« Back to compare
/ / School Profile
3-8
Public
Redwood City, CA
Students enrolled: 541

Contact this school

400 Duane Street
Redwood City, CA 94062

(650) 482-5973
(650) 482-5980
Nearby homes for sale
Map of North Star Academy address.

Profile Completeness

INTERMEDIATE

Want to improve this school’s profile? You can!

All schools on GreatSchools begin with BASIC completeness, which includes important information like contact details and test scores. It’s up to the school community to take the next steps. As a parent or community member, you can share what you know with other families by writing a review or answering a few questions about what the school offers. As a school leader, you can upload photos, describe school programs, and more with an Official school profile.

The completeness meter moves to INTERMEDIATE, then ADVANCED, and finally HONOR ROLL as you complete the following: 10 or more reviews, at least 1 photo, and 9 program questions parents find helpful.

Want to improve this school's profile?
for Parents
for Schools
 
November 16, 2014
I have went here since third grade, and since then I have had a great experience. When I went to schools before this one, I always felt like I was not being challenged much. Me and my friends would all finish the simple math tests other schools gave us much quicker then our fellow classmates. Then I went to North Star Academy. I have learned much much more since I started going here, and the other kids are basically on the same level as us, which also raises the level of things to talk about. The teachers in 3rd grade were all great, giving us fun things to do such as coordinate graphs, free reading time, and paper mache the Sun in our own little solar system hanging in the classroom. We do fun little contests such as Pi Contests. The teachers teach us a lot of things, and the math teachers even give websites we can use such as Khan Academy, Front Row, and Edmodo. We do fun little science experiments in class, and then we record down the data, hypothesis, testable question, conclusion, and what we learned. Some teachers teach us a lot of things, but also make class fun by being goofballs themselves. The kids are also very social, so they are fun to be around.

- submitted by a community member
October 27, 2014
I agree with the parent who mentioned the fact that if your child does not understand a concept the first time the teachers expect you to get a tutor instead of trying to teach better. The only reason why North Star students score higher than other schools is because their families care about education and will hire a tutor. The current Principal is incompetent and has really brought the school down.

- submitted by a parent
September 18, 2014
NSA is a mixed bag for me. We have been at the school for 5 years now and I went from very happy with the school to not so happy. The teachers are doing an outstanding job in the elementary Grades with maybe one or two exceptions. They get the kids organized and responsible for their own learning while keeping it fun for the most part. Once your child hits middle school it is a different matter. There are a few great teachers, a lot mediocre teachers and some are flat out bad. Especially 7th Grade was bad and took all the fun out of learning. The science and math teacher is incompetent and lazy, the language arts teacher although the kids learn, gives too much homework and exhibits inappropriate behavior. The principle although aware of the problem does not act. Nevertheless I am glad my kids are in this school. Not because I think the teachers are outstanding. It is the students and parents. If you surround your kids with kids who want to do good in school, chances are they want to do good too and that is what I am seeing in my kids.

- submitted by a parent
September 03, 2014
A great school that challenges students in a nourishing way. Many talented and dedicated teachers. My son has attended for three years now, and has nothing but good things to say about his teachers and classmates. It's been great to see him develop a deep sense of academic responsibility and appetite for learning. The faculty has created a solid curriculum that includes an enrichment program, frequent, topic-relevant, field trips and hands-on projects. Workload, including projects and homework is a little more than other RWC public schools, but leaves plenty of time for kids to be kids.

- submitted by a parent
August 21, 2014
My son has been here since the 3rd grade.I have seen my son grow into a self starter student who is motivated to excel and has learned to yearn for challenge. I am honored to have my son be s NSA student and future graduate! THANK YOU NSA STAFF,ADMIN AND PARENTS!

- submitted by a parent
November 19, 2013
North Star is the best school to be in! The teachers are always so supportive and I have learned so much by going to this school. It has so many fun projects and challenges for all grades. As an sixth grader, in my point of view, if you are looking for a school to put your child in, I think this a great school to put your child in. - A happy student

- submitted by a community member
October 22, 2013
North star is a great school that fulfilled a need for our children. Our first child transferred to North Star in 6th grade after we were completely frustrated with her experience at another RWC elementary school. Year after year she was bored with the classwork and not challenged at all. She never felt that way at North Star. We have always felt lucky RWC had this option. Our second child went all the way from 3rd through 8th grade and was very well prepared for high school. Both have fond memories and many friends from North Star. Not really sure what else a parent could want.

