Support for Learning Needs

Our work with Northwest School students, including those with special learning needs, is grounded in the philosophy that all of our students want to learn, have a natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge, have learning strengths, and, with the right support, can succeed in our academic program. We welcome students from diverse academic backgrounds and with different learning styles.

Our mission to graduate students with multiple perspectives is accomplished, in part, because our students bring to their learning different ways of seeing the world. Support for learning is integrated throughout our curriculum and takes many forms.

Our Curriculum

  • Our teachers use a variety of instructional methods, thereby maximizing the chances that all students will learn. A combination of small class size and a variety of learning activities increases their engagement in our curriculum.
  • Our curriculum places equal emphasis on all parts, and therefore students can shine in different ways. Success in the arts, for example, is valued as much as success in the sciences.
  • Each student has an academic advisor, one of his or her teachers, who closely monitors academic performance and meets at regular intervals to review progress.
  • Instruction and practice in study skills are integrated into the curriculum at all levels, particularly in the Middle School. From learning basic organization in the 6th grade to writing a college-level Senior Project, our program builds the academic skills needed for success at the next level.

Support for Students with Learning Differences

  • At The Northwest School, all of our students participate fully in our curriculum, with adjustments and strategies tailored to an individual's needs. Therefore, we do not offer individualized, "pull-out" services for students with learning challenges.
  • Parents are expected to inform the school if a child has a previously diagnosed learning disability or attention disorder, or if there are concerns about his or her learning.
  • For students with particular learning challenges, we provide advice and referrals so that they get appropriate assessments and tutoring from professionals in the Seattle community. The school works closely with diagnosticians and tutors to develop an effective learning plan.
  • Each student with a diagnosed learning disability or attention disorder has a Learning Support Plan that is prepared by the Learning Resources Coordinator in collaboration with the parents. This document is a synopsis of professional assessments, and it identifies the specific teaching and learning strategies needed to promote academic success. The Learning Support Plan is updated annually.
  • Teachers use the recommendations in the Learning Support Plan to develop effective educational strategies specific to their classes.

Support for Teachers

  • In regular meetings of teachers at a grade-level, we review our strategies, challenges, and successes in promoting student learning.
  • Through workshops, in-service training, and peer collaborations, all teachers are actively engaged in learning new approaches to teaching all of our students.