When it comes to choosing a private high school, there are plenty of qualities a parent might be seeking. At the top of that list is often some version of the following: enriched curriculum, smaller class sizes and a personalized, student-centered approach to teaching and learning. North Star Academy Laval (NSAL) offers its students all of the above—and much more.

NSAL is the only private English high school on the North Shore. With smaller than average class sizes (14-18 students) and the motto “Each student, each day”, no student gets lost in the shuffle of day-to-day high school life. “We really get to the core of each student’s academic abilities and social needs,” says Josée Pepin, Head of School. A personalized approach to teaching and learning is at the heart of NSAL’s values. Keeping class sizes smaller and making parents partners in their child’s education all contribute to making the NSAL community a success.

Since 2003, NSAL has been blazing a trail in quality contemporary education. Through its Signature Programs (Signature Academics, Signature Community Connections, Signature Student Life) and numerous after school activities, students acquire their learning in a real-world context. “We make learning relevant for our students,” says Pepin. “Not only do our students participate in personalized project-based learning, but they also experience the curriculum in the real world.” Pepin points to NSAL’s Community Connections programming, which includes field trips, entrepreneurship themes and in-school activities that bring learning to life.

When it comes to academic enrichment, opportunities abound at NSAL by engaging students in the subject matter at a more profound level. Even though NSAL is an English private school, French is offered at various levels to ensure students get the support and/or enrichment they need. Basic French, French as a Second Language, and Enriched French are offered. In fact, the Enriched French program uses a specific framework (Le Cadre Européen) to promote authentic communication that takes into account writing, listening and speaking skills.

The same can be said for support or enrichment in English. International students or French-speaking students have the full support of NSAL’s staff. Non-English-speaking students will be able to adapt to their new learning environment thanks to a personalized curriculum that meets them where they are. It is not uncommon for a non-English-speaking student to become fluent before the school year is out!

A smooth transition from elementary school to high school is part of the all-encompassing mores at NSAL. As opposed to the average orientation for students and parents, NSAL offers students the chance to be a ‘student for day’ to experience what it’s like to be immersed in a welcoming, student-centered environment. Incoming students (while still in grade six) will be paired with seventh graders for orientation and welcoming activities.

Pepin encourages parents to do their homework when it comes to choosing a private school for their child. “It’s not a light decision that can be made overnight. Give us a call, ask us anything. We’re here for you,” she says.

NSAL does not require an admissions exam with the application process; candidates are selected based on a slew of qualitative data in addition to prior academic performance. Enrollment is possible at any grade level, and applications are received year long.

With an average graduation rate of 98 per cent, NSAL operates with the heart and spirit of a small community, despite being located in a big city. What’s more, for those who choose to complete grade 12 at NSAL, more than 80 per cent get accepted into the undergraduate program of their choice.

“At North Star Academy, we have the privilege of following your child’s progress at a deeper level,” says Pepin. “Come see what we have to offer. The next five years make a huge difference.”