- submitted by a parent
September 25, 2013
To me, there are two schools at NorthStar - an AWESOME (5*) elementary school with strong dedicated teachers - 3rd grade science is a particular highlight - and a somewhat lackluster middle school (3*) with a number of teachers who are not really reaching the kids and are not doing much more than going through the motions. The recent loss of a standout teacher in 7th and 8th grade science has been a big blow. On the flip side, the student body and parent community are tremendous, and the school's willingness to accelerate high-performing math students (even to the point of taking high school math classes in 8th grade) has been a great recent decision. Because of the quality of the student body and parent engagement your kid can't fail to get a very good public education from here.

- submitted by a parent
September 25, 2013
NSA is a good school, obviously very focused on academics since kids have to be tested in. From what I understand they have a strong focus on socialization as well, but I have not seen it firsthand. I find a lot of the children lacking in social consideration, even more so than the other schools that I am involved with. Some of the teachers do leave a little to be desired, though, and others go above and beyond.

- submitted by a parent
September 23, 2013
NSA is a better choice than almost any other school in the RCSD because it goes to 8th grade, it has a mostly wealthy and involved parent community, and because the kids have to test in, which weeds out low performers. That being said, there are some teachers here who are in dire need of review, because they don't seem to be interested in teaching at all. The prevailing attitude of teachers seems to be "if the kids don't get a concept the first time it's mentioned, it's up to parents to hire a tutor." There is very little academic support from teachers, huge emphasis on tests, and way too much homework. For every 1 kid who reacts well to this model, there are 20 who do not. Lunch is at 11:15 in the morning, which means that kids go from 12-3 (the majority of their day) with no break for nutrition or physical activity, which seems unhealthy at best. Yes, they graduate beyond prepared for high school. But they are also stressed out, and pressed for any kind of free time every single day.

- submitted by a parent
January 28, 2013
1st year at school and so far we've been completely impressed by the quality of the teachers and their approach to getting the kids to take on responsibility and enjoy the process of learning. Our son comes home happy and excited to learn more than what was presented in the classroom. NSA does ask a little more from the kids, in term of homework and studying, but it hasn't been unreasonable. It's hard to ask for more than that.

- submitted by a parent
November 10, 2012
North Star has some great teachers and some ok teachers. Students are generally good and well behaved. Not every student is good at every subject. Some need extra help in math, writing or other areas of learning. A few math teachers are very weak in my opinion. Stundents could have done much better if they had better math teachers. The 3rd grade teachers are pretty solid. Students coming to 3rd grade may feel a bit overwhelmed at first because things are not as easy as they experienced before. Not a perfect place, but better than some of the schools in Redwood City.

- submitted by a parent
October 21, 2012
Every child is different, and children gifted in academic learning need a place for them to keep things going. It is great that RWC school district provides a school like North Star for students who are motivated and able to learn fast. It's inspiring to be in a classroom where everyone is working hard and trying to do a good job. It's important that we keep a learning environment like this as an option for our children, especially while GATE program is not provided in our neighborhood school.

- submitted by a parent
April 27, 2012
This school is an oasis for panicky parents. It is a private school in the public school system. Families who attend do so hoping to escape some of the possibly negative effects of low-performing students in schools that accommodate a diverse student population. It is one of the worst things that has ever happened to the RCSD. Hope to see it disappear or be drastically modified soon. Not happy my taxes are paying for NSA.

- submitted by a parent
April 03, 2012
north star academy is an amazing school with kind and cuddly teachers who help you learn more than enough to survive

- submitted by a parent
August 30, 2011
LOVE the school, the teachers and the Principal. Not sure what the other post meant. The Principal is so on top of things and a great communicator. The kids love her and the teachers love her. She started many new enrichment things for the kids since she has been here. My 6th grader has thrived at this school. It is perfect for high kids. I am so thankful we have it in RWC!

- submitted by a parent
August 21, 2011
Naturally this is the best public elementary/middle school in Redwood City -- the students are tested before admission, so only the most capable attend. The students, not the teachers or the administration, drive North Star's exceptional reputation. The current principal is woefully below par, as are about 40% of the teachers, which is completely in line with what one might expect from other schools in the district that perform poorly. But when you begin with a more capable student body, you cannot help but achieve better results. Would I choose another public school in Redwood City for my child? -- No, of course not. This is clearly the best option available. But I certainly won't pretend North Star is doing a better teaching job. That's simply not accurate.

