21st Century Career Day for Summit Middle School students

Our Middle School was proud to present the 21st Century Career Expo for our sixth through eighth grade students today. While many schools have “Career Day,” Summit’s was very different. Our Middle School teachers worked together to assess student career interests and aptitude, and then assigned them the task of researching the job market in the 21st century, with a focus on which careers are in danger of being eliminated due to automation. After networking with experts from several career fields, students invited a range of presenters to today’s 21st Century Career Expo. At the Expo, student facilitators asked questions of keynote presenters Vanessa Ruiz of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and ASU and anchor for Arizona PBS, and “Lady La” of 104.7 KISS FM. Students then attended focus sessions with presentations and discussions in a variety of career fields with expert presenters including:

Finance and Banking with Corey Saba Basha of Wells Fargo
The Legal field with Richard Suzuki
Culinary Arts with Susan Timm of Knife and Fork
Entrepreneurialism with Mark Rodin
Graphic Art with Ruth Wall
Engineering with Dr. Suleyman Sair of Intel and Dr. Sule Ozev of ASU
Computer Science and Coding with Neil Buckley
Science and Virology with Professor Andrew Diamos of ASU
Public Service and Law Enforcement with Galen Flynn
Technology Field with Fred Thiele of Microsoft
Songwriting and Music with Ken Mendez
Coding and Technology Hardware/Software with David McIntyre of PCHelpForce

Richard Suzuki closed the Expo by challenging our students to work their hardest in pursuit of their career goals. We are grateful to all of our esteemed presenters, and thankful to our Middle School teachers for providing an opportunity for students to explore potential careers in such an engaging and stimulating format.

Mark Bistricky, M.Ed.

Head of School

Pop-Up Adventure Playground – Sonoran Living

On December 2nd, 2017 we will host our 2nd annual Pop-Up Adventure Playground from 10-12pm. All ages will enjoy this time of open ended play to explore, create and collaborate with their friends. Treasures 4 Teachers will bring pallets of materials ranging from bottle caps, lids, string, fabric, package material up to large boxes and tubes that can be used in a multitude of ways – as far as one can imagine. Take a peek at our promo spot on  Sonoran Living on ABC 15 with Andrea Benkel, Assistant Head of School to see what it’s all about. We hope to see you there!

Mr. Kyle Allen named Teacher of the Year by Junior Achievement/BizTown

Junior Achievement has equipped more than 2 million students to succeed in work and life during the last 60 years.  One of the many ways that they do this is through the JA BizTown program.  Through this program kids are taught about financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship.  Junior Achievement of Arizona works with over 250 schools each year and a lead teacher at each of those schools.  Lead teachers take on the responsibility of ensuring that their colleagues and students are prepared for their visit to the JA BizTown facility.  To this end the lead teacher is assigned an education manager at JA with whom they work closely throughout the program.  At the beginning of each school year the JA BizTown education managers nominate and vote on a teacher of the year from the previous school year.

Summit School of Ahwatukee is thrilled to announce that Mr. Kyle Allen has been named the 2016-2017 Junior Achievement Biztown Teacher of the Year! Mr. Allen was the unanimous selection of the committee, who considered more than 250 teachers for this prestigious honor.

Codie Cancellieri, Senior Education Manager for Junior Achievement/BizTown, says, “Kyle Allen has done an outstanding job in his role as the JA BizTown Lead Teacher for Summit School. His sincere belief in the mission of Junior Achievement is very apparent and he takes the time and care to ensure that all of the students at Summit school receive a quality JA program.”

All of us at Summit know that Kyle is an outstanding educator who makes a tremendous impact on our students. It comes as no surprise that Junior Achievement saw Kyle’s gifts just as clearly as we do.

Please join us in congratulating Kyle on this well-deserved recognition!

Launch of Math Monday by K-5 Math Specialist, Molly Danforth

Our goal in creating the Math Specialist position was to provide additional instructional support for students and teachers as we further enhance our mathematics program at Summit.  We’ve asked Ms. Molly Danforth, our Kindergarten-5th Grade Math Specialist, to share more of her background and approach to the role, as well as make a special announcement—the launch of Math Mondays!

