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K-8 & Ungraded
Public charter
Tucson, AZ
Students enrolled: 128
Before care: Yes
After care: Yes

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5260 N. Royal Palm Drive
Tucson, AZ 85705

School website
(520) 293-6661
(520) 408-7366
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Carden of Tucson address.

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The completeness meter moves to INTERMEDIATE, then ADVANCED, and finally HONOR ROLL as you complete the following: 10 or more reviews, at least 1 photo, and 9 program questions parents find helpful.

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August 10, 2014
My daughter went here from 5th to 8th grade. She received a great education and I really appreciated that the teachers care so much for their students. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming. The school's emphasis on building character and personal responsibility is something that is lacking in other schools. If we hadn't moved too far away my other children would have attended here as well. They are small and lack a library and lunch room which is a drawback but the benefits outweigh this.

- submitted by a parent
February 03, 2014
We just moved our daughter there mid school year from a private school. Carden is an amazing school with an awesome approach to learning. There is an adjustment period for new students (uniforms, different approach to learning, new rules etc). This school demands a lot of of the kids, but nothing above their grade level. They truely care about the kids getting a solid education. The work I have seen come home, far exceeds anything I have seen from other schools. This school was recommened to me by a friend and has been worth the move. Even coming in mid-school year, everyone made her feel welcomed as if she had been there all year. Even thought this school is more demanding, my daughter loves it and is excited to go. Don't judge the school by its looks or location, it truely is an AWESOME school.

- submitted by a parent
August 07, 2013
Our school just received an "A" based on 2013 AIMES test rating! Congratulations to students & teachers hard work & dedication to excellent

- submitted by a parent
July 30, 2013
This is an amazing, little treasure of a school. It may not look like much but what comes out of it is remarkable. It is grade level, not advanced, but consistently excels at the top. Great community feeling, strong ethical values, and you can be really involved or not so much. Awesome 2 mo summer w/2 wk spring and fall breaks. Pick up time is amazing as they deliver your kid right to your car and you don't even have to get out! Totally awesome if you have littler ones with you. Right from K they get to learn about the constitution and declaration of indep. Great music and dance program. Small school, almost everyone gets to know each other-at least by name-and there is a lot of affirmation in different ways. Wish they had a library, though each teacher stocks their own classrooms. Teachers have been great with finding what works for our 3 different kids, which wasn't the same for each one. This is our 7th year there. They've continually improved since we began there: ie, their website used to be horrid. Now it's decent. In future maybe it will have more updates and be swell. No school is perfect but this one is a true GEM. A few cons but wonderful pros. Visit! Totally recommend.

- submitted by a parent
April 29, 2013
Carden of Tucson,has good teaching skills and are constantly reviewing things the kids have learned throughout the year.

- submitted by a parent
March 30, 2013
My son attended Carden when he was in the 6th and seventh grade. It was the best decision for him to be at this school. The principal and most of the staff really do care about the students education. The small class size is great !! They recognized my sons potential and let him excel instead of stifling that potential like many other schools today. Too bad we had to move out of state. The outside appearance of the school is not great but it goes to show you its whats inside that counts.

- submitted by a parent
February 13, 2013
As an environmental educator I work with students from all over Tucson. It is ALWAYS a pleasure to work in the outdoors with Carden of Tucson students because they are so well behaved, focused, and courteous. This school really stands out in my opinion when it comes to students who have developed good listening skills and students who really love learning in the outdoors. Steve Russell

- submitted by a community member
January 21, 2013
I wanted to say as a parent of a graduate and a current Carden of Tucson student, when we first came to Carden it was stressful. There was so much to learn. Uniforms on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Peace Builder shirts and jeans on Wednesday-but only if earned . Blue pants and red or white shirt on Fridays. Boys don't forget your belts & squad points, homework, spelling, lunch and water bottles. Memorize and study the Carden Mission and The Preamble to the Declaration of Independence in which to recite daily. Yes, as a parent who works a full time job, Carden of Tucson forced me to be involved with my children on all levels. I am so proud of my kids for understanding that nothing comes easy and working hard and being accountable has great rewards. I know my kids will exceed the goals set for them by Carden of Tucson and that they already have the fundamentals for a successful future. If you are a parent who feels that this school is bad because it is stressful when the teacher pushes children to their fullest potential or that a donation request of $200-$400 for supplies and field trips (which is 100% tax deductible) is too much to ask then Carden is not right for you.

