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Norwood-Fontbonne Academy

Private | PK-8 | 400 students

We are best known for our dual-path curriculum: Montessori and Primary
 
 

 
 

Living in Philadelphia

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $475,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,190.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

5 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
No new ratings
2013:
Based on 7 ratings
2012:
No new ratings
2011:
Based on 2 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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25 reviews of this school


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Posted December 5, 2013

NFA is wonderful school with a lot of teachers who are so dedicate to their students. My husband and I are happy that our son goes to norwood. You will be amaze when you go for a tour to the montessori area. they are very close community.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 20, 2013

I looked at many schools before choosing NFA. I knew of Montessori principles from my undergraduate studies, but what I had seen in the pass was not impressive. I didn't even want to see the Montessori track that is offered at NFA which continues to third grade, I thought I would send my sons on the traditional track also offered at the school. I was blown away at what I saw. Students working in large open classrooms, choosing meaningufl work to complete, but with the facilitation of kind, caring student-focused teachers. I immediately started my research and went with my gut to send both of my boys to NFA Montessori. There education has been nothing but stellar and they thrive academically, emotionally, and socially at their school. Being a high school counselor, I know that having children thrive is not always the case. NFA works diligently to make sure each child is treated as an individual while delivering their signature academic curriculum that they are known for. I feel confident that the boys will continue to in this strong faith based community. NFA has become an extension of our home because their teachings are also what we hold dear.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 18, 2013

NFA is an amazing school. Whether through the montessori or primary programs, children as young as three are encouraged and excited to learn. This continues through their early education and fosters a schoolwide environment where it is "cool" to excel. As with children at all schools, NFA students excel in many diverse and sometimes simple ways, some excel academically, some athletically, some are very sensitive to the need of others, some tell great jokes, many do all of the above! What distinguishes NFA is that each child is free to develop their unique talents in an environment where they are heralded for their individual contributions to the school community. NFA students graduate confident, self-aware, socially conscious, intellectually curious and fully prepared to meet the challenges and academic rigors of high school. As graduates of NFA, the decision to send our children to the school came easily. As parents, that decision is rewarded daily by our children's real love of learning, their classmates, teachers and school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 18, 2013

My children thrive at NFA, just as I did when I was a student there, and just as my sisters and many cousins did. So many of my best memories from childhood came from NFA, and my husband and I are thrilled to see history repeating itself with our children. Our children are constantly challenged academically. The Montessori program cultivates self-motivation and self-confidence which we know will serve our children so well through life. Our children feel secure and happy, because they are a part of a strong community of wonderful people. NFA infuses all aspects of student life with a profound spirituality, creating a sense of peace and purpose in our children for which we are so thankful. NFA cultivates them as athletes who show true sportsmanship, and they love participating in the arts programs. NFA tunes into the uniqueness of each child, and there is a place for every type of personality in this incredibly welcoming and inclusive environment.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 17, 2013

We are so pleased with our decision to send our children to NFA. We haven chosen the Montessori path and have found it to be the right fit for our children. They each have their own unique learning styles and the exceptional teachers there have embraced each of them and have helped them all to become successful learners. NFA's curriculum is challenging. It keeps them actively engaged and motivated to learn. I have no doubt that my children will be well-prepared for their secondary education. NFA spiritually engages their students through an extraordinary service learning program. The children are offered special opportunities to share their many gifts with others in need throughout their community. This happens throughout the school year and my children have truly been touched by their experiences with others in need.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 14, 2013

My children love going to school every day...to the point where they were upset to miss two days of school to go to Disney. I think that sums it up. I currently have two children who started in the Montessori program at age 3. For me, the Junior Level Montessori program (grades 1-3) is unlike anything I have seen at other schools and what sets the school apart. The children of all three grades are in an open classroom and work to both and help and learn from other students in their class. Independent work gives them ownership and accountability. As a parent of a child with some learning challenges, this has provided a challenging yet non-competitive learning environment. On the social side, for the younger children, the multiple age/grade classes is great. By the time they are 5 year olds, they will know their entire grade level, their entire class of 3-4 year olds, and all of the 1st and 2nd graders who were in their 3-5 class. Going to 1st grade is exciting to see which older kids they will rejoin. Sounds confusing in print, but it creates a very close community for the kids that also carries over to the parents. All in all a great school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 15, 2013

