Manzano Day School

Joy in Learning® Since 1938

Admission FAQs

Here are some of the questions that we get asked most often:

Q. What is an independent school?

In the broadest sense, an independent school is one that is not part of the public school system. There are different types of independent schools and each one has a unique mission; they can be nonprofit institutions, religiously affiliated, or proprietary businesses. Instead of relying on state and federal funding, independent schools depend on tuition, fundraising contributions and endowments. Manzano Day School is accredited as an Independent School through the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, which further distinguishes us as a non-profit institution governed by a Board of Trustees.

Q. How are independent schools governed?

A Board of Trustees governs independent schools. The Board is usually comprised of parents, alumni, educators and community leaders. The three primary responsibilities of the Board are to set policy for the school, to ensure fiscal viability and to appoint the Head of School. The daily operation of the school is the responsibility of the Head of School.

Q. Is Manzano Day School accredited by the State of New Mexico?

We are accredited by the State of New Mexico Board of Education and accredited by the Independent Schools Association of Southwest (ISAS).

Q. What is ISAS?

ISAS is the acronym for Independent Schools Association of the Southwest ( Independent Schools in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Kansas have ISAS as their accrediting agency. Every ten years Manzano Day School, and all the other independent schools in the southwest region, undergoes a complete site visit whereby ISAS examines every aspect of our school, making sure we are following the high standards set forth by the ISAS and that we’ve implemented the Principles of Good Practice set down by NAIS, the National Association of Independent Schools.

In addition we must routinely submit interim reports to ISAS in the fourth and seventh year, just to maintain our accreditation. For the tenth year report, a year of self-study is undertaken by our school, which is reviewed by ISAS prior to the on site visit. Following the visit, a full report is presented to the Standards Committee of ISAS, which is thoroughly reviewed. This committee then makes a recommendation to the Association as to whether Manzano Day School should continue to be accredited by ISAS.

We are very proud of our accreditation by ISAS, and in fact Manzano Day School is the only elementary school in Albuquerque with this distinction. We received our re-accreditation at the start of the 2011 – 2012 academic year. Other schools in Albuquerque accredited by ISAS are Albuquerque Academy, Bosque School, Menaul School and Sandia Preparatory School. These schools educate students in grades 6 – 12.

Q. What is NAIS?

Manzano Day School is also a member in good standing of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). As a member school, we must follow the Principles of Good Practice established by NAIS ( NAIS has divided up the states into various regions to create separate associations, such as ISAS for the southwest region. These different independent school associations can communicate with the schools in their region and hold all member schools accountable in following the Principles of Good Practice as set forth by NAIS.

Q. What is your mission?

Manzano Day School is dedicated to innovative child-centered education, excellence in teaching, and Joy in Learning® to prepare children for a life of discovery and community involvement in our diverse world.

Q. What are your core values?

Our core values are: respect, responsibility, integrity and striving for excellence. These core values are embraced by all members of our community including faculty, staff, parents, and administrators and are taught to our children.

Q. When should we apply to your school?

Our admission process starts a year in advance of when your child would be attending Manzano Day School. We accept applications starting August 1 for the following school year.

Q. What are the ages of children attending your school?

Manzano Day School is pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. A child entering pre-k must be four years old by September 1 and five years old by September 1 if entering kindergarten.

Q. What is the length of the school day?

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students attend five days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. First through fifth grade students attend five days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Q. What is your class size?

All classrooms typically have no more than 18 students. In the pre-k and kindergarten classes there is a full-time teacher plus a full-time assistant. In the upper grades there is a full-time teacher in each class and shared assistants among the grade levels.

Q. In addition to the core curriculum, do the students participate in any other classes?

All students (pre-k through fifth grade) attend our six co-curricular classes: art, library studies, music, physical education, Spanish, and technology skills. In addition, all students participate in Manzano Day School’s environmental education program at Fenton Ranch.

