7th Grade

Language Arts

Students are exposed to grammar and vocabulary, with a focus on the 6 + 1 Trait® Writing (Ideas/Content, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Conventions, Sentence Fluency, and Presentation).

Vocabulary instruction is enhanced through Membean, an online program which customizes a learning program for each and every student based on his or her learning needs. Students write in several different modes including, but not limited to: poetry, narrative, literary response, persuasive, functional, descriptive, and research writing.

Writer’s Workshop will include steps in the writing process (Prewrite, Draft, Edit/Revise, Share). With the use of a journal in language arts, students will gather and build a bank of ideas and thoughts.


When delving into an award-winning novel, students learn lessons about life in a special way. Reading quality literature with characters we care about, in settings that we are able to envision and create in our minds, allows us to leave our current lives and enter another. We take with us new knowledge and insight that becomes a part of us. Summit’s curriculum includes books that spur advanced thinking and insightful discussions and understanding.

Literature studies in 7th grade include: Nothing But the Truth by Avi, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finnby Mark Twain, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, To Build a Fire by Jack London and Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Our middle school literature program focuses on: acquiring and using new vocabulary, comprehension, character analysis, predictions, flashbacks and foreshadowing, story elements, main ideas and details, similes and metaphors, idioms, personification, forming conclusions, making inferences, cause and effect relationships within story plots, characterization, applying knowledge of the historical and cultural aspects of literature, comprehension of informational text, functional text and persuasive text, analyzing author’s purpose, understanding and reading from variety of genres with accuracy, recognition, and prosody.

Reader’s Workshop is an opportunity for students to engage in literature selections of their choice. LABS (Letters About Books), literature recommendation cards, and culminating activities for the novels selected by individual students are completed during this time.


At Summit, seventh graders are either placed in Pre-Algebra or Algebra; pre-algebraic skills lay the foundation for algebra as well as geometry. Summit’s eighth graders are tested and placed either in Algebra or Geometry. Algebra and Geometry are both high school-level classes, accredited by the Tempe Union High School District; Summit student achievements earn the same prerequisite consideration as students from Kyrene middle schools.

Each year, the Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics (AATM) sponsors a state-wide Algebra math competition. Summit students distinguish themselves by scoring 1st, 3rd and 4th in the state, or by scoring in the top 10% in the state.

  • 2015: A Summit student earns the highest math score in the state! A classmate earns the 4th place win, with two other students scoring in the top 10%.
  • 2013: A Summit student tied for the 3rd highest score in the state, and another tied for the 4th highest state score. Six additional students scored in the top 10% in the state.
  • 2012: Twelve Summit School of Ahwatukee students scored in the top 10% in the state.
  • 2011: Four students 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 a high school level 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.”

Pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry classes use the McDougal Littell text book by Larson, Boswell, Kanold, & Stiff


Pre-algebra provides the mathematical background, skills, and thinking processes necessary for the successful completion of Algebra. Topics include: whole numbers, integers, rationals, decimals and their applications, number theory, ratios, proportions, percents, equations, graphing, square roots, and appropriate geometric concepts. The instructional program of this course provides students with an understanding and use of these concepts as well as the application through appropriate problem-solving situations.


Algebra I is organized around families of functions, with special emphasis on linear and quadratic functions. As students are introduced to each family of functions, they will learn to represent them in multiple ways using verbal descriptions, equations, tables, and graphs. This class will also help students model real-world situations using these functions in order to solve problems arising from a variety of practical scenarios.


In Geometry, students will develop reasoning and problem-solving skills as they study topics such as congruence and similarity, and apply properties of lines, triangles, quadrilaterals, and circles. Students will also develop problem-solving skills by using length, perimeter, area, circumference, surface area, and volume to solve real-world problems.


The Summit School of Ahwatukee science program is interactive, with the majority of learning through experimentation. The middle school science laboratory is state of art, with science stations, microscopes, and all necessary tools to make science engaging and fun. Students explore scientific concepts four times a week.

The seventh grade science curriculum includes: analyzing the human brain, senses, DNA and cells, fungi and protozoa, ecosystems and organisms, taxonomy, family science, review of the human body, researching scientists, and of course, participating in our annual science fair!

Summit School of Ahwatukee’s scores on Arizona’s AIMS testing, “Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards” are consistently among the top in the state.

