Home Travel consultant NSA expands student offerings – The Suffolk News-Herald

NSA expands student offerings – The Suffolk News-Herald


After going through a pandemic, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy headteacher Debbie Russell said school officials are delighted everyone is back with some COVID-19 restrictions as they expands its programming during the current school year.

“We hope this will be a normal year for our students, faculty and staff,” said Russell, “and we look forward to hosting many events and activities throughout the year to reconnect with our community. “

Among the additions this school year – a new Global Connections curriculum in junior high and the expansion of the language arts curriculum in sixth grade.

The NSA also has a partnership with Pursue Languages ​​which started before COVID-19 but was delayed due to international travel restrictions. It also has a partnership with Constellation Learning to allow high school students to take language of choice or world classes online.

The school added a mentorship program for new senior school students and renovated its fitness center.

The Primary School Global Connections curriculum centers around four concepts – form, belief, perspective and connection – and through inquiry-based learning, students will learn about the attributes, beliefs and values ​​of those with different traditions and cultures. It is intended, she said, to take a thematic approach, with most units focusing on one topic, as classes will then explore how different cultures relate to that topic.

“At our elementary school, we saw the need to expand our curriculum to provide our students with a more global perspective and the opportunity to explore other cultures,” Russell said.

The expansion of the sixth-grade language arts curriculum was intentional and based on current and future student needs, she said. Students will be exposed to a variety of genres, and while reading novels for the whole class, they will continue their independent reading to develop their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. And by focusing on Greek and Latin roots, she expects students to improve their vocabulary.

“The sixth-grade language arts program is designed to engage students and improve their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills,” Russell said.

Through the Pursue Languages ​​partnership, seven Spanish students will attend NSA this year, and middle school students will have the opportunity to participate in a three-week immersive global experience through the Independent Schools Cultural Alliance.

The partnership started as an exchange program in 2019, when the school hosted 12 Spanish students for two weeks. The NSA students were scheduled to visit the same students in June 2020, but the pandemic forced the trip to be postponed.

At the end of the current school year, a group of NSA students will go to Spain for two weeks, and in the future, Russell said, they want to offer students the opportunity to spend a year at the foreigner in Spain.

This year, the school also welcomes students from China, Brazil and Germany.

Students can also develop their language skills through the NSA’s partnership with the Constellation Learning Institute. Russell said the program allows students with scheduling conflicts or who have an interest in a class the school doesn’t offer to take a language course led by teachers from other independent schools.

Russell said it was an idea of ​​a few high school students to have a more formal student mentorship program, and they worked with the high school administration to develop and implement one.

“The program has already proven to be very helpful for students,” said Russell, “and we are extremely proud of our student mentors for all of their hard work and leadership.”

The changes to campus programming and improvements, she said, align with the NSA Saints’ values ​​of character, community, excellence and discovery, while “solidifying our mission of ‘engage, inspire and empower our students’.

The school, with 927 students in kindergarten through 12th grade – 277 in grades nine through 12, 192 in grades six through eight, and 458 in kindergarten through fifth grade, which includes both its main campus on Pruden Boulevard and its view of the harbor campus in North Suffolk – is experiencing “greater demand for enrolment” and has seen increases across the board.

She said the school has taken steps to become more inclusive since the summer of 2020, when a group of current and former NSA students and board members, known as Anti-Racist Saints , called on it to recognize its past history and origins as a segregationist school and its contribution to injustice.

Russell said the school surveyed the NSA community on issues of inclusivity and multiculturalism and hired a consultant to work with members of the school community “to develop a plan, implement a plan with specific initiatives to continue our work in this area, to further diversify our board”. , faculty, staff, and student body as well as the training of our faculty, staff, and administrators, among other initiatives. He also has a page on his website that highlights the NSA’s efforts in the areas of inclusivity and multiculturalism.

The school is also working to navigate its way through the proposed rezoning for the Port 460 Logistics Center project. Russell said the school “will continue to work with all parties to mitigate any potential issues arising from the possible development”.

As an independent school, it has been able to “pivot and adapt” the program based on data and trends in student achievement and development. She said her staff continues to work to identify students’ academic and socio-emotional needs to remove barriers to learning.

“We are committed to the intellectual, physical, emotional and social development of each student,” Russell said. “Our program balances expectations of excellence with a sensitivity to individual differences and learning styles.”