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Star Academic HS partnership with UA and TYLO published in High Country News
As published December 6, 2018 in High Country News Extreme heat hits Tucson’s poor neighborhoods hardest By: Jessica Kutz On a cool morning in mid-November, about two dozen volunteers...
Table with books for young adults
Reading Under the Stars comes to Apollo Middle School on Feb. 11
Reading Under the Stars is a literacy event sponsored by the Sunnyside Literacy Council and the Sunnyside Unified School District.  The goal of this annual event is to raise awareness of the...
Summit View Formative Assessment work featured in national education blog
As published November 14, 2018 in Getting Smart blog By: Nancy Gerzon and Mary Ryerse A group of teachers set out on an adventure (aka field trip!) to conduct classroom observations and to...
2018 Profile of a Graduate
Our Vision: Every child... College, Career and Community Ready. Our Mission: Our mission is to develop students with a strong sense of identity, purpose and agency, so that they leave our system...
As published December 6, 2018 in High Country News Extreme heat hits Tucson’s poor neighborhoods hardest By: Jessica Kutz On a cool morning in mid-November, about two dozen volunteers and students work in a shallow basin behind Star Academic High School, a school on Tucson’s south side, shoveling out piles of dirt and placing rocks in front of a drainage designed to capture rainwater from the school’s roof. One teenage girl uses a hammer drill on the hard dirt, creating a hole big enough for a young tree, while other students spread mulch and plug native grasses into the basin.   The landscaping will beautify the school’s barren lot, but the project’s real goal is to add shade and natural vegetation to one of the hottest parts of this desert city. Trees and plants have a dramatic cooling effect in urban environments, and researchers say they’ll be critical safeguards for the health and well-being of residents as temperatures continue to climb. Students, nonprofit and grassroots organizations construct green infrastructure that will direct stormwater to native trees and grasses they are planting to improve the landscape at Star Academic High School. Norma Jean Gargasz for High Country News A few years ago, city and county officials mapped tree canopies and shade throughout Tucson. The results showed that in northern and eastern Tucson, where the city’s wealthier residents live, the tree canopy is expansive. But south of 22nd Street, home to many of the city’s low-income and minority residents, shade is scarce to nonexistent. And its absence shows: The south side can be up to 5 degrees hotter than the greener neighborhoods to its north. University of Arizona students and high school students helped design the school's landscaping with their community in mind. Norma Jean Gargasz for High Country News This disparity will only worsen as the climate continues to change. The Southwest is projected to warm by as much as 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. In Tucson, rising temperatures will be further amplified by the urban heat island, a phenomenon linked to rooftops and asphalt roads, which absorb more heat from the sun during the day than natural surfaces and then radiate it at night. The effect is particularly pronounced in the sparsely vegetated parts of the city where people of color and low-income residents live. Those areas are expected to heat up more quickly and be less equipped to buffer the changes with costly amenities like air conditioning. Here, extreme heat could lead to more hospital visits and even deaths. Planting trees and using captured stormwater to irrigate them could help a lot. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in the hottest part of the day, shaded areas can be 20 to 45 degrees cooler than unshaded spaces. To grow more vegetation, the city of Tucson has created programs to encourage installation of rainwater-harvesting cisterns and stormwater collection basins. But so far, the programs have disproportionately benefited the more affluent areas of the city, where they are least needed. Over the past decade, Tucson has tried to prepare for a hotter future by promoting green infrastructure and water conservation through water-harvesting policies. The city created financial incentives, such as rebates and grants, to encourage citizens to make improvements in their own neighborhoods or backyards, capturing water or adding vegetation. Unfortunately, there's a problem, City Councilmember Regina Romero tells me, sitting in her cramped office in the basement of the Center for Biological Diversity, where she works as the Latino engagement director. The way the incentives are structured often makes them inaccessible to the city’s low-income residents. Take the city’s rainwater-harvesting program: In 2012, Tucson started a rebate program that reimbursed residents up to $2,000 for installing cisterns and other systems to collect rainwater on their properties. The hope was that people would use water collected from their roofs, instead of drinking water, to irrigate landscaping. Communities with less resources, like this south side neighborhood, are less likely to apply to grants for projects like