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Pacific Northern Academy

Private | PK-8 | 125 students

Pacific Northern Academy is known for a strong academic program and the arts.

 
 

Living in Anchorage

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $246,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,110.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

5 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 6 ratings
2013:
No new ratings
2012:
Based on 2 ratings
2011:
Based on 1 rating

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19 reviews of this school


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Posted April 10, 2014

Pacific Northern Academy is a fantastic independent school where children love to learn. Teachers are creative, nurturing and foster an environment in which students are able to develop character and learn according to their individual potentials. Students learn the core academic subjects as well as are taught by a team of specialists in Spanish, visual arts, music and performing arts and physical education. Small class size enables very individualized attention to each student's needs. The regular curriculum is one year ahead of their grade and in math, students are able to be in a class according to their abilities, allowing students who excel in math to be learning one to three years ahead of their grade level. PNA is the best school I can imagine. Any child would thrive in PNA's stimulating and warm environment. I know my 6th grade son has greatly benefited from his time at PNA.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 8, 2014

Pacific Northern Academy is a wonderful school. Instead of teaching to 'the test," students are taught 21st century skills and curriculum that applies to our modern day world and makes learning exciting. My students come in everyday excited for school and don't want to leave at the end of the day! The small class sizes (18 students max.) allow me to know each students needs and accommodate for them (both academically and socially). Pacific Northern Academy is the best school in Anchorage.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted April 8, 2014

PNA is a great school not only with amazing teachers, small class sizes and a wonderful art and music program, but all students also learn Spanish. I am thrilled my daughter is able to attend here and encourage others to check it out! It is well worth the investment!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 7, 2014

As a 14-year veteran elementary school teacher who has taught in some great public and private school settings, and some not so great, I can honestly say PNA is the best institution I have had the privilege to teach at. The small class size, teacher support, parent involvement, and adequate time allotted for teachers to plan meaningful lessons all make a huge difference in my ability to make learning fun as well as profound. The feeling of camaraderie, the project-based learning, the infectious inquisitiveness that pervades our building is an inspiration! Teaching 28 students (in public school) is sort of like throwing a plate of spaghetti up against a wall and hoping some of it sticks there - even when using "best practices." Teaching 13 students at PNA is more like performing a fine-tuned medical examination. "Where can this student grow in writing?" "What social needs are not being met with that student?" "How can I better motivate the student over there?" These are the questions teachers at PNA have the luxury of asking themselves each day. School reformers would not be wasting their time by observing PNA on a typical day and taking copious notes...
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted April 7, 2014

Pacific Northern Academy is a beacon of light in the educational Alaskan darkness. It's a school based on high international standards, a place where all the children are expected to attend a quality university. Teachers teach, children learn, and parents support the process. PNA and the quality of instruction make it possible for my family to remain in Alaska, for without it my children would have no decent school to attend.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 7, 2014

It is very important to us that our child be educated in a way that nurtures her innate curiosity, helps her learn to persevere through challenge, and fosters her sense of connection in her community. PNA has exceeded our hopes in every way. The teachers and administrators demonstrate in very subtle (meaning all action, not talk) but consistent ways their attention to developing the students' mind and spirit. We want our child to know that her value in society is as a good citizen before being "smart." We want a school that reinforces that hard work, collaboration, and perseverance will serve her better in life than any innate intelligence she may possess. We want her to know the value of serving her community and accepting help when she needs it. We believe that a good education requires lots of play time outside, art, music, and heart. Her teacher finds ways to challenge her to keep her engaged so that she continues to grow and learn. We are so grateful to the teachers and administrators at PNA that continue to help us nurture our daughter's love of learning.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 30, 2012

My daughter has attended PNA since Kindergarten. My husband balked at the cost initially as I am a full time student and we are reliant on his income till I finish my degree. Her kindergarten class had 14 students and two full time teachers, not a teachers assistant, two full time teachers! My daughter grew and matured so very much while attending PNA. We tried Rilke Schule towards the end of her kindergarten year as the cost of PNA was hard for us. While we liked Rilke Schule very much and think it is an excellent school, it just doesnt have the budget and support that PNA does. That isnt Rilke Schule's fault, it is just the difference between a private and a public school. Even though it is sometimes a struggle finacially, we don't regret for a moment in choosing PNA. No other school that we looked at had the small class size, commitment to the arts,and such awesome teachers. Although I regret that we couldn't attend both Rilke and PNA, (I love the German language), there is no doubt in our minds that PNA was the only school that could give our daughter the one on one attention, artistic, scientific, and cultural education. I highly recommend Pacific Northern Academy.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 30, 2012

