Our classrooms are student-centered and hands-on in order for our students to experience directly the foundational work of scientists, writers and readers,mathematicians, historians, native speakers and creative artists.
The three-year period of Upper School is characterized by great physical, mental, social and emotional change and marks the transition from child to the beginning of adolescence. Students’ growing need for independence makes this the perfect time for them to take greater responsibility for their academic work
and behavior and learn how to be proactive and independent as they prepare to enter rigorous high school programs.
During this exciting period of growth, students are well able, in a supportive environment, to meet the challenges of high academic expectations. A tour through our classrooms would reveal students engaged in a variety of activities: programming robotic vehicles in the science lab, using linear equations to solve real-life consumer needs in mathematics class, acting out student-written plays in Spanish, studying romance language roots in Latin, writing essays supported by analysis of primary documents in social studies and actively engaged in books clubs in English. Sixth grade students have weekly art and music classes and seventh and eighth grade choose from a wide variety of arts electives. Appropriate technology is integrated throughout the disciplines and our students use their own devices to do their work independently and collaboratively. Each month, parents receive an email from the school providing curriculum updates
for their child’s class. Projects, assignments and assessments are accessible to parents online.
Advisory groups consisting of 10 - 12 students from all three grades meet three times weekly using the Developmental Designs curriculum to help students form close bonds with peers and develop strategies for dealing with social pressure and academic challenges. An atmosphere of mutual respect allows students to form close relationships with each other and the adults around them who handle the typical problems of adolescence with compassion, experience, consistency and humor. Students remain in the same advisory group for three years, and their advisor becomes both a crucial point of connection for the family and an advocate for the child.
Extra-curricular activities such as sports, theatrical productions, community service
and student leadership are designed so that all who are interested can join. In this way, young people are able to both explore possible interests and talents as well as experience the emotional benefits of belonging to a community.
Our graduates leave NFS for a wide range of secondary schools as thoughtful, intellectually curious, articulate, empathetic and responsible young men and women.