curbside irrigation. Norma Jean Gargasz for High Country News But few people in poor neighborhoods took advantage of the program. “(Rainwater barrels) were kind of becoming this middle-class symbol of wealth,” said Andrea Gerlak, a water policy scholar with the University of Arizona. Most of the rebates went to northern Tucson, where the shade canopy was already densest. Low-income residents couldn’t afford the upfront costs of installation, and in many cases, they were unaware the program even existed, Romero says. In the initial rollout phase, none of the promotional materials or workshops were available in Spanish. Since then, the city has directed funding to a local nonprofit called the Sonora Environmental Research Institute, which is distributing systems to low-income and Spanish-speaking residents with zero-interest loans and grants. Over 100 harvesting systems — about 6 percent of the systems funded by the city's incentive program — have now been installed in low-income households. Similar access problems have arisen with a new neighborhood program, which distributes up to $45,000 a year to each of Tucson’s six wards for small stormwater harvesting projects — things like water collection basins and curb cuts, which funnel water from the street into landscaped medians or parks. Romero proposed the program to add vegetation to more heat-stressed parts of the city. But the City Council ultimately decided that any funding opportunity had to be equally available to every part of the city. “Well, we all know that equal does not mean equitable,” Romero says. Out of the 20 applications received in the first year of the program, 18 were in two of the city’s more affluent wards.   It wasn’t that these projects weren’t of interest to people living in poorer neighborhoods. It was that the process of qualifying for the funding — developing a project plan and filling out an extensive application — was harder for communities with less resources.  In some of the areas Romero represents, “people work and have two to three jobs,” she explained, leaving them less time to participate in civic life. Additionally, there are few neighborhood associations on the south side. That's another barrier, because most of the city's outreach about funding opportunities is funneled through these groups. “We have to make sure we are responding to that inequity,” Romero says, “and that we are spending those funds in an equitable manner.” Dressed in a school-bus-yellow T-shirt, Claudio Rodriguez watches as his partner, Nelda Ruiz, and other community members mulch and plant trees in another stormwater basin in front of Star Academic High School. “They look like little work ants,” he says, looking on from the building’s shadow at 2 p.m. Rodriguez is an organizer with Tierra y Libertad, a grassroots environmental justice organization that works on the south side. Though it’s been hard to take advantage of the city’s climate adaptation programs in the barrio, Rodriguez and a few partners are finding other ways to get the work done. The stormwater basin at Star High School, for example, came about through a project called Tucson Verde Para Todos, spearheaded by Gerlak and her research partner at the University of Arizona. The group won a grant from the university and partnered with Tierra y Libertad and other local nonprofits including the Watershed Management Group, who designed the basin, to create the project. They secured donated trees and asked university and high school students to help plan the landscaping, and the coalition gathered community input. One result of that input was the creation of a shaded bus stop in front of the school; until recently, a single metal sign marked the stop in a city that regularly tops 100 degrees in the summer. But even when these partnerships work, Tucson and other cities can’t afford to rely on them to promote climate resiliency. As Diego Martinez-Lugo, another organizer, explains, “It is kind of like a double-edged sword.” For the city, projects like this are a win-win, he says: “They don’t have to fund it, and the community is doing it anyways.” Ultimately, this approach ends up putting a lot of responsibility on individuals to fight for projects in communities whose residents are already overworked. As climate change intensifies, governments at every level will need to re-evaluate who is really benefiting from their programs. Federal tax credits for solar panels, for instance, don’t really help low-income communities. The tax breaks make adaptation easier for people who already have the means to protect themselves, says Diana Liverman, a researcher who studies the societal impacts of climate change. “But if you aren’t earning enough to pay taxes, you aren’t getting the tax break.” At the grassroots level, community organizers and other groups will continue to fill the gaps and promote community resiliency in any way they can. “Because at the end of the day, everyone will be affected by climate change,” Rodriguez said. “But it will hit our low-income and people of color first.” 12th-grader, Karla Garcia digs holes for trees with assistance from Betsy Wilkening of Arizona Project Wet. Norma Jean Gargasz for High Country News Jessica Kutz is an editorial fellow for High Country News. Email her at jessicak@hcn.org.
