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Experiences and Accomplishments at Northwood Academy Charter School

“A year of experiences and accomplishments” is how many at Northwood Academy Charter School would categorize this year.

Northwood Academy Charter School, located at 4621 Castor Avenue, is used to exciting events throughout the year, but this year brought special experiences that will not soon be forgotten.

Starting in October, students in first, second, third and fifth grade joined together for a service project with the goal of bringing clean water to some people in  Africa.  Throughout lessons and simulations, the students came to understand the difficulty of accessing water in other countries and the health concerns associated with unsanitary water.   The students and staff had the pleasure of working with the organization, Wish Them Well, located in Montgomery County whose mission is to provide clean water to the people of Togo, Africa.  Amina Capaldi, Wish Them Well’s founder, met with the students and helped them understand her experience and life in Togo, Africa, and her organization’s mission.  After several bake sales and donations from Northwood families and staff, the students were able to accomplish their goal of raising $2,000!  The well in Africa will reflect the hard work of the students with a sign in their honor.  It is with great pride that the students reflect on their service project this year.  Alexis Nana, a third grader at Northwood Academy, said it best when asked about her experience this year, “I know every time the people of Africa drink the clean water, they will think of us and know that we are thinking of them, too.”

An unusual elementary experience is taking place at Northwood Academy. Many of us do not think of ballroom dancing and school together, but in Northwood Academy’s 5th grade, the two go hand in hand.  All 5th-grade students participate in Dancing Classrooms Philly, a program whose goal is to teach focus, perseverance, and social skills through dance.  The 5th-grade students enter this program feeling anxious and excited and they exit with confidence and grace.  After several months of practice, the 5th graders can be seen doing the Tango, Samba and more as their parents proudly look on at the culminating event.  Northwood Academy is proud to announce that the student finalists for this year brought back the gold in the first two rounds of competition and the silver medal in the finals.  Dancing Classrooms’ motto is “transforming lives- one step at a time” and that can be seen through the 5th-grade students at Northwood Academy.

The ability to experience the power that history holds is not something that can simply be taught, sometimes it has to be felt and seen.  So how do you bring history to life?  You welcome experiences outside of textbooks, and that’s just what Northwood Academy did in May.  Northwood Academy’s 5th-grade students bore witness to history recently as they welcomed Holocaust survivor, Gunter Hauer.  Mr. Hauer came to Northwood Academy through the educational program offered by the Holocaust Awareness Museum, located at 10100 Jamison Ave. in Philadelphia.  The students listened intently as the 99-year-old, Mr. Hauer relayed his life story with the message of hope.  “I was lucky,” Mr. Hauer said of his life.  This unique perspective offered both students and staff the chance to be reflective and, more importantly, grateful.

On a lighter note, students stepped into historical shoes at the recent 3rd grade Wax Museum.  Students wore costumes and summarized the life of famous people through history.  Parents, students, and staff mingled with student versions of  Albert Einstein, Oprah Winfrey, Betsy Ross, Barack Obama and more.  All of these historical encounters have become memories that will last long into the future.

You don’t often get the chance to change another’s life, learn a new skill and bear witness to history, but the students of Northwood Academy Charter School accomplished all this and more in one school year!


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STEM at Northwood Academy Charter School

STEM (science, technology and math) is alive and well at Northwood Academy Charter School!  Aside from the typical science, technology and math classes that you would expect in an elementary school, the students at Northwood Academy are immersed in programs and presentations that demonstrate the value of STEM in our world.  

Through a partnership with iPraxis, an organization that focuses on inspiring students to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the students at Northwood Academy are given the opportunity to be mentored and expand their knowledge.  The 6th grade students were recently taught lessons by iPraxis president, Jeremiah White. He explored the effects on human inventions and ideas over time.  Mr. White challenged the students to imagine their dreams becoming a reality and the work required to make that happen.  There are even recent discussions on creating an Innovation Lab at the school where students could create and learn about patents.  Giving the students the resources to make their dreams come to life is thrilling for all involved.

