Summit School Newsletter


October 1, 2021

Fall Break is October 4-11. We return to class on October 12.

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From the Head of School...

Dear Summit Community,

I am so happy to have the opportunity to serve as your Head of School at Summit. I am amazed by the staff, students, community , and resources we have and are able to share. Five of the amazing things that our donors make possible include our academics and educators, our preschool, our technology and innovation, our ability to nurture the heart and body, and our campus.

Academics and Educators

Did you know that Summit educators are highly-trained, long-tenured, veteran teachers? Many of our teachers and administrators have advanced degrees. Together, we provide education and enrichment opportunities to our students that focus on their individual needs, their future goals, and best educational practices. We look forward to continued growth in areas of intervention, enrichment, and world languages.


The preschool program at Summit School has low student-teacher ratios of 8 or 9 to one to provide quality supervision and engagement for all of our youngest students. Each of our preschool teachers also has a minimum of a bachelor's degree in child development/education, and we support project work with high quality resources and subject matter experts who visit our classrooms in person or via Zoom. Students have time each day in our outdoor spaces with room to run, pedal, imagine, and explore. We look forward to increased opportunities, new spaces, and new faces in the future.

Technology and Innovation

Our rigorous curriculum develops academic core mastery and 21st century skills like creative problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and leadership. Students have opportunities to incorporate STEAM through our curriculum, Robotics, Tinker Lab, Maker Space, IDEA Lab, art offerings, and imbedded technology within the classroom. We look forward to becoming a one-to-one technology school in 2022.

Nurturing Heart and Body

We focus on the whole-child. Through social-emotional learning, CARE, and CAA athletics our students have many opportunities to grow both mentally and physically. We have an on-site School Psychologist and two "happiness coordinators" named Chips and Salsa. We look forward to adding a school garden to expand the creative learning opportunities for our students.


Our Ahwatukee campus is ideally located to serve our Summit School students and their families. Parents like you choose Summit for a variety of reasons but often it’s because they found we offer a truly unique, safe community for their child to become a remarkable, innovative student. We look forward to continued campus improvements that include a large collaborative mural on campus.

For all of these reasons, I encourage you to be amazing. Our per student cost to educate is roughly $18,400. With tuition at about $15,000, we need supporters like you to make Summit School possible. Donate to Summit School today to continue our growth and support all of our programs. Please spread the word and share the AMAZING.

To thank you for your support, Summit School will draw five winners from our donors to win a pair of *Disneyland passes. Information regarding the passes will be shared in the Summit School Newsletter. In addition, as a special thank you for our top donor, I have donated a bottle of Brunello Di Montalcino from the Tenute Silvio Nardi winery in Sienna, Italy. Our fall fundraiser ends on October 29, 2021. Please donate today. Thank you.

Thank you for all you do!


Dr. Stephanie Nardi

Head of School

*Disneyland theme park reservations are limited and subject to availability, and park admission is not guaranteed. Winners will need to create a Disney account and link their winning tickets to their account in order to make a reservation. Disneyland Resort considers the guidance of government and local health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition to enhanced cleaning measures and adjustments to promote physical distancing, face coverings (ages 2 and up), temperature screenings and park reservations will be required for all guests. For more information about requirements including how to book a reservation using the new them park reservation system, please visit The Summit School Fall Fundraiser Complimentary Disney Tickets have no cash value and cannot be upgraded. They cannot they be applied towards a Disneyland package to meet eligibility requirements and their value cannot be applied to any Summit School tuition and/or fees. Summit School is not responsible for the Disneyland tickets, their cancellation, the Disneyland Resort closure, or the modification of services including the Disney Family Volunteering Reward Program Tickets.

From the Assistant Head of School...

This month our children hosted a wagon parade to welcome fall and usher in the great changes that are coming our way second quarter. Fall break is only days away and I’m sure that everyone is looking forward to some time to unwind, travel, and connect with those we love. There is one way to do that that is universal, budget friendly and fits all personalities and ages:


There is nothing that compares to being lost in a book—the characters, story, illustrations, new perspectives……it’s all found between the covers of a book. We are so fortunate to have many book donations here and wanted to make our community’s generosity a way to fill your fall break with some new books for your collection. Please check outside of the front office from 8-4 on Friday and pick up some fresh reading material for your children to explore during fall break. All leftover books will be donated to Treasures4Teachers on Saturday.

