Summit School Newsletter


December 10, 2021

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December 17 is an 11:30 dismissal. Classes resume January 4, 2022.

Spirit Day December 10

Summit Student Council Presents Winter Holiday Spirit Day!

From the Head of School...

Dear Summit School Community,

This week, I had the pleasure of meeting with Summit families who are looking ahead to preschool and grades 3-5. A special thank you goes out to the wonderful staff members who were able to join me. It was great to be able to share a bit about myself and to share some of the amazing things coming to Summit School as we move forward.

As these Looking Ahead meetings have been grade level specific, I'd like to take some time to share what is happening school-wide.

  • We have set an enrollment goal of 280 students (an increase of roughly 40) for the 2022-2023 school year. Help us spread the word about Summit School.
  • To recruit and retain amazing teachers, we have created a pay scale that ensures all of our certified teachers are making at least 105% of what their local public school peers earn.
  • To foster increased certifications and higher education among our staff, the Arizona Department of Education will be visiting Summit School to meet with interested teachers.
  • STAR assessments, which begin January 10, 2022, will provide us with standardized achievement data for all of our K-8 students on a regular basis. This data will be reported out to our families a minimum of twice a year.
  • In response to student needs, student support teams will meet after STAR testing to evaluate the data on an individual student level. If needed, students will then receive intervention or enrichment with frequent progress monitoring to ensure we meet the needs of each student.
  • Our current math and literacy curriculum resources are being evaluated and we are reviewing updated options to match our student needs and to increase the rigor of our program.
  • Our Summit Preschool is being restructured to include a PreK for four year old students. The PreK will work closely with kindergarten to support early learning success.
  • If a minimum number of students is reached, Summit School will be offering a Toddler program beginning with students who are 18 months and walking as soon as fall of 2022.
  • Technology will be upgraded throughout our building, including one-to-one devices K-8 and fiber-optics.
  • STEAM opportunities and middle school electives will be expanded and new partnerships with outside providers will be explored. See the information below about our new partnership with the Valley Youth Theatre.

Please reach out if you would like to learn more. Continue to look ahead and we are thankful that you are a part of the Summit School Community. The last of our Looking Ahead meetings is listed below.

  • Wednesday, December 15 at 5pm- Looking ahead to elementary school (preschool and kindergarten)


Dr. Stephanie Nardi

Head of School

Looking Ahead for Preschool

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Looking Ahead for Upper Elementary

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New Partnership for Summit School

We are excited to announce a partnership with Valley Youth Theatre (VYT). Beginning on January 4, 2022 our middle school students will have the opportunity to participate in a theater elective taught by the talented staff of VYT.

Like Summit School, VYT strives to “embolden children to take risks in a safe, encouraging environment, while simultaneously teaching them essential life skills.”

Summit School Theatre Class with Valley Youth Theatre

It's showtime! As a class, we will discover what inspires YOU so that we can create our very own play where we become the writers, directors, and stars. This class will take students through the show process - from the brainstorming stages to rehearsal to performance all while imparting creative skills in writing/storytelling, acting technique, and the director's vision. This class will also work to build student's self-confidence, stage presence, and ability to work as a team, all through a collaborative, creative process. To learn more about Valley Youth Theatre and our mission, please visit:

Dorsey Guitar Studio Hosted by Summit School

Saturday, Dec. 11th, 3:30pm

3111 West Chandler Boulevard

Chandler, AZ

Come support our Summit School guitar players at the Chandler Fashion Center.
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Help support the Summit School Diaper Drive.

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Summit Student Council Presents The Diaper Drive!

From the Summit School Art Studio...

Summit School's fine art elective students are working in the glass and ceramic studio on original ceramic pieces. Our K-5 art students will also be completing a variety of projects before winter break.

Kindergarten- Vincent Van Gogh inspired self-portraits

First- Mondrian drawing based on the painting, "Boogie Woogie"

Second- Kandinsky circles in tempera

Third- Japanese ink brush drawing based on the book, The Boy Who Loved Cats

Fourth- Hot air balloon in oil pastel and watercolor

Fifth- Acrylics on canvas

While also participating in more traditional art instruction, our Summit School students are also immersed in the freedom to create through TAB. They will be exposed to a balance of both discipline-based art instruction and choice-based art instruction. See the research below.

