Middle States Review

Northwest High School

Middle States Accreditation for Growth

Validation Team Visit

March 16-19, 2009

Summary Report

Northwest High School is a school to be proud of. Northwest, while being a large school, has maintained a charm. Northwest High School fosters positive relationships. Teachers and administrators support each other in a collaborative environment for the benefit of the students. The school focuses on students and treats them with the utmost respect and dignity.

Northwest has strong leadership. The school has a fine administrative staff, well respected by the faculty and the community. Northwest utilizes its resource teachers well as an instructional council and as part of the leadership team. The I.C. is full of experienced educators who understand that the main focus is on student learning and achievement.

The school from the top down promotes diversity. Northwest has embraced the ever growing and changing student body. Northwest has incorporated diversity in its activities, course offerings, and approach to student learning.

The physical structure of the building is impressive. It is well maintained; the wear and tear that buildings go through is not evident.

Students have a plethora of support at Northwest. The counseling department with 8 counselors, a career counselor, secretaries, a registrar, great programming, materials, and facilities is a most impressive group. The health room also is a safe haven for kids who need medical attention, the nurse and health room technician appear to do a great job.

Students are fortunate at Northwest, they have an enormous amount of extra-curricular options. Sports teams appear well supported by players, parents, community members, and fellow students. Students indicated that there are so many diverse options at the school and so many students get to participate. The ambassadors is an outstanding program that helps students adjust to and feel welcome in a school so large.

Academically, Northwest is a jewel. The Ulysses program is impressive; 14% of the students currently participating and benefitting from a unique approach to instruction. The culminating project leaves the students with the opportunity to apply academic excellence to hands on skills. Promoting the other academies needs to continue. Many great opportunities where students gain career and technical knowledge is crucial in the world of the 21st century. Northwest is focused on making this happen.

Northwest does a fine job of seeing that students have options on both ends of the academic spectrum. Students who struggle in school due to a learning disability or an emotional disability are encouraged and supported to succeed in a regular education setting. This is beneficial to both special education students and those with whom they share classes. High achieving students have 25 A.P. options to select from as well as many honors options. Northwest has made it an objective to encourage participation in least restrictive environments and success in the highest level of coursework attainable.

The validation team was invigorated by the energy level of the students and staff at Northwest and impressed by the school’s accomplishments in its short history. The school’s commitment to the AFG process is commendable. As with every good school, there is always a desire to improve. The validation team highlighted several recommendations in the text of this document. The team would like to take one more opportunity to emphasize a few key items.

The mission statement hits all the key points needed to make it a part of the school’s philosophy. It certainly is clear on creating the proper environment and doing the things that demonstrate a belief in all students’ success. It needs to also highlight a diverse student body. This is increasingly important as Northwest continues to become more diverse in race, ethnicity, religion, etc…

The school should be praised for posting the mission statement throughout hallways, offices, and classrooms. The mission statement is explained to students at the beginning of the year and is enclosed in the August mailing. However, the mission statement needs to be in the student agenda book, course selection guide, and every major publication. This school philosophy needs to be more infused in the school community.

With regards to the school’s goals and objectives, the validation team recognizes that the first objective dealing with student achievement is a reflection of a larger goal set by Montgomery County. However, the team is concerned with the scope and incremental assessment of the goal and the action plans. It is essential that the school have a system in place to assess how to deal with an objective when it is set at 100%, but may be unlikely to be reached. It is a positive to set lofty goals and we commend the school for that, but is the leadership team looking at the data every summer sufficient enough? The school needs to set benchmarks to be able to judge success in a more incremental manner.

Financing is an area where there were concerns. Some fees are being cut for students and even though per pupil allotment is being raised by $30, pursuit of grants and other alternative funding should be explored by the school. The boosters are a great source of relief financially to many of the schools extra-curricular programs. Continued support and expansion of the Boosters and any other sources is crucial. Exploring business and community partnerships may be a way increase and diversify funding sources.

Northwest has changed over the years and the safety and security of the school needs to reflect this. Since areas of the building have been added, rooms should be renumbered. Traffic flow should be examined in the upper parking lot. There seems to be a lot of traffic in the morning and the afternoon. It is unclear as to where cars should go when they pull into the parking lot. There are a lot of lines in the lot. Clarification as to where all vehicles should go, busses, cars, etc… and someone to direct traffic are essential.

Security in the school is an area of concern. The team recommends that a person, guard or otherwise, is always located at the front door. The school is open and welcoming which is a positive, but with so many safety concerns with schools in other parts of the country; all schools need to tighten up entry to their buildings.

Even with these concerns, Northwest High School is an impressive place. The commendations far outweigh the recommendations. No doubt students learn in a positive environment and are encouraged to achieve. The school has developed action plans that seek to help students achieve the objectives of the school. The school meets all 12 standards indicated by The Accreditation for Growth Protocol.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 April 2022 )
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