Table with books for young adults
Reading Under the Stars is a literacy event sponsored by the Sunnyside Literacy Council and the Sunnyside Unified School District.  The goal of this annual event is to raise awareness of the importance of reading and to engage Sunnyside families in a wide range of literacy-related events. This year's event "The Heart of Literacy" will take place on February 11, 2019 from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at Apollo Middle School. The event will be devoted to making informed choices regarding health information and learning more about the resources available to our families. Several health screenings will be available as well as information on nutrition, meal programs, pharmacy programs, and fitness and wellness.  School performances and activities will be offered for children, including yoga classes by YMCA instructors and book giveaways! Refreshments will be available.  Please complete this FORM if you would like to participate in the event. Deadline to submit the form is January 11, 2019. Thank you!   Reading Under the Stars 2019: The Heart of Literacy  February 11, 2019 Apollo Middle School  265 West Nebraska Street 5:00-6:30 p.m.    
As published November 14, 2018 in Getting Smart blog By: Nancy Gerzon and Mary Ryerse A group of teachers set out on an adventure (aka field trip!) to conduct classroom observations and to seek out answers to some of their key questions about formative assessment. What better way to learn than a field trip? Here were some of their guiding questions: What does formative assessment practice look like in action? What are ways that teachers learn formative assessment? Where do they get stuck? What does day-by-day, minute-by-minute assessment look like in action? How do teachers begin their learning in formative assessment? What systems or structures best support teachers to learn formative assessment? Teachers and leaders from the Austin ISD (all of whom are participating in the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation How I Know initiative) team visited Summit View Elementary School in Sunnyside, Tucson to explore these questions – both to deepen their understanding of formative assessment generally, and also to inform their own learning goals as they enter their second year of the How I Know formative assessment pilot. About the Visit Sunnyside’s Summit View has had a small cadre of teachers and leaders who have been learning about formative assessment over the past four years, and they have worked internally and with colleagues across the district to spread this work. Last year they worked on core formative assessment elements – peer feedback and self-assessment – with all faculty, and this year they have begun professional learning for all faculty that includes the FARROP dimensions. While in Sunnyside, Austin teachers observed four of the FARROP dimensions in routine use across all classrooms: Learning Goals, Success Criteria, Culture of Learning, Peer Feedback. Teachers used a range of ways to help students understand the Learning Goals and Success Criteria, including discussion, co-creation, and the use of models. Further Summit View teachers have done significant work on developing a Culture of Learning in which students feel safe to know or not yet know. Classroom norms and routines allow for students to listen carefully to one another, share ideas, and support one another in learning. Nearly all of the classrooms had structures in place for Peer Feedback – even this early in the year, the kindergarten students were learning the foundational skills to work together to share and critique one another’s work. Even more exciting was having time to observe students who are confident in their identity as learners, actively engaged in learning, supporting peers to move their learning forward, and able to independently use a range of classroom resources to support their learning. Classroom Teachers Reflect on the Observation Process Sunnyside and Austin teachers shared their observations and reflections based on the Austin teachers’ visit to Summit View. On Student Independence Independence in students is exciting to the Sunnyside teachers. Ms. Shay, a 5th grade teacher at Summit View, told the Austin teachers how different it is in her classroom, and how exciting it is to see students own their learning. “I feel like students start becoming more independent in their own work, because not only are they giving each other feedback, but they have to reflect on the feedback that they get and figure out how are they going to use that in the future. My students who are quiet, I’ve noticed are building more confidence. They feel very excited that they can help other people and share what they know. And so you can see their attitude about being a student kind of switch to where they’re like, ‘oh I can help people, and it makes them feel really good about learning as well.’” On Agency and Modeling Austin teachers observed agency in action, both