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Educating The Whole Child

Letter From The Head of School

Dear Families - Just a few weeks ago, I watched John Lewis’ televised memorial with my partner, Erica. We listened as three presidents reflected on Lewis’ momentous accomplishments fighting for civil rights, spearheading change, speaking to millions at the March on Washington – the list goes on....

About Us

  • 16students Average class size
  • Over1 million in financial aid awarded every year
  • 2/3 offaculty & staff identify as people of color
  • 60%of faculty hold advanced degrees
  • Over 300graduates attending over 70 prestigious secondary schools, colleges, & universities worldwide
  • 99% ofprivate high school acceptance of full or partial scholarships
Michelle & Huck

Letter From The Founder

Dearest Families - 31 years ago this week, Jennifer Diaz, Karen Bell, Nance Tovar, and I were putting the finishing touches on our little school at 4500 Redwood Road in beautiful Oakland, California. On September 11, 1989, we walked hand-in-hand through the doors of Northern Light School with 12 little eager, excited, and passionate hearts and minds ready to take on the world and make history...

Throughout the years, we have witnessed countless miracles taking place at Northern Light School; young men and women proving time and again that, Impossible is Nothing. To this day, our incredible graduates from the class of 1995 on up through our most recent eighth grade class of 2020 continue to make their mark in history throughout the world. They are my reason for hope, they send my weary spirit soaring to incredible heights time and time again, and I am confident that one day, one of them will walk through the doors of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., and share with this country what they learned at Northern Light School, and how those lessons can change the world. 

As I look to next week, the first day of school, and our 31st year, I do so with great excitement, anticipation, and hope. During this strange and challenging time for all of us, the children and our educators have been thrown a curveball. However, when we look back in history, many of our greatest leaders were thrown curveballs time and time again; they were forced to face obstacles that seemed unsurmountable, mountains just too high to climb, with backs that had been whipped and spirits nearly defeated. Somehow, with tremendous faith, they found the inner strength to carry-on. From Harriet Tubman, Northern Light School’s namesake, who followed the Drinking Gourd to freedom; to Frederick Douglass who taught us to “agitate, agitate agitate"; to beautiful little Ruby Bridges who should be a symbol for us all during these challenging times that no matter the situation, perseverance and dedication to education is what matters most. We have all been shaken to the core by this pandemic, but it will not destroy us. We will emerge from the dark and from hours of uncertainty stronger and more committed to our purpose in this life.

Yesterday, Kamala Harris, candidate for the Vice Presidency of this United States shared with us that her mom had taken her marching in the stroller through the streets of our beloved town Oakland, to stand up for and to speak out against the injustices that plagued society. She stated that this is what molded her into the human being she is today, determined and dedicated to justice and righteousness for all. At that moment, I too thought back to June 19, 1964, when my mom and dad had taken us on an incredible journey across the United States to stand 200 feet from the door of the United States Senate Chambers where we could hear the triumph of cheers, the result of overwhelming joy after 54 days of filibustering, and the final passing of the Civil Rights Bill. Just out of second grade, I stood there holding fast to the hands of my mother and father who lived each day of their lives encouraging me to always seek love. From that, day forward, even as a child, I knew I must dedicate my existence to making this country a better place for as many as I could.

On July 17, 2020,  we lost a very special hero; someone whom I have loved so dearly and to whom I continue to look for hope and courage. John Lewis shared, “ We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.” It is not an accident that we are all here together at this moment in time, at Northern Light School--a community; a village that will prove that yes, Impossible is Nothing, and I know that along the way we must and will, “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and save the soul of America”.

Have faith and know that this year will be one of the very best, no matter what.

I love you all so dearly,

Michelle Lewis
Founder, Northern Light School

Distance Learning

In the face of all the challenges associated with COVID-19, we remain more committed than ever to providing our students with an education that fosters their potential and celebrates their brilliance. Not just through big plans and proposals, but by individual acts of connection and care and love that make students feel like they matter – that they can change the world.  

Our goal is to individually support all our students throughout the distance learning phase through rigorous academics, personalized learning, multi-cultural arts programming, student guidance, tech support, and well-balanced schedules that support the “whole child.”  Our divisional teams are energized and committed to providing students with everything they need to be successful and will continue using digital platforms and multimedia tools to make learning more interactive, engaging, and meaningful. And as always, our continued commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice remains that the forefront of our curriculum and program. 

We know we can’t do this work without our incredible partnerships with families.  As we launch into a new school year, we look forward to working together as one community to provide an education that makes a difference – and encourages our children to do the same.
Below is our Back to School Guide for families. Please take a look!

Alumni Stories

At Northern Light School, education does not end when a child ventures forth into our global village.  The sense of community they first encounter in our school is rooted deep within their character, and serves them throughout their lives as they continue to positively impact others, and transform the world into a more thriving, beautiful place. 

Come for a Tour

Welcome to our school! As part of the Admissions process, we ask that all families begin with a visit to Northern Light School in order to paint a clear picture of who we are and what we do. Visiting Northern Light School will give you an opportunity to take a glimpse inside our world - to check out our campus, understand the history of NLS, and learn more about our curriculum, culture, and values.

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Happy Birthday Northern Light School!

We celebrated Northern Light School's 31st birthday with a very special Morning Circle featuring some very special alumni, a cameo from Mr. Maier, and an appearance from Vida Blue!

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