In Science, 99% of Summit students meet or exceed the state standards on AIMS, with 84% of students exceeding the standard! See why.

Social Studies

Social studies will be taught based on developmentally appropriate themes for grades kindergarten through fifth. The themes studied in middle social studies include but are not limited to native Americans, European exploration, English colonies and independence, constitution and bill of rights, political development, foreign affairs, life in the west, Civil War, industrial revolution, World War II, civil rights movement and current events.


Seventh graders take Spanish four times each week in a classroom where they develop listening and speaking skills within the context of different real life scenarios. Students are encouraged to ask and answer real-life questions individually, in pairs, and through whole-class discussions. They act out situations and stories using TPR (Total Physical Response) and TPRS (Total Physical Response Storytelling).

The following is a list of student objectives:

-Discuss similarities and differences between cultures

-Work with others to practice new words, sounds, and sentence structures

-Play educational games on the curriculum web site

-Complete written and oral activities using audio files

-Listen to and discuss videos (DVDs) using Realidades DVD Program and En Español DVD Program

-Use technology and internet resources to take virtual tours, connect with other Spanish speaking students in the world, practice vocabulary, listen to audio, and take online tests in the computer lab

-Take a placement test in preparation for High School Spanish II or honors classes (4 out of 5 students were placed in High School Spanish II this year)

-Attend field trips to use Spanish beyond the school setting and practice the language

Middle School Electives

Summit School of Ahwatukee electives add further dimension and depth to an advanced middle school curriculum. The electives are designed to broaden and enrich each students understanding of the possibilities and directions their lives can lead.

Technology Enhances Learning

Summit sixth, seventh and eighth grade students each bring a personal computer, iPad or tablet to school each day. Why?  We feel it is important to prepare our students as technology-empowered, lifelong learners with the knowledge, tools, and skills to succeed in high school, college and a global society.

Summit’s success with technology enhanced learning
In the spring of 2010, the iPad emerged as one of the leading new tools in education.  In 2012, after thoughtful consideration and investigation, we selected the iPad as the best instrument to give our middle school students access to the technology they will need in their 21st century education.  At that point our research included the possible use of laptops, netbooks, Android devices, Chromebooks, and we elected to go with iPads.  We studied how other schools had implemented similar programs and what challenges they presented.  We also committed to strengthening our wireless network in order to accommodate new devices.  We were excited about all of the possibilities for learning, productivity, creativity, and strengthening many important skills that would benefit them in the future!

Over the past three years Summit’s 1:1 iPad program has proven very successful.  We have seen amazing 21st Century learning as students used their devices to create, collaborate, communicate and enhance their critical thinking skills.  But at the same time we have seen the technology available change rapidly.  Now tablets of all kinds are available, and families often own tablets or personal computers of differing operating systems.  Students will need to have technological skills that can translate to any platform.  Therefore, our technology model needed to shift to meet this need. Summit now has a “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program for middle school students.

How teachers empower students by using the latest technology learning tools in a classroom setting

