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North Hills Classical Academy

Private | K-12


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Living in Grand Rapids

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $120,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $700.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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4 stars

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26 reviews of this school

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Posted March 28, 2008

Mike Huckabee spoke @ the NHCA annual banquet last night and re-affirmed for me why I have my children in this school. In his words 'most high school graduates could not do what these 6th graders did here tonight.' There in NO school in Grand Rapids that does education as well as North Hills.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 28, 2008

There isn't a better Classical Christian school in Grand Rapids! Our children have thrived here for years. We love it that they are surrounded by staff members who love them, love God and are experts in their craft! The gifts and talents of each of our children have been drawn out and embraced.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 28, 2008

Love the staff, love the teachers and we are so very thankful for the education our children are receiving.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 28, 2008

Our family has been so impressed with the loving, caring teachers our children have learned under. Each teacher has nurtured God's gifts in each of child...and they are all different! What a blessing. We have been very impressed with the strength of administrative leadership and their steadfast commitment to Biblical truth. Our family has been blessed and our children have been very successful here, academically and spiriturally. We love the respect and discipline that is expected and encouraged in children. Come here if you truly want Classical-Christian education for your family.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 29, 2008

As the author of the very first Parent Review for NHCA I thought it fair to check in. While still enamored of the significant virtues of classical educaton, we have come to understand that classical education is a component in the upbringing of a child rather than that the child is a necessary component in the execution of classical education. If one prefers the latter, NHCA is the place to be. With overwhelming conviction, NHCA is singularly dedicated to classical education and the pursuit of perfection thereof. When educational methodology so subordinates those it presumes to help, however, high turnover results, and turnover at NHCA is disproportionately high. Providentially, classical Christian education has begun to flourish in the GR area and alternatives exist. We continue to HIGHLY recommend classical Christian education and and its virtues extolled in my original post. We wish those well who decide to stay at NHCA!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 2, 2008

We feel so blessed that our child is now attending his second year at NHCA. We have found classical education to be at best stellar but we feel even more impressed by the character the student are encouraged to display during their school days. The staff has loved on our family in and out of the school and we feel that God is present at NHCA. We couldn't ask for better models for our child and we strongly encourage everyone to come in and see the blessings God is giving to children in the halls and classrooms of NHCA!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 4, 2007

I attended North Hills from fourth grade through 12th grade. I knew when I got to college that I had been more prepared academially than my peers but, as each year of college passes, I am more and more thankful for my education at North Hills. Most importantly, I am thankful for the example that my teachers and Dr. Vande Brake set for me as a Christian. Take some time to visit North Hills and really get to know the staff, you won't find a better education or a stronger Christian community for your children.
—Submitted by a student

Posted July 17, 2007

After some years of involvement in this school, I decided to take my children out. I believe that the school can work very well for other families, though. There are several resources you can check out and questions you can ask to get a fuller understanding of this school: You should definitely visit the school yourself at least once to see what they offer.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 9, 2007

Though the teachers were qualified, they were often required to do things that were just not possible. For instance, teaching three different grades all in one period. Unfortunately, the children suffer. The headmaster was arrogant, and difficult to talk to. Overall, it was just a bad experience; which is sad because I truly like the classical method.
—Submitted by a former student

Posted April 6, 2007

As a parent of a kindergartner, I can tell you that I have nothing but wonderful things to say about NHCA. I had agonized over so many aspects of my child's education. I wanted excellent academics, but more importantly, Christian character development. After much research, prayer, analysis, and visitation, I could not shake the pull I felt toward Classical education, in general, and North Hills, in particular. My husband and I have had not one moment's regret at our decision. Our child is thriving, the staff and families are beyond wonderful and caring. We love that our child is reading, adding, subtracting, memorizing Scripture and the Nicene Creed. We have five teachers in our extended family, and not one can believe the kind of work our child is doing. He is not only being exposed to concepts far beyond what most kindergartners learn, but mastering them as well.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 6, 2007

It is great to work at a school that has high academic standards but also teaches a love of learning in a nurturing environment, all fromm a Christian worldview!
—Submitted by an administrator

