A Foundation to Succeed

Sunset Mesa Elementary School

Give Your Child A Soaring Start

Sunset Mesa gives students a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning.

Small Class Sizes & Individual Instruction

Small class sizes are one of the hallmarks of Sunset Mesa and are paramount in allowing teachers to give individualized attention to each child’s learning style and needs.

Experienced & Degreed Teachers

Our highly experienced and degreed faculty and teachers take the responsibility of educating your child very seriously. Teachers provide classroom environments that recognize each child’s unique learning style through the methods of differentiated instruction.

Expanding Potential with Enrichments

Weekly instruction by six full-time enrichment specialists in Spanish, music, art, library, technology and physical education, all provide a variety of avenues for children to reach their full potential.

Fostering a Thriving Community

Our parents can get involved with the Sunset Mesa Parent Association, an organization designed by parents to support the school and help foster a community network for families. Parents can volunteer for special projects, field trips, events and make special presentations in their fields of expertise. 

360º Classroom Experience

Experience Our Elementary Classrooms

Elementary Curriculum

A Challenging, Joyful Foundation For Learning.

High-quality curriculums are chosen and designed to provide foundational skills as well as opportunities for teachers to challenge students. Teachers provide multiple cross-curricular opportunities for learning to emphasize higher-level thinking skills.

Primary Elementary

Kindergarten-2nd Grade

During these first three years of elementary school, children are building a foundation of skills. They are learning to read and spell with the fundamentals of phonics and basic academic elements.

Calendar Time
Extend practical math skills
Date and time
Place value (hundreds chart with units and bundles of tens/hundreds)
Money Sense (counting coins and bills)
Counting and skip counting
Songs and movement
Helps children decode and spell words
Supports reading fluency
Science and Social Studies
Integrated into language arts and writing
Hands on science
Project based learning
Reading and Language Arts
Foundational skills: phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, vocabulary
Knowledge-based interactive read alouds
Small group skills and reading instruction
Writing across content areas
Time for differentiated instruction and independent practice
Hands-on learning with the use of math manipulatives
Focus on number sense and operations
Ample time for practice and mastery of skills
Spiraling curriculum for student to revisit and extend skills

Upper Elementary

3rd-5th Grade

During these years of elementary school, children are becoming more independent and develop critical thinking skills. Here, they begin reading to learn and applying the fundamentals they have mastered in K-2nd grade to prepare for middle school.

Upper Elementary

3rd-5th Grade

During these years of elementary school, children are becoming more independent and develop critical thinking skills. Here, they begin reading to learn and applying the fundamentals they have mastered in K-2nd grade to prepare for middle school.

Basis for students’ building of understanding of concepts such as genre, plot, theme, etc.
Literature/history connections bring the past to life
Teaches skills useful in everyday life and teaches how to think like a mathematician
Hands-on and pencil and paper activities build well-rounded math skills
Supplementation for math fact fluency and confidence in computation
Number and Numeration
Operations and Computation
Data and Chance
Measurement and Reference Frames
Patterns, Functions, and Algebra
Social Studies
Philosophy and approach value citizenship and the character of good citizens
History, civics, and citizenship taught
Literature units help students understand the context of historical events
Explicit instruction in a variety of writing genres students will use in day to day life
Communication of ideas taught with an emphasis on organization, voice, and word choice
Sentence fluency and conventions taught and expected
Science specialist teaches science classes for third, fourth, and fifth grade
Units cover branches of science—physical science, earth/space science, and life science
Field trips provide opportunity to see learning applied outside of school
Optional science fair participation coordinated by a volunteer parent committee
Two computer labs available—a teaching lab which students attend regularly to receive direct instruction in computer skills and a Technology Learning Center which students use for applied use of technology under the direction of their classroom teachers
Library equipped with Chromebooks allows students to apply technology in learning library skills and other research skills
Classrooms equipped with large monitors for use by teachers in projecting technology resources to enhance student learning

Allowing Curiosity to Soar

We believe students should explore their physical world, so we make science, music, and art, a hands-on experience. Encouraging curiosity permeates every part of Sunset Mesa’s curriculum to foster and develop a passion for learning.

An Education that Inspires Excellence.

Sunset Mesa results from 2023 Iowa Testing.

Rising to the Challenge.

Sunset Mesa results from 2023 Iowa Testing. 2022 National Average for mathematics and reading from NAEP.
2022-2023 APS Average for mathematics and reading from the New Mexico State Summative Assessment.

Student Life

Elementary Enrichments


The goal in the Art curriculum is to create enthusiasm and appreciation for fine arts and for the student artists’ growth through a natural progression of experiences. The children learn to apply numerous methods (drawing, painting, sculpting, collage, printmaking) to create art. They are encouraged to evaluate their feelings and experiences resulting in continuous improvements in technique and further exploration of alternative methods.