Q. How is your curriculum determined?

The curriculum at Manzano Day School is based upon national and state standards. Curriculum review is ongoing and is revised by content area on a rotating schedule. Our curriculum reflects our commitment to hands-on learning and developmentally appropriate content that allows children to experience Joy in Learning®.

Q. Do you give standardized tests?

Students in third through fifth grades are assessed through the CTP4, an assessment developed by the Educational Records Bureau to specifically address the needs of high achieving students at schools with high levels of learning standards. The CTP4 specifically assesses achievement in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics.

Additionally, students in third and fourth grades are assessed through the WrAP, a test developed by the Educational Records Bureau to assess writing samples of students, utilizing an analytical scoring method based upon a six-point rubric.

Q. What are the qualifying characteristics of teachers at Manzano Day School?

Teachers at Manzano Day School hold degrees in the field of education. Many of our teachers have master’s degrees in education. Our experienced faculty is comprised of teachers who have a passion for teaching and a solid understanding of instructional methods that allow them to meet the academic needs of the students in their classrooms.

Q. Where do graduates of Manzano Day School apply?

Our fifth graders apply to a variety of schools in Albuquerque, though most matriculate to other ISAS schools (Albuquerque Academy, Bosque School, Menaul School and Sandia Preparatory School).

Q. Do the students go on field trips?

Field trips are an important aspect of the curriculum at Manzano Day School. They are carefully chosen and planned to enrich the classroom learning experience. Typically, students go on several field trips each year.

Q. Is there an extended day program?

Manzano Day School’s extended day program is from 7:15 a.m. - 8:15 a.m. In the afternoon, the program runs from 3:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Several times a year there are also before or after school workshops the children can attend for a fee. If your child attends one of these workshops the extended day cost is reduced.

Q. Is school lunch available for purchase?

Yes, students can either bring a lunch from home or purchase a school lunch. Our school lunches are provided by Rhubarb & Elliott catering.

Q. Is there a summer program?

Yes. Learn more about our Summer Programs.

Q. Is there bus service?

Manzano Day School offers point-to-point bus service from the northeast heights and the west side of Albuquerque.

Q. Do the students wear uniforms?


Q. How are parents involved?

Manzano Day School parents are essential to the successful achievement of our mission. We have a long-standing practice of partnering with our families in the educational process at Manzano Day School. Maintaining this practice is meaningful and important to maximize a child’s opportunity for success at Manzano Day School. Parents have unique gifts and talents to contribute when they take an active role in their children’s education. The school thrives, in large part because of our highly involved, giving, and talented parent body. Parent involvement is key to our success and there are many ways to participate.

Q. What is the scope of your student body’s socio-economic diversity?

Over 40% of Manzano Day School’s student body is made up of students of color. Nearly 27% of the student body receives financial assistance.

Q. Is financial aid available?

Yes. Manzano Day School offers financial aid based on demonstrated need and available funds. The maximum award covers 50% of tuition. Manzano Day School partners with School and Student Services (SSS), a service of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), which assists independent schools in determining a family’s financial need. There is a financial aid application process that is separate from the admission process. Families are encouraged to discuss this opportunity with the Director of Admission and Financial Aid, Madonna Prokopiak.

Q. Does Manzano Day School have other financial aid programs?

The Wings program was established in 1988. The creation of Wings was based on our knowledge that sound early education is critical for future academic success. We also believe the investment in a single child is an investment in the community as a whole.

This unique program provides full-tuition for academically promising children with very limited economic resources. Children who show the potential for educational achievement are identified through the Admission Office after going through the same admission process as all other applicants. There also must be evidence of family support to help ensure the child’s success at Manzano Day School. Wings is a small program guided by the principles of commitment and excellence. To maximize the realization of each child’s potential, the Wings program provides full-tuition for each child from kindergarten through fifth grade. No child is accepted into the program until funds have been committed for the entire six years of tuition at Manzano.