- submitted by a parent
July 19, 2011
It is a top school in the state, for our gifted and talented children. What a treasure for our community! This school was a "godsend" for my son. Previously he was an average student at a local parochial school, not particularly motivated, contrary to his high standardized test scores. At Northstar, he was properly challenged in a creative environment, to spark his potential. The teachers are specially trained to teach GATE curriculum, and more importantly, to teach exceedingly bright children who need less time to learn new subjects, and more time to deepen understanding through interactive group projects. My son thrived at this school which provided him the structure, skills in time management, and the CHALLLENGE to acheive academic success. While my son is especially gifted in the areas of math and science, the entire school community celebrated and developed a strong appreciation of the varied gifts of all the students, in all disciplines- such as art, drama, athletics, music, and community service. He went on to the high school of his choice where he graduated with multiple honors and awards; he continues to thrive as a top engineering student at UCBerkeley.

- submitted by a parent
July 18, 2011
My child is entering 5th grade at North Star. Thus far, his teachers have been very astute in identifying his strengths and weaknesses and encouraging him to take personal responsibility for learning and submitting work on time. Independent thinking and creativity are nurtured. The field trips and parent involvement are amazing. The families that we have met have the same values that we do, and I am pleased with the friends my son has made.

- submitted by a parent
May 30, 2011
I would think twice about sending your child here, especially if life lessons matter. There are a lot of burned out teachers that achieve test scores at a cost to your child's self esteme. The "conversation" between staff and parents is one way. The former principal was great. The current principal, Wendy Kelly, at every occasion puts the staff, her relationship with them before the needs of the child. There are a few good teachers her who are truely great, but the mean ones are very cruel. Most of the teachers have huge egos and think they make no mistakes, do not take suggestions, feel above the need to evolve and change. No geometry, it was eliminated and math lovers suffer here.

- submitted by a parent
March 11, 2010
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
no rating October 04, 2009
North Star focuses on the creativity part of the brain and not just academics with the kids. They are ecouraged daily to go above and beyond and to reach the for the stars. Despite budget cuts, they still continue to have performing arts, music, outdoor field trips, enrichment programs. It's just a great school. When these kids are finished with 8th grade, they are college ready.

- submitted by a parent
September 15, 2009
I've been going to this school for four years now, and if you are looking for advanced but fun classes then this is the school for you!!!

- submitted by a student
September 15, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
July 21, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
June 14, 2009
Our son has attended North Star for 2 years now and is pretty happy there. There are a lot of interesting and smart kids and that is the main benefit of the school. The quality of the teachers is uneven, as at any school. Great field trips and projects. Not enough differentiated instruction - smart kids are all bored in math in particular.

- submitted by a parent
April 10, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
January 21, 2009
I have amazing friends and the teachers really know what they're talking about

- submitted by a student
no rating January 14, 2009
My daughter is going to Northstar last 2 years she love this school and teachers. She moved from a private school to here and the standard is very comparable and she like it and challenging too.

- submitted by a parent
May 19, 2008
I have been going to North Star since 3rd grade. It is a fun, but a challenging school to go to. The students do great here. The parents are very involved and the teachers are great! The principal is great and very nice.

- submitted by a student
March 01, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 29, 2008
Wonderful principal. Great group of students. Most all of them are interested in learning. Spanish is only 2 days per week, so that program is somewhat compromised. 45 minutes per day is devoted to enrichment, where students can find out interesting ways to use the things they learned in useful practice.

- submitted by a parent
October 11, 2007
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
August 31, 2007
My children went to NSA for three years only as we moved away. It was a great experience; dedicated teachers, an enriched curriculum, great drama and theatre, decent sports and a diverse student population. The parents are very involved and the Principal is wonderful. A great alternative to private schools if you live in Redwood City.

- submitted by a parent
February 03, 2007
North Star Academy is wonderful, I've been going here for 5 years (since 3rd) and this is my last year, for I am an 8th grader. The teachers use high tech to have students learn better and help them as much as they need it. There are great extracurricular activities such as enrichment for 4-8 graders. Enrichment is the last class of the day (except thursday) that the student chooses once a trimester. The classes are different and none of them are alike; some examples of the classes are; quilting, stitchery, dance around the world, song writing class, the spring musical [must audition],stage crew etc. Every trimester there are 2 full day enrichments where the students spend all day in enrichment. Some teachers might have field trips to jamba juice or johnny rockets. Enrichment is very exciting as you can tell. Some other extracurricular activities are art in action, P.E.

