Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about North Central Academy. If you do not see your question answered here, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Is North Central Academy a private school?

North Central Academy is a public school academy, also called a charter school. There is no tuition, but parents do make an extra commitment when they choose to enroll their children here. They must commit to attending culminating events and meeting with their child's teacher(s) two or three times per year to discuss academic progress. Our operating funds come from the state of Michigan on a per-pupil basis. We receive the same amount per student as other local public schools.

What is a charter school?

A charter school is actually a public school district authorized through Michigan law and the Department of Education. Two of the major differences between a charter school and a traditional public school are that we have no geographic boundaries and we are a pure school of choice; our students attend North Central Academy because their parents have chosen to send them here.

Who holds North Central Academy accountable?

Like all public schools, we are accountable to the Michigan Department of Education and must abide by all laws, including participating in the state testing program. In addition, we are accountable to Lake Superior State University, which granted our charter. A representative of the university attends each of our school board meetings, reviews all of our documentation (including teacher certification) and makes unannounced visits to check on the quality of our program. Our highest level of accountability is to our customers: our students and their parents. If we do not satisfy our customers, they will not continue their relationship with North Central Academy.

What is Integrated Visual Learning?

At North Central Academy, we know that gifted learners are visual learners. Gifted learners can easily make pictures in their minds of what they are reading, instructions they are given and consequences of their actions. NCA staff members work to help all of our students learn like gifted learners learn. Integrated Visual Learning (IVL) is an optometric-based process. The IVL process combines vision procedure with cognitive processing drills and mental and motor skills. This combination creates a unique program designed to strengthen students' visual learning. Eighty percent of the information we receive is processed visually, so the better we learn visually, the higher our achievement.

Do you offer programs for students with special needs?

Our program compliments gifted students as well as students with special education needs. Our multi-age model and visual teaching methods match those of gifted learners. Anytime our students score high on initial assessments, we watch carefully and plan accordingly. We find it very easy to accommodate our gifted learners mostly because our lessons are taught using brain-based, visual learning strategies that have been developed by watching how gifted students learn. Lower elementary students are provided accelerated instruction within their classroom, while upper elementary students receive instruction in self-contained classrooms where the NCA curriculum is both accelerated and enriched.

You have high academic expectations, but what about the arts and movement?

At North Central Academy, we offer band, music, choir, art and physical education. All students grades K-12 have opportunities to participate in arts and movement activities.

What are the North Central Academy hours?

North Central Academy is in session 8:00 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

What else makes North Central Academy unique?

The fine arts emphasis is uniquely taught and valued at NCA. See "How our Program Works" to learn more.

Multi-aging is another way North Central Academy is unique. Educational research has shown that students in multi-aged groupings have a better attitude toward themselves and toward school, and experience improved learning. Students and teachers develop strong relationships, and less time is spent each fall getting to know one another and classroom procedures.

What is character education?

In addition to traditional academics, the character traits of optimism, getting along, work ethic, responsibility, respect and kindness are modeled, taught and graded at all levels on a regular basis at North Central Academy.

What is Choice Theory?

Dr. William Glasser's Choice Theory provides the basis for all we do at North Central Academy. Choice Theory explains that almost all human behavior is chosen and that we are driven by our needs for survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun — the most important of which is love and belonging. Students learn the Seven Caring Habits of supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting and negotiating differences, as opposed to the Seven Deadly Habits of criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing and bribing/rewarding to control.

What about school rules and discipline?

At North Central Academy, we have one school rule for all students and adults: "Do the right thing, because it's the right thing to do." We teach our students to do the right thing not because someone is going to reward us or we will not be punished, but simply because it's the right thing to do. Our primary goal is to prevent discipline problems by developing good relationships with our students and creating classrooms that are need-fulfilling for students. We teach students a process for talking through their problems that promotes self-evaluation for improved behavior. We also believe that no student has the right to disrupt the learning of others. Students who disrupt the classroom are removed from the classroom setting until they have developed a plan for improving their behavior.