Our newsletters often highlight the cool activities that our students experience week to week at New Summit Academy.
But it felt important to also highlight the PEOPLE that our students get to experience and interact with on a regular basis. Everyone who visits our Atenas campus expresses how amazing it is that our team functions like a well-oiled machine.
Yet, we’re not a machine. We are a network of hearts and souls dedicated to making our community a better place - one where students feel seen, heard, challenged, and supported to be their best self -- a self that opens their mind to experience, learns from mistakes, and sets goals and achieves them.
What makes this possible isn’t great leadership or air tight protocols (although we have those too). It’s the people who make NSA their home - day in and day out - and give their energy, intelligence, and hard work to make New Summit Academy, approaching its 15th year, what it is today.
We hope you enjoy some stats about NSA staff:
--Total number of Employees: 49.5 (the .5 reflects a couple of part-time employees)
--Youngest 25, Oldest 73
--6 under age 30
--20 age 30-40
--18 age 40-50
--6 age 50-60
--1 age 60+
Again, what a beautiful balance of age and experience to guide our students through what often feels like a difficult stage of life - adolescence!
--28% of our Employees have worked for over 10 years at NSA (14) - Yes, that’s right! Almost 1/3 of our staff have been at NSA for over a decade!
--28% (14) Employees have worked for 5-10 years at NSA
--16% (8) Employees have worked for 3-5 years at NSA
--28% (14) Employees have worked for under 3 years at NSA
We are very proud that we have such great retention of employment -- 56% of our staff have been working at NSA for over 5 years!
We have such a mix of experienced veterans and new professionals who bring creative ideas and lots of fresh energy to our campus.
And 32% of our Employees are female, which lends a nice balance to an all-male school.
These statistics may not mean much to you, but they mean a lot to us. Our future newsletters will be highlighting some of these wonderful people who make NSA what it is - an amazing growth experience for our students!
NSA students are beginning the quarter by planning for their continued growth with their SCAFA (which stands for Self, Community, and Future) Teams.
On the first day of each quarter, NSA has a special schedule that allows students to each meet with their Academic Advisor, Experiential Education Mentor, and Case Manager – who make up their SCAFA Team – to review their quarterly goal plans and set concrete steps to achieve those goals.
When not attending SCAFA Meetings, students are working to unpack from their home visits or Recreational Aventuras, organizing their iPads for the upcoming quarter, participating in community service in Atenas, and expending some adolescent energy on the basketball court, on the soccer field, or in the gym.
SCAFA Day is one way we work to set up our students for success this quarter!
New Summit Academy celebrated a very special graduation day this spring, as we proudly sent eight young men into the world, prepared for success.
This graduating class served as leaders and role models for our students, and every student graduated with honors – a feat never before seen at NSA!
These students have been hard at work this past quarter, writing and polishing their transition plans, working side-by-side with their families to come to agreements on their plans, and meeting with the Transition Team and administrative staff to complete a final review. The grads then took one final trip together, celebrating their accomplishments at the summit of Chirripo, the highest peak in Costa Rica.
Some of our recent graduates will return to finish high school, while our senior graduates will be attending Juniata College, The University of Denver, Lehigh University, and the University of Oregon.
Congratulations to these amazing young men; we look forward to their many successes!
NSA has always believed that non-traditional education is the most effective way to reach a greater variety of learners and to better prepare them for our rapidly-evolving world. We have spent the past 15 years engaging students in experiential, collaborative, problem-based learning, and now we are sharing it with the world!
This May, Heather Tracy and Martin Naffziger, our Executive Director and Director of Learning and Outcomes, traveled to Chicago to present: Why (and How) Non-Traditional Education Must Be the New Traditional.
The presentation, given in front of a crowd of diverse educators, outlined the trends in adolescents and the world we are preparing them for, and how a different set of skills must be developed to best set them up for success.
While in Chicago, we also had the chance to host a current and alumni parent meet-up, sharing updates and memories. Families of graduates from as far back as 2013 met and mingled with families of students graduating this May, so it was a truly special occasion.
Thanks to all of our families for your continued support!
NSA’s host country of Costa Rica provides our students with an incredible opportunity to learn the Spanish language. NSA students do spend time in the classroom studying grammar and vocabulary, but the beauty of our Spanish program is that this classroom study is designed to prepare students for, enrich, and reflect on all of the immersive, cultural experiences that we offer.
This month alone, students practiced their Spanish skills by:
- Exploring the history behind the Oxcart Factory in nearby Sarchi
- Volunteering with children at Hogar de Vida
- Learning about the traditional “trapiche” mill and watching sugar cane be turned into sugar
- Visiting Costa Rica’s National Theater in San Jose
- Surfing some of the nation’s most beautiful beaches
- Spending Sundays sharing cultural customs with their homestay families
There is no better way to learn a language than by immersing in it, which is just what our students do at NSA!
Later this month and into March, our seniors at NSA will be receiving mail and emails with exhilarating news about college acceptances and merit scholarships.
Already, in early February, the excitement is growing as decisions come in almost daily. So far this month, we have had students accepted to some incredible schools, including:
Our proud December graduates, some returning to their homes to complete high school, others graduating high school and entering college in the spring, experienced their culminating Aventura last week.
These young men summited the highest point in Costa Rica, Cerro Chirripo, as a metaphoric pinnacle of their experiences at New Summit Academy. Congratulations to our graduates!
Blog authors may be students, staff, parents or colleagues. We're all-inclusive! Just enjoy!