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.

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.

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!

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.”

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