Academic Programs

Our Philosophy – “Every Student is a Champion”

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At Tucson Country Day School, every student is a Champion.  A Champion is willing to work hard, is polite and respectful, never gives up, and comes to school each and every day ready to learn and be a successful member of the TCDS community.

We believe that a safe, positive environment is vital for learning to occur. Champions are expected to be kind and caring, to say please and thank you, to respect their teachers and their peers, and to do their very best. Champions watch out for each other and know that being mean, bullying or fighting is not Champion behavior.

Champions know that learning and achieving is cool and want to do their best academically to make the Principal’s Honor Roll or Honor Roll. More than 65% of our students made one of the honor rolls last semester and 42% of our middle school students are currently active members of the National Junior Honor Society.

We believe in developing the whole child, and while we have a strong emphasis on academics, many other student achievements are recognized through our Achievement assemblies, Star Student awards, specialty class awards, perfect attendance, and Matter of Pride programs.

Tucson Country Day School Matter of Pride recipients

We have high expectations for our staff, students and parents.  (Learn about the TCDS Expectations document that was created by a team of parents, teachers, administrators, and staff. This is our guiding document and helps to identify and establish our culture and the expectations for all at TCDS.)


Tucson Country Day School is known throughout Tucson as a consistently excellent school.  Parents are pleased with the education their children receive, and almost all new students come to TCDS after learning about the school from a friend or family member.  Word of mouth is our number one source for advertising.

We believe students learn best when they are presented with material in an interactive, engaging and interesting way.  In our classrooms, you’ll find best instructional practices, supported with technology, being implemented at each grade level.  You’ll see students engaged in classroom learning situations that often require in-depth analysis, critical thinking and application of their learning to real-life situation.  Students are actively involved in their own education through discussion/presentations, self-reflection, teamwork, and a commitment to complete assignments with excellence.

Teachers and staff at TCDS are chosen for their outstanding teaching abilities, their dedication and love for children, and their commitment to excellence.  Our teachers and staff are PURE GOLD, and we remind them of that often.

TCDS first grade classroom

We are a standards based school meaning our instruction is driven by the Arizona State Standards for each subject. While we require our teachers at each grade level to work closely together, we recognize that each teacher has her or his own unique way of teaching in the classroom. Thus, teachers plan together to ensure the same material is taught to all students, but each teacher presents the material in their own style.

We believe the school community is extremely important.  We begin each day with a flag ceremony when students (Early Childhood, K-3, 4-5 and 6-8) gather together to raise the Flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance, observe a moment of silence, recite an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence, and make announcements about special events, birthdays, etc.

TCDS Middle School students gather for the daily Flag ceremony

School Programs

While our school is made up of one big community, that community contains three distinct programs:

  • Early Childhood (private preschool for three and four-year old children)
  • Elementary School (tuition-free public charter school for kindergarten through fifth grade)
  • Middle School (tuition-free public charter school for sixth through eighth grade)

Early Childhood

Since 1968, TCDS has offered exceptional programs for Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten students that result in our three and four year old children accelerating both their academic and social skills. The dedication, experience and professionalism of the Early Childhood staff provides parents the assurance that their children are given the guidance they need to become successful, mature and creative learners.  Learn more about the Early Childhood program.

TCDS preschool

Elementary School

The Elementary School includes our kindergarten through fifth grade students.  Class sizes are limited to no more than 22 students per class, and we have four classes at each grade level. Students wear uniforms – navy bottoms with a plain, collared shirt.  Kinder and first grade students wear white shirts; second and third grade students wear yellow shirts; and fourth and fifth grade students wear red shirts.

Students at TCDS receive a well-rounded education.  Studies have shown that students need to learn about more than just the core academic subjects.  In addition to core subjects like Math, Reading, Writing, Science and Social Studies, K-5 students attend Specials classes that include Spanish, Technology, Physical Education, Art, and Music every week.

Middle School

The Middle School includes our sixth, seventh and eighth grade students.  Class sizes are limited to no more than 26 students per class, and we have three classes at each grade level.

Middle School students wear uniforms, too – navy bottom pants and light blue shirts for sixth graders and forest green shirts for seventh graders. Eighth graders are recognized as the leaders of the school, and their uniforms reflect their leadership.  Eighth grade students wear khaki bottoms and navy blue shirts.

8th grade class at Tucson Country Day School

Middle School students attend six classes per day – each class is taught by a different teacher.  Sixth and seventh grade students travel with the same group of students throughout the day; eighth grade students follow a typical high school rotation where both students and teachers change for each subject.

Middle School students have four core classes: Math, English Language Arts (ELA), Science, and Social Studies.  Math for Middle School includes Pre-Algebra and Algebra for those students who are ready for more advanced math.  Middle School students take physical education and Spanish two or three days per week, and they attend a special or elective class for one period.  Sixth grade specials include Technology, Music and Art.  Seventh grade specials can include Drawing, Drama, Intermediate Technology and Intermediate Art.  Eighth grade students choose their electives which can include Advanced Art and Multi Media.

Middle School teachers provide instruction in a focused and in-depth manner that requires them to be innovative and creative. Students participate in their instruction through individual work, groups, pairs, and hands-on activities. Teachers work as a team and collaborate with each other to incorporate areas of study into more than one class.

TCDS Middle School students creating a mummy for social studies

Our Specials/Elective Classes for Elementary and Middle School

Art: Students in 2nd-5th grades attend Art class once each week; 6th graders attend every day for 12 weeks and 7th and 8th graders may attend Art as an elective for one semester. Our Kinder and 1st grade teachers work with our Art teacher to bring art directly to the classroom.  Early Childhood students also attend an Art class once per week.

TCDS consistently has the highest number of students participating in the Pima County Fair of any public or private school county wide.

TCDS student artwork

Music: Students in K-5th grades attend Music class once each week; 6th graders attend every day for 12 weeks, and 7th and 8th graders can choose to participate in Band or Orchestra.

TCDS Music program

Physical Education: Students in K-5th grades attend a Physical Education class one time each week.  Middle School students attend PE either two or three times per week.  Middle School students dress out for PE in a school-issued t-shirt and shorts.

Tucson Country Day School PE Program

Spanish: Students in Kinder-5th grade attend Spanish class once each week. Middle School students attend Spanish for two or three days per week. Early Education students also attend a Spanish class once per week.

Technology: A strong emphasis is placed on studying technology skills enabling K-8 students to excel in a computer literate world. All classrooms are equipped with Smart Boards and a high usage of technology is encouraged, promoted, and expected.

Students in K-5 attend a Technology class once per week. At the Middle School level, 6th graders take Technology every day for 12 weeks; 7th and 8th graders can choose to take an advanced technology or multi media course. In the Technology class, students are taught age appropriate skills using WORD, EXCEL and PowerPoint.  Typing proficiency is also stressed through the use of an online typing program.

Using the computers at school

Academic Standards

The Arizona Department of Education requires all schools to include state standards in their instruction at all grade levels. These standards are available for viewing on line and include all content areas.

Student learning in kindergarten through 8th grade is monitored throughout the year through classroom observations, assignments, projects, and benchmark assessment.   Third through 8th grade students are assessed each year by the Arizona Department of Education through the administration of the AzMERIT.

Currently, the state assesses student learning in Mathematics, ELA, and Science.

State Standards

Do you want to see the State Standards for your child’s grade? Click here to visit the Arizona Department of Education website to view grade level standards.