"Our School is Best Known for a Comprehensive Education of the Whole Child. "
Students enrolled 120
Hours 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
School leader Mrs. Kaamil Bey
Transportation options None
Type no info
Before school Yes
After school Yes
Summer program Yes

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3710 Dorisa Avenue
Oakland, CA 94605

School website
(510) 957-0570
(510) 957-0559
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Northern Light School address.

4 stars
Based on 44 ratings

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think about this school

June 30, 2014
My children are and have attended a wonderful school called The Northern Light School, serving families from pre-school, to 8th grade. The eldest of my three just graduated and thanks to NLS, he's on his way in September to attending one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the country, and oh yeah, on a full scholarship, valued at over $57,000.00 annually. NLS has partnered with me and my family to prepare my son academically, emotionally, socially, to embark on a path that will undoubtedly lead to success in college and beyond. All my children have become aware of the need to actively help others in the community, as well as around the world. The class sizes are small and the staff is nurturing, young, energetic and caring. Nonetheless, the children are encouraged to pursue their dreams and strongly believe in the concept, "Impossible is Nonething." I feel my children are not only developing educationally, but also emotionally and socially. The life skills they have learn will continue to enhance their well being as they approach adulthood . If you're familiar with the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child," then you will embrace the philosophy of The NLS.

- submitted by a parent
June 28, 2014
Current parent of 3 enrolled in NLS (pk, 3, 7). Our family has seen it evolve over the years. We've been there to know the original 4 founders & see shifts in teachers & office personnel. HOWEVER, like the other parent post on here, I'd have to agree that the reviews popping up over the last few days are unhappy parents who posted before. We were around for the shifts in administration. It took some adjusting, but we think that since Ms. Michelle & Ms. Kaamil have taken the lead of the school the improvements far outweigh the things unhappy families speak of (many sound too ridiculous to be true). We like the direction the school is headed in. We've always loved the teachers that NLS has hired over the years. But the new teachers are the best the school has ever had. A favorite topic of discussion at our dinner table pertains to the Art Program. Kudos for after school music and sports programs additions. We came to NLS looking for something different & found it. Every institution is going to have its challenges. But we've enjoyed our NLS experience enough that one or two difficulties isn't enough to convince us to leave.

- submitted by a parent
June 27, 2014
As a parent whose child has attended Northern Light School for eight years, I can truly say my son is prepared both academically and socially for the challenges that lie ahead in high school. In addition to a strong academic program, NLS instills in its students the importance of community service and their responsibility to help others who are less fortunate. NLS recently added a sports program to its curriculum, which in my opinion was the only thing missing. My son is a well-rounded young man and he has benefited tremendously from attending NLS.

- submitted by a parent
June 26, 2014
I am a current NLS parent and have been a NLS parent for many years now. I am very happy with the academic curriculum of the school and the extracurricular activities. I believe some of these posts are reposts from old parents that have not been with Northern Light for some years because some of the issues stated did not apply to 2013-2014 school year. NLS does have music now and sports. NLS is a small school but has been incorporating some of the programs bigger schools have. I am very happy with my son s academic progress. I do not only look at test scores. Test scores only show one has the ability to take tests. I measure on intellect. During family time we have conversations about topics that our entire world is being affected by and he knows of things that are important that we haven t covered yet. This is the measure of intelligence to me. We have not had one teacher that he has not enjoyed. And he does not want to leave. Another positive! The only benefit I get from this post is yet another year at NLS. I want to see NLS continue to thrive and provide the loving, nurturing, educational environment were kids love school and learn to be continuous learners.

- submitted by a parent
June 25, 2014
I've been a volunteer at Northern Light for about 12 years. I think the school is better than it ever has been. The teachers and administrative staff have never been better. We're in the best shape ever when it comes to support... we have a lot of volunteers and more people helping (financially) than ever. The list of people who visit the school and inspire the kids is unparalleled: Emmy Award winning entertainers, professional athletes, Fortune 500 CEO's and even a Supreme Court Judge. This year's graduating class has 15 of the 17 students accepted to private high schools on scholarships. And the class that graduated 4 years ago, received acceptance letters from Harvard, Yale, NYU, Swathmore, West Point, etc. Unfortunately, the economics of the world today leave us in a predicament where we HAVE to offer 93% of our students financial aid or they wouldn't be able to attend NLS. So, to help raise money, I often tell prospective supporters ANONYMOUS stories of our students, what they have to overcome and how great they're doing. I LOVE to tell these stories...the kids are AMAZING and well worth bragging about!