- submitted by a student
July 27, 2006
This school has an incredible amount of directed student choice. The vice-principal is amazing. She helps the staff with planning and staff development and she was a teacher at the school prior to her position. Most of the teachers have taught for a while and all embrace the philosophy of the school which includes differentiated instruction and enrichment. The principal is kind and nurturing of the children.

- submitted by a parent
May 06, 2006
I am a teacher at North Star, so this is a different view. The program here emphasizes instruction which focuses on the needs and interests of individual students. There are projects at every grade level in which students are allowed many creative ways to express their knowledge. We still focus on grade level standards, but offer students who have mastered the standards, choices for more in- depth study. The principal is loved by parents and teachers and is kind and concerned when dealing with the children.

- submitted by a teacher
March 28, 2006
This is a reasonable but not exceptional alternative to sending your academically-above-average child to public school. There is a lot of enthusiasm here, as well as a few parents who take themselves and their so-called 'gifted' kids a bit too seriously. Also, the teacher quality doesn't always live up to the student quality. But. . . if you can't or don't want to afford private school, there is a lot to like here. Great peers, some good teachers, and a pretty wide-spread (if rather disorganized) passion for learning.

- submitted by a parent
March 23, 2006
A quality education for academically talented children. The curriculum moves at an accelerated pace in order to allow for enrichment programs offered as part of the daily curriculum. The school currently has an extremely competent and dedicated principal with vision and the right priorities.

- submitted by a parent
March 22, 2006
This school is not as good as its students. The high test scores result largely from stacking the deck with the students it selects. Still, it is better than the other public schools in Redwood City and has some exceptional teachres. If you can afford it, though, go private.

- submitted by a parent
March 09, 2006
North Star offers enriched learning meaning they don't move children ahead faster, but go more indepth. These high achieving students are motivated because each teacher pretests each area so they can individually challenge them to their level. Students are happy and involved. Their enrichment program allows students to choose an elective of their choice each trimester. Teaching the core curriculum is compressed to alleviate boredom. The elective choices are amazing. The principal is approachable and supportive. He introduces a character trait each month to also develop student's personal traits along with the academics. The students get along and support one another and there is excellent parent support. Spanish, Music and Drama are parts of the curriculum. I love this school. My child is happy and motivated. If you have a high achieving child that can work independently and in a group, this is the school for you.

- submitted by a parent
February 13, 2006
This is one of the best schools in Redwood City. NorthStar students consistently perform well on State tests. The faculty is very experienced. Academic work is stressed here, though students are expected to demonstrate knowledge through individual projects. Parents are encouraged to participate in all areas of the school. My child is currently in fifth grade. He has very competent teachers who are pushing him academically. His class is diverse ethnically but not socially. There are few students who are not middle class at this school. My other criticism is that there is not a lot of support for foreign language. The emphasis is on math and science with very little thought about the needs of students who come from a bilingual background.

- submitted by a parent
December 16, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a teacher
December 14, 2005
North Star has been a great experience. From 3rd to 8th grade, the courses are rigorous, fast paced, and challenging in all fields from the maths and sciences to language arts. The staff is fabulous, and parents are very involved - there is a Parent's Club and communication between students, teachers, and parents is very good. The P.E. program is very satisfactory, and several different sports are offered throughout the year. There are many different extracurricular activities - a great drama program (NSA does 1 musical, and usually 1 shakespeare each year), various science clubs, a Jr. Optimist's club, a very involved, active, a wonderful Student Council, and a music program (though this program has suffered many cuts over the last year, it has nevertheless retained the quality of its' performances and members' playing).

- submitted by a former student
November 19, 2005
In our first year at NSA, I am very impressed with all of the staff who I have encountered. From the principal: Mr. Dawley, The Third Grade teachers: Ms. Wallace and Ms. Fuchs and the PE Coach: Mr. Burke. Their enthusiasm for what they do is obvious. The level of teaching is equal to a very expensive academically challenging private school which my son preiviously attended. We are very happy to be here and impressed with the parent involvement. The staff show their caring for the students in their approach. Their approach to a problem my child was having with another child was all I could ask for and involved each child explaining their opinion of the situation privately to the teacher, subsequently explaining it to each other and deciding on a resolution together with the teacher. Wouldn't it be nice if we, as adults, had that?

