Inspiring A Lifelong Love of Learning Since 1933
The Early Days
- In 1933 Howard and Rubie Atchley founded the school on a 77-acre alfalfa farm
- The original name was the Circle Double A Green Fields Preparatory School for Boys.
- The school opened with five students.
- Classes were held primarily outdoors or on screened porches.
- Students originally slept outside on cots year-round! Canvas tarps were handed out in inclement weather.
- The boys frequently rode their horses down the Rillito riverbed to Hacienda del Sol, a nearby boarding school for girls, for tea and the occasional cotillion.
- The swimming pool dates from 1947, one of the oldest in Tucson.
In 1957 headmaster Frederick Baltzell purchased the school from Rubie Atchley’s sister, teacher Grace Hammerstrom who had joined the faculty three years before Rubie’s death
By the early 1960s the school ceased to be a boarding school, accepting day students only.
Green Fields went coed, accepting its first female students in 1966, even though there was no girls’ restroom. The curriculum was expanded through high school as a college preparatory school.
The first high school class of nine seniors graduated in 1969. Congressman Mo Udall was the commencement speaker.
In 1974 the informal tradition of excursions over spring break was formalized as Interim, a tradition of off-campus learning and real-world exploration that continues four decades later.
In 1979 the school was renamed Green Fields Country Day School.
Astronaut Dick Gordon dedicated the new gym in 1987.
Green Fields was the first school in the United States to form an exchange program with students in the former Soviet Union.
- The campus is now 22 acres, with no livestock. The last horse, Hobo, died in 1999. The last sheep departed in 2000. However, the third-grade class does raise chickens and watches over them with a “chicken cam.” The school also has a greenhouse and several student-tended gardens.
The 21st Century
Green Fields continues an environment in which individuality is admired and nurtured.
The roughly 150 students attending Green Fields are a diverse mix of ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds. Many who apply are eligible for financial aid.
Classes are small, from 10 to 12 students, and sometimes are still held outdoors.
In a typical year, 100 percent of the graduating class goes on to attend four-year colleges and universities, including many of the top schools in the country.
The senior class regularly earns more than $1 million in scholarships to some of the nation’s most prestigious schools.
The curriculum includes core classes in English, social studies, science, math, fine arts, Spanish and French, plus technology, publications and competitive sports. Developing critical thinking skills is key.
In addition to core curricular requirements, Green Fields Capstone Programs are unique to the school:
Beyond Boundaries is a year-long multi-media research project undertaken by each 8th grader to explore life from the perspective of a 14-year old from another part of the globe and present it to an audience.
Thinking Outside the Box affords each 6th grader the opportunity to do just that.
Seniors may embark on a Masterwork Project, an independent inquiry to pursue a personal passion beyond the classroom – conducting research, finding a mentor in the community, then communicating this mini-thesis experience with a performance, video or other interactive presentation.
Leadership and critical thinking opportunities abound in such endeavors as the Greek Festival, Issue Day, Bigs & Littles and many more.
Green Fields also is known for exploratory study outside the classroom. This includes spring Interim, offering off-campus experiences far and wide. Students have worked in a metal sculptor’s studio, gone behind the scenes with veterinarians at the zoo, studied marine biology and desert ecology, even traveled to New Orleans to help in ongoing reconstruction following Hurricane Katrina.