- submitted by a community member
June 25, 2014
I've been a volunteer at Northern Light for about 12 years. I think the school is better than it ever has been. The teachers and administrative staff have never been better. We're in the best shape ever when it comes to support... we have a lot of volunteers and more people helping (financially) than ever. The list of people who visit the school and inspire the kids is unparalleled: Emmy Award winning entertainers, professional athletes, Fortune 500 CEO's and even a Supreme Court Judge. This year's graduating class has 15 of the 17 students accepted to private high schools on scholarships. And the class that graduated 4 years ago, received acceptance letters from Harvard, Yale, NYU, Swathmore, West Point, etc. Unfortunately, the economics of the world today leave us in a predicament where we HAVE to offer 93% of our students financial aid or they wouldn't be able to attend NLS. So, to help raise money, I often tell prospective supporters ANONYMOUS stories of our students, what they have to overcome and how great they're doing. I LOVE to tell these stories...the kids are AMAZING and well worth bragging about!

- submitted by a community member
June 25, 2014
An older boy from our neighborhood graduated from Northern Light 6 or 7 years ago. He received a partial scholarship to High School and a college scholarship, as well. So, we enrolled our son there 3 years ago. The first few months were rocky (for him and us). But around November... it all clicked. He started loving school, doing well and we "got" what was going on. It's a wonderful place and we feel like he's learning a lot...both school work and life lessons. They've worked with us as our finances have changed. Occasionally, I still disagree with a teacher or administrator but... we trust them. We're so impressed by the 8th grade graduates every year. I'm honestly shocked that people who give this school a chance are unhappy. i just can't see how.

- submitted by a parent
October 16, 2013
I have one son that attends Northern Light School and so far we are off to a great start. While it was very challenging to find a safe learning enviornment for my son, I was greatful to be referred to the Northen Light Family. After attending the summer program I realized that what this school had to offer was exactly what I needed for my son and that was structure and dedicated/compassionate staff members that believe in student success.So far we are very excited and my son loves learning at NLS, so for that I''m a proud parent of the NLS!

- submitted by a parent
September 27, 2013
I have one son that currently attends Northern Light School and one son that has graduated from NLS. I have been a NLS parent for over 7 years. My oldest was accepted to all 3 private high schools that he applied to. Then 8 out of 10 Universities that he recently applied to and is now attending a Private University for his freshman year. My youngest son is not only attending Northern Light School because of the success of his older brother but because he loves his school. This is very important to me. All schools are required to teach a specific curriculum, but what make s Northern Light School special is the children like going to school and love their teachers. It is an open learning environment where the kids are able to be who they are. A safe and loving school environment creates a student who loves to learn. Current NLS Parent

- submitted by a parent
September 25, 2013
We enrolled our children at Northern Light last spring, and they began school this fall. Before school started, we were accosted by former parents and employees who tried to convince us that the School was "bad", and that we shouldn't pursue enrolling. To say the least, we were concerned. The things shared with us were so scathing, that we seriously considered saying "no". But the summer slipped away. It was time for school. We said we'd "try" it for the first few weeks and make a final decision for our family. Boy, are we glad that we did! Whatever those former parents and employees said was wrong, and (to be frank!) pretty cruel. We've got nothing but glowing reviews for Northern Light. Our kids are so happy. The education and programs offered are fantastic. We were told that the school wasn't making an effort to put its best foot forward, but it is. Our son is LOVING PE classes, and our daughter is thrilled that there is Drama Club. Every morning there's a whole-school assembly that offers students the chance to come together. Clearly, they're making an effort to prove they're committed to positive turn-around in light of whatever slander was spread. It really is a GREAT SCHOOL!

- submitted by a parent
August 28, 2013
I would NOT recommend this school to anyone. The students face hard reality when they go to High School, my son is one of them. He is so far behind in math. There is not consistency on anything. The change the curriculum almost every year since the new principal came to NLS and when things started to go down hill, she doesn't know how to handle discipline at all. Some teachers have their boyfriends working there and they hang in the classrooms all day. NLS is not what it used to be. Not a good school at all.

- submitted by a parent
May 27, 2013
Two years ago, we moved our oldest daughter out of a top pre-school in Piedmont to attend Northern Light School's pre-kindergarten program, and have since entered her younger sister into the school. Now in our second year at Northern Light -- our kindergartner has a passion for learning, is excelling in her studies, has made good friends, and loves her teacher. Our pre-schooler is engaged and having fun, building a strong set of foundational skills, and performing at an academic level that is beyond her years. The administration and faculty are caring and constantly looking for new ways to enhance the curriculum and community at Northern Light School. The student experience is made more dynamic through exposure to community leaders, coaches, and speakers from top businesses, professional teams, and philanthropic organizations from around the bay. We are happy to have found Northern Light School two years ago, and look forward to the years to come. Our children are experiencing something special, and are growing as students and citizens of the broader community. What more could we ask for?

