New student enrollment for the 2021-2022 school year begins on February 15.

Admissions Welcome Letter

There is no better investment in any family than a commitment to educate your children. As parents, you will make many important decisions as you explore the educational opportunities available to your child. We know there are many strong schools in Albuquerque, and you will have many options as you select a school that best meets the needs and interests of your family.

As you embark on this adventure of finding a school that is right for your child, we hope you will consider Sunset Mesa School. We emphasize small classes, strong curriculum, and high academic standards. We also provide a variety of enrichment classes designed to tap special interests in music, art, Spanish, library, physical education, science, and computers. Our outstanding teachers strive to inspire and motivate students to reach their academic potential as strong citizens who respect one another, their environment, and their community.

To learn more about our school, we invite you to explore our website and read about the exciting programs we offer. We also extend a personal invitation to visit our campus and experience firsthand our strong learning community, observe our talented teachers and happy students, and measure the impact of a great education.

We look forward to welcoming you to our campus!

Rebecca Toevs
Director of Admission

Kim Leifeste
Director of Admission

Applying to K - 5th

Application and Enrollment Process

We are accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year.  Some grade levels are full, to inquire about possible grade level openings, please contact the Admission Office at or call 505-298-7626, prior to submitting an application.

Age Requirements for Kindergarten

Kindergarten applicants turn 5 years old by September 1st.

Learn More and Schedule a Virtual Tour

To begin the admission process, complete the Request Information form online to learn more about Sunset Mesa or to schedule a parent meeting or a virtual tour. (Due to COVID restrictions and the safety of our children, we are substituting in-person parent tours with virtual tours or a parent meeting.)  At the conclusion of your virtual tour or informational meeting, you will be invited to schedule a “full day” classroom visit for your child.

Schedule a Classroom Visit for Your Child

Once you have toured, schedule a classroom visit for your child. 

Children applying for kindergarten will visit a kindergarten classroom.  A kindergarten visit is from 8:15 am – 2:45 pm. 

Grades 1-5
For grades 1
 – 5, children will visit a classroom with students in their current grade. This allows your child to feel comfortable with the current work and to meet their potential new classmates.

Once your child’s classroom visit is scheduled, please complete the Classroom Visit Form and bring it with you on the day of your child’s scheduled visit.  

Complete Online Application and Pay Application Fee

If you and your child like what you both experienced during your tour and classroom visit, we invite you to apply online. Please follow the online application instructions provided to submit the application and pay the non-refundable $100 application fee.

Teacher Recommendation

As part of the online application process, an electronic teacher recommendation form will be emailed to your child’s current teacher.

Academic Information

Due to COVID, some schools are not staffed to provide school records. We will accept school records (report cards, attendance, standardized test scores, etc.) directly from you. Please email, fax, mail, or drop off all records to the Admission Office at Sunset Mesa School.

Admission Decision and Enrollment

Once your child has visited and we have received the application, school records, and teacher recommendation, the file is ready for review. Completed files are reviewed and families are notified of our admission decision. Procedures to complete enrollment will be provided once an admission decision is made.

Admission Timeline

The following timeline is recommended if you are applying for the next school year beginning in August.  Enrollment for new students begins in February so the following timeline is recommended to complete the admission steps prior to February.  If you are applying for enrolling this current school year, please contact Admissions to check on availability.

Schedule a Tour
(Currently we are only providing virtual tours due to COVID-19 safety protocols.
October – January
Student Visit November – January
Complete Online Application October – January
Submit Prior School Records October – January
Enrollment  February
Deposit Due Mid-March








Midyear and Summer Admission

Summer and current school year applications will be accepted based on available space in the grade level of interest. Please contact the Admission Office to inquire about K-5 availability prior to submitting an application.

Helpful Information

The following documents provide additional information about Sunset Mesa Elementary that you will find helpful.

Questions to Ask
Lunch Menu
Afterschool Activities
School Calendar
School Schedule and Hours


At any time during the admission process, if you have questions or concerns, please contact the Admission Office at or call 505-298-7626.

Sunset Mesa Schools, Inc. is accredited by the National Independent Private Schools Association, the National Council for Private School Accreditation, and the New Mexico Public Education Department and welcomes applicants regardless of their race, creed, color, or national origin.

Meet Sunset Mesa

We invite you to schedule a virtual tour to experience the Sunset Mesa difference.  You will have the opportunity to see a classroom in session, learn about our well established and proven curriculum, discover our broad range of enrichment classes, and learn about our exciting and fun after school activities. You will have an opportunity to observe our outstanding teachers who strive to inspire and motivate students to reach their academic potential as strong citizens who respect one another, their environment, and their community.

