who are we?
PNA's mission, "We educate students to be exceptional learners and independent thinkers of vision, courage, and integrity," infuses and informs our culture. We recognize that our teachers are our greatest asset; they are unified in purpose yet autonomous in sharing their passion in the classroom. PNA is committed to small class size, limiting them to 18 students. PNA is a distinctly Alaskan school, focusing both on our local environment and the global perspective. PNA recognizes that we live in a fast-changing world, where the students of today will be tackling problems in the future that have not yet been identified and seeking professions that have not yet been created.
Our program is based on 21st Century skills of critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration, which provide our students with the wherewithal to tackle anything and everything they choose to pursue.
We are a 21st Century School
Of course, we are! It's the 21st Century! And yet, most of the educational philosophy guiding schools across the United States today was developed back at the dawn of the 20th Century when going 25 miles per hour in your Model T was the cutting edge of modernity, and confirming the sinking of the Titanic took two (fast!) days.
While it's true that some things never will change, it's equally true that no one is driving a Ford Model T and expecting to get anywhere.
The world has transformed at an exponential rate in the last 100 years, and the tools we need to succeed in this new world come from a very different part of our brains. We used to cultivate the fact-storing and processing section, but it's clear that no one's brain is big enough for the endless troves of facts and information that are introduced into our world every single day. No. What is important in our 21st Century world is less What or When, and more How and Why. How do I find the right information? Why is this information relevant?
Not only are the questions that we are asking ourselves different, but the manner in which we engage has shifted. In our 21st Century world, our sources of information and modes of communication have ballooned. But our distance from other cultures has shrunk to nothing. Our own 2nd graders can collaborate with 7 year olds from across the globe almost as easily as with each other.
So what is the mind-set PNA strives to cultivate in its students to help usher them into the 21st Century; a century in which the only guarantee is that it will continue to change at a staggering rate?
A flexible one.
Home > About PNA
Welcome to Pacific Northern Academy. We hope you find the website an informative and inspirational guide to the academically challenging and socially nurturing programs that delineate the Pacific Northern Academy experience.
Pacific Northern Academy was founded based on a need expressed by the Anchorage community to have a safe learning environment that emphasized excellence in academics, put a focus on developing character, cultivated a tight knit and inclusive community, and, above all, was a center for joy in learning. As an independent school, PNA is perfectly suited to creating this environment for the Anchorage community.
Our school is defined by its mission. Not only do we encourage our students to find their academic passions, but we also expect them to become academic risk-takers, using their thoughtful reflection and their creative talents to solve intriguing and important problems. Most of all it is important for our students to love learning. Be assured that school does not have to be drudgery to accomplish great things; Pacific Northern Academy is the proof. High-level learning in a challenging, supportive, and creative environment is our goal and our promise to you.
We invite you to go beyond our website and to let us welcome you to our campus, located in South Anchorage. Be careful as you walk through our front door; you just might be jostled by one of our students running into school for another day of learning and fun. Our students love coming to school; your child will as well.
Mission & Philosophy
“We educate students to be exceptional learners and independent thinkers of vision, courage, and integrity."
-Pacific Northern Academy Mission Statement
We expect students to be active participants in their own education, to continually challenge themselves, and to communicate clearly and respectfully. From Early Childhood through eighth grade, students learn to utilize good judgment, to treat others with compassion, and to act with vision, courage, and integrity as they develop intellectually and personally. Students, teachers and parents at PNA work in partnership to create a community of learners dedicated to education.
We embrace a student-centered approach to learning and we are committed to maintaining low teacher to student ratios that enable students to have meaningful and personalized interactions with their teachers.
Our intellectually engaging program includes studio arts, performing arts, foreign language, and physical education for students in Early Childhood through Eighth Grade. As we teach students to become critical thinkers, we also teach them to become leaders and active citizens of the 21st Century.
In a nation of immigrants, in a diverse, multi-cultural city like Anchorage, respecting and celebrating diversity is a natural. Pacific Northern Academy’s academic emphasis on teaching and learning with a global perspective and social, emotional and behavioral emphasis on respect place it at the center of the Anchorage, the national and the world community. Pacific Northern Academy welcomes students and families of every race and cultural identity; we believe that the interesting histories, journeys and stories that all our students have lived enrich the lives and education of all in our community.
We are of many faiths and none; we are by birth Asian, European, Athabascan and African. We speak with a Canadian accent (aye?) or a Southern drawl, a slight hint of Spanish in our English and a large dollop of English in our Spanish. Our grandparents live in Hawaii, New York, Argentina, Jamaica, or Korea; and yet, it is this very diversity that defines our community.
As we move further into the 21st century, it is clear that we will need to find ways to embrace each other's differences, from learning style to family style. We will need to find ways to include our varied cultural backgrounds that provide the unique set of flavors in the salad bowl that is Alaska, the United States and the world.
PNA is a place where being different is more than okay, it is a school at which differences are encouraged and supported.