- submitted by a parent
January 02, 2013
The BEST elementary & middle school in Tucson! We have 3 children attending here and have been part of this school community for the last 7 years. We tried a nearby public school and quickly found that while the teacher was great, their hands were tied with a ratio of at least 30 to 1. The teacher mentioned "I am not able to give the necessary attention to all students." Carden is a small campus where students can excel in leadership, academics and character development. With class sizes at 14-16 students, they are encouraged to excel and progress or support is easily detected. Carden keeps up with our expanding technology and offers learning with use of ipads, nooks, google docs, classroom whiteboards to name just a few. The middle school has an amazing student council body and they make a difference. Teachers really care about each student and are willing to help in any way. They constantly sacrifice their personal time before and after school. NO regrets, it is worth packing a nutritious lunch and driving 20 miles a day to take our precious children to school to learn in a safe and productive environment!! psCome see a music program, you will be blown away!! Mrs.Post

- submitted by a parent
December 21, 2012
Can't say enough good things about this school. My daughter is in her third year at Carden. I would challenge anyone to find another school where the teachers are so dedicated to the success of the children. A few people have posted about stringent expectations regarding coloring, etc. As in any school, parents should ask questions or perhaps sit in class. You will quickly understand that nothing happens that isn't for the purpose of advancing your child's academic success. The supply donation is a small cost in comparison to the quality of the education you receive. If you want a school that emphasizes character, patriotism and strong academics, please consider Carden.

- submitted by a parent
December 03, 2012
I've had two children attend Carden, and it is the best school we could have ever wanted for our kids. The teachers are extremely dedicated, and get to know their students very well. The class sizes are capped at 15-16 kids PER CLASS! The students get so much individual attention, and because the classes are small, the incidences of bullying few and far between. It's definitely a family environment and my children have always felt safe there. The students are formed into squads at the beginning of the year, with an 8th grader at the head, and kids from every grade. So the children get to know other students of all ages and they look out for one another. They have an excellent music director and have numerous musical performances, including dancing, throughout the year. One of our favorite things about Carden is how patriotic it is! The students study and learn about the Constitution and about the founding of our country. Each morning, all students recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Both of my kids are exceptional readers because of the instruction they received at Carden, and I feel they are getting a private school education at a public school price. We love Carden!!

- submitted by a parent
November 18, 2012
Families drive from all over to Carden of Tucson. In the student directory, there are families from 15 different zip codes. I personally drive a half hour from Oro Valley. The rigorous academics, dedicated teachers, and small class sizes (capped at 16 students) make the drive worth it. The school is packed full of exceptional families who invest a lot of time in their kids. For instance, my kindergartener was inspired to learn chess by a 5-year-old chess master in his class. We had a chess play date on Friday. Many of the teachers have advanced degrees, and there has been almost no staff turnover since we have been at the school (4 years). Carden's approach to reading instruction is phenomenal--my kids' reading skills are amazing. Carden's standards are higher than many schools, and I can see how transitioning to Carden could be "stressful" for some students. But most transfer students do great; there is tons of support of them. Most Carden schools are private; some cost $15,000 per year. I personally feel like I am getting the deal of the century paying $200 each year for a supply donation.

- submitted by a parent
November 18, 2012
The school just stresses out the children and the other parents probably don't know it because they're to busy to listen to the children. Sure the school provide school supplies but they ask for a fee not a donation... don't listen to the other reviews they're probably the staff trying to make their school seem good but its not!!! Because isn't weird that right after they have 2 bad reviews another 2 pop up almost right after the reviews!!! Listen to me this is from an honest parent that saw all the bad things about this school listen to me and avoid this school!!

- submitted by a parent
November 18, 2012
I am a parent of two kids at Carden. My oldest is a 7th grader and has been there since kindergarten. I feel that she is getting an Excellent education at Carden and will be more than ready to move on to High School. They have always received the help when struggling with something. If you ask my children what they think of Carden, they will say that it is like a family.I can honestly say that before the bad economy and budget cuts, they never asked for supply fees. I know for a fact, that their budget has been cut more and more every year. It is hard on everyone, but certainly not the schools fault. It is a small price to pay for the teacher-student ratio. We need more schools like this in the country.