Our library curriculum emphasizes fostering a love of reading and developing information literacy and research skills to prepare students for later schooling. Lessons are planned around the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National School Library Standards.


Our programs represent the beginning steps toward opening the doors of self-expression. From creating simple compositions to performing in a staged musical, our interactive Music program develops both the kinesthetic and musical intelligences and gives children numerous opportunities to perform for others.

Physical Education

Our Physical Education program focuses on helping children prepare for a lifetime of physical activity and health. All Kindergarten through fifth-grade students participate in PE twice a week for 30 minutes, engaging in a wide variety of exercises and sports. Lessons are structured to develop both individual and team-building skills. The Sunset Mesa PE program also enjoys a long tradition of partnering with the community, participating in the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge event in the fall, as well as the Albuquerque Bio Park’s Run for the Zoo in the spring.


Science specialists teach science classes for third, fourth, and fifth grade. Units cover branches of science—physical science, earth/space science, and life science. Field trips provide opportunity to see learning applied outside of school. Optional science fair participation coordinated by a volunteer parent committee.


Living in the Southwest, we believe that learning Spanish is very important, and each student is exposed to Spanish beginning in first grade, when learning a second language is easier.


Computer technology is integrated throughout the Sunset Mesa elementary grade curriculum. The campus is networked with computers in each classroom and in student labs. Our main lab is utilized for instruction by a specialist in software literacy and keyboarding skills. The others are used by students as they utilize computer skills in their research and classroom projects. The Sunset Mesa faculty is trained in using technology to support content area curriculum appropriately.

Serious Fun and Play

Play is how children process what they learn and develop healthy social bonds. Sunset Mesa students get 60 minutes of recess each day along with regular physical education enrichments classes.

After-School Activities

  • Art Club
  • Chess Club
  • Choir
  • Crafty Kids
  • Dinosaur Lovers
  • Directed Study
  • Drama Club
  • Homework Help
  • Karate
  • Keyboarding
  • Lego Club/Game Time
  • Little Ninjas
  • OMGirls
  • Robotics Club
  • Science Club
  • Scratch Coding Club
  • SMS Warriors
  • Spanish Club
  • Tales and Treats
  • Ukulele
  • Art Club
  • Chess Club
  • Choir
  • Crafty Kids
  • Dinosaur Lovers
  • Directed Study
  • Drama Club
  • Homework Help
  • Karate
  • Keyboarding
  • Lego Club/Game Time
  • Little Ninjas
  • OMGirls
  • Robotics Club
  • Science Club
  • Scratch Coding Club
  • SMS Warriors
  • Spanish Club
  • Tales and Treats
  • Ukulele

Our Community in Action

Kids Heart Challenge

Our physical education program elementary grade students participate in Kids Heart Challenge.


The SMS community eagerly anticipates each year’s student-performed musical productions.

Flag Ceremony

All classes have the opportunity to perform for parents and their fellow Sunset Mesa classmates, fostering community and public speaking.

50’s Day Sock Hop

Campus wide Sock Hop with dancing, Root Beer Floats and 50’s fashion!


Join the Sunset Mesa Community

We understand that these are precious and formative years for children. We are dedicated and honored to provide each student with exceptional academic instruction and experiences to help build a bright future for your children and your family. 

See What the Buzz Is All About

Elementary Classroom Experience

In-Person Visit

Contact Our Office

(505) 298-7626

Kateland North
Director of Admission

Michelle Clark

Alan Mask

Deborah Mask
Executive Director

Elementary School FAQs

How do I know if this school is a match for my child and my family?

You need to know your child, know yourself, and know the school. Here are some key facts about Sunset Mesa that
can help you decide your answer to this question. Two of the traditional values instilled at Sunset Mesa are respect and
cooperating with friends. These combine to create an enjoyable and orderly learning environment. In the preschool
years, we work in earnest to help children achieve these goals.

At Sunset Mesa, healthy early childhood development is important. Academics are also important. We blend the two
so that learning happens through activities that are engaging, intentional, and developmentally appropriate. We will
make the most of each day with your child.

Families also must be willing to invest their time in order to maximize the opportunities at Sunset Mesa. We partner
with our families in the way we share information and ask for participation in the goals set for the children. We ask
families to help the children become independent, develop positive behavior, and support our activities by helping with
occasional projects, volunteering for special events, attending programs and activities, and by participating in meetings and conferences.

What is the maximum class size for each grade level?

Preschool: 16 with 1 teacher and 1 assistant

Kindergarten: 16 with 1 teacher and 1 assistant

1st Grade: 16

2nd Grade: 18

3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade: 20

What is the school’s expectation for students’ behavior and how is discipline implemented?

