The Summit School of Ahwatukee Spanish program focuses on curriculum that is hands-on and real world.  Our activities are based on music, chants, TPR (total physical response – language in action), manipulatives, arts, games, videos, computer, thematic units, books, magazines, maps, globes, graphs, guest speakers and culture of Spanish speaking countries.

Spanish language experiences, as recommended by state (AZ) and national foreign language standards will include:


  •  Respond to simple commands
  •  Perform short plays, poems, and songs
  •  Express and react to a variety of feelings


  •  Participate in age-appropriate cultural activities
  •  Recognize how the target language and its culture add to the richness of our own cultural diversity


  •  Discuss topics in other school subjects in the target language (e.g. math: “más-menos”, science: “los planetas”, etc.)
  •  Present reports in the target language orally and/or in writing on topics being studied in other classes


  •  Make basic comparisons between the celebrations of the target culture and their own culture (e.g. Halloween and “EL Día de los Muertos”)
  •  Compare and contrast a variety of art forms (e.g. music, dance, visual arts and drama) with their own culture through oral and/or written description and/or performance


The Spanish Language Curriculum at Summit School of Ahwatukee is aligned with Arizona State Standards and National Standards for Foreign Language. Summit’s Spanish curriculum also integrates with grade level teachers to create thematic units of study that incorporate both class room activities and learning in Spanish classes.

Spanish is taught by Elsa Conti for preschool – 4th grades and Andrea Gonzalez-Cantwell for fifth – 8th grades.  These two highly experienced teachers have added many key contributions to the curriculum with significant educational outcomes, which include:

  • Systematically created new programs to challenge bilingual students as well as gifted students. Showed resourcefulness and teaching effectiveness in meeting the needs of students with limited Spanish language proficiency as well as learning disabilities.
  • Integrated Hispanic celebrations and educational events in the Spanish program as part of the celebration of diversity and cultural awareness.
  • Initiated an after-school Spanish Conversation Club.
  • Offering after-school tutoring, and enrichment classes.
  • Incorporated technology into students’ Spanish learning activities for varied academic disciplines. Successful efforts in enhancing student understanding of material led to a formal morning meeting presentation on “Technology Integration across the Curriculum.”

Get to Know - Spanish Faculty

Elsa Conti

Spanish, Preschool through Fifth Grade

Elsa Conti called Mazatlán, México home until arriving in Phoenix in 1990. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from Universidad de Occidente in México, and is a native Spanish speaker. She continues to attend advanced classes in Spanish, and expanding her knowledge in teaching methods involving “(TPRS) Total Physical Response System.” TPRS uses games, activities and large group projects that engage students in having fun as they learn the second language.

Ms. Conti has been with Summit School of Ahwatukee since its inception in 2001. Throughout her years teaching at Summit, Ms. Conti continues to create opportunities for children to interact and experience the Spanish language through stories, songs, poems, puppet play; always enhancing their vocabulary and their talents for a second language. Older students create videos, slide shows, prezi presentations in Spanish, research and create models and reports in English and Spanish, learning to read and write and enjoy their new found abilities.

One of Ms. Conti’s goals is to continue to develop and enhance a successful Spanish Conversational Program after school for all grades! Also, she has developed a “Lunch and Learn” program where students visit her during their lunch period and enhance their conversational Spanish skills.

She is an active member in the Arizona Language Association (AZLA) and the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP), Summit School of Ahwatukee Board of Trustees Committee as a Teacher representative for the last three years and SOCIEDAD HISPÁNICA de AMISTAD sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese as a Spanish Teacher representative.

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 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 “Let’s Get Talking: Cooperative Learning in the World Language Classroom”. Summit happily welcomed her to the staff in 2011.