This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
North Yarmouth Academy5
Posted February 15, 2015
- a parent
This is my son's second year at NYA and he's in eighth grade. We had concerns that his writing skills weren't as proficient as needed and after shadowing private schools in metro-Portland, we decided on NYA. BEST decision we've ever made relative to our son's education. The transition has been extraordinary. The faculty, small class size and supportive environment have enabled him to make significant academic progress. What I didn't anticipate was the impact NYA would have on his spirit. I pick up a happy, enthused child EVERY day. He just loves being there. I thought initially the dress code would be a strike issue for him, but he is so much more disciplined in his morning routine, approaches school differently, and has become more independent. I also like that as a parent, I'm kept in the loop; communication from the school is virtually immediate if he misses an assignment, etc. He plays three sports and has always had great coaches. We couldn't be happier and are looking forward to moving up to HS for ninth grade!
North Yarmouth Academy. We wouldn't be anywhere else! Our daughter left our local public school in 6th grade after 2 very frustrating years of absolutely no learning and on going teacher bullying. After she shadowed at NYA there was no turning back. Our daughter feels the biggest difference for her is the relationship that she has with her teachers. There is a mutual genuine respect between the students and faculty. She feels like she has a voice. The NYA Middle School prepared her well for the rigor of the Upper School. NYA is a place where kids can be themselves and the school makes it possible for students to step out of their comfort zones and discover new passions and talents. It is a place where it's cool to be smart! As a parent, I love that I am part of a supportive tight-knit community. Faculty and administration are top notch and very accessible. Faculty turnover is rare. Parents can be as involved as they wish to be. A large percentage of the students receive tuition assistance which makes for a very economically diverse community. NYA is a school where kids can shine!
North Yarmouth Academy. I've had three children enrolled in this school over the course of six years. Although ten years ago the academics were strong and the school spirit was good, all of that has changed with the current director. NYA has become aggressively profit driven, putting kids' emotional and academic needs on the back burner. There is no social, emotional, psychological support for teens when they need it. The assumption is that kids in private school will never need social or emotional support. There is a two-tier system, one for families with money to donate to the school and one for everyone else. Students are made to feel their worth every day based on their family's financial circumstances. I am concerned for the future of this school under the current director and administration. NYA has over-reached by opening an elementary school in addition to Middle and High School. There is a high faculty turn over rate, and it does not seem that faculty input is valued. But, what is most concerning is how students are made to feel inferior by the current director's money-driven value system. Academics have taken a second place to image and profit.
This is great. The classes are small so the students can learn a lot. The class sometimes have physical activities that really stick the information into the student's brains. Everyone is like a family there. There are no populars or geeks, everyone is equal. The teachers are great and try to work with each and every student as well as much as they can. The programs are challenging but are helpful are the students really learn a lot.
Now that I have one in college and one in HS, I realize that what really matters is how the preparation for the next chapter in his/her life. My first child is a good student and person but at NYA he was constantly challenged, no hiding behind other students. All of the teachers knew him whether or not they had him in class and the administrators took a real interest in him. Academically his feet were held to the fire and as a result, the college transition has been very smooth. He took sophomore level courses as a freshman. NYA taught him to advocate for himself with adults. He also was taught how to think and analyze and write! Having a sports requirement also makes for a well rounded student. Dress code is also a plus!
North Yarmouth Academy stands above the rest. My children are recent graduates who are thriving at top-ranked colleges. NYA's dedicated faculty works closely with every student, no one falls through the cracks, and the faculty helps each student develop his or her own learning style. The school provides the structure within which each child can excel and doesn't just focus on the school room, but the whole character of each child. Teachers are in the classroom, on the fields as coaches and leading by example through social service and other community-wide activities. NYA is a safe place for kids to learn and grow and it prepares them for a seamless transition to college and beyond.
School struggles with defining it's true identity. I think this is what has led to significant turnover in the faculty. Additionally, recent positions have been filled by secondary candidates, suggesting that when new faculty candidates "go behind the curtain" they don't like what they see. I predict a challenging next 5 years for this school...
My son's classmate said it best when he said, "Some people think North Yarmouth Academy is a school for kids who are really smart, but it's really just for kids who are rich". While some of the teachers are outstanding, the academics, overall, are no better than other private/parochial schools that operate on a much smaller budget. Furthermore, there is a gross double standard for handling issues outside the classroom and parents should be aware that the focus of this schools' leaders is on the kids who DO NOT fit in with their peers. If you have a successful student with lots of friends and you are looking for a challenging academic environment with a good mix of athletics, this school is NOT for you. If your child struggles to fit in with his/her peers, then you will likely be very happy with this school.
My 2 children had a great experience at NYA. The academics are tops in the State and with the arts and athletics programs it is well rounded. Everyone is on the same track to college so the entire school experience is shared by everyone.