Our son has been attending North Star Academy for several years and we are exceptionally happy with the school, the teachers, and the curriculum. We like that there are small class sizes, and the teachers work closely with the kids. The school utilizes ability grouping, which ensures that children are taught at the appropriate level for their needs. There is a great emphasis on character education and foreign language development, as well as a fair disciplinary policy in place. Our son has really blossomed since starting school at North Star, and we feel like we made a great choice.
This school is not what it was. The focus and culture have greatly changed. It is difficult to know what the Board is doing because minutes from the meetings are months behind in posting. Parents complain that the principal is rarely visible. While the test scores are good, the school ranking has slipped. Someone should start minding the store as many families have left and more say they are leaving!
Great school! North Star holds their students to high standards, both academically and behaviorally. Parents are expected to volunteer and to be a partner in their child's education which results in high success for the students. Both the Spanish program and the Character Education make this school different than any other in the area. Ability grouping is utilized in multiple subjects and math is taught a grade level above. I highly recommend this school for students and families that wish to be academically challenged.
The elementary school is wonderful, the education level is top-notch, with Spanish as a part of the curriculum from Kindergarten-8th a huge plus. However, I am concerned with the current quality of the middle school. Although my kids are not quite there yet, I know many middle school parents who were/are not happy and are planning or have already pulled their kids from the middle school. The problem seems to lie with a few particular teachers whose students grade averages are consistently low, among other issues. What concerns me is that the administration, despite numerous complaints from parents, seems to not ever address these issues or take them seriously. If these particular teachers, one specifically, is still there when my children reach middle school, we will be withdrawing from the school. I have heard so many complaints and concerning issues from too many parents to risk it!
The school is more concerned with scores and winning awards that don't warrant what the school reflects. If you don't fit the mold of a soldier, you will be pushed out. School was satisfactory, until middle school. Bullying is an ongoing issue at this school and it's not just with the students. Principal left mid-year in the 2012-2013 school year, for obvious difference in opinion that was never addressed.
This is our 5th year at North Star and we continue to be very pleased about the education our two children are getting at the school. North Star offers a very rigorous (Core Knowledge) curriculum and a nurturing environment for our children. In both math and reading, they are grouped according to their abilities, so that they can work at an appropriate level. With its daily language (Spanish) program and a character education program that infuses the school, our children are getting a very well-rounded education.
A school that has success in academics that can be seen by their thorough test scores. I like that they use a variety to really know their needs of the students.
My both children go to North Star. We are so HAPPY to be here. The Principal at this school sets very high standards for the children and her staff!! This school is exceptional in every way!!!
Our children have attended NSA for the last five years, and we are very pleased with the curriculum, teachers and character education. While the school is probably not a perfect fit for every child, both of our children were ready for an academic challenge--which they were not getting at our neighborhood school. The teachers, curriculum & approach keep them engaged. In addition, the classes are small--so kids get the attention they need.
School is as advertised. We have been at NSA for several years and are very pleased with the school. The teachers are amazing, and care for the students. The programs are challenging and the children show great improvement each year. We have a gifted child, an average child, and one that needed help. In all cases, the students have been treated with respect and have all improved in their ability greatly. The school is advertised as a very rigorous curriculum, and strives as an educational first institution. I do hear complaints occasionally about homework load, but in my opinion it is the parents responsibility to assess their children and get them help or put them in school that is right for them. Our child that needed help was struggling at NSA, we chose to hire a tutor and work with her to see if we could get her back on track, which we did. It frustrates me when I hear parents complain that NSA is too rigorous, and their kids can't play, soccer, dance, and 10 other things because of the work at school. Educations should come first, and if a student is not achieving their academic potential, then maybe they shouldn't be involved in 15 extra curricular activities.
