Summit School Newsletter


January 28, 2022

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From the Head of School...

Dear Summit School Community,

I am happy to share the good news of the results of our January reading and STAR assessments. You will receive our 2022-23 Summit School Assessment Data Report, Frequently Asked Questions document, and the individual student results for your child(ren) by the end of the day Friday, January 28. These documents will help explain Summit School's data.

Below, you can see the school summary. Please note the percentage of students who exceed national expectations (blue row is expected range). Our students are excelling in both reading and math. Spread the word. Go Summit!

Thank you for all you do.


Dr. Stephanie Nardi

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Enroll Now

Vote Now! Time is almost up.

Don't forget to vote for Summit School! Time is running out. We are nominated in the following categories and would love your support to spread the word about our amazing school.

Best Place to Work

Best Preschool

Best Private School

Go to

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Pop Up Playground at Summit

Join Summit School for a morning of open ended creating, tinkering, building and play as we open up our field and fill it with items big and small that can be transformed into fabulous creations with the power of play, collaboration and creativity. Families with children of all ages are welcome to explore the materials, use them to build out their ideas and dreams and see how many open ended materials are used in Summit’s Art program and classrooms. This event is open to the public and is the perfect opportunity to see what makes Summit such an exceptional community
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Have You Read...

Check out The Summit Sentinel, Summit School's new student newspaper headed up by Mr Pray. Copies are available in the Summit School Office.
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Madagascar Zoom with Grade 2

Grade 2 Zoomed with Mr. Douwstra’s cousin Ted Johnson and his daughter Roxane. He showed us photos from their travels around Madagascar which included some of the national parks and animals we had read about. The animal you see on the screen is the elusive, fearsome lemur-hunting fossa (pronounced foo-sa in the Malagasy language). Second graders used this information to decide which of three African countries, Egypt, Kenya, or Madagascar to write their opinion piece about. They learned so many cool facts about each county, it was a tough decision!

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Summit School Art Happenings...

Students from grade 6-8th spent 8 weeks learning the basics of clay and how to make ceramic pieces. Students learned 4 techniques and demonstrated mastery by making their own product for each technique.

In 4th grade, students are working in series, a natural progression for artists. This painting skill transferred easily into making a blended sunset canvas. The TAB program allows students to repeat, experiment and develop skill for a technique, medium or subject.

End of the Day Safety Reminder

It is incredibly important that Summit School is a safe and supervised environment from the beginning to the very end of our day. If you are coming to school to pick up multiple children, please do not allow your children to play unsupervised on the playgrounds. Our staff is not scheduled to monitor these areas and we don't want any of our students to be injured. We appreciate your help. Thank you.
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We Make Summit Amazing!

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Donna Beatty, Preschool Teacher

I’m so excited to be part of the Summit Preschool Team! This is my 3rd year and I am so happy to be working with our youngest learners! Their laughter, joy and excitement of discovery makes my day!

I received a Masters in Early Childhood from NAU. I have taught Kindergarten, 2nd and 6th grade, but my heart is in preschool where I have spent most of my teaching career.

John and I have been married for 22 years and have 2 AMAZING children and 2 pretty cool dogs. Logan is a freshman attending Park University in Gilbert and Megan is a senior at Corona del Sol High School. We love to play volleyball, board games, and relax at the beach!!!

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Colleen Eckles, Visual Arts Teacher

I came to Arizona 25 years ago and will never leave! My husband of 40 years and I love to hike, read, and travel. I grew up as an Army brat and moved all over, including Hawaii and Germany. My 3 young adult children went to all 3 Arizona state universities. I earned my BA at Old Dominion University, my post-baccalaureate for education at Rio Salado College and my fine arts associates at Mesa Community College. My career started in advertising in New York City and Philadelphia and then I transitioned to teaching art. I have taught art to preschool through 8th grade students for 19 years. My philosophy aligns with this quote: “Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.” S.G. Clemens

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Tom Pray, Grade 5 Teacher

This is my 10th year teaching at Summit School. I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education. I moved to Phoenix in 2008 and love life out here in the desert. In addition to 5th grade math and social studies, I teach 6th grade literature, coach our middle school golf and basketball teams, and recently started our school newspaper team.

