Because each of our students presents with very individualized and complex needs, NSA provides a range of additional resources that allow us to customize a student’s and family’s school experience to address those specific needs. Our goal is to wrap services around students and families with enough intensity to promote lasting change.
Each day, groups of students from NSA go out into the community to share their gifts with vulnerable members of our community. Serving food at soup kitchens, cooking for homeless shelters, tutoring local elementary students, helping settle refugees, leading activities in retirement communities are just a few of the activities our students engage in. In addition to these local activities, 12-14 students travel for a week-long service learning trip to another part of the country to engage in service related activities. Service learning is a highly effective way to engage students in the community in healthy and productive ways and helps students realize the wonderful gifts they have to share with others.
There are times when the stress of school is so overwhelming that a student will refuse to attend school. This strategy of avoiding the stress of school can have a great impact on how students cope with other stresses. Avoidance can quickly become a self-destructive go-to strategy for anxious students to manage the stresses in their lives. By partnering with the student and parents, we develop a plan to help a student attend school successfully and empower them with effective coping strategies to address future stresses.
Decades of research indicates that an adult outside of the family who takes an interest in the child and nurtures their development is essential to building resilience in children. The NSA Mentor Program trains men and women to mentor students for up to four hours per week. The goal of the mentor relationship is to share in healthy recreational activities, develop a valued relationship, and to provide parents with respite from the stresses of parenting.
After School Programming:
North Shore Academy offers a wide range of after school recreation opportunities that occur within a structured, safe and nurturing environment. Working closely with students, parents and NSA staff, we seek to offer meaningful and positive experiences for our students that enhance self-esteem, healthy relationships and the attainment of social skills. For many students, an extended school day is also essential for providing structure during the vulnerable after-school hours.
There are times when managing the complexities of parenting can be overwhelming. We have developed a variety of resources to allow us to develop partnerships with parents that try to accommodate your busy schedule as well as your family’s unique needs. We provide a wide range of support including informal problem solving over the phone, parent support groups, parent education groups and weekly family therapy meetings.
Our goal for every student is to experience leadership opportunities. NSA has an active student council with a member from each classroom actively working to enhance the school environment for students.
North Shore Academy is a member of the Chicago Area Alternative Education League (CAAEL). This league provides a chance for students to travel and compete in the sports of flag football, softball, basketball, bowling, and volleyball. The focus on teamwork and sportsmanship provide students with experiences that can enhance their ability to work well with others.
Arts are an essential form of expression for all students and an important outlet for student creativity. We offer classes and after school activities in the areas of art (including ceramics), music and theater. We also bring in visiting artists to share their craft with our students in Arts workshops.
Substance Abuse Prevention:
NSA partners with OMNI Youth Services (www.omniyouth.org) to provide school-based prevention services for students.