Unlike many families at NSA, we attended a wonderful school in another state so we had something to compare it to. There was no transparency upon enrolling our children. Parents were never told major changes had been made to the math program beginning with the 2009 kinder classes. We learned after school started, they would be teaching 1st grade math in kinder rather than kinder math. The '09 class were the guinea pigs for the new advanced math curriculum. We also came to learn that the principal is extremely opposed to ability grouping children. All children are in the classroom together whether they "get it" or not. They pull those that do not "get it" (not 1 yr advanced in math as they believe all children should be) out in front of their peers across the hall for "help". In 1st grade, they were doing 2nd-grade Saxon math and were doing multiplication and division by the end of the yr. Children who transfer in will be one year behind! Nightly 1st grade homework: 15 min reading, 2 math sheets, phonics sheet, study for spelling & SS +100 math facts per night was added by end of yr. NSA has no balance and is geared toward the academic elite mindset. Principal & board were unhelpful
North Star Academy did not meet the needs of my child, he is gifted in the reading area, and always felt bored. Further more, a teacher picked on him throughout a couple of years for being a little bit different. And he was a very good student, he got all A's in all subjects that the teacher taught. The citizenship they teach is ok, but a couple teachers don't abide by the citizenship that is taught. There is also a big popularity issue in every grade, and class and it made his self esteem very low. We will not be returning.
Northstar Academy has been an incredible experience for our two children. We have never attended a school that has such incredible teachers and principal. The school is highly focused on the student s education. It is a warm and friendly environment with extremely dedicated teachers. I can t say enough about the principal, Ms. Haw s. What a very talented educator and woman she is. Under her leadership, the students are disciplined, and are taught good citizenship. We feel privileged to have our children attend such a fine school.
This is our first year at NSA. We moved from our neighborhood school. This was the best academic decision we have made for our children. The curriculum is rigorous, but the teachers do an amazing job of teaching the children. Classrooms are organized and interesting. The lessons are thorough, consistent and fun. There is constant feedback on how our children are progressing. The principal is a dynamic leader who is always visible. She often has lunch with the students and has an open door policy. The character development is reinforced daily. Overall, we could not be happier with this school.
An excellent school with great leadership from the principal, great discipline enforced by teachers and principal, and great academic curriculum including Spanish program.
This was our first year at North Star. We enrolled our two students here after spending 3 years at another charter school in the area; so, we're familiar with the charter school culture and its demands. We are ecstatic to be here at North Star. Our students, one elementary and one middle schooler, are thriving. In fact, our family is thriving. I could not disagree more with a previous comment on the middle school teachers. Without exception, North Star's middle school teachers are consummate professionals with a genuine interest in their students. Our family has seven years' experience in regular public and charter schools; I'd say we're in an ideal situation at North Star Academy.
My 2 children have been at Northstar for 3 years now and I am very pleased with their progress. I have high expectations and NSA is meeting them with a challenging curriculum and grading scale, excellent Spanish program that is taught every day, solid curriculum and amazing teachers. My high achieving middle school student has excelled this past year in the smaller environment where she received a lot of individual attention. Also, NSA has a variety of electives she can select for the 2010-11 school year including cycling, health and first aid, photography, robotics, 3D modeling and animation, Science Olympiad, and team sports.
North Star Academy Charter is a school of choice...a choice I am proud to be a part of! This school has a back to basics philosophy with a well defined curriculum that has helped my two daughters to thrive. The expectations in the school are set high both for academics and behavior...but those expectations are taught and modeled by the teachers and administration. One of the best qualities that sets NSA apart from other schools is the community feel throughout the school that leads to outstanding communication between teachers and parents. NSA is a cut above!
NSA is an excellent school with high academic standards and fairly rigorous discipline. I would definitely consider it a cut above most public schools, and close to what I imagine a private school would be like. I can definitely say that my kids are well ahead of where they probably would be in a normal school. Some things it requires of parents are committment, involvement, and engagement. You need to pay attention to what's expected of your kids, as I think it can be a little hard for kids to keep up with the demands on their own. For example there is a fair amount of homework and frequent projects, events, etc. Curriculum is challenging but with your support it is acheivable.
I only wish I had found North Star Academy sooner! For an unbiased overview of the school, take the time to review the North Star website (www.nstaracademy.org) and read the 90-page Parent Survey which is posted online by their School Academic Advisory Committee (SAAC - a Parent Committee). This will give you a much better overall picture of North Star Academy and North Star parents' opinions of the school and its administration/teachers. This is an excellent school with Core Knowledge Curriculum, a daily Spanish program, and students who, through example and a principal-taught Character Education Program, are expected to behave appropriately. If your child is allowed to dress inappropriately, bring weapons to school, smart-mouth teachers or loves to pick fights with other children, this may not be the school for you! This school actually has consequences for bad and/or inappropriate behavior. How refreshing!
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