In March, Northwood was given the privilege of hosting guest speaker, Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, a medical physicist who is breaking ground in the realm of cancer treatment using lasers.  Dr. Green’s message was one of hope.  Using personal tragedy as a motivator, Dr. Green decided that the current treatment of cancer was not enough and with that came her drive towards a career in physics.  The 8th grade audience was in awe of Dr. Green’s ability to rise above adversity and lead a life dedicated to science.  Presenters such as Dr. Green are life changing role models for our youth, and Northwood Academy recognizes the opportunity to provide such inspiration to their students.

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Throughout the third trimester, several 7th grade students have chosen to be part of an elective class hosted by The Cancer Treatment Center of America.  Northwood Academy’s ongoing relationship with CTCA has expanded this year thanks in part to CTCA’s new CEO, Nancy Hesse.   This unique learning experience was offered to students who are interested in careers in the medical field.  This off campus classroom is being taught by surgeons, nurse practitioners, dieticians  and genetic counselors.  The students have the chance to view the medical field in practice and the see the dedication that these careers require.

STEM is an acronym that is not just about teaching crucial subject matter, but creating opportunities beyond what a classroom can offer.  Health Fairs, Pi Day, Robotics Club, Science Fairs and guest speakers make STEM come to life for Northwood Academy students.  With all the motivation, information and inspiration being provided Northwood Academy feels assured that future scientists, technology pioneers, engineers and mathematicians are among their student body.

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Northwood Academy Charter School Update

At Northwood Academy Charter School, students are gaining knowledge well beyond their textbooks. Northwood Academy Charter School, which has been part of the Frankford community for 10 years, is offering programs such as Service Learning and Classroom Champions in addition to traditional subjects. These programs give students opportunities to expand their knowledge and sense of community. The focus of this year’s Service Learning projects is West Africa. Each classroom plays a specific role in developing a plan to help others. This will be accomplished through public service announcements to raise awareness of the plight of many in West Africa, providing hygiene and school kits as well as care package items that will be sent to those in need in West Africa.

Ramatoulaye Sow (drums), Khayir Golphin and Markeida Genece (basket).

Ramatoulaye Sow (drums), Khayir Golphin and Markeida Genece (basket).

In their classrooms, students are creating water experiments to show the difference between filtered and unfiltered water, along with items such as drums and African games to show cultural pieces. Students had the unique privilege of interviewing and making food with several community members from West Africa. There is even a kente cloth after school club.   Inside the school, an African village exhibit is being constructed with a miniature home, clay masks (via a Claymobile visit), interlocking map and more. This hands-on experience provides students the opportunity to actively participate in their learning.

The idea of being an upstanding, empathetic citizen is instilled in all the students through service trips with local organizations such as Cradles to Crayons, and the Cancer Treatment Center of America. Many students still comment on their experiences years after their occurrence.

Kiersten Davis, a 6th grade student remembers her experience of going to the Cancer Treatment Center back in 2013…”I felt good about myself because I had helped someone else that day by singing them a song. I wanted to make the people feel better while they were dealing with a difficult situation”

The Classroom Champions program partners Northwood students with an Olympic athlete. This partnership allows students to communicate directly with their athlete via Skype sessions and other correspondence. The message students get from the athlete is that they need to work towards their goals while learning learn life lessons on overcoming obstacles. These inspirational messages are delivered with groundbreaking projects such as helping to add beacons to a course for a paralympian Lex Gillette to use to improve his training. The students see their traditional lessons come alive in real- life scenarios. As if this wasn’t enough Northwood Academy offers Ballroom Dancing with Dancing Classrooms Philly, Character Education, overnight teambuilding activities at Camp Onas, visits from scientists, police officers, community workers, and more. By the time students leave Northwood Academy they have a wealth of knowledge and experiences that textbooks simply can’t teach. It is the goal of Northwood Academy to send forth citizens that contribute, care, and are lifelong learners.

Northwood Academy is always open to new ways in which our students can be part of the community. If you have any suggestions please contact Amy Kelly, the school’s Community Coordinator at