NFA is a little-known gem. Its excellent reputation is by word-of-mouth in this area of NW Philadelphia (and surrounding communities) among the generations of families who have been part of the NFA legacy. Among its greatest assets is its Montessori program beginning at age 3. Admittedly, I didn't know much about the Montessori curriculum beforehand (and the school could do a better job explaining/promoting), but it's an educational approach that is much needed in today's world. With my daughter now in 4th grade (and having completed the NFA Montessori program through 3rd grade), I am indebted to her NFA teachers for developing her critical thinking skills and passion for learning. As a sponsored work of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, the school maintains a more open-minded, spiritual approach to nurturing Catholic values and faith, which, in my opinion, is also much needed in today's world! At the same time, the school actively seeks diversity and has a larger percentage of non-Catholic families/students than other Catholic schools in the area. The current Head of School continues to build on her vision of the school, and the community of parents is active, engaged, and inviting.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 18, 2011

NFA is an outstanding school which prepares its students to go onto the next level of educational opportunities. They have an incredible array of co-curricular groups/sports for our children to join in. Especially wonderful in this day and age considering the cost cutting measures most schools are having to deal with.


Posted April 18, 2011

Norwood Fontbonne is a great school with an amazing Montessori program. The students stay in the same class for the pre-school years (3-5) and then move up to the Junior level for 1-3rd grade, which creates a unique mentoring environment for the children. The students work at their own pace and the teachers are a wonderful balance of nurturing and fostering of the students' independence. The teachers are dedicated and you can see through their teaching that they have a true calling. The classrooms are spacious and open and the students have beautiful materials to work with. When we visited Norwood, we were blown away by the learning environment and the mutual respect of the teachers and students. I highly recommend visiting the school to see the classes in action. It's a very illuminating experience. We have been more than pleased with the teachers, curriculum and the community. Norwood has a very active parent association which raises a considerable amount of money for the school and for charity. Community service is also a focus which provides a great example for the students. The group is very inclusive and friendly.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 8, 2010

NFA is a fine school, with dedicated teachers who uphold high academic standards as well as a broad and challenging curriculum. The relationship between the recently replaced Principal and parents varied significantly. Favoratism sometimes prevailed. In contrast, Mrs., Wood the new Head of the Upper School has an very good relationship with most parents and is not prone to favoritism. All of the issues regarding the past Principal hopefully in aqua pasada. Any attempt to portray the negative influence she had on the school environment and on enrollment is patently false. Just last week I encountered a parent of a student who transferred out because of the Principal. He will not be attending a Catholic High School because of his experience with said Principal. Thankfully, the SIsters of St. Joseph, with the Lord's guidance, have now set the school back on a the correct path. Parent involvement is excellent.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 31, 2010

I would second the previous rater's description of the school's educational offerings and emphasis on Christian values and service. The animus indicated toward the departing principal is troubling however and leaves a misleading impression of the atmosphere of the school. No school is exempt from parental disgruntlement. To suggest, in a time of economic distress and shrinking family size, that the decline in enrollment is a direct result of the alleged personal failings of one person is to betray a strong personal bias that has more than a touch of vindictiveness itself.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 7, 2010

NFA has a strong curriculum, caring teachers, and nice families. Hopefully it can start to heal now that a new principal is in office.


Posted April 26, 2010

Norwood is an excellent school with a kind, smart teachers and good families. The current principal, Sister Jean Laurich, has been a strong leader who truly loves the kids. Fortunately, the parent who has caused the school the most grief is gone.


Posted April 7, 2010

This is a school that has great teachers and a strong curriculum. Teachers go out of their way to help students learn the material.