• Gives students instant access to research and information
• Provides multimedia resources to enhance learning
• Personalizes class management and access to curriculum, homework, testing dates, project information and due dates, grades and more.
• Can be used in every subject area and class
• Provide easy communication between students and teachers
• Enable them to create and collaborate together
• Help develop problem solving and critical thinking skills Examples of successful iPads use in classroom learning at Summit School of Ahwatukee Literature/Language Arts
• Students use Notability to mark up articles and short text with annotations, notes, and highlights.
• Students use Notability or mind mapping apps to brainstorm ideas during the writing process.
• Students use Pages to compose a wide variety of documents. Using Dropbox, students can send a copy to the teacher for reference during conferences and can receive written feedback in this same way.
• Students research a wide variety of topics via the Internet, Grolier Encyclopedia, and the Arizona State Library – all accessed via the iPad.
• Students use iMovie to create movies that explain or reinforce concepts learned in class.
• Students use Photogene to create photo collages of work or items related to a concept.
• Students use Schoology to keep track of deadlines, note assignments, and communicate with the teacher.
• Vocabulary notebook – This contains notes, vocabulary and definitions, drawings, and review problems.
• We also will occasionally use the calculator apps, play various math games, and watch math videos.
• Math Homework Sheets (Study Links)
• Create mini math lessons to share with classmates using Educreations • Weekly Problem Solving
• Learnzillion.com mini lessons
• Khan academy research Music
• We use Garage Band to learn, develop, and arrange song structures (chord progressions, bass lines, and drum grooves).
• We also use the iPad as a virtual music binder, with digital sheet music stored on Schoology.
• Video record music performances, demonstrations, and reflections. Science & Social Studies
• The students have their science notebooks on the iPad, so they take notes, complete labs, creating graphs, and annotating pdfs.
• They also have downloaded some interactive magazines with scientific content that we have used in our units.
• Use apps such as Solar Walk.
• Social studies textbook and notebook are online.
• We use the iPad for research, creating movies, creating slideshows, producing visual projects, looking up images.
• Some students have also used animation apps to complete projects.
• Complete online vocabulary exercises using several online websites, uSpeak, Haiku Deck and other educational apps.
• Practice verb conjugation with an online Conjugator known as “Conjuguemos.”
• Create online flash-cards and reviewing activities using Quizlet.
• Film real-life scenarios / record themselves while completing dialogues, etc. Art
• Research and design development ideas
• Portfolio development
• Close reading and Art Criticism
• Art writing and critical writing
• Workshop Documentation – Raku
• Design with Photography
• Fabricated Photography
• Photographic Assemblage
• As a tool to explore urban design and housing concepts
• Animation
• Drawing Technology
• Video projects
• “Schoology”
• Computer programming lessons
• Students perform their self-assessments on the iPad after class.
• Students access rules of games and watch pertinent videos about game play on the sport/activity that we are working on.
• Students who assume the role of “publicist” take pictures and write short paragraphs like a sports journalist and/or photographer about the teams participating.

Life Skills Class

Life Skills class meets once per week. The goal is to provide seventh and eighth grade students with practical information that will help them prepare for high school and beyond.

Topics include: goal setting, leadership, substance abuse, and time management.

Students also utilize a book entitled “Success for Teens – Real Teens Talk about Using the Slight Edge.” Lessons focus on how attitude, actions, planning, and taking advantage of opportunities can better prepare them for high school and beyond.

Only an effort grade is given in this class, based on class participation and homework completion.

SERVE: Summit Excellence Reflected in Volunteer Experience

SERVE: Summit Excellence Reflected in Volunteer Experience

Community service is an important aspect of Summit’s excelling middle school program. SERVE teaches students the importance and value of sharing their time and talent with their community.

Positive effects occur both academically and socially when students participate in community service.  Teachers and parents have witnessed the impact on our students global awareness and the kindness of their actions, as they gain understanding that their service for others, both within Summit and the outside community matters.  Our middle school students also grow as strong role models and inspiring leaders to preschool and elementary children.

SERVE Program

8th grade: To graduate, all eighth grade students are required to attend three school sponsored service events and donate an additional 20 hours of their time volunteering at organizations of their choice. Often students do far more than required.

Summit teachers help students find ways to bring value to their school by coordinating activities such reading with children in preschool during after school care, tutoring younger children. 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.

The experiences culminate with a celebratory SERVE recognition breakfast and reflection held in May for parents and students.

7th grade:  Attends the three school sponsored community service events. Additionally students are asked to complete a minimum of five community service hours, either within the Summit community or an outside organization, and write a reflection based on the benefits and effects of community service as a progression into 8th grade.

6th grade: Attends three school sponsored middle school community service events, one in the fall, winter and spring.

Curriculum, Character, Compassion, coupled with a phenomenal, full liberal arts Curriculum. Summit School of Ahwatukee students are joyful, respectful, and insightful. We are so very proud of our students and our strong partnerships between inspiring teachers and involved parents. Together we are educating confident and caring future leaders.

Get to Know - 7th Grade Faculty

Melissa France

Student Council Advisor
Life Skills Class, Seventh & Eighth Grade

Melissa 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 mathematic 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.

In addition to teaching, Mrs. France 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 for 2013-2014 by the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce.

In 2006 Mrs. France was 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.

