PNA is not a school that has systems in place to assist comprehensive learning differences. However, the pedagogy is such that it suits a far larger group of learning styles than your typical classroom.
PNA's social-emotional program is impressive. The mission of the school is well understood and "lived". (Educate students to be exceptional learners and independent thinkers of vision, courage, and integrity). Daily morning meetings, fall retreats, all-school assemblies, spring trips and a buddy program really pull on all strings to help build a community of learners who are kind, courageous, and full of integrity.
We have 2 children who attended PNA from EK through 8th grade. When we moved to Anchorage, I was worried about finding a school that matched my expectations of what school should be: excellent academics, comprehensive curriculum that includes art, music and foreign language as core subjects, cross-disciplinary integration, a caring community where character counts, and above all, an understanding of what true learning is: not the accumulation of facts but the growth of one's mind and spirit. I was happy to see my high-achieving kids challenged, and pushed out of their comfort zone, required to take risks, required to explore their potential in a huge array of areas. The field trip and travel program is exceptional, the performing and visual arts program is unsurpassed, and the devotion and skill of the teachers is extraordinary. Is there anything better than a school filled with teachers who really know and appreciate your child? I would never have imagined my kids to leave 8th grade with such a breadth of skills, love of learning, mix of experiences, and solid academic achievement. All that, in a safe environment where kids can be kids, yet maturity comes naturally. Its physical education/outdoor program is developing in an exciting, Alaska-centric way, but I wish it had a more robust after-school athletic offering. Otherwise, I can't say enough good things about the program, from beginning to graduation. Anchorage is so lucky to have this school.
Our two children were at PNA for 3 years until we relocated overseas. Our kids still talk about their experiences at PNA; the inspiring and inventive teachers, the fun learning opportunities, the exciting adventures, the awesome art, music and Spanish program (and the amazing teachers of these specialist programs) and their lifelong friends. As a parent, I miss the caring teaching staff, the innovative and interesting learning opportunities my children had every day, the safe and nurturing environment and the welcoming and involved parent community. I would send my kids there again in a heartbeat. If you have the opportunity to send your kids to PNA, just do it. It's a wonderful independent school.
I was a skeptic when we decided to send our daughter to PNA. I felt like the public school system would be good enough. But within the course of a semester I had totally changed my mind, and embraced PNA wholeheartedly. Its worth it. Maybe it was when my kindergartner was accurately explaining what a non-newtonian fluid was, or watching her up on stage proudly performing. But in the end I think its the compassionate community that embodies PNA that makes it such a special place. That component rounds out the education the kids get to be so much more than books can give. PNA is simply an amazing place.
We had such high hopes for this school when enrolled our child in the elementary program.Staff seemed excellent, student/teacher ratio was exceptional. A very caring community amongst parents, etc. Everything was moving along nicely until PNA enrolled a child with serious behavioral issues in the program without any kind of vetting process. That child threatened others, physically hit/punched, spit in faces, threw chairs, threatened to "kill" classmates. Even pulled the fire alarm without so much as a repercussion of being sent home for the day. Administration initially decided to chalk it up to a "boys will be boys behavior." They didn't show support to the classroom teacher in the matter. This child disrupted the classroom from fall until the very last day of school. Several families communicated with administration and the board regarding the issues. The parents had to take measures to protect their own children. In some cases the measures including forgoing paid tuition and children being pulled during the school year.The child causing the problems was never expelled during the school year, but wasn't allowed to return the 2015-2016 school year. I blame all of this on not having enough behavioral policies in place to protect students and teachers. It doesn't matter how good academics are if a child is not safe. PNA has made several changes in administration for the new school year. I hope this makes a huge difference in policies and safety for all. We miss the strong academics, but could not risk safety.
As an alumni parent having just graduated our second child from PNA (EK-8th)I have nothing but the greatest things to say about this school. The staff, faculty and the new physical schoolhouse all are top notch. It is undeniable that this school shapes our young learners into exceptional people whom we all look forward to watching continue to achieve success throughout their lives.
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.