Posted February 16, 2007

We love the junior high and highschool at NHCA. We came for the classical-Christian model but were delighted to find the headmaster had included an 'outward bound' type component to the school experience. Our children are proficent at orienteering with a compass, rustic camping, high ropes courses and skiing. The program not only has fabulous academics unmatched in this area but, gives the students outdoor opportunities and leadership opportunites to stretch themselves to that very important 'learning zone' when you reach beyond your comfort level. Our children have camped rustically on North Manitou Island(and other sites in MI, sailed on a tall ship, learned to ski and snowboard,learned to canoe and have successfully run a 10K. Students are challenged academically, physically and spiritually. They work really hard in class and they play really hard outside of class. What more could you ask for? The secondary...ROCKS!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 16, 2007

North Hills is a wonderful school! Families benefit from a challenging curriculum within an encouraging and nurturing environment. Children learn to examine all subjects within a Christian world view under the guidance of caring and knowledgeable teachers. Any family willing to make a truly classical and Christian education a priority cannot find a better school to partner with in Grand Rapids. In addition to a challenging curriculum, we offer several extracurricular activities including sport teams, gardening club, chess club and ski club. In my five school years as a teacher at NHCA, I can honestly say that the 2006-2007 school year has been the best one. We have a very close and committed school community, including strong, united and biblical leadership from the school board and administration.
—Submitted by a teacher

Posted February 16, 2007

For a 13 year old school, staff retention is high. Teachers have been at the school on average of 5.2 years, administration averaging 8 years. Our headmaster has been at the school 12 years because he loves the school and is committed to its misson. All three of our children were able to have all the same teachers as they progressed througout their respective grades. We love it that the teachers (at all grade levels)and administrators know our children on a first name basis. We love this school!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 16, 2007

My children have attended NHCA since Kindergarten and are thriving. In classes limited to 19 students per teacher, NHCA follows the Classical tradition of the trivium, teaching children how to learn via the three stages of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. Eschewing relativism for Truth, each child is steeped in the tenets of Western Civilization, humankind's history being learned within the context of Biblical precepts. Our children began learning Latin in the third grade and understand how this 'lost' language undergirds contemporary vocabulary. Witnessing a thriving student body that is taught how to learn, critically think, civilly behave, and loved in Christianity is truly a remarkable experience. Rather than attempting to supplant parenthood or goad parents into a moral tug-of-war for their children's futures, NHCA complements parents efforts in raising their children and encourages parental involvement at all levels. Investigate Classical education, and check out NHCA at
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 15, 2007

I have been with NH for 7 yrs and it has been wonderful for my family. I have 3 children in the school and they are all thriving, socially and academically. I would just encourage anyone to look into things for yourself. Trust your own judgment after experiencing NH on your own. You would be welcome to sit in on any class if you just let them know to expect you.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 15, 2007

As a former student, I was challenged both academically and spiritually. I was well prepared for my college years. I still keep in touch with my teachers, they were wonderful mentors in my life.
—Submitted by a former student

Posted February 15, 2007

Our children attended NHCA and we had to move. We have never found any school as good, as well organized or as loving since we left. This is a very well run school. We miss the family feeling we experienced at NHCA.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 26, 2007

We love the classical model of education. Although we were sold on 'a love of learning' we found that difficult to find amidst the 2 plus hours of homework for our 2nd and 4th grader. Frequent teacher and student turnover was also a problem. This combined with 2 boards leaving the school and a lot of bad politics made it a very uncomfortable place for our children to be. We still love the classical model, but believe it's possible to have a stellar academic environmen - without losing your sanity!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 27, 2006

Our children's academic progress was limited by the lack of resources in the school and the inconsistency of the teaching methods. Our oldest child felt a lot of disappointment because each school year, some of his friends would leave. There has also been some tension in the school between some individual adults, and my son was able to notice the tension. We feel as if it disrupted his academic performance. Our younger child had a very kind teacher who unfortunately had a difficult time controlling the classroom. He was connected to the teacher but he did not like the school and called it 'boring' because of the small amount of recess equipment and hands-on classroom learning resources. Our children were also not able to adjust to the 'classical' method, partly maybe because the method was not used in the classrooms every day.
—Submitted by a parent

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Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 88% 71%
African-American 5% 20%
Asian 5% N/A
Hispanic 2% 5%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander N/A 2%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% N/A
Multiracial 0% N/A
Source: NCES, 2009-2010

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School basics

School Leader's name
  • Dr. Peter Vande Brake
  • Coed
  • Christian
  • ACCS
  • ACSI
  • CSI


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2777 Knapp St NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Website: Click here
Phone: (616) 365-0525


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