At Northstar Academy, we promote educational excellence and career opportunities for students with disabilities who have academic, physical or socal challenges.
behalf of all of us at Northstar Academy, I am most grateful for the wonderful
support of our donor community - parents, faculty/staff, grandparents, board
members, friends, foundations and corporations. Gifts from our generous donors
enable us to open our doors each day to continue our mission to provide
educational excellence and career opportunities for our students who have
academic physical or social challenges. Each and every donation makes a
positive impact here at Northstar. As we move forward, we are excited about our
next steps and your gifts equip us with the power to achieve our dreams and the
dreams of our students and their families.
Dr. Patricia “Pat” West, Head of School
Northstar Academy is a unique and highly successful
non-profit school serving children with disabilities in grades K – 12. With a strong spirit of community,
we develop students with active, creative minds and
encourage compassion and a respect and understanding for
individual differences and for one another. We present our
community of learners with a challenging educational
environment, inspiring confident students who are willing to take
intellectual risks and meet academic challenges with openness,
enthusiasm, a willingness to solve problems and to make
thoughtful decisions. Ultimately, we create an atmosphere that
addresses the unique needs of our students in a changing society
and culminates with their becoming active citizens and responsible stewards
of our world.
Our area of greatest need is our unrestricted annual fund – operations. Gifts to our annual fund enable us to bridge the gap between the cost of tuition and the actual price to educate a child. Simply said, gifts to our Annual Fund enable us to keep our doors open. Other needs include scholarship. Unfortunately, we are not able to meet all of the demonstrated financial need and additional scholarship support would enable students to attend Northstar who would otherwise be unable to attend. We offer financial assistance to our amazing faculty and encourage them to further their education. Donations to faculty professional development would enable them to pursue additional professional development. As we focus on our Strategic Plan, we are planning for an upcoming Capital Campaign. We have received a most generous donation which serves as our first major gift towards this campaign and we welcome additional gifts in this effort. We are most grateful to our wonderful band of volunteers and welcome more! As our Career Academy grows, more community partnerships are needed for our job shadowing and internships and we are always looking for folks to help connect us with others in the community. Our needs cover a wide range and we are most grateful for all of our community support!
Northstar Academy was established in 1996 when local parents
and professionals grew concerned about the lack of educational opportunities
available for children with disabilities and special needs. Parents with nowhere to turn wanted a school
that could serve children with a range of disabilities in a way that worked
best for each child.
Northstar serves 12 of the 13 disability categories as identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Therefore, we serve a diverse population with a wide range of ability levels. Some of the disability categories we serve are: Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Specific Learning Disability, and Developmental Delay.
In 1996, Northstar was licensed to serve students 1st through 12th grade. That first year, Northstar served 14 students. Northstar now serves 90-100 full time students, kindergarten through 12th grade. In 2014, Northstar launched Northstar Career Academy, a part-day school offering vocational/technical courses to students’ ages 16-22. Northstar has also expanded its offerings to include summer school, summer enrichment courses and an extended day program.
Northstar serves students who are parentally placed and students who are placed by public school systems. Northstar serves students who reside throughout Central Virginia. Northstar currently partners with 16 public school systems across Virginia but develops new partnerships as school systems reach out for educational services. Rolling admissions is offered throughout the school year. Our student/teacher ratio is 5:1 in lower school and 8:1 in middle and upper school.
It is an exciting time at Northstar as
we build our capacity to serve more students by adding programs, and reflecting
on the strengths of our current program and how we can improve our outcomes.
When our Career Academy launched; we offered four courses: Materials Handling, Health Occupations, Business Administration/IT, and Construction and Maintenance. Students received employment social skills instruction along with instruction in one of the four courses. An integral component of each course was the job shadowing opportunity that allowed students to observe and apply learned skills. Our Career Academy matches students’ abilities, interests and skills with real needs in the workplace thus helping them to become contributing members of their community.
As I reflect on our past achievements and current goals, I feel confident that we are providing an excellent educational experience for students who struggle with academic, physical or social challenges. Families often describe their decision to come to Northstar as transformational. A few years ago, a past parent shared her son’s story: “My son hated school before coming to Northstar. He felt powerless, with absolutely no control over his life. But, he quickly became comfortable with the unique Northstar dynamic that combines disabilities, intelligence, humor and talent, all in one. I never before witnessed such a diverse, non-judgmental group of kids who support and accept one another, and we are very grateful to have found Northstar.
