Summit School Newsletter


January 14, 2022

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From the Head of School...

Dear Summit School Community,

Please read the announcement below from one of our Summit teachers, Dawn Anderson. We wish her well in her retirement at the end of this school year, and hope to see her on campus when she is available.

Dear Summit Community,

The year of 2022…..I began teaching at age 22. I have taught grade TWO the longest. I am writing to inform you that I will be retiring this May of 2022. I have taught 39 years in the classroom as a full-time teacher, one year as a permanent sub for teachers on maternity leave, and one semester of student teaching. After 40 years of dedication to education, 40 years of touching children’s lives, 40 years of learning new techniques and skills to become the best teacher I can be – my teaching story is complete. I feel it’s time to be finished – mission accomplished. Thank you for making me who I am and allowing me to teach at the best school.

Even though this is an “end” to a wonderful teaching career – it’s not the end of seeing me. I would love to come back to Summit next year as a substitute, or work periodically throughout the year in some capacity if you should need someone. Summit is my home away from home and I know I will miss it dearly. Thank you for all you do to make Summit School the best. It truly is a unique and one-of-a-kind school where children and teachers are heard and nurtured. May it continue to carry on for years to come!


Dawn Anderson

In addition, there are some staffing changes we are already planning for 2022-23. Changes include:

  • Colleen Eckles, our current PS-8 art teacher, will reduce her teaching load to grades 3-8 and Summit School will be hiring an addition art teacher for PS-2.

  • Andrea Yocum, our current long-term substitute in grade 5, will return to Summit School faculty as the full-time grade 5 teacher.

  • Christine Odenkirk, current grade 1 teacher, will become our Summit School Reading Specialist beginning in 22-23.

  • Rachel Jones, current reading support teacher, will move into a full-time elementary classroom position.

  • Kat Glover, current preschool teacher, will move into a first grade classroom.

  • Summit School will be hiring for a new teaching position in the middle school that will cover grade 6 literature and LA, as well as grade 7 LA.

We look forward to a great spring at Summit School, and we will continue to share changes and enhancements to our Summit School programs and staff as they become available. Thank you for all you do as members of our community.


Dr. Stephanie Nardi

Vote now! Show your love for Summit School at

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Looking Ahead to Enrichment and Intervention in 2022-23

I am excited to share the Summit School Academic Intervention and Enrichment Flowchart below. This graphic represents our school plan to provide needed enrichment and intervention for our students using our on-site, highly qualified staff during regular school hours. These services will begin with data-driven decision making and a team problem-solving approach.

Step one. All students in grades K-8 will be assessed a minimum of three times a year using the STAR assessment tool (Early literacy, reading, and math) and the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (reading). Both assessments are research-based, standardized, and reliable. The results of those assessments will be reported out to individual families after completion, and to the Summit School Community mid-year and at the end of the year. Arizona's Academic Standards Assessment (AASA for grades 3-8) and the AzSci (grades 5 and 8) will also be taken by students beginning in the spring of 2023. As this is a summative assessment, results will not be a deciding factor for enrichment and intervention services.

Step two. Classroom teachers will review all STAR and F&P results. These results will support classroom instructional decisions.

Step three. Students whose results fall into the green, yellow, and red categories as shown on the graphic will be reviewed by a Student Support Team. Student Support Teams (SST) consist of the Head of School, classroom teacher, reading specialist, math coach and interventionist, and school psychologist. Others, including the Assistant Head of School, may also be added to the SST if needed. During this meeting, enrichment and intervention supports and strategies will be determined and evaluated for their effectiveness with regard to a specific child.

Enrichment. Students who show the need for enrichment will be supported with advanced content teaching in the areas of math and reading as described in the graphic. There are also opportunities built into the 22-23 schedule for enrichment in Spanish, STEAM, and technology. The progress of these students will be monitored using the beginning, middle, and end of year assessments as well as regular classroom observations and assessments.

Intervention. Students who show the need for intervention will be supported at three different levels/tiers. The need for increased or reduced support will be determined by STAR and F&P results on a progress monitoring schedule that occurs more frequently than students who do not show a need for intervention.

Tier 1 Intervention. Students who need a boost or slight scaffolding for success (yellow) will be supported in the classroom by their regular classroom teacher. The plan for intervention will be a product of teacher knowledge of the student and SST review. Frequency, method, and materials will be determined during SST meetings and carried out by the classroom teacher. The ability to serve students in this way is made possible by small class sizes.