at the student learning level and in regards to learning among adults at Summit View. Kevin Rawlins, a 6th grade English Language Arts teacher, stated: “I was particularly inspired by the 5th grade math lesson I saw on multiplying. I noticed that the students all had a sense of agency and were helping each other out with their work in a respectful way. It was clear to me that this had been modeled.” On Colleague Collaboration And at the teacher level, Austin teachers were delighted by the opportunity to learn from peers. As 2nd grade teacher Jacqueline Triece shared: “You can learn so much about your practice just through collaborating and talking with other colleagues. Observing other classrooms in addition to recording yourself and talking with your colleagues about the positives and negatives in your teaching can help to change your own practice.”  (For source, and for more, see this reflection video, 45:05-48:32) More on Summit View and Sunnyside Summit View Elementary, part of the Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson, has a high English Learner population. While they use many strategies to improve outcomes for this population, formative assessment practices, in particular student discourse, peer feedback, and teacher conferencing, have had a positive outcome on English Learners. These practices provide safe structures and scaffolding for students to converse in English. As Principal Mary Montano shared as she introduced their work, Summit View has seen significant improvements in their English Learner reclassification rates, and they attribute this to their steady focus on deepening formative assessment practice. At Sunnyside School District, learning formative assessment is a districtwide effort. Carmen Castro, the Director of Literacy and Language Acquisition, highlighted the importance of leader learning: “The central role of administrators is to learn alongside, to be knowledgeable about formative assessment, how it aligns in the district, but also to support teachers as they learn.” Pam Betten, Assistant Superintendent, offered this closing reflection for Austin teachers, “What this work does for you in your room matters greatly. You are creating agency for the kids in your room. Kids see that they can be a creator, not just a consumer, of knowledge. Through formative assessment we provide them with more than a skill set, they gain the propensity to act.” Words of Wisdom The host teachers and leaders took time to share advice and reflections on incorporating formative assessment into the school culture. Teacher-to-Teacher Advice Here’s some advice from a 5th grade, 1st grade and two kindergarten Summit View teachers to Austin teachers as they are learning formative assessment: “Don’t give up.” “Have patience; you can do it; it takes time.” “Take it slow; take it slow to go fast” “Just pick one thing, pick something, and give it a try. It might go horribly wrong, but if you keep trying, and keep trying to figure it out and how it works for you, you’ll get there.” A Principal’s Advice Austin teachers took away that leadership – both school and district – plays a significant role in developing consistent practices. At Summit View, the principal and other school leaders are learning right alongside teachers, taking the formative assessment coursework together, and navigating how to improve practice given their specific context, curriculum, and community. Summit View Principal Mary Montano shared her strong belief in the power of teamwork and hard work amongst teachers and staff: “I don’t know what your spaces for learning are like, but if I could offer anything, it’s invest in one another. I know that every teacher has teacher identity. Every teacher owns that too so we tap into each other. There is enough expertise on your campus to really learn this work by doing the work. That is one of the principles of instructional core: you learn the work by doing the work. Be engaged in it, and be vulnerable enough to fail, and be okay with it.” (Source: Reflection Video, 36:34-37:04) While they are proud of the work they’ve done, they know they have much more to do to establish daily learning routines for other FARROP dimensions, and to continue to think through what it means to move away from more teacher-directed instruction, towards more student-driven learning. As Ms. Atkins, a Summit View Kindergarten teacher, said, “Letting go of control is hard!” However, Summit View Elementary is proving both that it’s possible, and that it’s the key to producing positive student outcomes. For more, see: How I Know: Austin ISD Focuses on Social Emotional Learning Professional Learning Through the Plan, Observe, Debrief (POD) Model Coaching Yields Better Formative Assessment in Tulsa Nancy Gerzon works with WestEd providing national leadership in formative assessment, helping educators reconsider how they support students to learn. Hear students talking about this work here, and follow Nancy on Twitter @NancyGerzon.
