This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The Northwest Academy5
Posted February 26, 2015
- a parent
This is my son's first year (8th grade) with NWA. I am a former teacher and am quite picky about his education. I have been thrilled with the academic classes and teachers, the 1:1 attention the students get, and am quite impressed with the high level of learning and thinking that is demanded of these kids. My son wanted to go to NWA to develop his crafts (acting, singing, visual arts, guitar) and has discovered many more things that he enjoys from his Arts classes. He says he is "home" and that he has found his "people" with NWA. He loves going to school, loves his classes and teachers, and that makes me very happy.
Attending Northwest Academy was a transformative experience for both of my children. The teachers are beyond amazing. They have served as mentors and role models for my students and they inspire them on a daily basis. My children have grown intellectually, artistically, and emotionally in this environment. They have discovered that they are extremely capable. Personal responsibility and the value of community is woven into the culture of the school. The students respect each other and celebrate diversity. Sending my children to Northwest Academy is one of the best decisions I've made as a parent.
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.
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!