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What Does STEM Education Look Like in a Blue Ribbon Award-Winning Private School?

STEM education at NCA

At Northshore Christian Academy, our scholastic environment is shaped not only by our shared Christian values but also a commitment to bring a love of science, technology, engineering, and math to kids who will come of age in an increasingly tech-integrated world.

 “These kids are going to be designing the next big thing,” says Raine Sherwood, STEM teacher at NCA. “The more hands-on education we can get them, the more successful I believe they’ll be.”

STEM education is vital in preparing students for success in careers across virtually all sectors. Between challenging math coursework, engineering classes, and award-winning extracurricular opportunities, students at Northshore have endless opportunities to prepare for a technology-oriented future.

An A+ private school education starts with a strong foundation in math and science 

STEM education at NCA starts (but doesn’t end!) with a strong foundation in math and science. On average, our students test a year above grade level in math, with second graders navigating advanced third-grade math and many fourth-graders working at a sixth-grade level. Graduates consistently qualify for honors and AP math classes in high school.

Students also have excellent science opportunities throughout their time at NCA. Elementary school classes provide a strong foundation, with science learning integrated with language arts, social studies, math, and Bible studies. Middle school students learn chemistry, earth science, and life science, with pre-AP physics as an elective option. We also have a dedicated science lab for 6-8 grade students to provide hands-on learning experiences. 

A leading engineering program

At NCA, we begin instilling a love of engineering in Kindergarten. Elementary school students spend 40 minutes in the engineering lab each week, learning about structures and materials as well as building key computer skills. All NCA students are given hands-on experience with computer programming, with at least one unit of coding at every grade level. Middle school students build off of this foundation through more advanced elective classes with the opportunity to take courses in engineering, advanced coding, web and game design, and video production.

A key component of engineering education at NCA is Project Lead the Way, a program that focuses on empowering students to solve real-life problems through hands-on activities. Students learn how to build simple machines and program a robot that they build themselves. Engineering is taught as a specialist class rather than a homeroom activity so students can benefit from dedicated classroom time and a specialized STEM teacher.

Tech opportunities in and out of the classroom

Throughout the week, NCA students regularly use Chromebooks, iPads, and PCs. Younger students focus on basic computer use and keyboarding. Older students learn programming, Microsoft and G Suite skills, web design, and more. The school is even beginning an augmented reality experience program in January in which students will be able to virtually explore buildings around the world.

There are even more opportunities for students to get involved in STEM outside of the classroom. NCA has 3 award-winning robotics teams at the middle school level, plus a 5th grade robotics team and 5 junior Robogators teams in 2nd through 4th grade.

Robotics projects often involve coming up with solutions to real-world problems. Most robotics projects take place in a dedicated STEM room, which includes specialized equipment and a variety of materials for students to use.

Emphasis on responsible technology use

A complete STEM education isn’t only about strong technology and science skills: students also learn digital citizenship. NCA emphasizes teaching students to use technology responsibly and honor God in technology use. Our school uses programs and guidelines from Common Sense Media and Protect Young Eyes.

Some students also have the opportunity to give back to their community through the tech ambassador program. Tech-savvy students who are doing well academically can apply to give teachers and peers additional support with technology, such as setting up Chromebooks or troubleshooting Google Classroom issues. Tech ambassadors meet once a month to learn about new tools and get special recognition for their service at the end of the year.

A Blue Ribbon Award-winning private school integrated with the local tech community

Students at our school benefit from the local tech community in Washington State. NCA students often have the opportunity to listen to parents and guest speakers talk about their work in STEM fields. NCA’s rich connection with the local tech community gives unique opportunities to bring real-world context to our students’ learning experiences.  

NCA is proud to be a 2019 National Blue Ribbon Award-Winning school. Our commitment to excellence starts with our shared values of biblical teaching and real-world STEM applications. With engaging activities and a clear focus on STEM, our students are highly prepared for a technology-integrated future. 

Contact us today to learn more about our STEM programs




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