Sunset Mesa makes every effort to maintain a standard of respect, kindness, morality, and honesty.  The basic method of accomplishing this is by creating a positive learning environment in which students are respectful of authority and responsible for their actions. The Sunset Mesa discipline philosophy encourages self-respect, self-discipline, cooperation, good behavior, and development of problem-solving skills.

All staff members who work directly with children are required to complete the assigned reading and attend trainings on Positive Discipline (Nelsen, 2007).

How do I know my child will be physically and emotionally safe?

The preschool campus has a single building with a walled playground and entry points which are only unlocked at dismissal and arrival times.  During school hours, visitors are screened before allowed into the building.

Students are dismissed directly from a teacher to a parent or someone authorized by a parent. Children are always supervised.

Adults model and teach that people should respect and care for one another. Administrators and faculty devote significant time and energy to developing a sense of community and friendship among students; as a result, students can feel physically and emotionally safe among their peers.

Staff is professionally trained to respond to a variety of emergency situations.

What sets your school’s use of curriculum apart from that of other schools?

Early Childhood teachers have degrees. Montessori teachers are AMS certifed. Whether Early Childhood or
Montessori, each student will receive the same opportunities for learning and growth in language arts, math, STEM,
physical education, music, fine motor, and much more.

High quality curriculum is developed to provide foundational skills, as well as, opportunities for teachers to challenge
students The school makes a significant investment in curriculum training for teachers to enhance their skills.

Teachers and administrators work diligently to have a continuity of curricular implementation from preschool through
5th grade.

Teachers provide classroom environments and experiences that recognize and utilize each child’s unique learning style
through the methods of differentiated instruction. All staff have been trained using Carol Tomlinson’s Practice of
Differentiated Instruction.

How is the curriculum enriched?

Play and exercise are key to great education and childhood is not sacrificed. Our children have plenty of recess time on our beautiful, well-equipped playground.

Children receive Spanish, Music, and Get Fit throughout the week.

STEAM is an area of focus where teachers provide multiple cross-curricular opportunities for learning and emphasize higher-level thinking skills. The Garden of Tomorrow becomes the backdrop for many STEM activities as well as developing a love of nature.

How can families be involved and informed?

We have an open-door policy and welcome your questions and thoughts. Each preschool teacher uses Microsoft Teams to post daily events
and curriculum goals for the classroom. Additionally, teachers post newsletters, events, pictures of your child’s day.

Our school website is a wealth of information and the school offices send parent alerts, email announcements and reminders.

Parents are welcomed to join the Sunset Mesa Parent Association, an organization designed by parents to support the school in
providing their children with a quality education along with helping to foster a community network for the school’s

Parents can volunteer in classrooms for special projects, community events, and to make special presentations in their
5elds of expertise.

Does the school administer standardized tests? What are the students' scores? How does the school use the test results?

Sunset Mesa uses the Iowa Test of Basic Skills for grades 1-S. This test series provides scores and analyses in comparison to students and schools nationwide. The students’ scores at every grade level are among the highest in the nation. Scores by grade level in reading and math are published, and families receive comprehensive information on their child’s results each summer.

Test results have two broad uses at this school. First, comparing Sunset Mesa students’ scores from year to year against a national standard is one measure for evaluating the effectiveness of curriculum and instructional practices. Second, standardized tests are one tool (among many) for assessing the performance of individual students; this assessment can indicate needs for particular focus, emphasis or assistance for that child.

How can I be confident that my child will be ready for middle school?

For several decades, Sunset Mesa has had an exceptionally high acceptance rate into the Albuquerque independent middle schools; these private schools test and interview extensively to insure that admitted students are “ready. Specific discussions with middle school administrators and teachers indicate that Sunset Mesa students are well- prepared and successful in the various middle schools.

Study and organizational skills are practiced and emphasized at all grade levels.

Foundational academic knowledge and skills are emphasized at all grade levels.

Sunset Mesa students develop a healthy attitude toward education that customarily makes them eager to apply their abilities in the middle school environment.

What is the financial cost? What fundrasing does your school do?

The tuition that families pay covers almost all costs. Sunset Mesa makes no separate charges for instructional materials,
activities fees, technology fees, or gross receipts tax. Families do purchase their own school supplies and are
occasionally asked to pay a small amount for a classroom activity or field trip expense. Optional expenses include hot
lunch, milk, and a yearbook for preschoolers.

Families are NOT asked to fundraise at any point during the school year to contribute to the operation of the school.
Annual fund drives, capital campaigns, and Christmas paper sales do not happen at Sunset Mesa. No one will ask you
to name the school as a beneficiary in your will.