- submitted by a parent
May 25, 2013
We are a veteran family of Northern Light School. Our children have attended, their cousins, my nieces, nephews, and several grandchildren. We've been with Northern Light for the long haul. With the recent challenges the school has faced, we are making an important decision for our family--WE ARE STAYING WITH NORTHERN LIGHT SCHOOL. We believe in Northern Light, everything it stands for, everything it has been, and everything it will become. We aren't going to give up on what the school has to offer. Families choosing to leave Northern Light have fallen victim to virulent, poisonous gossip, and a cancer-like rumor mill. The families, like ours, who stay true and dedicated to Northern Light, know what it is worth. It truly is one-of-a-kind, and we will continue to embrace it and defend it. We're staying put--for the other generations of our children and grandchildren to come.

- submitted by a parent
May 23, 2013
This school used to be a wonderful school. But the last 3 years have been bad. Classroom sizes increased from 10-15 average to now 20+. There has been no disciplinary structure. The staff has a high rate of overturn. There is no leadership or direction for the school. Test scores are down. Not all the teachers are accredited. But tuition is steady going up. They need to revise their academic and discipline programs. Keep staff there longer. They need to get back to Northern Light 3 years ago.

- submitted by a parent
May 21, 2013
Many of the families who leave the community at Northern Light School are quick to give it a "bad rap". The truth is that Northern Light is a very special, one-of-a-kind place. Yes, there have been changes in the administration. But that kind of change is inevitable and bound to happen at every school. Leaving Northern Light won't make a difference. If you go somewhere else, you will encounter the same changes. Being a parent it's difficult to read through "scathing" reviews and recognize any semblance of what frustrated parents are talking about. My family loves Northern Light School. My children receive a top-notch education. They love going to school. As a parent, that's the most important thing I could ask for. I wouldn't save my money and send my kids to public school. I know that they wouldn't get what Northern Light offers. The families that love Northern Light the way our family does have pride for this village, and a village it is. I think the unhappy parents on here had an unfortunate, one-time experience and take their aggression out on this community. That aggression is underserved. Northern Light is filled with genuine love and has children's best interests at heart.

- submitted by a parent
May 21, 2013
We love Northern Light! Don't listen to anything that other disconcerted former parents are writing and saying. Now, there have been some changes. The newer principal has had to adjust to the Northern Light environment. It was challenging at first, but in the last year, we've noticed that the new principal has taken a more active role in the student's and families lives. She's still got a ways to go, but she has made a tremendous effort, and we are happy to stick by the Northern Light School community and mission. It is a beautiful place, with beautiful families, caring teachers, and dedicated administration. We aren't giving up on Northern Light. There's good stuff there.

- submitted by a parent
October 08, 2012
We left NLS in pre-k primarily because we felt one of the directors was bent on emasculating the boys. Our son is now in 4th grade and we are pleased with the new leadership, his teacher and the small class size. They offer enough sports to keep him busy and he is well challenged academically. The school is affordable and offers a reasonable alternative to charter schools and the failings of OUSD. Their record for graduating students to be accepted into good high schools and then college, is exceptional! We are happy with our decision.

- submitted by a parent
April 19, 2012
My daughter has been attending this school for two years and it has truly been a pleasure seeing her grow and develop in an environment that provides her with the greatest opportunity to excel academically, socially, and in her character. My daughter chose this school over the fluffier schools with the new playground and facility because of the warm and nurturing environment that she felt when she visited the school. In the two years I have seen her blossom into a dynamic individual.

- submitted by a parent
February 16, 2012
My daughter has been going to this school since pre school and is now in 1st grade. I agree that the school has been going downhill since the new administration. A lot of the GOOD teachers left the school. The policies aren't clear and procedures aren't always followed. This school has been living of the name its once had. I'm currently looking for another school for my daughter.

- submitted by a parent
November 22, 2011
The new principal and administrators are horrible this year. Since the original founders of the school have left , the school has gone down hill. Over crowding in the classrooms. Students who don't belong. Very few activities for the kids to do... Save your money and try a high performing public school

- submitted by a community member
August 26, 2011
My daughter went to this school and I would not recommend this school to anyone. I have a son who is entering first grade and he is better off going to public school. The principal used foul language to describe how my daughter was acting. Due to her strong personality they treated her horrible. I am scared if i sent my son there they would treat him horrible because of who his sister is.