- submitted by a parent
November 17, 2012
Carden of Tucson strives to provide an educational community where students, parents, and teachers are responsible for the learning environment. Although academics are challenging each teacher works tirelessly to provides personal support for each student. The school provides ALL supplies for students through out the year, including pencils, paper, markers, scissors, glue, notebooks, rulers, and other supplies so that parents are not responsible for continuously suppling their students, because of this, the school does ask for a supply donation. The school is more than willing to work with parents if they are unable to pay the supply donation. Carden of Tucson is a great school for students who want to work hard and participate in their education.

- submitted by a community member
November 16, 2012
My child attended this school and it wasn't as good as it seems. the 8th grade homeroom teacher was great she treated everyone but the other teachers are disrespectful and get the students stressed out. And besides that there was a $175 fee per student. Don't take your child there it is not a healthy environment for students.

- submitted by a parent
July 18, 2012
My daughter attended this school for kinder and 1st grade. We switched schools because Carden was a bit far for us, and it made me realize just how wonderful Carden is. The new school was fine, but there was a lot missing. Carden has wonderful teachers and staff that not only know your kids, but treat them like family. There is a wonderful atmosphere at Carden that I have not seen anywhere else. It is a wonderful school that I would encourage anyone to send their kids to, if they want them to learn respect, responsibilty, traditional values, and how to care for others, as well as the basics that should be taught in school! I cannot say enough great things about Carden, the kids and the wonderful staff!

- submitted by a parent
June 27, 2012
Carden offers an elite, private-school education for free. It was private for 20 years before becoming a charter school. Class sizes are limited to 16 students. In kindergarten and 1st grade there are two teachers so the ratio is only 1:8. The Carden approach to reading is amazing. My 2nd grader reads at 6.8 grade level. I had her tested because I was curious after witnessing how much stronger her reading skills were than older kids who attended private schools. My daughter could not read "cat" when she started kindergarten. My daughter's math skills are advanced as well. I brought her a 5th grade math workbook for the summer, which is a little too easy for her. Carden also focuses on character development, technology (ipads etc.), music, and physical fitness. Bullying is not tolerated. Carden graduates get into University High School and the IB program at CDO. They excel in high school and life. P.S. The pasting/coloring stuff mentioned by the previous reviewer is part of the Carden method to improve manual dexterity and listening skills. My advice would be just let your child color polka-dotted skies at home. Carden truly offers a world-class education.

- submitted by a parent
May 16, 2012
I was very disappointed with this school. My son went to kindergarten here in 2008 and it was unpleasant from day one. When I turned in my paperwork at the office, the lady there asked about my sons father, and when I said I was a single mom, she said "oh, one of those families" in a very condescending tone. Then the real problems began. My son's kindergarten teacher sent home every paper covered with red marks. If he didn't paste everything perfectly straight or color in every area with no white showing she would circle it with her red pen. I found out later that she would then make my son stay in from recess with his head down because of the "mistakes" in his work, and that she told him he ought to be ashamed of himself. She also told him he had to color things realistically, as in the sky had to be blue, the grass green, and the barn red. They obviously do not support creativity, because there was not a single art project sent home all year. I felt that this school had no concept of child development, and of encouraging self esteem and creativity.

- submitted by a parent
May 11, 2012
We are finishing our first year at Carden of Tucson and have enjoyed it tremendously. It was recommended to us by a friend and was one of the best academic decisions we've made for our son. He has thrived and has started to read! The staff and administrators are some of the most dedicated and loving people I've ever met. We love the structure, small class size, uniforms, and mentoring. My only regret is that it ends at 8th grade. The special education department is wonderful and accommodating. We love the strong emphasis on the civics and leadership. Where else can you go where the students stand to greet you and address you when you enter their classroom, they shake the hand of their teacher and greet her each morning when they enter the classroom and thank her for teaching them when they leave each afternoon. I love the fact that they instill respect. As their school pledge says, " respect yourself, respect each other, respect this place!"