Tier 2 Intervention. Students who need a "double dip" to support success (red) will be supported in the classroom by their regular teacher and also by a second member of our highly-qualified staff. Schedules, methods, and materials will vary depending on the unique needs of the student, but will be determined during SST meetings. In the graphic below, you can see that there are a number of qualified staff members assigned to provide tier 2 services. In addition to reading and math, support will also be available in Spanish and other content areas.

Tier 3 Intervention. Students who need support beyond what is available through Summit School may be referred for special education testing and outside service providers. In extreme situations, it may be determined that Summit School is not a good fit for the student's academic needs. Summit School does not provide special education services.

If your student shows a need for enrichment or intervention, you will be notified. Ongoing progress monitoring will be shared with you, and if there is a need you may be asked to join a Student Support Team meeting. If you would like to discuss this plan, or have questions, please reach out to Dr. Nardi. We will continue to evaluate the needs of our students and enhance our Summit School programs as we move forward.

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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.

We Make Summit Amazing!

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Kat Glover, preschool teacher

My name is Kat Glover and this is my first year teaching preschool at Summit. Prior to teaching, I worked in the semiconductor industry. After having my own kids, I discovered a passion for working with children. I earned my Bachelor of Elementary Education degree while working as an instructional assistant in the integrated preschool program in the Kyrene School District. I am fortunate to have learned from veteran teachers prior to having a classroom of my own.

I have been married to my husband, Ben, for sixteen years. We have two wonderful boys, Liam and Kellen. As a family we love to camp, ride bikes, and explore nature. Every year, we take a trip to a different national park. This year we are camping at Channel Islands National Park.

I love to create and dabble in many different kinds of projects, including costumes, photography, paper craft, and embroidery. I love to read and my favorite genre is science fiction.

I am excited to be part of the Summit school community!

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Leslie Gearhart, grade 4 teacher

I'm Leslie Gearhart, fourth grade teacher at Summit School.

When we aren’t on a baseball field or volleyball court, our family (Tommy, Tre (17), Frank (14), Elle (11) enjoys spending free time in Durango with friends exploring the outdoors.

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Melissa France, Middle School Teacher

Mrs. France’s teaching career is enhanced through her involvement as Summit’s Student Council Advisor. Melissa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, with a minor in Psychology from Northern State University. She is a member of NCTM, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and was named Educator Mentor of the Year by the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce. Mrs. France is also the recipient of several “Golden Gator, Excellence in Teaching Award” from Xavier College Preparatory High School. This award recognizes junior high teachers who have been inspirational to Xavier’s freshmen students.

Melissa joined Summit’s faculty in 2001. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends as well as attending her children’s sporting events at Desert Vista High School.

Everyday Events in the Summit TAB (Teaching Artistic Behavior) Studio

Fifth Grade

Students have access to 6 centers at this grade level: Drawing, Cardboard Building, Painting, Recycle, and Sewing. Recently Mrs. Eckles taught a lesson on how to use the grid method to accurately draw (enlarge) any photo. The beauty of TAB is the student can take a technique or an inspiration to the next level. Andre was thrilled to draw his platypus to poster size then create a 3D model of the same platypus! What a skill set - to make the leap from 2D to 3D!

First Grade

Students have access to 3 centers at this grade level: Drawing, Cardboard Building, and Painting. Collaboration is a benefit of the TAB structure…Mateo and Patricio are writing books together. Mini blank books are available in the Drawing Center and they work hard to write and illustrate their story…they write about dangers in the world, their friendship, ideas to build. TAB encourages students to use all their skills and to express their message.

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.

Child Development Elective

Summit Middle School students began the new year with a visit back to where it all began! Our Child Development elective allows our young adults to connect with our youngest students and gain a deep understanding of how we grow, learn, and become valuable community members.

Camp Summit Returns in 2022!

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

Register NOW for K-8 Week 4 Camp Invention at

Find All-New Adventures at Camp Invention in 2022

STEAM Opportunities for Grades 1-8

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A complex, but fun, example...

Rube Goldberg Soap Challenge

Join Summit School for a School Choice Celebration

Celebrate National School Choice Week with Summit School. We will be there to share all of the amazing things happening at Summit. More information can be found at
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For 4th and 5th grade families...

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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 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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