for Excellence in Teaching. Xavier high school recognizes junior high teachers who have been inspirational to Xavier freshmen students. This is the third Golden Gator for Lecky, who teaches middle school language arts and literature, and the second for both science teacher Andrea Yocum, and math teacher Christy Menard.  In previous years, Summit teacher Melissa France has also received this award.

Yocum instills a passion for science in her students. Because her lab class focuses on hands-on, experimental based learning, students are successful in mastering advanced concepts like 8th grade chemistry and physics and 7th grade human body systems. The proof: since 2008, 100% of her students have passed the state’s AIMS science testing with 86 – 96% of Yocum’s 8th graders scoring in the “excelling” range each year.

Yocum’s teaching excellence was also recognized in 2009 when she was one of only 288 teachers nationwide to be selected for the prestigious Honeywell Educators Space Academy Program at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama along with teachers from 16 countries and 47 states.

Lecky teaches both the language arts class and the literature class for 7th and 8th grade where students eagerly volunteer to act the parts from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar! Lecky is also the creator of a program unique to Summit called ROPES (Right of Passage Experiences). Under Lecky’s guidance each student ventures into the community to be mentored for 15 hours in a new life experience. Student’s projects have spanned learning symphony conducting, surgery, journalism, to training for a half marathon.  Research papers and 20 minute presentations to an audience of 100, including demonstrations, mark the culminating event for each student. The experience prepares students for the future, bolsters their confidence and provides a potentially life changing opportunity.

Lecky also created a community service focus in middle school through a Summit program called SERVE, which teaches students the importance and value of sharing their time and talent with their community. To graduate, all eighth grade Summit students are required to donate 20 hours of their time volunteering at organizations of their choice. Often students do far more than required. Students gain insights into the needs of others, fostering a pride in their efforts and a realization of how they can benefit the world around them.

Menard’s 7th and 8th grade math classes are high school level courses: Algebra and Geometry. Her teaching methodology incorporates practical applications and projects to inspire and challenge students, and she has the success to prove it.   Each year, the Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics (AATM) sponsors a state-wide Algebra math competition. In 2012, twelve of the Summit School of Ahwatukee seventh grade Algebra students scored in the top 10% in the state. In 2011, four Summit seventh graders scored in the top ten percent statewide, with two students earning an additional distinction by being among the top 10 highest scores in state.

“This algebra course is equivalent to a high school class and they give it their all,” explains teacher Christy Menard. “My students have such a great attitude about learning, making my job as their teacher extremely fun and rewarding.”

Students thankful to help families enjoy the holiday

Summit School of Ahwatukee student council leads school’s 9th annual Thanksgiving drive to help Homeward Bound

This week Summit School of Ahwatukee’s student council, led by advisor Melissa France, delivered 30 overflowing Thanksgiving baskets to community outreach organization Homeward Bound, a Phoenix-based non-profit helping struggling families.

Large, functional laundry or wicker baskets brimmed over with all of the tasty ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, including gift certificates for perishable items, festive napkins, and a fall table cloth. Summit ’s student council also used $700 of the funds they earned throughout the year to add children’s books and a board game to each basket!
Homeward Bound’s housing and social services has assisted thousands of families rebuild their lives by helping parents develop social skills and professional capabilities they need to live independent, successful and hopeful lives. Services include: transitional housing, case management, employment services, hands-on training by local professionals, education and life skills training, counseling, and nurturing, affordable child care. Visit to learn how to help. Summit is proud to partner with this wonderful community outreach organization.

Innovative Pilot Program at Summit

Summit’s 5th graders mastery of math and science takes off with innovative pilot program brought to Summit by Southwest Captain Rob Bych

Wrangler News, May 19 2012 written by Alison Stanton

As a captain with Southwest Airlines, Rob Bych’s number-one goal is to get his passengers safely from Point A to Point B.

To do this, he must know more than how the various controls in the cockpit work. Every time he flies, Bych also calls on his knowledge of math, physics, geography and other subjects.

