Breaking New Ground Capital Campaign FAQ’s

Why did Tesseract build an expanded new campus and open a high school?

Phoenix is home to 325 public schools in 30 school districts along with more than 400 charter and private schools. In the fifth largest city in the nation, there is currently only one other non-parochial, non-profit, independent school providing an early childhood through grade 12 education. As part of the ongoing strategic planning efforts by the Tesseract School Board of Trustees, Tesseract recognizes that our community demands additional choices for parents and students. As such, the board authorized the building of a second campus on the school’s property at 40th Street and Shea Boulevard in Phoenix, AZ, which allowed Tesseract to expand its exceptional programs to include high school. Offering a Tesseract education from early childhood through high school graduation plays a significant role in the quality of educational opportunities for Tesseract students and our community.

When did the new campus open? How much did it cost? What are its key features?

The new middle and high school campus at 40th Street and Shea Boulevard opened fall 2008 with its inaugural ninth-grade class. In February 2007, the board announced the $9 million campaign goal for the construction of the new campus. The campaign goal is now at $12 million.  Key features of the new campus include classroom space, visual and performing arts classrooms, science labs, a multi-purpose center, a media and resource center and a regulation-size soccer field. Although not included in the Breaking New Ground campaign, the master plan for this campus includes the future addition of a performing arts theater, additional classrooms and other amenities.

What are the benefits to the students?

Expanding capacity was just one component of Tesseract’s strategic vision. Even more important is to be recognized long into the future for creating well-rounded, thoughtful students — students with a strong social conscience and sense of responsibility to self and community. An expanded campus enrolling students
from early childhood through grade 12 plays a significant role in the quality of education for Tesseract students at all grade levels. Tesseract students will have the skills and values necessary to thrive in the 21st century, including teamwork, communication, global thinking, innovation and ethical decision-making, and will be well prepared to accept the challenges of college and beyond.

Are you still taking donations for this building campaign?
How can I support it?

Yes. While the new campus opened in 2008, we are still accepting donations. Capital campaigns are launched for special projects involving new construction or major renovations. The Breaking New Ground campaign gives individuals, families, foundations and businesses an opportunity to make a multi-year pledge to a specific naming opportunity or in general support of the project.

How may gifts and pledges be paid?

Tesseract encourages commitments, confirmed with a letter of intent, which can be paid over three to five years. Gifts may be made in the form of cash or appreciated assets such as securities, real estate, etc. In certain circumstances, gifts of tangible property and certain types of planned gifts may be considered.

Are contributions to the Breaking New Ground Capital Campaign tax deductible?

Yes, Tesseract School is a non-profit organization as provided under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions are tax deductible in accordance with state and federal tax laws.

What is Arizona tax credit? Can part of my contribution to it be used toward the capital campaign?

The Arizona Tax Credit allows taxpayers to direct a portion of their personal state income tax liability into education. Taxpayers may specify which school they would like to have receive their funds. A married couple filing a joint return may designate up to $1,000 to a specific school per year; a single individual or a head of household may designate up to $500 per year. These funds are used solely for need-based tuition-assistance scholarships and may not be designated for any other purpose.

Is a capital campaign gift above and beyond my other gifts?

This is a unique moment in time in Tesseract’s history— a time that has been decades in the making. The construction of a new school campus benefits our children, our community and maybe someday, our children’s children. Support of the annual fund and/or the ASF tax credit is needed to maintain the wonderful programs and projects for today’s needs, but an extra investment in the Breaking New Ground campaign, paid over several years, is like putting money in the bank. It will pay dividends for years to come.

Lower School

At Tesseract, our lower school encompasses all students, from 3-year-olds in the early childhood education program, through fourth-graders. All of our classes embrace the Tesseract philosophy of small class sizes with a low student to teacher ratio, where students engage in integrated thematic curriculum that promotes understanding over rote memorization.

Interest and curiosity go hand-in-hand with learning at Tesseract School. The students’ motivation and eagerness to learn comes from an intrinsic interest in their world; trying new things, making mistakes and exploring new ideas. Tesseract’s integrated thematic curriculum stimulates the students and easily captures their interest and curiosity by linking curriculum-based concepts and skills to daily life experiences.

At Tesseract, our social curriculum, Responsive Classroom®, is as important as our academic curriculum. Knowing each student individually, culturally and developmentally is just as important as the academics we teach. We foster cognitive growth through social interactions. Our students learn to be cooperative, assertive, responsible, empathetic, and exert self-control – these things are practiced daily in the classrooms and throughout the campus. A sense of membership in the Tesseract community promotes a comfortable and safe environment for our families.

Our Spanish program in the primary grades is very unique. The students begin Spanish class in our early childhood education program at the age of 3 and continue throughout their schooling at Tesseract. The program is thematically integrated into the curriculum, culturally based, and the class meets four times a week. The students are engaged in presenting plays, creating projects, participating in field trips and learning about the culture.

Music, P.E. and art are part of our academic and social curriculum. These specialty classes are integrated into the grade level themes when applicable. The students enjoy expressing themselves through art, music or on the field. Music and P.E. meet three times per week and art meets one to two times per week.

Love of learning, the joy of personal discovery, and academic and social responsibility are hallmarks of our successful learning environment. We provide high levels of input – a profusion of information, experiences and ideas. Through the thematic integrated approach to learning, your child will retain an innate love of learning and continue to be a lifelong learner. The Tesseract way focuses on these fundamentals, building a solid base for your child’s future education.

Please contact us to see how Tesseract School can help you meet the academic and social needs of your child.