Thank you all for sharing your libraries with us at school—we are excited to share the love of literacy and wish you all a wonderful fall break.

Andrea Benkel, M.Ed

Assistant Head of School

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Chips and Salsa Gender Reveal

Wednesday, Oct. 27th, 8:30am

4515 East Muirwood Drive

Phoenix, AZ

Hello Summit Community,

Please join us at Summit School on Wednesday, October 27 at 8:30am for a very special gender reveal. Our very special happiness coordinators, Chips and Salsa, have met with a reptile specialist and we are ready to share the news. Please consider joining in the fun.

You may also purchase a special Summit School Chips and Salsa t-shirt in honor of this event. The sample shown illustrates one boy and one girl tortoise. The shirts will reflect the genders as revealed on October 27.

To order, complete the order form below and send cash or a check (made out to Summit School) to the front office on or before Friday, October 1. T-shirts are $20 each and both youth and adult sizes are available. All proceeds will support the creation of a Chips & Salsa Garden on campus.

Follow Chips and Salsa @chipsandsalsa_tortoise

Girl's Basketball

Shout out to our girl's basketball players who just completed their training season this week. They have been working hard and waking up early to practice at Summit twice a week at 6:30am with Coach Tank Giles. If you see any of these girls, congratulate them on their hard work!

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Cross Country Shout Out!

Summit cross country captured 2nd place in both girls and boys middle school competition this weekend at the Mile High Invitational in Prescott.

Avery Thomas (4th place) and Mason Cavallo (5th place) medaled again

All team members had a tremendous performance on trails and in altitude!
Go Sabrecats!

Preschool Open House Coming Soon

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Summit School made the news!

Thank you Ahwatukee Foothill News for sharing our Welcome Fall Wagon Parade. Our middle school and preschool did a wonderful job.
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First Grade and Our Community

Our first theme in first grade is OUR COMMUNITY. Our learning started at the beginning of the year with a focus on friends and family and building a strong first grade community. Over the last few weeks, our learning has led us to discussing people and businesses in our community and exploring concepts such as producers and consumers, goods and services, and wants versus needs. We will also be exploring other basic economic principles such as opportunity cost, quality vs. quantity, opportunity cost, and saving, spending and bartering.

This past week we went on a virtual field trip to Shamrock Farms. We got a first-hand look at a working dairy farm. The students had the chance to get up close and personal with a happy herd of cows and learn all about how milk gets from the farm to their table. Following the virtual field trip, we had a live Q & A session with a Shamrock Farm employee via Zoom. Our curious first graders prepared for their interview by writing questions. Some of their questions included: Which is healthier: cow’s milk or goat’s milk: Where do you put the milk after it comes out? Do you make other goods? Who sells the goods you produce? Do the cows have toys to play with? How much milk do the cows make? Do you drink the milk the cows make?

On Friday, the first graders participated in a “blind” pizza tasting. They tasted pizza from three different businesses. While tasting the pizza, they took notes that reflected their personal opinion about the different pizzas. They considered the way the pizza looked and tasted. These first grade consumers have some strong opinions! After the tasting, the classroom erupted in surprise when I revealed the pizza businesses that produced each pizza. Next week, each student will write an opinion piece that will become a YELP review on the pizza of their choice.

And to think our inquiry is just beginning!

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Health & Safety Task Force (HSTF)

Our Summit School HSTF has ten current members. The membership is a blend of professionals in medical, law enforcement, contracting, and education. As the duties of the HSTF extend beyond COVID protocols and other health-related concerns, we are currently seeking up to two new members with backgrounds and/or training in law enforcement and general contracting. If you are interested in becoming a member of the HSTF, please reach out to Dr. Nardi at or Barb Nicholas at

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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.

A Mask and a Spare

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.

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).

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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