Posted on

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!


Posted on

Congratulations to Ianna Rodriguez

Ianna Rodriguez with her teacher, Courtney Noah

Congratulations to Ianna Rodriguez for being SpreadMusicNow’s March Music Student of the Month!

Ianna is a 5th grader at Northwood Academy Charter School. She has been the lead in 3 school plays including Annie in Annie Jr., Baloo in the Jungle Book, and Kelsi in High School Musical 2. Ianna has even been in an outside theater production of The Music Man.

Ianna has played the violin for 4 years and has been a member of the elite bell ensemble for 3 years, playing the music of Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Radiohead, and other classics. As a talented singer, violinist and bell player, Ianna goes above and beyond in all she does. Ianna is someone the whole school looks up to. She is kind, a student leader and stands up for those who are less fortunate.

Posted on

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

Posted on

Olympic Bobsled Medalist Elena Meyers Visits Northwood Academy Charter School

Two-time Olympic bobsled medalist Elana Meyers paid a special visit to Northwood Academy Charter School (4521 Castor Avenue) on May 20th, delivering a speech to the K-8 students about setting goals, dreaming big and persevering in the face of setbacks. Northwood was one of two schools in the nation to win a school visit from an Olympic athlete through Classroom Champions, a program that connects athlete mentors with students at high-need schools.

Elana Meyers and Miss Cappuccino 5th Grade Class - FINAL

Elena Myers and Northwood Students

Northwood, the only school in Pennsylvania currently participating in Classroom Champions, won the contest by submitting a video that detailed how students were cheering on Team USA in Sochi.  Meyers is an athlete mentor with Classroom Champions and has been working with Miss Cappuccino’s fifth grade class at Northwood since September 2013.

Classroom Champions is aimed at providing students with accessible, long-term role models who motivate and educate them on topics like goal-setting, fair play and healthy habits. At the same time, it’s geared towards increasing digital literacy. The students communicate with their athlete mentor each month via video messages and real-time video conferencing.

About Classroom Champions:

Classroom Champions connects top performing athletes with students at high-need schools. By using video lessons and live video chats, athlete mentors motivate students to recognize their potential, set goals and dream big, while educating them in the practical use of communications technology. For more information, visit

Posted on

Dedication of New Wing Finally Brings Northwood Students Together

Northwood ribbon cutting web

Valerie Jefferson, Northwood Academy’s Board President, and son Steven Jefferson, cut the ceremonial ribbon for the new wing (center). They are joined on stage by Northwood students, Northwood CEO Amy Hollister (raised arm) and to the right, Marc Collazzo, Chief of Staff for PA State Rep. John Taylor, and Northwood principals Cindy Carey and Patricia Mychack.

On Tuesday morning, February 5, 2013, Northwood Academy Charter School unveiled their new gymnasium, cafeteria and primary education wing for grades K-3 with a commemorative dedication ceremony. The dedication began with a procession of all 788 Northwood students, faculty and staff members around the back of the school building and up through the front doors of the new wing.

Following the procession and ribbon-cutting ceremony, the K-3 students saw their new classrooms for the first time. The dedication represented a “Coming Home” for all members of the Northwood Academy community.

The school was founded at its Castor Avenue location in 2005, but due to a shortage of space it has been six years since all of its students attended school on this single campus.  The addition has been in the works for four years.