Every student who crosses our door step comes here for a reason. Each student becomes part of our family. We work together to help each student have their own personal success and feel confident in their abilities. As a team, we weave a tapestry that represents each student, family and teacher, creating a community devoted to ensuring that each student reaches their goals and aspirations – whatever they may be.
As we go forward we will continue to provide a warm, welcoming environment where students are accepted and celebrated for who they are.
Dr. Patricia “Pat” West
Northstar Academy serves students across Central Virginia. Fifty percent of Northstar students are
placed thorough public school systems. The
counties listed represent former or current school system partnerships. We endeavor to add more partnerships and to
expand our footprint. Metro Richmond, Tri-cities Region, Richmond City, Central Virginia, Brunswick, Caroline, Charles City, Chester, Chesterfield County, Colonial Heights, City, Dinwiddie County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Goochland County, Hanover County, Henrico County, King William County, Powhatan County, Louisa County, New Kent County, Prince George County, and Prince Edward County.
Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services
American Diabetes Association
Childtime at Windmill Watch
County of Henrico Division of Fire
Ernst and Young
Field of Dreams Farm
Foster Plumbing and Heating, Inc.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
The Grace Place
Greene Elementary School
MeadeWestVaco - WestRock
The Preschool at the West End
Quioccasin Veterinary Hospital
Reid Elementary School
Three Chopt Animal Clinic
Virginia Breast Cancer Association
Walter Jara Painting
Westhampton Day Care
Here at Northstar, we
understand that the world of school is not just about learning academic
skills. In order to be successful in
school and in life, students need good social skills. A trademark program of
Northstar is our signature social skills program which created in collaboration
with the Kluge Rehabilitation Center. It is a customized program that equips
our population to establish positive relationships and to be successful members
of our communities. Social skill interventions are rooted in
assessing students’ executive functioning abilities – both behavior regulation
and meta-cognitive development. These executive
functions form the basis of how students approach social situations and solve interpersonal
Northstar Career Academy
offers career/technical education courses to include: Business Administration,
Materials Handling, Health Occupations, and Construction and Maintenance,
Veterinary Assisting, Hospitality, and Machining. Students have the opportunity to take our part-day courses while in high school, in college, while home-schooling, or as a post-secondary training option.
The cornerstone of our approach is grounding skills instruction with on-the-job experiences. Weekly job shadowing and/or internship opportunities are embedded in each course.
Our curriculum focuses on skills critical to success in each given field with consideration for our students’ special learning needs. We differentiate instruction with consideration for learning strengths, pacing needs, and employment goals. Students have the opportunity to earn industry certification and Career Readiness Certificates.
Technical skills are taught with an emphasis on social skills in the workplace. Students learn about professionalism, communication, problem-solving, and self-management.
The culmination of this approach is a student well-equipped to face the demands of changing workplaces in a dynamic economy with work experience, a local network of professional contacts, and the self-advocacy skills necessary to obtain employment.
Extra Curricular: In order to provide a whole school experience, Northstar offers a variety of extracurricular activities to its students including sports, cheer leading, talent shows, art shows, choir, dances and prom. Seniors are recognized at Homecoming, Baccalaureate and graduation each year. Our annual homecoming event is an opportunity for students, alumni, parents, faculty and staff to celebrate their Northstar experience.
Understanding the link between neuroscience research and learning and achievement and using our in-depth knowledge of the brain and its fascinating complexities, our faculty integrates teaching strategies that encourage our students to take intellectual risks that inspire their passion for learning, ultimately preparing them to discover their individual paths to success. We are leaders in our field in using this highly effective neurological research-based program which develops the sensory-cognitive functions that form the foundation for learning, and we are one of the few schools in the Richmond Region currently offering this program during the school year.
Our innovative, arts-infused curriculum provides the opportunity for our students to demonstrate self-expression and understanding, highlighting their abilities and unique, creative perspectives. From our cross-curricular annual arts theme that defines each school year to our Spring Living Gallery project and Arts Festival, our art program inspires creativity, self-expression and learning.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation Serving Richmond & Central Virginia7501 Boulders View Drive, Richmond, VA 23225804-330-7400 | www.tcfrichmond.org