Let us be a part of your child’s future!

Tuition for Elementary School Grades
School Year 2021-2022

Tuition includes materials, activities fee, and gross receipts tax.  If a student enrolls after July, the payment months and amounts will be adjusted accordingly.


Program Total for Year Deposit Balance of Tuition Monthly Payment
(10 Months)
2 Full Days (T,TH) $5,000 $800 $4,200 $420  
5 Half Days (mornings M-F) $7,500 $800 $6,700 $670  
3 Full Days (full days: M, W, F) $8,700 $800 $7,900 $790  
4 Day Combination (full days: M, W, F and half days: T, TH) $10,600 $800 $9,800 $980  
5 Full Days $12,750 $800 $11,950 $1,195  


Program Total for Year Deposit Balance of Tuition Monthly Payment
(10 Months)
Kindergarten & PreFirst $13,000 $1,200 $11,800 $1,180
Grades 1-5 $15,000 $1,200 $13,800 $1,380


If the full tuition is paid through FACTS by June 15, then a discount of 2% of the total annual tuition will be applied. If the full tuition is paid through FACTS by July 15, then the discount will be 1%.


The oldest child in a family pays full tuition.  Additional children deduct the following amounts from their total annual tuition.

Preschool (3 and 4 year old programs) $400
Kindergarten & Prefirst $400
1st – 5th Grade $500


The $100 registration fee is paid when you submit the enrollment packet and is NONREFUNDABLE.  The tuition deposit for all students is due by March 20 or within two weeks after enrollment is complete, whichever date is later.  ALL DEPOSITS ARE NONREFUNDABLE.


Daycare charges are $6.60 per hour (includes gross receipts tax).  Lunch may be purchased daily from Rhubarb & Elliot.  Current price is $6.00 but is subject to change.

Questions to Ask

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. Some key facts about Sunset Mesa can help you decide your answer to this question. Two of the traditional values practiced at Sunset Mesa are respect for authority and willingness to cooperate with friends. These combine to create an orderly learning environment that is also collegial and enjoyable.

Academics at Sunset Mesa are rigorous. Although expectations are age-appropriate, pacing of work is quick, organization is necessary, and a willingness to work is required.

Families must be willing to invest their time in order to maximize the opportunities at Sunset Mesa. Students must devote appropriate amounts of time for study. Parents help their children by assisting with organization and planning of work, by helping with projects, by volunteering for special events, by attending programs and activities, and by participating in meetings and conferences.

What is the maximum class size for each grade level?
Preschool 16 with one teacher and one assistant
Kindergarten 16 with one teacher and a shared assistant
Grade 1 16
Grade 2 18
Grades 3, 4, and 5 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. The K-5 campus is fenced with limited entry points.

Sunset Mesa is a small community where “unknown” persons are the exception.  These people are recognized and helped when they enter.

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.

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

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

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

K-5 faculty has weekly grade level meetings with administrators.  A regular topic is ensuring continuity of pacing and presentation in each classroom.

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

How is the curriculum enriched?

Teachers provide multiple cross-curricular opportunities for learning and emphasize higher-level thinking skills. Curriculum expectations, presentation, and pacing, target the average to high-end learner.

Weekly instruction by six full-time enrichment specialists on the K-5 campus enhances each student’s education and provides a variety of avenues for children to reach their full potential. These enrichments include Spanish, music, art, library, technology, and physical education. These classes are attended by all students, kindergarten through 5th grade, on a daily basis.

How can families be involved and informed?

Parents can 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 families. Parents can volunteer in classrooms for special projects, field trips, community events, and to make special presentations in their fields of expertise.

Opportunities for information include classroom newsletters, teacher correspondence, curriculum meetings, frequent student progress reports, semi-annual parent-teacher conferences and additional parent/teacher/administrator conferences.

Does the school administer standardized tests? What are the students’ scores?

Sunset Mesa uses the Iowa Test of Basic Skills for grades 1-5.  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.

Phone: 505.298.7626
Fax: 505.298.6132

Kim Leifeste, Director of Admission
Rebecca Toevs, Ph.D., Director of Admission

Alan Mask, President
Deborah Mask, Executive Director
Michelle Clark, Principal
Laura Maricle, Curriculum and Events Coordinator

3020 Morris St NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111


Elementary Campus

Elementary Campus