A parent of three children attending Summit School of Ahwatukee, Bych also knows that sometimes young students qestion if they will ever use what they learn in school in “real life.”
So, when Bych, a west Chandler resident, heard about the Adopt-A-Pilot program—a nationwide initiative that puts Southwest Airlines pilots into fifth-grade classrooms for five weeks to help teach the students about topics like math, science and career goals—he knew he had to volunteer to bring the program to his kids’ school.

Four years ago, Bych became one of the 1,000 or so Southwest Airlines pilots who participates in the Adopt-A-Pilot program. Every year since then, he has returned to the school in the spring to teach, entertain and inspire the children with his combination of engaging curriculum-based lessons woven into discussions about everyday life.

Bych recently completed this year’s program with 20 fifth grade students from Lori Christianson’s classroom.

Listening to Bych recall his time with the students, it’s immediately clear how enthusiastic he is about the Adopt-A-Pilot program.

“I go into the classroom wearing my uniform and I start off talking about my career,” he said.

“I say things like, ‘You are in fifth grade now, but what will you do after high school, and after college?  Everyone asks what you will do when you get older, and now is the time to start thinking about it.’”

After sharing his own story about how he become a pilot, Bych starts to teach his first lesson, which focuses on goal setting.

“I stress the importance of having a mentor—adults who are on the other side who can help them become what they want to be,” he said.
“But, as I say to them, they need to tell us what they have in mind, and then we can see if we can find someone who can help.”

For example, if a student expresses an interest in becoming a physical therapist, Bych said he would try to find someone in the profession who would be willing to speak with him or her.

Next, Bych said he dives into discussions about geography, describing where he has been and asking what places the students have visited.

“We talk about rivers, cities, mountain chains, and the nicknames we have for some cities in the world like The Big Apple and The City of Lights and The Windy City. It’s a very fun course.”

Bych also tells the students all about weather—from the difference between a warm and cold front to whySeattle,Washingtongets a lot more rain than here in the desert.

“We look at the Earth and the sun and weather patterns and the tilt of the Earth and why this causes us to have seasons,” he said. “Then we talk about time zones, atmospheric pressure, and temperatures.”

When it comes time to discuss math with the fifth graders, Bych starts out with some simple equations like, “If it’s 300 miles toLos Angelesand my plane is going 300 miles per hour, then how long will it take me to get there?”
Stressing along the way just how often he uses math in his day to day work, Bych makes the problems progressively harder; for example, asking them to calculate how much fuel a plane will use during a certain trip.

During his talk on the physics of flight, Bych explains why and how an aircraft is able to fly, why it is shaped the way it is, how propellers work, and the four forces of flight: lift, gravity, thrust and drag.

“We talk about the difference between port and starboard and airspeed versus ground speed, and why airports are laid out the way they are, and what the numbers on runways mean and why there are different colored lights on them like red, white, blue and green.”
The program culminates with a trip to Sky Harbor International Airport, where Bych takes “almost as many parent chaperones as kids” as well as the students and Christianson to a maintenance hangar, where they can see a B-737 airplane up close.

“We look under the plane, and at the radar behind fiberglass, and talk about why we have two hydraulic systems and why there are only two tires, and we look inside the cargo bin.”

Once inside the plane, anyone who wants to is allowed to sit inside the cockpit.

Bych said every year, one or two students expresses an interest in flying. If they do, Bych is ready, willing and able to help mentor them.
Regardless of what career aspirations the fifth graders might have, Bych just wants to help the students achieve their dreams.

“My passion is flying. I always wanted to fly. I love going to work every day,” he said.
“My goal is to motivate them to open up and tell us what they want to be.”

Christianson said she is extremely grateful for the time that Bych devotes to her classroom every year.

“He is the reason the program is successful,” she said.

“I like that it reinforces our classroom objectives, like geography, math, science and physics. And I also like the way Rob brings to each lesson the wisdom from his own life, explaining how to apply all of what he is talking about from day to day. It’s his personal philosophy that he imparts that makes it extra special.”

