The Northwest Academy has provided my children with an incredible mix of artistic and academic challenges. The dedicated teaching staff takes the time to get to know each individual student and I have always found staff to respond quickly to my questions or concerns. Although this is an 'arts focused' school, we have found the academics to be far superior to those which our eldest child received in our local school. A great deal of attention is paid to the development of solid writing skills, but the artistic responses provide an opportunity for students to show what they know in a wide variety of formats. Although no school is perfect, this one is pretty close.
My experience with NWA was most troubling. Their so-called proficiency-based education is actually a one-size-fits all, standardized program in which every student is obligated to complete the same assignments at the same time. My every effort to meet with my child s teachers one-on-one was rebuffed by requests for email explanations to justify why I wanted to meet and if a meeting was even necessary. What kind of school systematically discourages a parent from being involved in their child s education, especially when the child has special learning needs and the parent has more hands-on teaching experience than any of her teachers. In sum, I found the school, and most of the classes and the teachers to be uninspired, uncreative, uncooperative, developmentally unsound, pedagogically ineffective, pretentious, arrogant and HUMORLESS. Don't listen to me. Please, talk with educators at PSU or Lewis and Clark, and ask educational and clinical psychologists if they think the NWA program is developmentally and academically sound. I hope you don t make the same mistake that I did.
AMAZING! Great academics and superb arts. Absolutley fabulous! I love this school, and the location is great. When open, visits to the farmers market on wednesdays for lunch are sooo much fun!
I graduated from the NW Academy in 2006, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the school. The teachers are phenomenal and spend an incredible amount of time and effort on each and every one of their students. The learning environment is nourishing and challenging, but the students and staff form an excellent support system to prevent failure or discouragement. When I started at the NW Academy, I was disillusioned with public high school. By the time I left the school, I was a straight A student with the tools I needed to succeed in college. I was accepted into my first and second choice schools, and I am still in touch with several of my favorite teachers. Without this school, I would have been a completely different person. I would have been far less prepared for my involvement in the real world. Thanks to the NW Academy, I developed a lifelong love for learning, art, literature, film, and so much more. Throughout the journey, I found lasting friendships and a sense of community. The negative comments on here do not ring true with any of my experiences at the NW Academy. I can't recommend this school enough!
Our daughter is in 7th grade and loves it. We love how NWA blends academics with the arts. The arts program is amazing, even for kids who are not necessarily "artsy." In academic subjects, kids prepare "artistic responses" to whatever it is that they've been studying. They recently finished "Catcher in the Rye" and responses ran the gamut- from a radio show, to model carousels, to an animated movie. The curriculum is sometimes integrated, like earlier this year when kids watched/discussed "Food, Inc." in one class, read "Grapes of Wrath" in English and went on a two-night retreat, visiting an organic farm and a town where migrant farmworkers live. The small class sizes allow teachers to truly get to know the students and the seminar-like courses mean that everyone participates. NWA takes advantage of its downtown location, with visits to places like the Oregon Historical Society, Powell's, PMA, and (last year) the International Film Festival. And the arts' performances -- wowza. I'm baffled by the comment about the school not encouraging parental involvement - there are plenty of opportunities for involvement - we feel somewhat guilty for not being able to be more involved.
NW Academy has exceeded all of our expectations for middle school! Our daughter is currently enjoying 7th grade at such a level that I wish all kids could have this type of "coming of age" experience. The academics are stimulating and push her just enough, the staff is made up of ALL types of wonderful personalities that will prepare her for the real world. The principal and head of school are very in touch with what works well for students and keeps this school at the TOP academically. Lastly, her social world amongst her peers is amazing! She often says, " we truly are a family. we have a safe space to talk about anything that is on our minds and we know that we will not be judged." What more can a parent ask for!
This school has been a wonderful experience for my son. He's currently in 7th grade and we plan to keep him there through high school. He's challenged academically, has a supportive and diverse set of peers, and the teachers are outstanding. The small class size allows for close relationships with teachers which prevents peers from being the main influence. The arts-infused curriculum nutures creative thinking. The writing instruction is rigorous, though the teachers make it (mostly) fun. The permanent downtown location (across from the art museum) means that the school will continue to take advantage of all the downtown cultural opportunities. My son has grown so much while at Northwest Academy -- especially in his responsibility and organization skills, which are explicitly taught. I can't say enough good things about the school.
My daughter is in her second year at Northwest Academy (7th grade) and is thriving academically and artistically. The school balances a challenging academic program with artistic classes from dance (ballet, tap, jazz) and fine arts to theater and music. I especially applaud the way the school allows each student to find and nurture his/her unique voice. As a preparation for high school, the Northwest Academy middle school fosters a community where learning is elevated and encouraged. One class, Learning Lab, specifically addresses organizational and time management skills to encourage independent learning and research. I can't say enough about the close interaction with the instructors, small classes and proficiency based learning! I also respect the focus on artistic and creative exploration and I love the downtown Portland location near cultural organizations like the Portland Art Museum, NW Film Center and Portland State University. I look forward to an exciting journey at Northwest Academy!
