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Family School Program

Desert Willow Family School (DWFS)text85604_2.jpg


DWFS is an alternative K-8 program offered by the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS).  Students attend a public school program that combines a half-day or 80% of classroom instruction with a half-day or 20% of home-based instruction.  This unique arrangement helps parents take an active role in the education of their children.  Students develop their own knowledge by actively engaging in problem-solving lessons and community activities.


DWFS’s multi-age, open-ended curriculum is designed to help students take responsibility for their learning process. 


The program’s use of both the classroom and home environment encourages students to grow into self-initiating, life-long learners.  The student curriculum is a rigorous, hands-on, integrated, self-directed approach to cooperative learning.  Parents attend a monthly class designed to help them share responsibility for assessing and educating their student(s).


What We Believe. 


We at DWFS believe that the active, intellectual engagement of teachers, parents, students, and the community is beneficial to all.  When everyone is actively learning, students can achieve the highest level of intellectual development.  The rigorous curriculum must work in conjunction with the individual student’s learning process to create the greatest level of knowledge and understanding of the world.  Student evaluation is an ongoing process that focuses on all aspects of learning; therefore, students, parents, and teachers work together in the assessment process.  Finally, we believe that, as a community of learners, our ability to change and grow is fundamental. 


Our Students


  • Learn to work cooperatively as both leaders and co-learners, both at school and home
  • Work with different ages in multi-age classrooms
  • Develop into “interdependent” learners, knowing when to work independently and when to call on diverse academic resources, including schoolteachers and home-teachers

Our Parents


  • Commit to at least 10–15 hours per week of documented home instruction, with logs monitored by the classroom teacher
  • Provide transportation to and from school
  • Attend one or two hours of parent classes a month, taught at DWFS

Title 1 District Family Engagement