In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my wife and baby girl, golfing, playing basketball, exercising, reading, learning, and enjoying everything life has to offer.

Committee Membership Opportunities

Sabrecat Athletics Committee

If you are interested in being a part of the planning, marketing, and support of our Summit Sabrecats Athletics Program, please consider joining our Sabre Athletics Committee. Current members include Mr. Pray, Mr. Hough, Mr. Moreno, Dr. Nardi, and Heather Thomas. We are seeking one or two new members. Please reach out to our athletic director, Mr. Moreno, at

Diversity & Inclusiveness Committee

Summit School is hoping to create a committee of volunteers to work on supporting a diverse and inclusive school environment at Summit School. If you are a professional in a related field, an interested community member, or just have great ideas for diversity and inclusiveness opportunities please reach out to Dr. Nardi or Mary Oakley We would like to meet monthly with a committee of 5-7 members.
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Camp Summit Returns in 2022!

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Camp offerings begin on May 31 and include project-based STEM opportunities from the National Inventors Hall of Fame: Champions, Rescue Squad, and Flight Lab. The last week is a new adventure for Summit School, Camp Invention.

Pre-Camp 5/31-6/3 Games, Games, Games!

Week 1 6/6-6/10 Preschool: Exercise/Athletic K-8: Champions

Week 2 6/13-6/17 Preschool: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle K-8: Rescue Squad

Week 3 6/21-6/24 Preschool: Roads K-8: Flight Lab

Week 4 6/27-7/1 Preschool: Space K-8: Camp Invention - Explore

Camp Summit registration can be found at

Register NOW for K-8 Week 4 Camp Invention at

Find All-New Adventures at Camp Invention in 2022
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Discount codes are available for week 4!

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STEAM Opportunities for Grades 1-8

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A complex, but fun, example...

Rube Goldberg Soap Challenge
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COVID-related Absences

Please communicate all COVID-related absences to both and your child's homeroom teacher. The teacher will then reach out to you within 24 hours to set up a plan for your child's academic success during the absence.

Masking at Summit School

Face coverings should be 2-ply masks that cover the mouth and nose, and fit snugly. Any images or messages on masks must be school-appropriate. Masks with exhalation valves, neck gaiters, bandanas, or face shields are not approved, per the CDC and not approved for use at Summit. (Health and Safety Guidelines, p. 4). Please be sure that your child has a mask and a spare at school each day. Masks frequently get lost, wet, or damaged. A back-up is a good idea.

Summit Apparel Store

Gear up with back to school apparel! Check out the Summit apparel store for customizable shirts, pants, and accessories with your favorite Summit logos!


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Referral Credits

Our families are Summit’s best advocates and we appreciate when you share your Summit story with family and friends. We ask for your help in continuing to spread the word about Summit School!

In addition to helping create a thriving community of learners, Summit School has temporarily increased the Referral Credit from $500 to $1,000 as a credit toward your tuition liability for each newly enrolled student of a new family. This temporary increased referral credit amount is for new students (not applicable for siblings of current students or for returning students) that enroll between April 12, 2021 and March 11, 2022. Each credit is applied to your FACTS tuition account after the new family makes two tuition payments for the new student(s). During these stated dates there are no limits to the number of referral credits you may earn by supporting our school! Please contact Summit Admissions or Business Office if you have any questions regarding the family referral program.

Note: Referral credits of $600 or more require the completing of a W-9 form claiming the income. Referral credits are not applicable for voting members of the Board of Trustees.

Follow Chips and Salsa @chipsandsalsa_tortoise

Follow Sabrecat Athletics @summitathleticsaz

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