Kevin Bannon’s daughter Katie is a fifth grader atSummitSchool. The south Tempe resident said he was greatly impressed by how engaged and enthusiastic Bych was with the students.

“Katie seemed to thoroughly enjoy it and brought home stories about the cockpit and how much fun she had,” he said.

Monique Sutila’s son Alexander found it especially fascinating to learn about the aerodynamics of flight.

“I was impressed at how much information they received about aviation, flight, airplanes, what keeps them in the air and how they fly,” said Sutila, a southTempe resident.

“Mr. Bych made it fun and engaged the kids in hands-on activities like making the perfect paper airplane.”


Summit Graduate is National Merit Semifinalist

Brett Reardon, a 2008 Summit School of Ahwatukee graduate has qualified as a 2011 National Merit Semifinalist. He was co-salutatorian of his 8th grade class at Summit.
Reardon, an Ahwatukee Foothills resident, is a senior at Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler. He has been president of Seton’s robotics team for the past two years and is on their Academic Decathlon team. He is exploring various colleges, with Harvey Mudd, MIT, and Kettering at the top of his list.
Reardon has completed the detailed application process to become one of the state’s National Merit Finalist. Notification of the winners will be in February of next year.

Ahwatukee Foothills News December 7, 2011

Pen pals from Local Schools Meet in Person

Written By Travis Roemhild AHWATUKEE FOOTHILLS NEWS, Monday, November 14, 2011

With the way technology has evolved hand-written letters have, for the most part, been replaced by electronic means.
Two Ahwatukee Foothills schools made it a point to rekindle the personal nature of writing letters by hand.
Although it is part of the state-mandated curriculum to teach letter writing, teachers from Summit School of Ahwatukee and Kyrene del Milenio Elementary School wanted to take it a step further. Since September, 72 second-grade students, 36 from each school, have been corresponding by mail.

“I have seen just how excited they have been to receive regular mail from their pen pals,” second-grade teacher Molly Danforth said. “They are writing friendly letters to each other. In the past we wrote to other people within the school to teach the curriculum, but this year we took it to a whole different level and the kids were really excited about it.”
The idea was born from Summit School’s Dawn Anderson.

“Growing up, I had a pen pal in Sydney and I always wanted to meet her,” Anderson said. “Just that feeling of writing to someone you don’t see was a driving force. We talked with the vice principal at Milenio about the possibility of doing pen pals and she was totally for it. So we brought together our class lists and matched the students up together.”
On Thursday, after two months of writing each other, the pen pals got to meet each other. The Summit students walked to Milenio in the morning to spend the day with their pen pals.

“I was like, ‘It might not be so fun,’ when I first heard about it,” Milenio second-grader student Ryan Collins said. “But it was great. We have a lot in common.” The teachers also took the opportunity to teach the students about something else. “Beforehand, we talked to them about what it meant to be a good host,” Danforth said. “It was our jobs to be a polite and courteous guest or host.”

While the hand-written letter may never regain the significance it once had, the two teachers believe their students got a glimpse of what it was like before technology, and appreciated it.
“They thought it was neat to know their letters were leaving the school,” Collins said. “It was not someone they were going to see on a regular basis and that motivated them to write a good letter.”

Algebra Students Win State Honors (2011)

Four Summit School of Ahwatukee 7th Grade Algebra Students Win State Honors

The results are in from the 2011 State Algebra Contest, sponsored by the Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics (AATM) last May.

Josh Pagone and Amber Barto were two of the four Summit seventh graders who scored in the top ten percent statewide.  Summit students Jonathan Booher and Alicia Farr earned an additional distinction by being among the top 10 highest scores in state. “This algebra course is equivalent to a high school class and they give it their all,” explains teacher Christy Guidorizzi. “My students have such a great attitude about learning, making my job as their teacher extremely fun and rewarding.”
Approximately 600 students state wide participated in this competition, which was open to all students enrolled in a first year Algebra class.

