An atmosphere of
mutual respect

Encouraging independence as much as independent thinking, the faculty and administrators at NA foster an atmosphere of mutual respect that students quickly pick up and pass on.

Beginning in Middle School students are given autonomy in how they spend daily free periods. They learn to structure their own time, balancing work and play. In the Upper School, their freedom expands to program of study. Some choose the full IB diploma while others opt for a path composed of individual IB and AP courses, electives, and independent study. In math and languages, students can advance as rapidly and as far as they wish.

From their earliest days at NA, students understand that they are ultimately responsible for their own education. Regard for one another dictates a college-like contract in the classroom: students come prepared, give their full attention, and offer thoughtful contributions; teachers make class interesting and encourage discourse.



Faculty members know they can trust students to make good choices in any given situation—surrounded by others who value a culture of integrity, they live up to expectations and develop exceptional forethought and maturity. Students are proud of the trust and independence they earn—and parents are proud of the individuals their children become.

Instilling character and conscience

Teachers make character education as fun and engaging as any other subject at NA, often creating a playful game or challenge for students. Students have put on humorous “Respect Skits,” for example, to talk about topics like how to email a teacher or hallway etiquette.

However, faculty do not shy away from more sensitive issues. After preparing students carefully, teachers may open up discussion of topics such as racism or gay rights. Our students have proven their ability to talk about such themes maturely and conscientiously, as they will need to when they enter adult settings.

“We have fun with the teachers and we know how to respect them. We know when to be serious and get down to work.”

 –Upper School student

“The kids feel the level of respect. They know we expect them to do the right thing.” 

–Tom Ashburn, Middle School principal

student voice proposals

Each year NA invites students to share their ideas for ways to improve the school through Student Voice Proposals. Students present selected proposals to the administrative staff for review and consideration. Thanks to one accepted proposal, NA changed the dress code to include sneakers. We're currently installing new water filtration hardware throughout the building, allowing students to fill their water bottles and eliminating the need for disposable bottles, after selecting this year's proposal.