My son attends PNA, and has loved it from day one. The teachers are fantastic and highly qualified, the learning environment is hands on and dynamic, and he is never bored. He's in Kindergarten, and has really blossomed as a learner. Class sizes are perfect, and the teachers give him lots of one-on-one attention. The school overall has had its challenges, but significant parental involvement and a new administration have made our experience more than exceptional. I highly recommend that you consider this school if you want to see your child take charge of his/her learning and enjoy coming to school everyday - it's worth every penny!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 9, 2011

Both my daughters have attended PNA since EK. We fell in love with the school as soon as our oldest daughter started EK and still find the school to be a place where learning is exciting. My kids love going to school every day. Kids and parents alike are involved, motivated and encouraged. The faculty and staff are of the highest caliber! I have no doubt that my children are receiving the best education available to them in Anchorage at PNA!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 6, 2009

Great teachers, great community, great school. Coming from the East Coast, which has a huge selection of excellent private schools, to Alaska, where the options are few, I was very worried about what I'd find. I could not be happier with this independent school 'Alaska-style'.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 8, 2008

When my youngest daughter left P.N.A. for the ASD Japanese Immersion program, she was at the top of her class. After a year of frustration in the classroom she returned the next year and, not to my surprise, was at the bottom of her class in her formerly strong subjects. Pacific Northern Academy teaching philosophy and incredible teachers make a difference. Happily for her parents, her academic rigor has returned and she continues her independent learning by continuing studying Spanish at PNA and Japanese after school. As a side note, her older sister learned Spanish at PNA and, when she went to high school, her early start allowed her to join the Spanish Immersion Class where she did very well and is now participating in the I.B. (International Baccalaureate) program.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 8, 2008

I used to to go to p.n.a. and it is one of the best schools I have ever been to. I transferred there from a school I thought was really bad, and I think that some of the people there may have changed me a little, and not in a good way. But when I arrived at p.n.a. I was in the 4th grade, and I was immediately befriended by everyone they were very mature, polite, independent, and really cared for one another then sodenly i was one of them. I was truly amazed by the people at p.n.a. the staff, the student, how much parent involvement there was, everything. The last day of school there were so many tears cried because we wouldn t see each other as much. p.n.a. changed my life and you would be an idiot not to send your child there. - Sharleigh, age 12
—Submitted by a student


Posted January 10, 2008

My Daughter attended two years of PNA after having troubles in the Anchorage Public School System. Being new to Alaska and Independent schools, we were impressed by the ability of the entire school to focus on quality education and my daughter's welfare. Time and time again, her academic and social progress was ensured because the Faculty at PNA had the time and energy to address her individual needs and concerns. To keep this short, she blossomed at PNA and is now in the Gifted Program at West High School where she has never lost her excitement for learning. She still returns to PNA when she has time to see her former teachers. It remains a pivotal decision moment for us as parents.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 19, 2007

Both of my children have attended PNA since early kindergarten...6 and 8 years respectively. I would agree that there are some challenges regarding class size. Class size is mandated to be no more than 18 students. In smaller classes, I feel less students diminish the learning and social experience. My wife and I are very pleased in regards to class size. The caring and talented teachers have raised the level of education where it is a true challenge to the individual child. As an independent school, PNA has allowed my children to be educated without the usual shortcomings. Please feel free to contact the head of the school and find out about the PNA program, teachers and community. I am sure they will meet and exceed your expectations.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 4, 2007

All three of our children have been at PNA at one time or another. In my view, PNA is 'a school in decline'. Our son, frustrated with the lack of academic opportunity and challenge at PNA, and disenchanted with PNA's dwindling class sizes, opted for boarding school in Canada. Our older daughter, in middle school, can't wait to launch from PNA, and is frustrated by the lack of challenge there. The Anchorage School District is rather special for a public school system, and has a number of excellent programs. I'm sorry, but generally speaking, I just cannot give PNA a rating of 'excellent'.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 19, 2007