Early Childhood Program at Tesseract

When you walk into Tesseract School’s Early Childhood classrooms, you feel the energy of young minds at work, eagerly discovering the joy of learning in a safe and supportive atmosphere.

Throughout each day the Responsive Classroom approach is incorporated into the curriculum as children greet one another, participate in group activities and make exciting choices in their learning environments in areas that include dramatic play, books, art, writing, blocks, technology, outdoors, sensory table, toys and games, science and discovery, and music and movement, keeping them motivated and engaged.

Jolly Phonics, a multimodal, multisensory phonics program, is also part of Tesseract’s Early Childhood curriculum. The magic of reading, writing and spelling is introduced to our youngest students through Jolly Phonics as students learn the letter-sounds in an enjoyable, interactive manner as they each learn at their own pace.

In addition to Tesseract’s rich curriculum, we also understand the importance of play. It is through play that children develop teamwork, problem solving, self-confidence and creativity, all of which are essential components to the cognitive, social and emotional well-being of children.

With the addition of our new Two’s Program, children can begin discovering and building confidence at an earlier age.

Providing a safe and loving environment for two- to four-year old children encourages them to take more chances and interact collaboratively. Our goal is to create a home away from home where the children feel comfortable learning and making friends while interacting with experienced educators.

Daily experiences incorporate playtime, which is enriched with music, physical education and Spanish, braced by credentialed educators who specialize in a child’s knowledge and understanding of the world.

Communication with parents about their child’s development and success is essential to our Early Childhood Program. Daily reports are sent to parents highlighting the student’s activities during the day. Parents gain an understanding of their children’s developmentally-appropriate pre-school learning, such as sensory and cognitive skills, through these daily reports.

Tesseract School Early Childhood and Preschool Features:

  • Full day sessions for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds
  • Small class-sizes and low student-to-teacher ratios
  • Full-time, professional educators


Thank you for your interest in Tesseract School, and welcome to a unique world of learning. During my 30-plus years as an educator and administrator at independent schools, I have found that education is all about connecting with students. It’s what we mean at Tesseract when we talk about “engaging minds”—giving our students the essential skills, knowledge and perspective to be successful in college, and in life.

In making this all-important connection, we understand that if our students see the value and importance of their education, they will take greater ownership of their learning. We give them this vital sense of ownership in three ways: by allowing them to actively experience the process, the rewards and the real joy of learning; by recognizing that students learn differently and develop individually; and by offering an integrated, thematic approach to uncovering and understanding real, meaningful knowledge.

The foundation for our uniquely student-centered education is our curriculum. We focus on core skills—listening, speaking, reading, writing and numeracy, or math. While we recognize that linear and analytical thinking continue to be essential, we also understand that the realities and demands of the 21st century require individuals to be creative, critical thinkers, synthesizers of knowledge and collaborators in all life’s pursuits.

Furthermore, by exposing our students to different cultures and perspectives, we prepare them for the more interdependent, interconnected world of today—and tomorrow.

To strengthen the connection with our students throughout their learning experience at Tesseract, our outstanding educators support each student as a “guide on the side,” rather than an uninvolved, impersonal “sage on the stage.” Instead of strictly regimented, by-the-book teaching that forces every student into a cookie-cutter educational mold, we encourage independent thinking, active inquiry, spirited testing of ideas and thoughts, and boldness of aspirations. At Tesseract, we not only engage minds, we inspire dreams.

While our Web site will provide you with a wealth of information about our mission, core values and programs, I encourage you to schedule a school tour so you can experience the energy and excitement of curious, engaged students guided by exceptional, committed educators on both our lower school campus and our middle and high school campus.

Thank you for taking a closer look at our extraordinary school. We look forward to sharing Tesseract with you.

Mission & Values

Mission Statement

Tesseract fosters each student’s intellect, love of learning, and strength of character in an innovative and collaborative environment. We prepare students to excel in college and beyond, lead lives of purpose, and become ethical and compassionate citizens with a global perspective.

Core Values

Academic Excellence
Both our innovative academic environment and our low student-to-teacher ratio challenge students to fully explore their passions and interests. We believe that students should have a high level of preparation in humanities, mathematics, science, technology and a second language. We emphasize the importance of visual and performing arts, athletics, cultural literacy and social commitment. Our integrated, experience-based multi-sensory learning environment stimulates students to engage as interested, curious learners.

Respect for the Individual
We recognize that each student is unique. We believe that the greatest intellectual and emotional growth occurs when students are known by their teachers and peers, feel appreciated for who they are, believe that their work has significance, and are encouraged to look beyond their current achievements and perspectives.

Importance of Community
By stressing ethical, compassionate and thoughtful behavior, we prepare students to help shape their world and make a difference to those around them. We are a community that encourages cooperation and values diversity. Our administrators and faculty emphasize open dialogue and respectful behavior as they work together with parents to promote each child’s development.

Students learn to work as a team and constructively resolve conflicts, establishing a foundation for becoming effective participants and leaders in our society.

Educational Leadership
Our innovative approach to education inspires our students to succeed. We recruit, retain and invest in the finest faculty by providing the best possible environment to spark our educators’ passion for teaching and for developing the love of learning in every child. Our educators are given freedom and support to expand and share their expertise. We fund professional development and provide time weekly for carefully structured faculty educational programs. We promote connections with institutions of higher education, and share our successful philosophy with other schools.

Global Responsibility
At Tesseract, we develop responsible and compassionate citizens and leaders for a sustainable, global society. We encourage students to make decisions that consider the world in which they live and the needs of future generations. Development of individual talents, social responsibility, critical thinking and problem-solving skills allows Tesseract graduates to connect thoughts with actions, deeds with results, and the past to the present and future.