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.
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.