Boarding Program

A Home Away from Home

The Northwest School dormitory offers a safe environment in which faculty and residents work together to create a community that supports personal growth. We aim to teach students to live a balanced lifestyle, so they are ready to engage in their daily responsibilities. We help students gain communication, conflict resolution and academic skills, while living together in a joyful, vibrant learning community.

Living & Learning in Seattle, WA

The Northwest School is the only independent school in Seattle with an international boarding program and dormitory. The education of global citizens with a deep appreciation of different cultures is a founding principle of the school, and each year we enjoy the presence of approximately 80 students from more than 14 countries.

The newly-renovated dormitory is located just one block west of campus, and houses approximately 50 students on gender-specific floors. Students typically live two to a room, sometimes with a roommate from a different country. Common areas include lounges where students can relax, watch TV, or play ping pong and foosball; a kitchen; laundry facilities; a computer lab; and a study room.

The greater school community is an important part of residential life. Residential advisors are always present in the dorm to help ensure a safe and happy student body, and students enjoy full housing amenities, weekend outings, and in-school celebrations throughout the year. All students enjoy nutritious lunches at our cafeteria, and our dormitory students also enjoy healthy breakfast and dinner options as well. Dorm residents are also encouraged to invite other students to spend time here, and a residential advisor is always present.

Academic Support

We are committed to doing all we can to help our students reach their academic potential. Dorm administrators closely monitor the academic performance of our students and stay in contact with their teachers. RA's work to provide the students with the help and support they need to thrive.

All students who are not performing to a set academic standard are required to attend study hall Sunday through Thursday from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. During this time, students often work together to help each other understand material. An RA sits with the students during study hall, monitoring their progress and providing assistance.

Students who are not required to attend study hall can still do so if they wish, or they can observe independent study during evening quiet hours.

We Welcome Students From Abroad

Learn More About International Admissions

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Our Residential Life faculty is made up of a diverse group of college-educated residential advisors (RAs), headed by the Director of Residential Life, Natasha Gironimi. CPR and first aid training for faculty occurs before students arrive in the fall. While on duty, faculty members oversee the operations of the dorm and the safety of the residents while encouraging students to be independent and responsible.

RAs meet once a week to discuss residential issues, while the entire department meets once a month for professional development. Whenever possible, the Dean of Residential Life arranges for guest speakers to meet with the dorm staff and discuss such varied topics as emergency preparedness and techniques for relating to teenagers. We are always working to maintain the strength of our faculty.


A true sense of community is a priority in the daily life of the dorm. We have many people of different cultures living under one roof, calling one place home. Our daily routines and programs focus on building a positive and nurturing environment.

Every Monday night, the entire dorm gathers with staff for a meeting. This is a time when students learn about upcoming activities and events, and when they can also make announcements and ask questions. Students are always encouraged to make their voices heard. Attendance at dinner is also required on Sundays through Thursdays, so that the dorm may gather as a whole.

Students also invest in and take responsibility for the quality of our surroundings. Five times a week, groups of students take the time to clean the building, doing normal household tasks like taking out garbage and washing dishes. Everyone is a part of keeping this place a pleasant place to live.

Student Leadership

Upon their arrival at the dorm, students are divided into one of four groups we call Houses: Red, Yellow, Green and Blue. These groups are used for responsibilities such as study hall and the environment program, but also for fun activities such as the Dorm Olympics and Formal Dinners. Each House has one student assigned to it to act as a leader, in a position we call a Student Resident Advisor (SRAs).

Students apply to the SRAs program and are selected by staff to take on the extra responsibility and influence of the position. They have a meeting with staff members once a week where they can act as the voice of the members of their house and the students in general, voicing concerns or opinions. They also help RAs with duties such as monitoring the front door and keeping track of students signing in and out of the building.

In addition to representing their House, SRAs help build the leadership skills of other students. They guide the environment program, which encompasses keeping the dorm clean as well as supporting recycling and composting. Though they are guides for the community, SRAs also encourage their House members to work well independently. Every student in the dorm is a potential SRA for next year, and our goal is to have every student living up to that potential.


The Residential Dorm

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The Northwest School has allowed our daughter to blossom! The academic program prepares the students well for the rigors of further academic success. The community has been an open and welcoming environment for all of the students. The teachers have lots of love and wisdom to offer and help the students develop their natural abilities to grow stronger, intellectually and emotionally.

Mrs. Putri Larasati Tjakraningrat

mother of Natasha Kurnia ’17, from Jakarta, Indonesia

Boarding Program