Posted August 19, 2009

My children have attended this school throughout their primary school years. Our total tenure is over 10 years. It is an excellent school with high academic achievement and learned, caring teachers. The diversity is actually quite good. The community outreach and service learning program, incorporating into the curriculum, distinguishes this school. NFA produces wonderfully educated, kind children. The children and families are great and parents have multiple opportunities for lots of involvement.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 4, 2009

I went to Norwood and had a wonderful experiance they really prepare you for high school they helped me get into my high school of choice


Posted February 25, 2008

My daughter is in the Montessori preschool program at NFS, and I couldn't be more pleased. The teachers and entire staff are so nurturing and supportive. My daughter has learned so much. The school provides a safe and suppportive environment for all students. I love the emphasis on values, service learning, and discipline, which are evident throughout the school. The curriculum is broad and challenging. The extracurriculars are great, every kid can find something to love.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 23, 2008

Norwood provided me with an excellent education and helped shape my childhood. I highly recommend the school to any family who is interested.


Posted July 23, 2006

As a student that attended Norwood-Fontbone and graduated in 2002 I would highly recommend Norwood because of the great education that your cild will recieve. There are plenty of extracurricular activities for your shild to participate in such as the drama club, art, CSC and sports. Parents are very involoved at Norwood, especially Family Fun Day. As a new parent I would sen d my child to Norwood.
—Submitted by a former student


Posted February 2, 2006

Norwood Fontbonne provides caring and conscientious teachers who educate children in a nurturing but challenging way. The students love their school and have access to high quality facilities and extracurricular activities including most all sports, ,music, the arts and community service. My child loves the school, having transferred from another well respected private school. He is most happy with the friendliness of the students and their parents. An atmosphere which reflects that of the teachers and the administration. The athletics offering are extensive and of high quality. Both boys and girls have many opportunities to participate. The coaches are excellent and the level of competition is high. The Parent Association is very active, yet the parents who participate do not create a political environment. Parents contribute time, treasure and talents to ensure the continued nurturing, education and socialization of the children.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 78% 71%
Black 11% 15%
Two or more races 5% 2%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 3% 3%
Hispanic 2% 9%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 0%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Assistant principal(s)
Art teacher(s)
Computer specialist(s)
Librarian/media specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Nurse(s)
Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
Priest, pastor, or other religious personnel
Reading specialist(s)
School psychologist
Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Outdoor learning lab

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Music room
  • Performance stage
Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
Music
  • Band
  • Instrumental music lessons
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
Media arts
  • Video / Film production

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Spanish

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Nurse(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • School psychologist
School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Gym
  • Kitchen
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")

Gifted & talented

Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
School leaders can update this information here.

School basics

School start time
  • 8:00 am
School end time
  • 3:00 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school: starts at 6:45 a.m.
  • After school: ends at 6:00 p.m.
School Leader's name
  • Sister Mary Helen Beirne SSJ, Ed.D
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • Phone
Age at which early childhood or Pre-K program begins
  • 3 years old
Gender
  • Coed
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Roman Catholic
Associations
  • AMS
  • NAEYC
  • NCEA
Fax number
  • (215) 247-8405

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Montessori
  • Multi-aged
  • STEM
  • Standards-based
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Religious
  • Service learning
  • Social justice
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • No
Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages taught
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • None

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Assistant principal(s)
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • Nurse(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
  • Priest, pastor, or other religious personnel
  • Reading specialist(s)
  • School psychologist
  • Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
  • Remediation
Transportation options
  • Buses/vans for students only
  • School shares bus/van with other schools
School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Art room
  • Auditorium
  • Cafeteria
  • Chapel/spiritual reflection center
  • Computer lab
  • Gym
  • Internet access
  • Kitchen
  • Library
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
  • Music room
  • Outdoor learning lab
  • Performance stage
  • Playground
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
  • American Montessori Society
  • Chestnut Hill Business Association
School leaders can update this information here.

Sports

Boys sports
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Track
Girls sports
  • Basketball
  • Cheerleading
  • Field hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Track

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
Music
  • Band
  • Instrumental music lessons
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
Media arts
  • Video / Film production
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Uniforms
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Present special topics during curricular units
School leaders can update this information here.

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This school accepts applications on a

rolling basis

 
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What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2014-2015 school year
$9000 - $11000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid
Outside scholarships

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
LaSalle College High School
St. Joseph's Preparatory School
Mount St. Joseph's Academy
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

8891 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Website: Click here
Phone: (215) 247-3811

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