We offer a warm and personal learning environment in which students experience a sense of social connection and engagement with both teachers and peers.
Mentor Teachers, chosen from across the country—or from the ranks of your own teachers—for their record of moving kids academically fast and delivering exceptionally engaging instruction, work closely with teachers from our partner districts and networks. Learn more about our mentor teachers.
Every day the mentor teacher delivers the day's lesson to his or her own students.
PARTNER TEACHERS from participating schools work intimately with no more than 30 students from their own community.
Each partner teacher holds an opening meeting every day to build a community that offers their children a sense of belonging and a place to be heard. Then, deeply informed by a video of the mentor's lesson, and equipped with all of the mentor's teaching tools—the detailed lesson plan, presentation slides, and student-facing materials—the partner teacher is set to deliver an exceptionally effective class.
Great instruction is the core of exceptional learning. Every day, students participate in expertly planned, live math and ELA classes—virtually or in-person.
Exploration of outstanding, culturally responsive literature is at the heart of our ELA program. All classes are discourse-based, privileging our students’ ideas and voice. Our focus is on making meaning, not following procedures. Carefully selected nonfiction texts build background knowledge that deepens engagement with the novels and fuels student discussion, while grounding it in evidence.
LITERATURE. Each week of the program, students explore one award-winning, beautifully told and illustrated text, chosen to capture children’s imaginations and provoke abundant conversation. Classes include 15 minutes of decoding practice (phonics, sight words, and fluency), a combination of read-aloud and independent reading, and, always, a rich discussion.
WRITING. High expectations drive our class in written expression. Students learn to accept feedback from their teachers and classmates and revise their work to make their ideas understood. Every day, students write and revise for 45 minutes, in kindergarten, writing simple sentences; in second grade, sophisticated multiple-sentence compositions.
NOVEL STUDIES. Reading and discussing an exceptional novel, students discover the deep pleasures of great writing, develop their voice, and build critical thinking skills that they can apply to any novel they read.
CLOSE READING. Like literary detectives, students set out to unpack the meaning of challenging fiction and nonfiction texts of exceptional merit. Their reward: access to the work's deepest insights and claims on our imagination. Newly equipped, they stand ready to tackle above-grade level works on their own with confidence and precision, appreciative of the author's craft and artistry.
Set up students for success in rigorous humanities classes in high school and beyond. In our two high school classes, each week students explore a turning point in American or Global history, exploring literature from and about that time, as well as primary and secondary source materials. The week starts by building essential background knowledge on the turning point and culminates with a rich seminar discussion and a writing assignment.
AMERICAN STUDIES: THE SHIFT OF AMERICAN VALUES. Students will explore the essential questions of "How does a nation shift its thinking—and its core values?" and "How do art and literature reflect those changing values? What do poems and stories tell us about how a nation is thinking?" Students will study four different time periods throughout America's history: the founding of our nation, the rise of industrial capitalism, modernism, and the 1960s.
GLOBAL STUDIES: THE UNTOLD STORIES OF POWER. Students will explore the essential questions of "What is power?" and "Who deserves power?" They will also dive into "How does literature reveal people’s perspectives on power within their societies?" Students will study the Zhou Dynasty, the Achaemenid Empire, the Romanov Dynasty, and the South African National Party during apartheid.
Math is more than the standard algorithm. At NSSI, students build on their own mathematical conceptions, engage the ideas and conjectures of their classmates, and build deep conceptual understanding. By targeting the grade’s essential standards, we prepare students to thrive in the next grade.
PROBLEM SOLVING. Using cognitively guided instruction, each child uses his or her own emerging mathematical conceptions to solve a real-world problem. In the discourse, children learn to share their strategies and listen to those of their classmates, deepening their own understanding of foundational ideas.
MATH FOUNDATIONS. Students gain fluency with math facts and operations through daily practice. Each week engages one or more essential math standards necessary for success in the next grade.
PROBLEM SOLVING. In Problem Solving, students explore a single real-world problem, devise their own approaches, and contrast them with their classmates’ solutions. In the discourse, children see how each approach arrived at the same answer. The beauty of math is revealed, and deep conceptual understanding is built. Students are excited to engage a more efficient procedure next time.
MATH FOUNDATIONS. A second period is devoted to the mastery of essential grade-level math skills (the power standards critical to success in the next grade), extensive practice and generalization, and math fluency. Students grapple with a new problem or idea before the key concept is stamped. Students then have the opportunity to practice similar problems with supportive feedback from their teacher.
Algebra 1 and Geometry are gateway courses for success in advanced math; NSSI provides students a jump start. Our high school classes are primarily aimed at students who are about to enroll in Algebra 1 or Geometry in high school. They can also be used for remediation and credit recovery, or for advanced middle schoolers.
ALGEBRA AND GEOMETRY. Students can take either or both an Algebra 1 and a Geometry class, each highlighting the critical, foundational standards of the discipline and deploying NSSI’s discourse pedagogy to build deep understanding.
Learning is more than academics. Students crave connection and community. Develop safe and fun activities to supplement our academic program. Outdoor sports and games. Art and crafts. Chess. Robotics. Wherever your creativity takes you.
Our partner network