Frequently Asked Questions


Is Desert Academy a charter, public, or private school?
We are a private school, serving students from grades 6 – 12.

How many students attend Desert Academy?
We have set a goal of not exceeding 200 students, due to the changes that occur in a school climate when the number of students exceeds that. Our current enrollment stands around 125 with an average class size of 12 to 1 student to teacher ratio. 

When does the 2019-2020 school year begin?
On Thursday, August 22nd, 2019.


What languages do you offer?
Students may choose either French or Spanish. 

Is IB the same as AP?
No. The curriculum provided at International Baccalaureate schools is a comprehensive curriculum aligned to a set of international standards and dedicated to building deep subject knowledge, intellectual inquiry, independent learning, tolerance, intercultural awareness, and global citizenship. IB courses are two years in length, allowing the student to do both broad and deep exploration of his subjects.

Advanced Placement courses are offered individually and may lead to college credit, but they are not presented as part of an integrated curriculum. Most AP exams are largely multiple choice. AP students may receive college credit for their coursework, depending upon their AP exam scores. Students graduating with an International Baccalaureate degree often receive credit for as much as a year of college level work.


What does tuition cost at Desert Academy?

$20,359 per year. However, we have a generous tuition assistance program, and 41% of our students receive some form of assistance.

What is the deadline for applying for tuition assistance for the 2019-2020 school year?
February 1, 2019. Students must have already been accepted to the school, and it is best to apply as early as possible for tuition assistance, as it is awarded on a first come, first served basis.

What is the deadline for admission?
There is no official admissions deadline, but students are admitted on a first come, first served basis.

How do I send my child’s transcripts and records to you?
Please ask your child’s current school to send official transcripts directly to our Admissions Office, at 7300 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87505.

Do you accommodate children with learning differences or IEPs?
We accommodate children with learning differences on a regular basis. To insure that we can best serve your child, we request that you have all records sent to us. We will then arrange a meeting for you with our learning specialist.

Would a low grade on my child’s transcript affect your admissions decision?
Not necessarily. We believe that we should address the academic needs of the whole child and that one grade does not reflect who that person is. We also know that a poor grade may indicate many things, several of which can be changed in an environment which is nurturing and supportive.

When will we be notified that our child has been accepted?
Once we receive your completed application, you will be contacted by our Admissions Director to arrange an interview for your child with her and our Head of School, Dr. Yann Lussiez. We will notify you about our decision within ten business days of the interview.


If I reside out of state at present, may I still submit an application for my child?
Yes. We will be happy to conduct a Skype interview with your child, and we will waive the visiting requirement for him or her.

Can I request that my child visit with a particular friend already enrolled at Desert Academy?

If my child will be entering 7th grade next year, why do you have him or her spend half of the day with children in the 6th grade?
By having our visitors spend part of the day in their own grade and part of the day in the grade into which they will be going in the fall, we provide them with time to both experience the academic environment into which they will be going in the fall as well as time to get to know the peer group they will be joining.

Tuition Assistance

Do you offer full tuition scholarships?
No, we don’t. However, we are very flexible. Our first priority is to accommodate you and your child if we all agree that our school will be a good fit for him or her. If the assistance amount you receive is not sufficient, we will work with you to arrive at a manageable payment plan. We urge you to feel free to engage in a dialogue with us about your needs, so that we can arrive a solution which works for all concerned.

Student Life

Do you offer academic programs abroad?
In the 2017-2018 school year, we traveled to four countries in Europe – England, France, Italy, and Spain – to visit sites of historical, architectural, artistic,or political significance. Thirty students will travel with us. We offer an international trip for high school students every other year.

Do you offer summer study abroad programs?
While we do not officially sponsor such programs, we work closely with several wonderful programs and are happy to connect you with them.


Do you have a music program?
Yes. We have a choral music program, as well as guitar instruction.

What about Musical Theatre?
We sponsor an annual trip to Manhattan for our Musical Theatre students where they work with Broadway performers in an encore production of a Broadway show at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall.

What other arts-based programs are available for students?
Desert Academy provides award-winning programs in Film Production, Theatre, and Studio Art.


What sports do you offer?

Fall: Cross Country, Volleyball, and Soccer
Winter: Basketball and Swimming
Spring: Track and Field, Baseball, and Tennis


1. Question: What is the best way for a parent to find out what is going on in the classroom?


a. Attend Back to School Night in the fall

b. Attend Parent/Teacher conferences that occur in the fall, and Student-Led Conferences in the spring.

c. Email individual teachers

d. Contact Annette Kaare-Rasmussen, IB Coordinator at akaaras@desertacademy or your child’s Advisor.

e. Consult our online progress reporting system, ManageBac (if you need help understanding how to use this tool, please contact Chris Zappe, Director of Technology (

2. Question: How does the Parent Association support the school?

Answer: Organizing community building events such as grade level pot luck dinners for parents, awarding grants to teachers for needed classroom items, coordinating parent involvement on volunteer committees, communicating with parents by grade level on grade-specific events, supporting our tuition assistance program by serving on event committees.

3. Question:  How do parents learn about what’s happening at the school in general?

Answer: We send out a weekly Desert Times (e-news) to all families. If, for some reason, you are not receiving this, please contact our Front Desk at 505-992-8284. We also send a quarterly online newsletter, and periodically mail a printed newsletter. You may also consult our multiple calendars by clicking here.


What to do if…. Here is a whole collection of the most common questions from students and families this year.