My brother was at the Northwest Academy a few years ago and had a difficult time. It seems that the administration and teachers were not prepared to teach a student with a learning disability, despite the small class size. We got the feeling that they had given up on him. He moved on to a school that could work better with his learning style and has done very well since. I imagine this school could be good for some kids but it was not right for someone who needed patience and a little extra guidance.
It is clear that NWA is ahead of its time and its founder is visionary. The idea that education should be based on development and cognitive strengths rather than chronologic age is refreshing. We have been so fortunate to have a daughter who is thriving in an environment that places her in a setting of intense academic and artistic rigor and that cannot be matched elsewhere in the city. If you are a parent searching for a gem...look no further. If you are a parent of a grade schooler, it is not too soon to be thinking about middle school and high school. Pick up the phone and call the admissions office!
We enrolled our daughter in NWA for the school's arts focus, and indeed the visual arts and dance programs are very strong. The great surprise has been the academic rigor that is applied in all classes. The school offers an unusual combination of independence and discipline for kids. The faculty are terrific and very dedicated to their work and their students. To the theme of some of the negative reviews - we have seen no more emphasis on fund-raising than is normal for a private school, and indeed on par with our previous public school experiences. For better or worse, all schools have to ask for money, pretty much all the time, these days.
My son was struggling in public middle school when we realized he needed a different kind of education environment. We moved him to NW Academy and it was transformational. He got an outstanding education and is thriving in college. This is a highly energized learning environment with a dedication to excellence. The staff and teachers are passionate about their work and it translates into great outcomes for the kids. Contrary to some people's perceptions, NWA is not an arts school -- it is a creative learning environment with rigorous academics that develops independent thinkers. I highly recommend it.
We chose NWA for our middle school son because of its academic rigor and the opportunities it offers students in the arts. We had very high standards and NWA has never failed to impress. The teachers in the core subjects (English, math, science and social studies) are some of the best I have seen anywhere; truly inspired and committed to challenging each students at their own level. The middle school also has a class which teaches study skills and organization. The opportunities in the arts are numerous, including dance, visual art, drama, photography, music and sound production. In the middle school they expect the students to achieve a high level of academic work, especially in English. We are very happy with NWA and feel very confident that our son is challenged, motivated and well-prepared for high school and beyond.
NWA gave me the edge to excel in college. I transferred from public school at the start of my sophomore year and from that time on I felt challenged and excited about learning. The English department is especially exceptional. Each high school student leaves NWA as a well practiced writer and peer editor in addition to two theses on self-designed topics. Another advantage of NWA is the amazing location. I tell my parents on a regular basis how much I learned simply from going to school in downtown Portland. Even two years later I am still in close contact with teachers from NWA and use the tools I emerged with on a daily basis.
This school is poorly run by people who know very little about children or education. Arts, sure...compassion, leadership, loyalty, not even close. Parents are not welcome to be involved. Although some of the teachers are good and provide challenging work, most do not respond to emails from parents. It is all about money and not the welfare of any student. There is quite a bit of teacher and student turnover from year to year.
We have two children currently in the middle school at NWA. Our kids love the school; they look forward to going there each day, have found wonderful friends, and truly appreciate and love their teachers. This school is very special- where else do you find great academic challenge and a real love for the arts?
Ignore these complaints abut fund raising! It's a private school and they all push fund raising as a way to offset the academic scholarships offered. My son is just finishing sixth (Fundamentals) grade and has been more challenged this year for both academics and personal growth. After six previous years at another private school I could not be happier about his progress at The Northwest Academy. This year s Seniors ALL were accepted at both their first and second choice college. And their SAT scores topped all Portland schools except one. The scholarship money offered to these students makes me feel my tuition payments this year will be worth it in the long run. For the first time in years my son is both excited to learn and having to work hard to achieve his goals. He s grown to understand the consequences of his behavior and he loves school.
Stay far far away from this school. In between fundraisers your child might recieve a proper education. Principle has one thing on her mind....$$$$$
We have one child currently enrolled and another who will soon be there. We are very pleased to have NW Academy for our kids. The teachers are dynamic, highly competent and caring. The arts-infused curriculum encourages creativity. Our child loves this school and appreciates the balance of great academic rigor and fun arts classes.
We LOVE this school!!! You will not regret your decision to send your adolescent to The Northwest Academy. They will be challenged academically, creatively, and held to high standards of conduct and responsibility. Our son started in the Prep year (7th) and has now completed Exploratory (8th) The NW Academy requires student responsibility and parents are not expected, or encouraged, to micromanage your child s study habits or homework. What a relief! Mary Folberg is the head of the school and provides great leadership, as well as day to day involvement. The teachers are incredibly talented, dedicated, and engaged in the process of education and emotional development of the students. The school recognizes private education is a huge commitment for most families and they respect parents for making the sacrifices it may require. It is a commitment we have not regretted. Parents of 9th grade student
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