Northstar Students Trimming Guinea Pig Nails

Academic Campus

How are you going to educate my child who is in 6th grade and reading at a 3rd grade level?

In each class, students are taught at their specific instructional level which is determined by testing. As their instructional level improves using the Lindamood -Bell Learning process, we modify the level of teaching.

How can Northstar help my child learn social skills? 

Northstar determines the specific needs of your child and develops student specific social skill goals. Each day students work on these individualized goals in Advisory class.  Students then work together to build their relationship skills and Northstar collects data to demonstrate student improvement and mastery. 

Is Northstar an accredited private school? 

Not only is Northstar Academy licensed by the Virginia Department of Education, Northstar is also doubly accredited. We are regulated by VAIS, Virginia Association of Independent Schools and VAISEF, Virginia Association of Independent Specialized Education Facilities.  

How is Northstar different from other schools? 

Northstar is a K-12 school, that operates traditionally but uses unconventional approaches to learning.  Most students at Northstar have arrived due to academic and social challenges that have created barriers to learning or they have not had positive school experience.   

How do I know if my child will fit in?

Northstar Academy is committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment where children feel safe to learn, have friends and receive the academic and social support they need.  When families apply to Northstar, their student visits for 2 or 3 days and shadows another student. This is one of the ways we ensure goodness of fit before inviting a student to enroll. 

Do you offer electives?

Yes, Northstar offers elective courses in foreign language, fine arts and technology.  

Does Northstar offer scholarships? 

YES, Northstar tuition is set and based on the specialized programs and services we offer, the small class size ratio and the continued professional development expected of Northstar faculty and staff.  In fact, it cost more to educate a child than the actual tuition cost. Northstar recognizes the investment parents are considering when applying to Northstar and parents are encouraged to complete an online scholarship application through FACTS.  

Can my child earn a diploma?

Absolutely, Northstar students enroll in classes based on their ability which provides them the opportunity to earn verified credits towards an Advanced, Standard or Applied Studies Diploma.  

Does Northstar have a traditional school year?

Yes, the school year begins the day after Labor Day and ends mid-June.  Northstar also offers summer school for students who qualify.

How does Northstar partner with the public schools in the Greater Richmond area? 

About 50% of students at Northstar are placed there parentally.  The other half are placed by surrounding area school systems. This means that in an IEP meeting, it was determined by all parties that the student is best educated in a private day school.  Northstar works with school system representatives to educate students who need the unique supportive environment Northstar provides.  

Can my child play sports?

Northstar offers a no-cut basketball program and plays other area private schools. Sports give our students another opportunity to apply their learned social skills in a real-life situation.  

Is private-school tuition tax-deductible?

Please consult your personal tax advisor.


Career Academy

We aren’t sure what employment will look like for Bobby. How do you figure out where and how to train your students?

We spend time getting to know your child and you. During the admissions process, we invite a parent and any other key supporters to spend time with an administrator so that we may learn about your journey as a family and about your goals for your child. We invite all prospective students to tour and to spend a session with us shadowing the current program in progress. This allows our teachers to interact with prospective students and gain a hands-on understanding of how the student learns. We also review each student’s educational records to gain an understanding of his/her background.

My child is very smart and is good at so many things. She/he just has problems finding his niche. How do I keep him from getting stuck cleaning or doing manual labor his whole life?

Each of our students is on a unique journey to a self-determined future. Each path looks different. We are committed to working with our students and their families to pave the way that is right for them and that moves that student toward financial and social independence in a meaningful way. For some of our students, this will mean competitive employment with competitive compensation. For some of our students, this will mean ways for increased independence in the community and enhanced quality of life. Ultimately, our mission is to support self-determination for all of our students by equipping them with competitive skills that will significantly enhance their earning potential.

My child has lots of skills and knows how to do lots of things but is so trusting. He’ll get in the car with anybody. How do you keep people safe while they are at work?

Safety is always the top priority. While students are in our program, we make measured, carefully considered decisions about the degree to which each individual is ready for independence. Students begin community experiences as a group with at least two faculty members on site coaching them. The intensity of supports fade as students demonstrate safe behaviors and positive relationships with mentors on-site develop.

We also remain in conversation with families so that we may remain acutely aware of safety concerns.

My child wants to work so badly, but she has some serious health issues. On good days, she is the best worker that you will find. But she has bad days too. On these days she has to rest frequently or needs to be absent. How do you handle this?

Living with serious health issues can bring complex challenges to many areas of one’s life. In career training, we support individuals on this journey by equipping them with competitive skills that will bring beneficial flexibility to his/her employment prospects. Northstar students learn to identify both their strengths and needs as they prepare for work. They learn to apply their strengths to contribute to real world business settings. They also learn how to advocate for their needs professionally.

My child works very well when she has access to assistive technology like her talker and her visual schedules. How do you integrate supports like these in the workplace?

Career Academy faculty are well-versed in many forms of assistive technology and are also eager to learn about more! We are happy to work with families to understand the best ways we can support students’ communication, mobility, organization, and independence. We also focus on exploring additional assistive technologies while in our program that may enhance independence at work.

My child is very focused on earning his Standard Diploma. He needs experiences in the community, but I’m worried that focusing on two areas will be overwhelming. How does that balancing act work?

Work training can be a nice compliment to focused academic study. Students are able to see the relevance of the skills they are learning applied in context. This can also add meaning to their academic studies as their understanding of the purpose and importance of these skills is enhanced.

Construction and Maintenance helped him meet both his Career Training needs and his Academic progress needs by enhancing his understanding of why academic skills are critical to workplace success.

For example, Jamie is really struggle to pass his Algebra I SOL so that he can earn his Standard Diploma. He is close to passing his other SOLs but hasn’t quite gathered all of the verified credits that he needs. Evening study sessions at home are major power struggles as Jamie repeated asks, “When am I ever going to use this stuff?”

Jamie is also interested in engineering and is attending the Construction and Maintenance program at Northstar Career Academy. In order for him to figure out what materials he needs for the project he is building, he must use basic Algebra. Seeing a formula come to life on a project that he designed completely stuns and excites him.

Also, in Construction class he earns his Skills USA Carpentry certification, meeting his verified credit requirement for his diploma. Plus he earns his Career Readiness Certificate fulfilling the requirement for a student-selected verified credit for his diploma.