Let Me Choose What to Make - T.A.B. (Teaching for Artistic Behavior)

Research into Choice-Based Art Education or TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior)

Choice-based art education is an art teaching philosophy that views students as artists and provides them with an environment that promotes exploration and engagement in artistic behaviors (Douglas & Jaquith, 2009). This philosophy is relatively new and runs counter to Discipline-Based Art Education which, through teacher-driven instruction, argues that a well-rounded visual arts education comes from instruction that stresses art concepts, art history, and art techniques - leaving out the development of student self-expression (Greer, 1984). With the popularity of choice-based art education on the rise, many art educators are reevaluating current practices and contemplating a shift to choice. Those who have made the transition claim benefits associated with a choice-based approach such as: an increase in student engagement; a switch in the instruction and learning that takes place in the classroom; student engagement in more authentic art practices, and a reinvigoration for the craft of teaching. These benefits, however, don’t come without warnings of potential risks. These risks include: the inability of students to initially engage in self-directed behaviors (which are essential to choice); the possibility of systemic adverse attitudes toward choice; and the lack of resources and time. Through observation, student surveys, and parent survey, my study looked to assess the claimed benefits and risks of choice-based art education. Although further data collection could provide deeper insight, over the course of five months, my research suggested that many of the claimed benefits and some risks hold true. My observations in a choice-based classroom that employed TAB, in comparison and contrast to a more discipline-based classroom, showed: high levels of student engagement; organic forms of collaboration and peer-to-peer learning; and student engagement in a wide array of artistic behaviors. Students in Choice-Based Classroom also expressed more excitement in coming to art class and greater knowledge of artistic materials/processes, supporting claims that student engagement is higher in a choice-based setting (Andrews, 2010; Bedrick, 2012; Douglas & Jaquith, 2009; Gates, 2016; Hathaway, 2013; McElhany, 2017; Roth, 2017) and students functioning in a choice-based classroom are able to function more as authentic artists (Douglas & Jaquith, 2009). These characteristics were still present in Discipline-Based Classroom but appeared less frequently. My time observing in the two classrooms also showed that some of the claimed risks associated with a choice-based approach, were present. Some students struggled to be self-directed learners. Comments by another teacher and district requirements to document student growth suggested preference for a more structured approach. The choice-based instructor voiced challenges relating to managing students working in a more organic fashion. And although not extreme, answers to some statements on the agreement portion of the parent survey suggested a slight preference for a more discipline-based approach and perhaps some apprehension to the process-oriented nature of choice. This suggested apprehension toward choice supports claims by Bedrick (2012) and Hathaway (2013) that some parents are conditioned to associate a successful art program as one that turns out beautiful products and teaches set skills. It is important for anyone looking to switch to a choice-based approach, such as TAB, to understand these benefits and potential risks. Understanding the benefits and risks helps inform decisions and guide next steps - whether these steps be developing tools to help students combat creative block, developing resources to effectively advocate for a choice-based program, or organizing a classroom in the most efficient manner - to have a successful classroom. Ultimately the teacher is left to decide, based on personal preference, available resources, and the needs of her students, what approach to art education is best. If that approach happens to be choice-based, then understanding benefits and potential risks can guide instruction to optimal success.

Selection taken from "Assessing the Benefits and Risks of Choice-Based Art Education in the Modern-Day Classroom" at

For 4th and 5th grade families...

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Win a PS5!

Check out this amazing opportunity to finish off your holiday shopping and maybe win a PS5 at the same time! The raffle ends on December 15.

Summit Student Council Presents The PS5 Holiday Raffle!


Great job and congratulations go out to Jax Paradise, a Summit School fourth grader, for receiving Honorable Mention in the Economic Concepts Poster Contest from the Arizona Council and Economic Education.
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Running Club

Our Running Club is off to an amazing start! All students and parents of
Preschool – 8th grade are welcome to join us every Tuesday and Thursday morning
from 7:30am-8:00am before school. We hope to see you there! #GoSabrecats
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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.
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Summit School Community!

We are currently in 6th place out of 20 schools for School Cents $!

The better our ranking the more $ we earn for our school!

As you shop for the holidays, please upload your Chandler Fashion Mall Receipts for all purchases (food and movies included!) to or drop them off at Summit or in the Summit School receipt box located across from Barnes and Noble on the 2nd floor at the mall.

Please see the flyer for additional ways to earn points for Summit by visiting Santa and/or Adopting an Angel.

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.

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Follow Chips and Salsa @chipsandsalsa_tortoise

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