- submitted by a parent
October 11, 2005
This is for the most part an exceptional school. As with all schools it is not a fit for everyone as the homework burden can be excessive for some kids. For others, it is probably one of the very top public schools in the state. (Well, they do stack the deck by only allowing top performers in!) Note -- it's getting more competitive every year as they refine their programs. More and more parents who once sent their kids to private school from K -> 8 are now doing private for K-> 2, giving their kids a head start, then sending them here.

- submitted by a parent
June 22, 2005
Great school/ consistently great results on strength of faculty and parental involvement. Compacted curriculum, implementing differentiated curriculum. Outstanding project based learning and enrichment opportunities; not for every child. Reflects diversse community served. School consistently performs with limited funding/resource base proving less is more and the dedication of administration and staff to the kids and the approach.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 21, 2005
Good school for grades 3-5, but you're better off sending your kids to private school afterwards.

- submitted by a student
March 26, 2005
My son attended North Star from 3rd grade through 8th grade. This school is remarkable in just about every way, from parent involvement to teacher involvement to the exceptional students it attracts. The academic program's success can be seen by the academic test scores. The school puts on two ambitious and amazing theatrical productions each year, including a Shakespeare play in the fall, and a full Broadway musical in the spring. Parents and teachers make the elaborate costumes, and most of the school is involved in some creative way in the production, either on or off stage. Choir practice before and during school raises the musicality of all the players. Everyone from the principal to the teachers to the janitorial staff, the parents, and the students, work together to learn what it takes to bring together such an ambitious undertaking. Ethnic diversity and high academic achievement thrive at North Star.

- submitted by a parent
March 17, 2005
This school is tucked away in Redwood City, California. A public magnet school, accommodating 3 - 8 grade, it has proven to be the finest school on the Peninsula! They have ranked 10 out of 10 (best) the past several years when compared to other schools in the State and their API scores were better than those of Hillsborough schools. The teachers are highly skilled and work hard to bring out the best in each child. What a blessing to have found North Star, I hope it works for you and your child as well.

- submitted by a parent
January 19, 2005
I have found this to be an amazing school. Bright, kind teachers and exceptional children make this a wonderful learning environment.

- submitted by a parent
January 11, 2005
The school is challenging but homework is manageable.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 10, 2004
Some of the teachers are supportive and teach everything and beyond the cirriculum, while others are rude and innapropriate towards the children, ranging in grades from 3-8. The extra-cirricular program is okay, though not excellent.

- submitted by a parent
October 07, 2004
A good and safe student body, though it is quite overrated. Some of the teachers tend to discourage the kids from learning, but the kids are very intelligent and do well anyway.

- submitted by a parent
August 17, 2004
North Star is the ideal school for students who can learn quickly or are willing to routinely work hard. Student academic calliber is high. It is a commitment that both the student and parent needs to be realistic about when considering this school. The benefit to a faster paced core curriculum is to allow students to take advantage of enrichment programs within the school day and to enrich further within the core curriculum. The enrichment classes are elective programs that have allowed my child to experience other disciplines or performing arts. It has been great for my child to independantly choose her enrichment interests and be in a class with other students from other grades. The student population is diverse - both ethnically and economically. My child is sufficiently challenged and loves the school. The test scores speak for themselves.

- submitted by a parent
July 27, 2004
North Star is nick named the homework magnet school, but my kids have done very well here, and have not been overwhelmed by the work load. It is an academic magnet school, which means it is a school that is intended for the academically advanced. The teachers move quickly through the material, and expect the kids to pick up new material quickly. Children have to test into the school, but once in, there appears to be plenty of academic support for all. My one complaint with this school is that the kids seem to be encouraged to compete with each other. Otherwise, it is a great school, with an enriched curriculum.

- submitted by a parent
June 14, 2004
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
Need help choosing a school? We can help »

Media Gallery

Media missing

Uh oh! No photos. This frame will look much better when you upload photos »


Facebook


Nearby homes for sale

     

Last modified: November 16, 2014

Sign up for email updates

Connect with us

Translate this web page

About GreatSchools

Our mission is to help millions of parents get a great education for their kids. GreatSchools.org is an independent nonprofit and the leading national source of school information for families.


GreatSchools.org 1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1100, Oakland, CA 94612

©1998-2014 GreatSchools.org All Rights Reserved. GreatSchools is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization | Ad Choices

North Star Academy
400 Duane Street, Redwood City, CA  94062
(650) 482-5973
Last modified North Star Academy is a Public school that serves grades 3-8. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 10 out of 10 based on academic quality.
North Star Academy Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 57 reviews. Top