- submitted by a parent
August 30, 2011
Carden provides a community environment that is unbeatable. The teachers have extremely high standards, but teach with love, compassion, and flexibility. Small classes allow students to develop deep relationships with each other and the staff. The education goes much further than the state standards, meaning students receive well-rounded instruction. From character to public speaking, from in depth subject content to respect, from nutrition to environmental sciences.... the school has it all. Thanks to the staff who go above and beyond time after time, children at this school thrive.

- submitted by a parent
August 09, 2011
The administration is very unorganized. I went into the office last week to turn in some paper work for my child, and saw the Principal asleep at her desk. I am new to the school this year, so I hope my child will get a good education here.

- submitted by a parent
December 10, 2010
This school is a great academic environment for kids and all the staff are wonderful and helpful..I have three kids there and other tow in the waiting list .I hope the school can make the system to 12 grader ,so we don't have to move our kids to other school.......

- submitted by a parent
February 08, 2010
I have had 4 children go to this school. I can't believe how helpful the staff is. They are so willing to help and spend extra time with my kids to make sure they succeed. They are awesome!!!

- submitted by a parent
April 17, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
April 14, 2009
We are so grateful to have found this school. Our kids are thriving emotionally, socially, and academically. They literally look forward to going to school every day! Thank you to all the wonderful teachers and staff that make Carden an ideal environment for our children to learn and grow. I just can't say enough.

- submitted by a parent
May 07, 2006
I loved Carden and my son thrived there. Carden is a small school and the kids know each other throughout all the grades. And all the teachers know all the kids. The kids learn how to work together with kids of all ages. There's a great deal more structure than at other public schools, and the kids are taught to respect authority, as well as other kids. I didn't see a fraction of the issues we've seen at the public school. I loved the environment and wish we didn't have to move. The teachers and staff were all wonderful and I really can't say enough good about the school.

- submitted by a parent
February 28, 2006
This school is great with all types of kids and are really focused on the children. They are a little disorganized. Not a lot of sports or extracurricular activities. Alway welcome parent involvement.

- submitted by a parent
no rating February 10, 2006
In my years of experience through my childrens' attendance and my volunteer work I have enjoyed the small class sizes, social values and well-maintained premises including modern play equipment. The instructors, with one exception, are progressive and approachable.Science not stong in curriculum until 6th grade.

- submitted by a parent
January 10, 2006
This school is a great academic environment for kids. Children have an opprotunity to take many different types of classes with teachers who honestly care about them. Parents are evry involved and this leads to an excellent education.

- submitted by a teacher
October 25, 2005
Carden of Tucson has it's strengths in 1) small (15-16) classroom sizes, 2) easily available tudoring, 3) strong P.E., Music and Health programs as well as 4) French, language and Saxon Math. The before/after-school care program is geared toward homework help, then activities. The computer lab and playground facilities are new and well-maintained. Patriotism and social values are strongly emphasized and uniform requirements are in place. A very active parent base is an asset also. Drawbacks include: 1) lackluster science programs at the elementary and intermediate school levels, 2) inconsistency in teaching/disciplinary methods , 3) absence of extracurricular sports, 4) Need for school counselor/psychologist 5) No accelerated program or successful countermeasures in place.

- submitted by a parent
August 13, 2005
I love the curriculum at this school and the size of the classrooms. There are 15 students in each class. They use Saxon Math, which I personally love! The teacher's really care about the children learning the material and will tutor after school for free. The discipline and feed back to parents is immediate. Parent's are welcomed to be very involved in their child's education. They have a wonderful french curriculum as well as band, choir, art classes, and health science curriculum. The are very big on patriotism, the constitution and good citizenship. The teach the children to have really good memorization skills. The faculty and staff really care about the children and work very hard to make the school it's very best.

- submitted by a parent
January 03, 2005
Wonderful school. All 7 of my children will attend it, and all 4 that do get great grades have great friends!

- submitted by a parent
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Last modified: December 16, 2014

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Carden of Tucson
5260 N. Royal Palm Drive, Tucson, AZ  85705
(520) 293-6661
Last modified Carden of Tucson is a Charter school. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 7 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Carden of Tucson Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 33 reviews. Top