Andrea Gonzalez-Cantwell

Spanish, Fifth through Eighth Grade

Andrea Gonzalez-Cantwell is a graduate of New Mexico State University, where she earned a Masters Degree in Spanish with a concentration in Linguistics, Curriculum and Instruction. A native of Mexico, she has taught in public and private schools, beginning in 2005, with age levels ranging from elementary students, to university pre-service teachers and professionals. She is a member of the Arizona Language Association (AZLA) and the The American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL) She is a bilingual and bicultural individual who enjoys challenging students to gain proficiency in a second language.

 Sra. Gonzalez-Cantwell firmly believes that students who achieve fluency in a second language are better equipped to contribute to today’s diverse society, and that 21st century teachers have to be experts in both their subject area, and in the integration of technology into the curriculum. Señora enjoys learning and learns every day with her students, and expands her knowledge through conferences for professional development and online courses. Señora’s latest professional development conference was Creating Engaging Learning Experiences for the 21st Century World Language Learner and Nexus Now Express YoUrSelf at ASU School of International Letters and Cultures. Summit happily welcomed her to the staff in 2011.

Amy Lecky

Middle School Coordinator
Literature, Seventh Grade

Amy Lecky was born and raised in Kentucky, a place dear to her heart. After receiving a BA degree in Education from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, she ventured to Arizona. She loves the desert and all its beauty. She has been teaching for over 20 years, starting with Summit in 2002. Throughout her years of teaching, she truly believes that laughter, enthusiasm, and fostering a positive attitude are just a few of the key components of a classroom and the enjoyment of learning. Mrs. Lecky enjoys teaching and supporting Middle School Students at Summit.

Mrs. Lecky is a three time 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. She currently teaches seventh grade literature and seventh and eighth grade language arts and literature. Mrs. Lecky also spearheads two important programs designed for Summit eighth grade students, “ROPES” and “SERVE”, which teach leadership, confidence and community service. She also serves as Middle School Coordinator and is a member of the National Middle School Association.

Christy Menard

Pre-Algebra and Algebra, Seventh Grade

Christy Menard teaches Pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry to Summit’s seventh and eighth students.  Her career as a middle school math teacher began in 2000, joining Summit in 2009.

Mrs. Menard is a graduate of the University of Texas of Austin (UT), with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Business. While there, she pitched for UT’s Division I softball program.  Prior to transferring to UT, she attended Chapman University in California for two years where she initially demonstrated her love for math through the in-school tutoring program.  A two-time first team All-American, she still holds the record for the most strikeouts in a championship 7 inning game with 20. Although Mrs. Menard has a Texas past, she is a former Arizona resident. She attended Pueblo Junior High and was part of the first graduating class of Mountain Pointe High School. Her hobbies include softball, running, tennis, and snow skiing.

Meredith Mayefske

Language Arts, Sixth & Seventh Grade
Social Studies, Sixth & Seventh Grade

Meredith Mayefske earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the College of Teacher Education and Leadership at Arizona State University. While attending ASU, Ms. Mayefske developed her passion for teaching through community service and charitable works projects. She devoted time to the Salvation Army and helped tutor and mentor students in the Phoenix area with the America Reads program.

Her career as a middle school humanities teacher began in 2010. Her experience spans all middle grades ranging from fifth through eighth, and high caliber private education. Her area of expertise is focused in the humanities. Ms. Mayefske absolutely loves the study of history, and is a member of the Arizona Historical Society. Ms. Mayefske joined Summit’s middle school faculty in 2015.

Andrea Yocum

Science, Sixth through Eighth Grades

Andrea Yocum is an Arizona native, born in Lake Havasu City. She graduated from college at Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and psychology. Mrs. Yocum started her teaching career as a fifth/sixth grade classroom teacher, and then taught science and math units in the Mesa School District before coming to Summit. She began sharing her talents with Summit students in 2002.

Mrs. Yocum enjoys participating in outside training in both teaching and science related professional development. She was selected as one of 272 teachers from 19 countries across the globe, to participate in the Honeywell Space Academy for Educators at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. She is currently taking courses through the National Math and Science Initiative, and was selected to be a member of the University of Arizona Water Education Cohort. Recently, she helped as a science educational consultant for an exhibit at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

 In 2009, 2012 and 2014 she was 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. Teaching middle school science, including chemistry and physics, using predominately lab experiments, and her obvious love of teaching enthralls her students.