Our Vision: Every child... College, Career and Community Ready. Our Mission: Our mission is to develop students with a strong sense of identity, purpose and agency, so that they leave our system as effective learners who act with purpose to achieve the conditions they desire in their own and others’ lives. Since the release of the 1983 report “A Nation at Risk” our public school systems have been challenged with the task of improving public perception regarding how we prepare students for the future. This issue of a quality of education was compounded with the accountability requirements under the No Child Left Behind of 2001, which focused primarily on one assessment.  This narrow focus on one metric as the definitive measure of school quality misrepresents the complexity of educating students and diminishes the great work of educators across this nation who make a difference in the lives of students every day, in every classroom. And though aggregate performance is a key variable for measuring success, it simply fails to tell a bigger picture of what our students have and will be able to do in the future.  For this reason we felt it critical to recast our PROFILE OF A GRADUATE within a broader narrative of student success. This new framework provides an unparalleled level of clarity that aligns our mission, vision, and the work.  This new iteration of our graduate profile picks up where our Strategic Plan left off in 2015 and drives the work forward through five competencies, key to each student’s journey towards graduation: 1). Knowledge for Learning, 2). Knowledge for Impact, 3). Creative Confidence, 4). Critical Consciousness, and 5). Self and Systems Awareness.  In addition to college and career readiness, Community Ready was added to this iteration of the work thanks to feedback we received from community members, as well as industry and higher education professionals who expressed certain intangibles that Sunnyside students brought to their organizations. Attributing to our students traits like, “community-minded”, “a sense of social justice”, “respectfulness” we felt strongly that Community Ready also provided us with a framework to bridge the gap between knowledge and agency. This framework allows our District to capture the summative experiences that mark each child’s learning journey so that personalizing the classroom is less about technology, and more about each student’s ecology.  Thank you for being a part of our journey.      COMPETENCY #1: KNOWLEDGE FOR LEARNING Our students are knowledge creators. We look to them to not only master the content, but also to transfer knowledge across disciplines: From science to the humanities, from mathematics to the social sciences—Sunnyside students are deep thinkers and well-rounded learners with a strong sense of academic identity.  We trust our students as knowledge co-creators who share their expertise with peers and teachers as part of an intentional process of collaboration. Sunnyside students understand that learning is a social and shared responsibility. By listening respectfully, students value learning from one another as they begin to develop transferable skills like responding positively and constructively, which are important skills to employers as they are assembling their teams.   COMPETENCY #2: KNOWLEDGE FOR IMPACT When Hurricane Harvey crippled the Texas coast in 2018, Sunnyside students in our JTED Construction program rolled up their sleeves, gave up their spring break, and traveled across the country to rebuild homes. When faced with the opportunity to speak at the state capitol demanding an increase in teacher pay, one Sunnyside student took to the microphone, took a deep breath and pumped up a crowd of tens of thousands.    Our students are engaged participants in their future, not merely bystanders. Equipped with deep knowledge of history and a sense of what is fair, our students are adept at using social media and student organizations to drive change. Sunnyside students are aware of community issues and possess real-world knowledge gained from internships and other experiences that put global issues into a local context.   COMPETENCY #3: CREATIVE CONFIDENCE All students are creative, and it’s our responsibility to nurture that creativity. Borrowing from the work of Tom and David Kelley (IDEO, Stanford d.School) we define creative confidence as the natural human ability to come up with great ideas and the courage to act on those ideas.  