The NWCA Advantage
Northwest Chinese Academy has a number of factors that help distinguish itself in a crowded field of private independent schools and immersion education programs in the greater Portland Area. Some of our favorite things about NWCA are:
Small Class Sizes: Northwest Chinese Academy’s average teacher-to-student ratio is 1:7. Small class sizes mean that teachers are able to spend more time with each student, tailoring their support to make sure that each student can succeed at any given task. With language immersion education, smaller class sizes also mean more time speaking the language in a classroom setting.
Dedicated Teachers: Northwest Chinese Academy teachers are thoroughly invested in the academic and emotional development of their students, and without them, the quality of an NWCA education would not be the same. Our teachers have an average tenure of 4.5 years, including one teacher who has been with the school since its inception. One of our teachers commutes over an hour daily. Six of our 10 teachers have obtained advanced degrees, while the other four are currently studying to obtain them.
Northwest Chinese Academy teachers are always finding creative ways to teach their curriculum, ensuring that students not only learn the material, but enjoy learning as well. In addition to our Chinese homeroom teachers, our two English specialists ensure that all NWCA students read and write as well in English as they do in Mandarin Chinese.
An involved, diverse, and welcoming school community: Northwest Chinese Academy attracts families who value high-quality education and who like to be actively involved in their child’s education. Parents assist other parents with their children’s homework help. NWCA parents know the majority of students on a first-name basis, thanks in part to parents generously donating their time to help with school activities and events.
Northwest Chinese Academy families reflect the diversity of the surrounding Beaverton area. While around 60 percent of NWCA families have some ties to China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong, each NWCA classroom has students with manifold experiences and heritages.
The highest percentage of Mandarin Immersion: The founders of NWCA hoped for a consistently high level of Mandarin Immersion through all grades, and that is one fact that has not changed since day 1. Our 90/10 immersion model, maintained from preschool through fifth grade, as well as our China-based instructional materials, allow children to achieve a level of Chinese fluency on par with their peers in China. Art, Science, Social Studies, Music, and Physical Education are all taught in Chinese. In the older grades, this means the translation of English-language Common Core materials into Chinese, an effort dutifully undertaken by our Chinese grade-level teachers. Our 90/10 model means that, by graduation, our students are comfortable and confident speaking on a range of subjects in both English and Mandarin.
An accelerated math program: Northwest Chinese Academy also uses a China-based math curriculum. This accelerated curriculum means that upon graduation, NWCA students are 12-18 months ahead of their peers in Common Core standardized programs.
More contact hours and more support: The Northwest Chinese Academy school day begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. every day, a longer day than other schools. Our longer day not only provides more contact hours for students to learn, but also allows students more break time to run around and relax, which has been proven to improve focus and material absorption.
Additionally, in grades 1-5, there is a “homework hour” every day from 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. with Chinese speakers on hand to answer any questions. This provides students who don’t speak Mandarin at home an opportunity to receive the support they need to complete their work. This hour-long study hall usually provides adequate time for all students to complete their homework, meaning that when students leave school, they can focus on extracurricular activities or family time without worrying about homework.