Academics at NSA

The NSA academic staff is a team of teachers that are dedicated to providing interesting, engaging, supportive, and challenging curriculum as well as individualized support to our students. NSA implements a traditional schedule and college prep requirements to prepare students for high school graduation. By adding Multiple Intelligences and a global perspective in our teaching, students have the opportunity to really challenge their minds, perspectives, and learning methods to become life-long learners and global citizens.

Academic Planning

Upon enrollment, a transcript evaluation, Master Goal Plan, and IGP (Individualized Goal Plan) are created and communicated to all parties involved to outline the program goals for each student.

IGP Teams: Each student will have an Individual Goal Plan team consisting of at least one therapist, one teacher, and one experiential education mentor. This team will meet with the student at least twice per quarter to help the student outline goals and discuss and monitor progress.

Initial Academic Assessment:
Upon enrollment, each student will meet with the Academic Director to review the student’s transcript and outline the course progression plan. This plan will attempt to create the most effective and efficient plan to reach graduation or transition to another school during the student’s enrollment at NSA.

Academic Updates: During Monday morning all-school meetings, each student will receive their Academic Update which will inform them of their current grades in each class. This helps the student in keeping track of their academic progress to ensure they are aware of their grades and can stay on top of their academic progress. Academic updates will also be available to parents each week on the Parent Portal.

Graduation Requirements

In order to truly be ready for college, students must fulfill their goals paralleling the 3 main objectives of New Summit Academy: Academics, Personal Growth, and Experiential Education.

+ 24.00 Carnegie units (1.00 credit = 1 year course) of classes in the following areas:

  • 4.00         English
  • 3.00         Math
  • 3.00         Science
  • 3.50         Social Studies
  • 2.00         Foreign Language
  • 1.00         Art
  • 1.00         Health / PE (2.00 max)
  • 0.50         Computer Ed
  • 6.00         Electives

+ Fulfillment of the IGP goals and requirements for personal academic habits,  personal growth, and experiential education.

+ Graduation ceremonies are held in March, June, September, and December.

Educational Style & Philosophy

Teachers at New Summit Academy Costa Rica ascribe to Multiple Intelligences Theory developed by Howard Gardner.  Basically, M.I. Theory acknowledges that everyone can learn and engage in education if their individual interests, talents and strengths are recognized by teachers and incorporated into instructional and assessment procedures.  Gardner believes that the goal of learning is to understand and make information useful in the real world.  

Gardner has currently identified 9 different learning styles, including…

  1. Verbal-Linguistic                 (Word smart),
  2. Mathematical-Logical          (Number/Pattern smart),
  3. Bodily-Kinesthetic               (Doing smart),
  4. Interpersonal                     (People smart),
  5. Intrapersonal                     (Self smart),
  6. Existential                          (World/Philosophy smart),
  7. Naturalist                            (Nature smart),
  8. Visual-Spatial                      (Picture smart)
  9. Musical                               (Pattern/Rhythm smart),
  • Teachers engage students by teaching through various MI styles so that every student has the opportunity to connect to the material in a way that is relevant and makes sense to them.  
  • Teachers also build skills, confidence, and engagement by showcasing student strengths and improving student weaknesses by allowing flexibility and opening up options for students to choose and direct their own learning projects according to their particular interests, talents, and goals.  
  • Integration into experiential education projects and trips is also key to making education come alive for students.
  • Every day at New Summit Academy, we try to make learning interesting and meaningful at every opportunity.
SAT/ACT Preparation & College Applications

Standardized test preparation seminars will be given on campus on a regular basis. Students may use websites, study books, teachers, and any other resources available in order to help them prepare for the SAT or ACT.

Students will be able to register for and take both the SAT and ACT exams in San Jose on international testing dates. Registration fees and travel expenses will be billed to parents.

College Applications:
We encourage all students to apply to at least 2 colleges or universities before graduating from New Summit Academy.  

New Summit Academy recommends that families continue to work with educational consultants regarding college choices as they have a much broader view of possibilities as well as a better idea of the long-term progress of the student.  However, New Summit staff will be available to work with consultants to help facilitate the application process with the student while he or she is on campus.

Building Good Habits & A Balanced Lifestyle

Improving academic and work habits for independent living in college is essential.  In accordance with the Handbook and honor system, we insist that students make every effort to attend all classes on time, keep binders, planners, and notebooks organized, participate in study hours in the evenings, and participate in New Summit activities. When students struggle with these tasks, Honor Council Meetings & student-created systems of support prevent students from "falling through the cracks."

Learning how to balance one's life between work and play is important as both are necessary for healthy living.  We realize that some students may struggle with this more than others. We do not seek perfection, but rather constant growth and progress.

Academic Calendar & Rolling Admissions

NSA offers classes year-round through six academic terms. Our calendar attempts to mirror the US calendar with fall semester (August to December) & spring semester (February to June) divided into quarters to help students begin gaining credit no matter when they enroll at NSA. Our teachers arrange our curriculum to accommodate students who may not enter at the beginning of the traditional school year.

July & January are comprised of intensive study terms that are fun, educational, and credit-bearing experiences. Examples in the past are units on health (including Wilderness First Aid certification courses), Incan History (including a trip to Macchu Picchu in Peru) and Mayan History (with trips to Mayan ruins in Central America).

  1. Fall Semester, Quarter 1 - August, September
  2. Fall Semester, Quarter 2 - October, November, December
  3. January Term - January
  4. Spring Semester, Quarter 1 - February, March
  5. Spring Semester, Quarter 2 - April, May, June
  6. July Term July -
"Catch up credits" & Independent Studies
For students requiring "catch-up credits," our year-round academic calendar allows most students to catch up easily. If additional work is needed, independent studies through correspondence courses or one-on-one study plans with teachers are available, but they are only to be used in exceptional cases (such as a dire need to "catch up" or as an Honors student privilege) as we believe that teacher-student and peer interactions are key in the learning process.

Academic Accreditation until 2014 from:

sacscasi logo

CEEB Codes:
834256 (NSA Costa Rica)
218169 (New Learning Resources District)
251419 (New Summit School)

AdvancED Accreditation Verification (download PDF here)

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