How it Works
North Star is a center for community-based learning located in Hadley, Massachusetts. We offer teenagers a whole new way to approach their lives. Learning is natural; school is optional.
A Customized Academic Plan
Together we will envision and map a personal educational approach.
The academic plan will be based on the teen’s interests while also fulfilling the parent’s needs. North Star facilitates this process through discussion, brainstorming, and recommendations based on 16 years of supporting families through this process.
If the teen is under age 16 we will help you write this plan up as a homeschooling curriculum for submission to your local superintendent. This is a very straightforward process. Your superintendent's office will certify you as a homeschooler. This is the contract that makes leaving school legal for youth under age 16.
Each teen is assigned an advisor. Through regular meetings we help imagine and realize goals, track progress, and facilitate tutorials and community connections.
This relationship is at the core of the North Star experience.
Together North Star staff will meet with your family at least three times per year to envision possibilities and to review achievements. More meetings are scheduled as requested.
Parental involvement is expected. There are many opportunities for parents to be a part of our community.
Classes, Workshops, and Tutorials
North Star offers classes, workshops, and tutorials between the hours of 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM, four days per week.
Our classes represent the interests and passions of our current collection of staff and range from biology to yoga and anywhere in between. Most classes have fewer than 10 students. We have a core staff of long-term professionals and a large, extended staff composed of work study students from all of the five colleges, interns, and community volunteers currently ranging in age from 17 to 70.
North Star provides tutoring in a wide range of subjects, such as mathematics, foreign language, guitar, and computer programming, as available.
A New Way to Approach Learning, Education, and Life
Our focus is on the individual and his or her particular strengths, needs, and goals. We meet teens where they are and support them in becoming whomever they want to be.
Rather than focusing on weaknesses, we ask: "What are you good at? What do you love to do?" and build from there.
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Did You Know?
- North Star was founded in 1996 by two middle school teachers.
- Most North Star teens go on to college, including schools such as Brown, Columbia, MIT, and Amherst College.
- North Star students are not required to take the MCAS.
- North Star offers individual tutoring in a wide variety of subjects.
- Our staff to student ratio is usually about 1:4.
- Few of our families would have left school without the support of North Star.
- North Star families report less stress, increased communication, and improved relationships.
- A traditional high school diploma is not necessary for success in any area of life. All doors are open to non-traditional learners, and our members prove it.