Dig Deeper, Reach Higher
Our Academic Approach
At The Northwest School, we believe that a liberal arts education is essential for developing well-rounded and versatile individuals who are equipped to navigate the complexities of the modern world.
Our focus on the liberal arts provides students with an expansive and interdisciplinary education, encompassing mathematics, science, humanities, arts, and modern languages. This comprehensive approach helps students to cultivate critical reading, persuasive writing, and broad thinking skills.
"The way I would put it—which is a little different from what skills people must have—is to say that a liberal arts education gives you a variety of different analytical frameworks within which to think about a question. Engineers think like engineers, and that’s a good thing, because when you are driving across the bridge, you want that bridge to hold you up, and we rely on the capacity of engineers to see a problem and apply technical solutions to it. With a liberal arts education, you can think like a historian, you can think like a sociologist, you can think like a literary scholar, you can think like a scientist too— because science is a part of the liberal arts, it always has been—but you are not bound to any one framework."
Robert Stacey — Alum Parent and Dean Emeritus, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Washington
Six Areas of Study
Our comprehensive liberal arts education ensures students acquire the knowledge, skills, and confidence to embrace the expectations and demands of college and beyond.
The Northwest School Math Department offers a program that challenges and encourages all students to think deeply and critically about the world around them through the lens of mathematics. From Math 6 to advanced calculus, our department helps all students develop problem solving skills to achieve an analytical mindset in the pursuit of being a lifelong learner.
Our scope and sequence is developed with intention and equips students with the tools to critically assess assertions, communicate effectively using real data, and employ computational tools and methodologies.
At The Northwest School, we believe that math education should empower every individual to take innovative approaches to problem solving, provide skills necessary for pursuing collegiate or career paths beyond the House, and foster an appreciation for the elegance of mathematics in the world around us.
Our science curriculum is designed to foster a deep comprehension of the physical world. Through immersive hands-on experiences and lab-based activities, students cultivate understanding through observation, investigations, and modeling. Emphasis is placed on building collaboration and communication skills, recognizing their vital role in scientific progress.
The overarching objective is to nurture a scientific mindset, cultivating graduates who adeptly interpret data, charts, and graphs, and possess an innate curiosity to unveil scientific truths.
By addressing pressing contemporary issues like climate change, nuclear energy, water quality, and stem cells, the curriculum directs learning towards real-world inquiries. Ultimately, our curriculum shapes scientifically literate graduates, equipping them to enter college with the capacity to critically question, explore, and engage in advanced academic pursuits.
Since its founding, the Northwest School has offered its students a unique, holistic approach to Humanities education, rooted in the school’s commitments to diversity, global perspectives, and social justice. In their Humanities classes, students fulfill their graduation requirements in both English and History/Social Studies through an integrated, interdisciplinary course of study. Bringing together the study of literature, art, history, politics, culture, and philosophy, the NWS Humanities program prepares students to think critically and creatively about a wide variety of different issues. By working to actively include diverse perspectives and marginalized voices into our courses, we strive to cultivate a fuller, more just representation of human history, as well as a more rigorous, critical understanding of the many challenges we face today.
Through their Humanities work, students cultivate college-level reading, writing, and research skills that will continue to serve them in their educational futures, and they practice communicating and collaborating with their peers in ways that they will carry forward into their professional lives. Humanities coursework is designed to be as diverse as its content, giving students the opportunity to engage in authentic intellectual exploration and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of different genres, mediums, and venues, from the formal academic essay to public-facing artistic and journalistic forms of expression. In this way, Humanities coursework gives students the tools they will need to not only understand their world, but to be a positive force within it.
Our comprehensive arts curriculum integrates visual arts, music, theater, and dance, nurturing well-rounded artistic development. Students engage in hands-on exploration of various mediums in visual arts, honing creative expression. In music, they master instruments, voice, and ensemble dynamics, fostering musical prowess. Theater cultivates acting, stagecraft, and collaboration skills, while dance refines movement and choreography techniques. With a focus on individual growth and collective creativity, our curriculum empowers students to discover their passions, build self-confidence, and find creative avenues of learning that they didn’t know, or think were possible before working with our faculty.
Our program aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of a second language, and we do so through immersive instruction. Our approach creates a space where students can engage in conversations with their peers in the target language. We follow the ACTFL Standards - Culture, Community, Communication, Comparisons & Connections - and the Proficiency Benchmarks to measure students' language acquisition in all four skills: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
Our goal is for students to develop their interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational skills in the second language, as well as critical reading and analytical writing. We encourage the exploration of short stories, novels, plays, essays, and poetry from authors, in the target language along with other non-required texts.
We believe in examining connections between cultures, history, and communities, emphasizing critical thinking and problem-solving while applying increasingly sophisticated grammar structures and vocabulary.
PE at The Northwest School is offered in 6th through 9th grades. At the middle school level our PE program includes team sports. The middle school athletic teams practice during their PE class and compete in games after school. Students may choose to enroll in a different team sport each trimester among many options. Students who are not interested in playing a team sport can choose to enroll in one of our non-team sport focused classes, which include a variety of different activities and games during the trimester.
In 9th grade, PE takes the form of a health and fitness class. Students spend time in the classroom studying subjects such as nutrition, mental health, drugs and alcohol, addiction, and sex education. They also will spend time in our fitness center learning how to safely use exercise equipment and different forms of exercise.
Students are encouraged to participate in Northwest Athletics throughout their upper school years. It's an opportunity to improve sports skills, fitness and perseverance, develop as a teammate and a leader, all while having a good time. Everyone is invited to take part in Cross Country, Track & Field, Soccer, Volleyball, Ultimate, Fit Club/Strength & Conditioning and Basketball.
What to Expect at Northwest
Students like you, who have a joy for learning.
Classrooms rich with discussion and participation.
Positive and supportive relationships with teachers.
A curriculum that is challenging, inspiring and relevant to the realities of our society
Teachers who care and motivate you to do your best.
Respect for your ideas and contributions
Consideration for the learning preferences, interests, and readiness of different students