- submitted by a parent
June 28, 2011
This is my son's 3rd year at this school. He just finished the 2nd grade and will NOT be returning unfortunately. In addition to strong academic program we wanted a nurturing environment, especially for the you ger classes. Not for our child to be babied or anything like but it just seems like the environment was more into the robot approach. It was all about them being as smart as they could force them to be not focusing on the children as individuals. Education is a top priority which is why we chose private school but we also don't need our child worrying about that in the first grade. Basically it was too much pressure on the children and several other have had the same concern. We gave the school another year and we didn't see a difference so unfortunately we had to switch schools. We decided on Mills College Children's School until the 5th grade. I happen to know we are aren't the only family to switch to Mills. Mills is a lot more than Northern Lights... I heard it's worth it.

- submitted by a parent
October 10, 2010
I am very thankful that for the staff and faculty of Northern Light. The classroom environments are warm and welcoming and filled with teachers and administrators who CARE. It's also great because of the teacher to student ratio. The teachers provide many hands on learning opportunities that enhances their curriculum. Northern Light encourages parent participation and offers a multitude of opportunities for volunteering. Northern Light is a family school where the teachers are not just teaching but facilitating learning as well. My son is extremely happy again. He is excited about school again. Thanks Northern Light!

- submitted by a parent
July 21, 2010
As an alumni/ graduate of Northern Light, I have grown into a loving and respectful young man. Northern Light has taught me skills and preparation for high school. In 8th grade, I was learning Algebra 1!!! I learned pre- algebra in 7th grade!!! Normally, in public schools you would learn pre- algebra in 8th grade. Learning algebra 1 in 8th grade was such an advantage because in my freshman year, they start you of in algebra 1!!!! I really struggled in math So I went to my teacher and I told her my dilemma. She OFFERED HER LUNCH BREAK to HELP ME!!!! No other teacher wouldve done that for me. Thinking about this right now really makes me feel special. And I am proud to go to high school. Next year, I will be at Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School. I LOVE NLS. Thanks. I will never forget you.

- submitted by a community member
February 02, 2010
As a current student of Northern Light School, i have learned many amazing qualities. In this school, the directors dont just help you academically, but morally and orally. Coming from a public school, things are amazingly different! Students are just so nice and comppasionate towards others, its hard even to comprehend! This is an amazing school. Also the comment about hypocritical stuff , this is a joke! Yes, the directors are strict on discipline but it affects them in a good way. As a student and participating in the Theater Arts, my sel-esteem has boosted amazingly.This school was a perfect match for me! I feel that this school teaches amazingly and its a school to visit! You will definetely get a sense of love and caring if you visit. Enroll your child for a better future for your child! This school is outstanding!

- submitted by a student
November 05, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a community member
October 26, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
December 29, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
November 11, 2008
this school is a wonderful school .if you moving to oakland please check this school.

- submitted by a student
August 27, 2008
As a current parent, I just can't brag enough about this school. WOW. What an awesome, awesome place. The saying is, 'It takes a village to raise a child', this school--'this village'--is definitely doing all the right things. My children are young, but I cannot wait to watch them grow and learn here. They've got an UNBELIEVABLE arts program--GET THIS--FREE String ORCHESTRA, four days a week starting in KINDERGARTEN! The kids are so musically talented, it blows my mind. Drama programs begin in sixth grade--we are talking BROADWAY-QUALITY Musicals. And the academics--I can't say enough, again. Last year's eighth grade students read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, all the advanced literature. Sciene Faires, Mathalons, school-wide Spelling Bee--What more could you ask for? The academics are stellar, and the list of high schools and colleges students attend afterwards is impressive and exhaustive. FOUR WORDS: ENROLL YOUR KID NOW.

- submitted by a parent
no rating July 09, 2008
Not a good school as far has reasonable excpectations for the childrens age group. They expect your child to be a genius.

- submitted by a parent
April 04, 2008
The teachers at this school are wonderful and very caring for the children.

- submitted by a parent
March 17, 2008
The school engages in dialogue with parents in order to further the best interests of the children, specifically: their future.The frequency of these meetings depends on your child's needs and behavior and are not punitive but are meant to enlist the parent's help in guiding your child to the brightest possible future for them. Graduates go on to prestigious boarding schools and local private schools, often on scholarships. As a parent, you are asked to be involved in the school at large and specifically in your child's educational and, social and intellectual develpoment. All of that is worth the high level of involvement by the directors.future for the . , these communications, oftern face to face

- submitted by a parent
no rating March 12, 2008
I would never ever recommend or ever go to this school again. I feel now we are being harrassed by not just a few members on the Board of Directors who actually run the school but they act like they are the Mafia and can do anything they want to anyone's family. What a horrible experience we have had.

