Program and Philosophy

Program and Philosophy


Northwest Academy’s High School values fascination with ideas and celebrates diversity of perspective, experience, and thinking.  The curriculum is predicated on intellectual passion, shared curiosity, and academic accomplishment.

The High School is characterized by authentic academic rigor that prepares students to achieve in college.  In-depth study and opportunities for students to immerse themselves in the deeper meanings of content are favored over survey approaches to curriculum   Critical thinking, synthesis, evaluation, and application are privileged over memorization.  A strong student-faculty community emanates from an educational partnership between the academics and the arts that cultivates creative thinking, individuality, and collegiality.

High School Supply List 2020-21


Northwest Academy High School is dedicated to providing a challenging and supportive environment in which students grow as artists, academics, and people. As students engage in meaningful arts and academic experiences they develop empathy, citizenship, and personal responsibility. Student differences and individuality are celebrated as a source of vibrancy and diverse perspectives in the community. Attention to emotional well-being and positive interpersonal relationships in and outside of the classroom creates an environment in which students can excel through academic and artistic risk-taking. The students who graduate our program are prepared to be successful in their pursuits, innovative in academia and the arts, and poised for continued growth and happiness.


• The healthy whole-person development of secondary students requires a nuanced and intentional approach to pedagogy and community development;

• Developing personal responsibility, collaboration, and empathy are essential in the transition from adolescence to adulthood;

• Students grow through academic and artistic risk-taking;

• High school students need authentic learning opportunities and connections to the greater community;

• A learning community thrives when teachers develop positive intellectual relationships with students and support their unique process as learners;



Students must complete Northwest Academy’s entire four-year high school English/Humanities program, including Thesis Seminar.


Students must complete Northwest Academy’s math proficiencies, including proficiencies in Algebra l, Geometry, and Algebra 2. Pre-Calculus/Trigonometry, Statistics, Calculus, and Advanced Vector Calculus are available as math electives.


To meet Northwest Academy’s science requirement, students must complete three years of science, including Biology/Human Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, and Physics. Students may take an additional year of advanced science as an elective.


Students are required to complete Level 2 (second year) of a World Language. To meet this requirement, the student must exhibit language skills equal to high school Level 2 proficiency.


Students must complete seven Arts elective credits to meet the graduation requirement. To meet the Arts Diversity requirement, students must complete a full year each of visual and performing arts as well as a full year of either literary or media arts.


Students may take either take dance classes or yoga to satisfy Northwest Academy’s Physical Education requirement. Students may also do an independent physical education project. Proposals must be submitted and approved.


Students must do 30 hours of community service to satisfy Northwest Academy’s Community Service requirement. Proposals must be submitted and approved.

  • Creativity Matters Here

    We value creative, independent thought in both our academic and arts classes.

    Creativity Matters Here
  • College Counseling

    Our College Counselor works with students to find schools that will be a good match for them. Northwest Academy graduates attend a diverse selection of colleges and universities across the country including Duke University, Bard College, New York University, and Rhode Island School of Design.

    College Counseling
    College application workshop
  • Lunch Events

    Friday Lunch events include everything from distinguished guest speakers (such as University of Oregon President and Multnomah County District Attorney) to friendly games of dodgeball.

    Lunch Events
  • College-Prep Academics

    Northwest Academy students write two substantial, college-level thesis projects in their senior year. All juniors and seniors receive college credit through the PSU Challenge Program.

    College-Prep Academics
    Senior Thesis Presentation