About Us » History



Founded in 1978 as a Kindergarten - Grade 6 by a group of parents who sought an arts and experiential focus, Rio Grande welcomed 30 students to a rented space in downtown Santa Fe. The following year, the school acquired five acres in the foothills on the east side of Santa Fe and built a modest two-story structure, known today as the Early Childhood Building. During the 1980s, two portable classroom buildings were added to accommodate the growing student population. As the school approached the 21st century, families and a $6 million-phased capital campaign helped develop the current campus and evolving programming. Today the school educates an average capacity of 155 students from three years of age to sixth grade.

In recent years, the Board of Trustees has made concerted efforts to secure the school's financial sustainability. In 2006-2007, they raised $3 million for endowment and helped establish a $300,000 operational reserve fund and a $300,000 fund for Physical Plant Replacement and Special Maintenance. Today, the school has an endowment of over $5 million, operates debt-free and is fully funded through tuition revenue and targeted fundraising. RGS provides tuition assistance to over 30% of the student body and 30% of its population represents ethnic diversity.

The significant campus improvement in the last decade occurred in tandem with the growth of the school's curriculum, reflecting a real world, 21st-century student experience. Throughout the last decade, Rio Grande has been asking itself, "How do we make our very good school great?" This pursuit has led to a more reputable academic experience for students, who all find placement in the secondary schools of their choice. The school has provided rich student-teacher ratios in every classroom. It has invested deeply in the integration of technology, allowing each and every student the developmentally appropriate digital experience. Students learn in a variety of contexts beyond the traditional academic subjects of reading, writing and math, including fine and performing arts, physical education and health, science, social studies, research skills, and experiential education with a focus on environmental stewardship. The faculty represents the best the field of education has to offer, with more than half holding post-graduate degrees and an average tenure of more than a decade.

Rio Grande School is accredited through the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools.

To find out more about Rio Grande School, please contact the director of admissions.