Sunnyside students take part in human-centric experiences that use empathy, systems thinking, and design thinking to unlock their creativity. Through building prototypes, using causal loops, challenging assumptions, and acknowledging that all ideas are worthy, our students learn how to take risks. More importantly, creative confidence relies on human collaboration, which is embodied in the performing arts. Sunnyside's tradition of excellence in the fine arts provides a first point of entry for students into a world of creativity that gives them opportunities to gain confidence and succeed.    COMPETENCY #4: CRITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS Workplaces, schools and colleges, and other social environments are defined by internal cultures and norms that are not always visible from the outside. Some environments are built to nurture and empower, while other systems have internal cultures that hinder upward mobility. This is why we give students the tools to identify systems that perpetuate inequality so they’re prepared to take action.  In collaboration with League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson and the YWCA Southern Arizona we host workshops that help high school students learn about running for office while deconstructing issues such as racism, discrimination, and LGBTQ rights. Fostering critical consciousness through debate empowers our students to keep up with important issues and to demand a seat at the table.    COMPETENCY #5: SELF AND SOCIAL AWARENESS Students who are self-aware have strong intrapersonal skills such as self-regulation, which develops in the early years and aids in problem solving and supports volitional behavior. Social awareness (or social intelligence) is part of an important skill set that, later in life, is what sets a transformational leader apart from an everyday boss. This profile of a graduate takes into account our students’ social and emotional development and values traits such as assertiveness, conflict resolution, positive self-talk (to name a few)—as important indicators—of self- and social awareness, which is key to our students’ ability to thrive after high school.   NEXT STEPS 1. Create a graphic representation of the Graduate Profile 2. Introduce the Graduate Profile at the 2018 Administrative Summit 3. Develop indicators for each of the Graduate Profile competency areas 4. Establish a continuum or rubrics by grade band for each indicator that will be used to support internal accountability metrics with the desired outcome of establishing our own school label system    

School Staff

MariaMo's picture
Summit View Elementary School
Valencia Brito
Office Manager
Summit View Elementary School
Summit View Elementary School
Summit View Elementary School
Parapro - Special Education
Summit View Elementary School
Harold II
Summit View Elementary School
MelanieM's picture
Academic & Behavior Support Specialist
Summit View Elementary School
MichaelP's picture
Summit View Elementary School
MonicaR's picture
Teacher Coach
Summit View Elementary School
Summit View Elementary School
Kindergarten Teacher
Summit View Elementary School
5th Grade Teacher
Summit View Elementary School
CrystalR's picture
Summit View Elementary School
Summit View Elementary School
1900 East Summit Street
Tucson, AZ 85756

Phone Number: 
(520) 545-3800
Fax Number: 
(520) 545-3816

Summit View Elementary is the heart of the Summit Community. It is the hub for past, present and future students and families to come together for school events and celebrations. United, we continue to cultivate a successful, student-centered and loving community. We have partnerships with The Arizona Department of Education and were awarded the prestigious 21st Century Grant that allows us to provide learning opportunities beyond the school day. We focus on teaching reading, math and writing through various courses like: acting, newscast, board games and outside games. We also partner with Literacy Connects and provide families with Adult Education Courses and Literacy Focuses Workshops.

School Details
Year Opened: 
Mountain Lions
Navy Blue and Gold
Uniforms: Required
Tops: Red, Navy, Blue or White Polo Shirt
Bottoms: Navy Blue or Khaki

School Activities

Here at Summit View Elementary School we are interested in all aspects of our student's development. Our desire is to provide an environment where everyone is challenged to achieve excellence in academics, character, and life skills. To that end, we offer after school activities and clubs, paid for by school tax credits donations and the 21st Century Program.

  • 21st Century Learning Center
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Student Council
  • Dance
  • Drums
  • Guitar
  • Food Pantry
  • Junior Achievement BizTown
  • Robotics
  • Spelling Bee
  • Stories that Soar
  • Technology Integration
  • Tutoring
  • UA Presents


  • Carnivals
  • Literacy Nights
  • Posadas