I have two daughters that have attended PNA going on the second year. I have been impressed with the school because of the following three reasons: 1) The teachers are top notch and care immensely about the education and development of my children. I have seen huge increases in self-confidence and self-awareness. 2) The strong sense of community. PNA is a very healthy community with involvement from all parents. My children were accepted with open arms by other children and their parents; and they have built strong ties to the school. 3) Academic rigor is high. Our children have excelled in a well-balanced and individualized education track, with significant teacher support.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 19, 2007

Pacific Northern Academy has been the best choice we could have made for our children. Our daughter attended PNA from early Kindergarten through 8th grade and graduated from PNA. She is now a sophomore at an Anchorage Public High School, and is an honor student, involved in sports and other activities. PNA was the perfect environment for her to learn and develop character as a young adult. It has given her the confidence and education needed to do well in public high school, though she would still be at PNA if they had a high school! Our son is currently in 5th grade at PNA, and is thriving in the learning environment. Though our two children have very different interests and personalities, the staff and programs at PNA bring out the best in each of them, teaching them to be independent thinkers of vision, courage and integrity. I highly recommend PNA.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 19, 2007

My son attended Pacific Northern Academy for five years, from 7th grade through his graduation in 12th grade. The skills he developed while a student at PNA enabled him to score in the 90th + percentile on his SAT scores and helped to earn him an appointment at the United States Air Force Academy. My son was in a gifted program in the public schools but was falling through the cracks because of the lack of individual attention he needed. He got that attention at PNA in addition to the identification of the specific skills in which he needed improvement. Once those needs were identified the skills were systematically improved upon so that he bacame an exceptional problem solver and writer. Th teachers at PNA are exceptionally skilled and caring. I would recommend PNA to any parent who recognizes that their child would benefit from individualized, caring instruction.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 25, 2007

Hello to all my fellow parents. My review results in a moderate rating of three points.Teachers at PNA Alaska deserve the credit for saving the day---surprise!There has been a non-stop overhaul of the administration from day one .Sadly,this coupled with a heady lesser regard for parental involvement and lack of an onsite nurse continues the decline in overall rating with regard to the learning process and safety issues.My son has struggled immensely after his attendence there
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 73% 43%
Asian 12% 3%
American Indian/Alaska Native 6% 43%
Hispanic 4% 4%
Two or more races 3% 4%
Black 2% 2%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 1% 1%
Source: NCES, 2009-2010

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Assistant principal(s)
Art teacher(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by school staff Spanish
Tagalog
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Science lab

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Music room
  • Performance stage
Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Photography
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
Clubs
  • Yearbook

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • PE instructor(s)
School facilities
  • Gym
  • Kitchen

Gifted & talented

Instructional and/or curriculum models used
  • Gifted / high performing
School leaders can update this information here.

School basics

School start time
  • 8:30 am
School end time
  • 3:15 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school: starts at 7:30 a.m.
  • After school: ends at 5:45 a.m.
School Leader's name
  • Arnie Cohen
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • Phone
Age at which early childhood or Pre-K program begins
  • 3 years old
Gender
  • Coed
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian
Fax number
  • (907) 333-1652

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Gifted / high performing
  • Project-based
  • Reggio Emilia
  • Standards-based
  • constructivist
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • None
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • No
Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • None

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Assistant principal(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs
Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Audiovisual aids
  • Cafeteria
  • Computer lab
  • Gym
  • Internet access
  • Kitchen
  • Library
  • Music room
  • Performance stage
  • Playground
  • Science lab
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
  • Anchorage School District
School leaders can update this information here.

Sports

Boys sports
  • Cross country
Girls sports
  • Cross country

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Photography
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
Media arts
  • None

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Chess club
  • Judo
  • Student council/government
  • Yearbook
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

No upcoming events found for this school
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School culture

Dress Code
  • Uniforms
Bullying policy
  • This school has a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Coach sports teams or extracurricular activities
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Present special topics during curricular units
  • Serve on school improvement team or governance council
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Volunteer time after school
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

This school accepts applications on a

rolling basis

 
Apply now
 

What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2012-2013 school year
$12000 - $15000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
SWS at East High School
IB Program at West High School
Polaris
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

9251 Lake Otis Parkway
Anchorage, AK 99507
Website: Click here
Phone: (907) 333-1080

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