This is our second year at North Star Academy and our son has had a wonderful experience. The teachers are engaging and interested in our kids becoming better students, learners and citizens. Our child has ben challenged. The work load is manageable. And my son loves participating in school sports representing his school! It is unfortunate that we haven't had a consistent Principal since starting at the school, but I am hopeful that a fabulous Principal will be found and will stay for a long time to come!
North Star has some good teachers and some not so good teachers, just like any typical public schools. Students are generally good because they have been tested to get in. Not every student is gifted at every subject, so don't be discouraged if your child doesn't do everything well. Students coming to 3rd grade may feel a bit overwhelmed at first because they may see that they are not the fastest or smartest in the class anymore. And there might be a bit more competition than we'd like to see.
In the past, math gifted students were not given chances to accelerate. Now they give tests to everyone at the end of 5th grade to allow students to skip a math grade. However, this only provides single digit number spaces for some top students. About language art... what I dislike the most is some teachers use essayscore to teach students writing. This computer program gives rating on what students write without providing opinions or suggestions, therefore the students have no way of knowing how to improve. It creates frustration and discouragement in writing.
About enrichment, some may like the 40min enrichment (used to be 50min) at the end of the day, but my student just thinks it's a waste of time, especially the full day enrichment. I agree that most of the enrichments they provide are either practical nor interesting. It's an extra load for the teachers to prepare something worthwhile; some of the teachers end up using this time for themselves and let the students work on their own. The valuable instructional time used for enrichment is just not worth it. In NSA students' presentation skills are well prepared because of the plentiful projects. Most teachers are diligent about creating fun events and finding good fieldtrips for their students. While fieldtrips are fun, some teachers put very little thoughts into grouping the students - so the system is not always fair and causes problems. This year's new Spanish teacher is not a good fit and just left, so we don't know if NSA will continue this program.
Another problem the school is facing is its need for a new principal - the last principal left after two months into this school year and now there are two VP running the school together.
I think NSA needs to check what's not working in order to shape its direction and make the learning tight and effective.
I am currently a student at North Star, and my experience has been wonderful. In third grade, I hoped to make it in to North Star not only because my sister was already there along with many of my friends, but in my K-2nd school I wasn't challenged much and sometimes got bored in class. Ever since, the teachers have been very helpful, even though some weren't very good. I am very glad that North Star is here, because if it wasn't, I would have had a much worse time in elementary/middle school.
It has been terrific, with four children I was able to compare the last who is enrolled at NS and been amazed on the acceleration and enjoyment this child has been experiencing, Her achievement's far outpace the other schools in the area. Most of the staff have a sharp focus in all the students and no one is able to fail. What i also see is that my daughter is excited to go to school and keeps up the pace without any involvement needed by us, WOW! My daughter went to Clifford and was recommended by her 2nd grade teacher and was invited in to NS, she took a test aced it and started the third grade now she is a sixth grader and loving it. The school districts should take a close look at the school and implement the same in each of the city's in the county if they havent already.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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