Dear Parents,

I am a National Board Certified Teacher, with Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Elementary Education. I have taught at Summit since 2007 and have been in the classroom for more than twenty years. My parents were strong advocates for education and always encouraged me to continue on this path.  After receiving my Masters, I decided to further my understanding of how students learn and became a National Board Certified Teacher (2004 and 2014). It was during this process that I realized that students need a balance of procedural, conceptual understanding, and application techniques in order to understand mathematics deeply.  Students need to conceptually understand math concepts before learning the abstract.  Throughout the year, I will be sharing information on how Summit teachers create a balance to develop mathematical thinkers and provide opportunities for parents to be involved in their child’s mathematical development. You will see what is taking place in the classroom, ideas for reinforcement at home, research studies, recommended apps and games and even a parent challenge or two!


Ms. Danforth

Follow Summit’s Facebook page  to see Ms. Danforth’s Math Mondays posted weekly.


$6,000 preschool scholarships available at Summit School of Ahwatukee

Summit School of Ahwatukee is proud to partner with Quality First, First Things First, and the United Way. Through these programs, Summit can offer $6,000 needs-based scholarships, enabling children to enroll in Summit’s NAEYC, nationally accredited preschool. Summit is also ranked as a five star program by Quality First, the highest recognition awarded to the best Arizona preschools.

Preschool scholarships are for Summit’s academic school year, August 9, 2017 through May 25th, 2018, for a five day program. School 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, if needed.

1st Place Best Of 2016Learning in Summit’s NAEYC accredited Preschool is fun and enriching. The developmental, emergent, 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, 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 9 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. Call Summit’s admissions office at 480-403-9506 to see if your family qualifies for a scholarship, or to schedule your personal tour.

Announcing dynamic additions to Summit School of Ahwatukee teaching staff

One of Summit’s top strategic goals over the past several years has been the creation of a full-time Mathematics Specialist role to further enrich our mathematics program.

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Summit’s sound financial planning and recent fundraising success will allow us to make this goal a reality for the 2017-2018 school year.

Molly Danforth will be Summit’s new full-time Math Specialist for Kindergarten through fifth grade next year.  A National Board Certified Teacher, with Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Elementary Education, Ms. Danforth has taught at Summit since 2007.  Her passion for mathematics and extensive experience inspiring students to develop the math knowledge, understanding and skills they require to excel, will significantly bolster our elementary math program.

As our Math Specialist, Ms. Danforth will provide additional differentiated mathematics instruction to students in Kindergarten through fifth grade in a variety of settings, including one-on-one, small group, and whole class instruction.  The new role adds an additional layer of support to our classroom teachers, ensuring that high achieving mathematics students are adequately challenged, students on grade level make solid progress, and additional support is provided for students who require it.  The mathematics instruction all our elementary students receive will be enhanced by the creation of the Math Specialist role.

I’m also delighted to announce that Faith Angelakis will be our new Second Grade Teacher for the coming year.  Mrs. Angelakis is best known to our community as our Literacy Specialist, and her recent experience teaching third grade has fueled her desire to return to a homeroom teaching role. Over her twenty four year teaching career, Mrs. Angelakis has taught every grade between Kindergarten and seventh, and is particularly excited about returning to second grade.  She holds a Masters Degree and teaching certificate in Elementary Education, and her extensive experience includes working as teacher consultant and trainer for the Everyday Mathematics company, designing and scoring teacher evaluation portfolios, and teaching special education. The Math Specialist position allows Summit to augment the learning support we provide elementary students at all learning levels.

In addition, please join me in welcoming Samantha Arce to Summit as our new Third Grade Teacher for next year.  Ms. Arce is a graduate of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, and is completing her Masters Degree in Instructional Leadership, with an emphasis in Math and Literacy Education.  Ms. Arce began her teaching career as a student teacher under Summit teachers Molly Danforth and Erin Vosseller, and her four years as an full-time elementary teacher since that time have equipped her well for teaching third grade at Summit. In the words of one of her supervisors, Ms. Arce’s “performance was stellar, and she demonstrated a strong ability to connect research with her practice as an educator and teacher-leader.”  This assessment was confirmed to the search committee as we observed her teach a sample lesson with the skill and seasoning of a veteran Summit teacher.

As we wrap up this school year, we eagerly anticipate the positive impact the new Math Specialist role and these outstanding teachers will have in challenging our students intellectual, social and character growth in the years to come.

Forward together,
Mark Bistricky, M.Ed.
Head of School
Summit School of Ahwatukee

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: kathy.konrad@summitschoolaz.org

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 kathy.konrad@summitschoolaz.org

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: http://summitschoolaz.org/academics/art

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.