- submitted by a parent
no rating February 20, 2008
Warning to potential parents.Do not enroll you child at this school. 1. The academics are behind the public school system. 2. The staff is very hypocritical when it comes to discipline. 3. Boys tend to be expelled at a very high rate. 4. More time is wasted on singing and celebrating then on academics. 5. Students books are very outdated. I think the time has come to close this school down.

- submitted by a parent
January 27, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
December 07, 2007
Love the teachers, staff and directors. Other schools should follow the Northern Light lead. Quality in education and genuine care for our children.

- submitted by a parent
September 26, 2007
Has some great things: field trips, environment, caring teachers. Too many short days, half days, wasted time, shorter school year than other schools. Need to beef up academics.

- submitted by a parent
September 05, 2007
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a teacher
January 12, 2007
Northern Light School is an excellent place for your child to receive a quality education. I have two daughters who attend the school, one in Preschool and the other in Kindergarten. I am still amazed at the depth of knowledge the preschool children exhibit--learning to count in English, Spanish, Mandarin & other languages is something most adults never experience in their lives. Parents are expected to and have many opportunities to be involved which adds to the overall family-oriented environment that I have experienced and enjoy here. The addition of a full-time physical education teacher has been pleasing in light of the problem with childhood obesity. In the school, the children are encouraged to be themselves while still having respect for others. The music program is good and growing although I would like to see it available to the younger children. Overall the school is great and highly recommended!

- submitted by a parent
April 24, 2006
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
April 12, 2005
The class size has increased to 16-17 students. The academic program is good but may lag behind other private schools in math. The music program is an additional cost as is drama, and all other extracurricular activities. Parent involvement is low compared to other private schools.

- submitted by a parent
March 31, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
February 18, 2005
Great small school w/ huge parental involvement. Strong academics so far. A good music program and extracirricular activities such as drumming, basketball, spanish and other sports. Some diversity in professional staff though they need more especially in the upper school. Beware of placing boys after 5th grade as they will be scrutinized and if they are not 'with the program' in any way shape or form, they will be expelled (w/ little warning) and they don't wait until the end of the year or the end of the semester to do it! Better to enter boys early so that they are indoctrinated into the system. Liberal 'politically correct' environment - corny and a little removed from the real world at times. Emphasis on non-violent solutions to conflicts, broad range of life experiences and self empowerment is strong. Expect 3rd graders talking about what college they are going to.

- submitted by a parent
May 27, 2004
This is a one of a kind school, the children are treated with respect, the teachers really get to know each child. They work hard to keep tuition affordable. My spirited child is flourishing in every way. They let the children be children while teaching them they can make a difference in the world around them. This is a great school. They don't have great technology or extracuricular activities, but I'd trade those any day for the respect for humanity my child is learning and recieving for who she is.

- submitted by a parent
December 09, 2003
I thought this was a really good school initially. Some aspects of the school are really great such as small class side and their approach to non-violence. However, the overall curiculum is something to be desired. Math is a very weak spot. My child and three of his peers left the school to attend public schools in different cities and were behind in math. He is finding it difficult to keep up while doing a fairly good job. (Started 20 lessons behind the majority of the class in math.) Just make sure that your child is keeping up with the math skills at home :)

- submitted by a parent
August 01, 2003
Northern Light has a diverse student body and there is some diversity among the teachers. The school has strong discipline which is heavily directed at the African American male students. The classroom size averages 10-15 students making the learning conditions above average. There is an arts focus for upper grade students in the after school program. There is one computer in each classroom but no computer lab. Parents have been promised a lab for over a year and in fact computers were donated under a government program but there has been little effort to open the lab to the students. The computers are owned by the church that leases the building to the school. The parents group meets monthly and is poorly attended. The group has a focus on fundraising. Parent volunteerism is mandatory and many grandparents work to fulfill the requirements. Adult volunteers help tutor students both during the school day and as part of the after school program. The morning circle is held daily and offers the children a chance to connect and reflect on the beginning of each day. Students sing and celebrate birthday s. Parents are invited to participate. One of the most enjoyable aspects of morning circle is seeing the birthday child pick friends to sing and skip in celebration of their special day. The school isn't perfect no school is. My children love the school.

- submitted by a parent
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Northern Light School
3710 Dorisa Avenue, Oakland, CA  94605
(510) 957-0570
Last modified Northern Light School is a Private school that serves grades K-8
Northern Light School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 47 reviews.