The Secondary Program (6-12)

Small Secondary School

The NSCS program was designed to transform the secondary school experience for its students by providing a smaller, safer, more intimate learning environment aimed at accelerating student learning through the creation of meaningful, sustained relationships among teachers, students and families in the school. In a small school setting, students and teachers at NSCS share in developing a school culture that supports learning. Relationships between students and adults are strong, trusting and ongoing. Students at NSCS have more opportunities to participate in co-curricular programming and athletics, providing them with opportunities to develop leadership skills and the ability to work cooperatively on teams.

Smaller secondary schools have been credited with improving student achievement. Studies conducted in Chicago and New York City have shown that smaller schools resulted in improved student achievement as measured by test scores and dropout rates. A recent study of urban, suburban, and rural schools in four states found that smaller schools helped close the achievement gap—as measured by test scores—between students from poor communities and students from more affluent ones. Based on such successes, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has begun a campaign to finance the establishment of many more small high schools in the United States.

Secondary Methodology

In 2007, NSCS amended its charter to incorporate a small high school program aimed at extending and expanding its successful K-8 program. Founders sought curriculum and an instructional methodology aimed at providing accelerated learning in a safe environment with a focus on character education and the development of virtuous citizen leaders. In 2009, NSCS became the Idaho’s first public, tuition-free school authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

Three areas of focus were identified: international issues, economics, and business. International-mindedness requires staff and students alike to look beyond the community we live in – to seek to participate in a respectful and knowledgeable manner with the culturally rich and diverse global community. Our school hosts exchange students from countries all over the world: Germany, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine, and Denmark. In addition, teachers provide opportunities for overseas travel, not only for educational purposes, but also for service learning. The business and economics strand extends from the introductory program in the elementary school to the secondary school and includes courses such as personal finance, marketing, web design, business and technology, macro and micro economics, entrepreneurship, and leadership.

By weaving business, economics, communication and leadership skills into the fabric of education, NSCS aims to educate future business, civic, and community leaders. NSCS’s educational philosophy promotes high expectations and a school culture that supports achievement. A goal of “college readiness” will be achieved for all students regardless of their career aspirations.