Left to right:
 Josh Pagone, Jonathan Booher, teacher Christy Guidorizzi, Alicia Farr, Amber Barto


The Vitruvius Program is an architecture, art and design program that serves as the art curriculum at Summit School of Ahwatukee, for preschool through eighth grade. In March of 2011, The Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) in Chicago announced that Summit’s innovative Vitruvius Art Program is the winner of the National School Award;

This competition included school art curriculums offered to preschool through 12th grade.
This award makes Summit the representative for the United States in the International Architecture & Children Golden Cubes Awards competition sponsored by the International Union of Architects (UIA) in Paris.

The Vitruvius Program was founded in 1988 at the Southern California Institute of Architecture by Kathleen and Eugene Kupper. The Program has been offered in elementary schools, museums, exhibitions and publications and is presently integrated with the regular academic curriculum at Summit School of Ahwatukee in Phoenix AZ, where Kathleen and Selene Kupper are lead teachers.

To read about The Vitruvius Program and the National Award:
To read the announcement from the Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO):

A video of the Vitruvius Program at Summit School of Ahwatukee may be found on the Summit School website.

The AAO conducted the U.S. competition with the American Architectural Foundation and the American Institute of Architects, both in Washington DC. The UIA Golden Cubes Awards were organized to recognize, encourage, and support those individuals and organizations that lay the foundations of an architectural culture and help children and young people, from preschool up to age 18; to understand architectural design and the processes by which our environment is shaped.

The U.S. Nominees now join other top programs from across the globe in a celebration of Kindergarten – 12th grade Architecture Education efforts at the UIA Congress in Tokyo, Japan, September 25-28, 2011.
Nominees’ work will be publicly displayed at the Tokyo Congress. The UIA will select four final winners in the international phase. The U.S. winners, meanwhile, will be honored by the Association of Architecture Organizations at its Annual Conference in Philadelphia later this fall.

About the Vitruvius Program: The art curriculum at Summit School of Ahwatukee
The Vitruvius Program (VP) offers studio education in Architecture, art, and design. It was founded in 1988 and has been implemented in Architecture Schools, Elementary Schools, and Museums. Special projects, after school and summer programs are still offered: it is presently integrated with regular curriculum for all students Preschool – Eighth grade at Summit School. The VP has been published and exhibited internationally and awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

• Detailed objectives for teaching methods and content for each grade level and for each architecture project are structured into a ten-year curriculum. Skills taught for each age-appropriate group include: Discussion, Presentation and Critique, Freehand and Constructed Drawing, Modeling in a variety of media, Painting, Printmaking, Photography, and Installation/Exhibition.
• Children learn Architecture through intense design projects and examples of historical and contemporary art and architecture. A balance of cognitive and manipulative skills is taught in each project, with individual and group critiques and exhibitions for public discussion. All students demonstrate understanding of architectural design principles and achieve a high level of completion, with excellent material and craft techniques.
• Social, Environmental and Global Understanding is emphasized as the spiritual and practical goal for our students. Projects are selected to stimulate understanding of site, physical setting and cultural milieu, with specific programs that address the social and technical issues of the community. International design team partnerships are established at a local and global level.
• Creative thinking is promoted and developed, merging with critical inquiry to identify environmental and urban problems and propose innovative solutions.
• Young students enjoy creating models and drawings of Worlds they can explore. The model is a tool and a toy that stimulates imagination and focuses concrete thinking. Drawing and painting offer freedom of expression yet disciplined work for which students take pride. The students take pleasure in achieving creative skills that can make positive changes in their world.
• Parent, administrative, and colleague evaluations consistently rank the program in the 98th percentile for excellence in creative learning. They are enthusiastic supporters of the Vitruvius Program, its teaching methods and social objectives, and are impressed by the architectural content of the work. This support is evident in articles, grants, museum shows, exhibition reviews, awards, and our daily life experiences.
• The Summit School thematic based curriculum addresses individualized learning approaches, diverse students, and interdisciplinary subjects. The VP integrates with Summit’s core curricula and closely collaborates with teachers and specialists.
• The Vitruvius model as implemented for the last 10 years at Summit School provides an excellent working example that may be emulated and replicated. Graduate students in architecture who have worked with us have brought our approach to other settings with success.