Elementary school marks the formative years of your child’s life, and for many parents, it marks the first time they are sending their child off to be independent. The choice you make for your child’s first school and greatly influence how they feel about learning but with so many options out there, how do you choose the best elementary school for your child?

Use this list below, complete with reviews, standardized test rankings, and more as a quick-start guide to choosing elementary schools in Tucson, AZ that works best for you and your family.

Elementary Schools in Tucson, AZ

#1 — Academy of Math & Science

The Academy of Math & Science is an advanced, tuition-free public charter school that was founded in 2000. Located on Prince Rd. and Flowing Wells Rd., this campus is their flagship school and is now one of seven schools in Phoenix and Tucson (for those of you living south, The Academy’s second location, Math and Science Success Academy [MASSA] is located on 12th and Valencia).


  • 4/5 star rating by over 200 users on Great Schools
  • Tuition-free school K-8 charter school part of Academy of Mathematics and Science Inc.
  • Safe, secure campus with a zero-tolerance policy for bullying.
  • STEM-focused academics, supplemented with foreign language and an enriching arts and music program (guitar & piano)
  • Reputation for winning Science, Robotics, Engineering, and Math competitions
  • Rigorous curriculum and an integrated accelerated program with at least one class per grade working above-grade-level
  • Extracurriculars and clubs are available for younger grades, including sports, dance, Lego club, and more.
  • High-performing school for standardized testing, scoring an average of 35% higher than the state average in all subjects combined.

Enroll at AMS here

What parents say:

“I have two children that are attending AMS-Prince. I have found that the teachers truly care about my children’s’ growth in both academics and character. Their curriculum is well-rounded and thorough. Besides the core classes, students also take guitar, piano, art, and computer classes.”
AMS Parent via Great Schools

#2 — BASIS Tucson Primary

BASIS Tucson Primary school is K-4 charter school founded in Tucson, AZ in the late 90s. Centrally located at Speedway and Alvernon, BASIS Tucson Primary serves approximately 800 students at their open-enrollment, tuition-free school.


  • 4/5 star rating by over 100 users on Great Schools
  • K-4 charter school part of Basis School Inc.
  • Accelerated curriculum in literacy, humanities, math, and science
  • Extracurriculars including choir, art, yoga, bowling, basketball, soccer, volleyball and more.
  • Special courses including economics, engineering, classics, and Mandarin.
  • High-performing school for standardized testing, scoring an average of 44% higher than the state average in English, Math, and Science combined.

What parents say:

“I was nervous about moving my daughter to BASIS but I’m SO glad we did! My daughter started BASIS last year for 1st grade and loves it! The school does a great job balancing academics and time to play and be a kid. (this was my biggest concern) She did have homework most nights but it wasn’t overwhelming. (maybe 20 minutes) This year they have added an engineering class. My daughter is super excited for 2nd grade and so are we!” — BASIS Parent via GreatSchools

#3 — Khalsa School

The Khalsa Montessori School, located on River Road, has been serving the Tucson area since 1975. The Khalsa School goal is to provide a positive, creative, and supportive environment for staff, parents, and students. They aim to serve our future by giving children positive life experiences during their formative years.


  • 4/5 star rating by 52 users on Great Schools
  • K-8 charter school part of Khalsa Family Services
  • Khalsa School follows the Montessori curriculum, which focuses on child-led learning and encourages students to learn at their own pace.
  • Curriculum based on four areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, and Language
  • High-performing school for standardized testing, scoring an average of 34% higher than the state average in English, Math, and Science.

What parents say:

“Our family LOVES Khalsa. My Son and Daughter go to the Camden campus and we couldn’t be happier. Teachers and staff are incredibly focused on the children they are very attentive to the children’s needs, emotionally, mentally and educationally. The teachers and staff are just incredible. My children are always excited to go to school and we always feel welcome.”
— Khalsa School Parent via GreatSchools

#4 — Manzanita Elementary School

Located in the Foothills near Campbell Ave and Skyline Drive, Manzanita Elementary School is a public school part of the Catalina Foothills School District, and serves approximately 600 students across grades K-5.


  • 4/5 star rating by 62 people on Great Schools
  • K-5 Public District School (Catalina Foothills Unified District)
  • Technology-enhanced classrooms with a curriculum featuring robotics, music, visual arts, band, math, reading, and more.
  • Open Enrollment program available for those not in the district
  • High-performing school for standardized testing, scoring an average of 35% higher than the state average in English, Math, and Science combined.

What parents say:

“Our experience at Manzanita, on the whole, has been very positive. The teachers are amazing. However, I would change two things. First, I would make the class sizes smaller. Our child’s class is much above the 1 to 19 ratio that another parent mentioned in another review. I wonder if this has something to do with open enrollment. I have no problems with open enrollment and think that it is great that families that live outside of the district have the opportunity to attend the school. However, I do feel that with open enrollment there should be the same number of kids per class as there were before the policy was implemented. My second concern is the time the children have to eat at lunch. It would be great if the children had more time to sit down and enjoy their meals.”
— Manzanita Middle School Parent via Great Schools

Winifred Harelson Elementary School

Winifred Harelson Elementary School is located in the Casas Adobes area of Tucson in the Amphitheater Unified School District. They offer project-based learning and a variety of extracurricular activities to help students excel.


  • 5/5 star rating by 99 people on Great Schools
  • K-6 public school part of the Amphitheater Unified School District
  • Well-rounded curriculum including STEM, Fine Arts, Physical Education, Reading, and Geography
  • Extracurriculars including Band, Spelling Bees, STEM competitions, Chess Team, Student Council, and Geography competition teams
  • High-performing school for standardized state testing, scoring an average of 34% higher than the state average in English, Math, and Science combined.

What parents say:

“This is the best school I as a parent could possibly want for my child. I am so grateful that I found this school. I drive across town to take my daughter to this school, we’ve been there four years and don’t plan on leaving it. All the staff are friendly and build relationships with you and your child. They really work hard with you as the parent so you guys as a team can get your child prepared for the next grade level. This is truly an amazing school and I look forward to our future years there!!!!”
— Winifred Harelson Parent via Great Schools

These are only few examples of the amazing elementary schools in Tucson, AZ. Start your child off right and inquire about