Academics

A Culture of Curiosity

True intellectual growth requires going beyond a command of facts or figures. It requires reflecting and questioning. Synthesizing concepts. Developing independent thought and intellectual courage. At the Northwest School, students are challenged with an exciting college-preparatory academic experience rooted in vigorous study and exploration.

With a liberal arts curriculum founded in integrated Humanities, students graduate with a historical, scientific, artistic and global perspective—prepared for a fulfilling life, both in college and beyond.

Self-agency is a big focus here: asking questions, taking control of your education, questioning the teacher and the procedure. We want the learner who digs in and asks why is that true? Why am I learning that?

Kathryn Wallace '95

Upper School Biology teacher

Making Connections

Academics Chemistry

Twelfth graders discover their impact on the environment by connecting chemistry to their everyday lives.

Students conduct carbon footprint analyses of their own homes, gathering data on transportation, electricity, and food. They then compare their home data with the average natural gas consumption of homes with Puget Sound Energy. Students then learn about fuel sources by burning different natural gases and measuring which gases generate energy the most efficiently.

Academics Microloans

Sixth grade students learn economics by creating a small business.

Sixth graders in Erica Bergamini’s class receive a $15 micro-loan to start a business of their own design. Through that business, the students must generate enough money to pay back the loan with a ten percent interest rate. Examples of products have included homemade slime, handbags, birdhouses, and light-bulb terrariums. The students use Excel to track costs and profits to ensure they pay back loans with the correct amount. The micro-loan project also doubles as a service project: Students combine their profits and donate the sum to organizations such as Goodwill, FareStart, and Ventures.

Northwest School alumni often pursue exciting careers in start-up companies. Click here to read about Ethan Sorrelgreen '99, Chief Product Officer, CARMERA.

Makingconnectionsbody

Students discover the internet of things

The Internet of Things, part of our Summits Program, examines the interconnected world we live in and how data can make life easier through self-driving cars or automated repetitive tasks. It also tackles ethics and the code of conduct that comes with data collection. Students are introduced to students to basic coding, and learn how to use the Circuit Playground and Adafruit Feather to make sensors, data feeds, and interactive machines to gather information from all around us. The course culminates with a challenge to design solutions to real problems as defined by the United Nations Sustainability Goals.

Upper School Curriculum Guide

Middle School Curriculum Guide

Preparing for the Future

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