About the Crossroads Classes
All grade levels at NWP take part in Crossroads classes three afternoons a week. Students are guided through the discovery of personal and professional interests, potential career paths, and current and future academic endeavors. Each class works as an individual, community-creating and support-providing "pod" of grade level peers, led by one teacher. Extensive and structured support is offered toward the completion of a comprehensive academic portfolio. All students are taught professional public speaking and communication skills on an ongoing basis. The Crossroads classes are designed to be a network of academic and personal supports for each NWP student.
Academic Portfolios and Portfolio defenses
Over the course of each year all NWP students create an Academic Portfolio that demonstrates their own performance and growth in a number of targeted learning areas. These portfolios include exemplars of student work, paired with reflective essays which focus on the 7 NWP Leadership Skills, the three modes of doing (observe, think, act), and our core academic abilities (research, inquiry, analysis, and creative expression). In the final quarter of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade, students defend their portfolios before a panel of peers, teachers, and community members. Much of the Crossroads classtime throughout each semester is geared toward the creation and refinement of these portfolios.
Job Shadows and internships
An education at NWP goes beyond the classroom. Each semester all 9th and 10th grade students secure and complete 2 job shadows. These are one-day opportunities to closely observe a job or potential career from inside the workplace. As 11th and 12th graders those same students will select and secure 20 week internships, providing them a deeper look into areas of personal interest or curiosity, while also offering valuable work experience and networking opportunities.
Public speaking and communication
Crossroads classes facilitate the development of professional communication skills, including public speaking. This may mean drafting a professional yet persuasive email, making cold calls to potential internship hosts, or preparing for an admissions interview at a university. Periodically, students will engage in structured exercises designed to both support and challenge them to step beyond their realms of comfort, and into places in which their courage and creative confidence are in demand. Because these exercises take place in the supportive "pod" of peers that make up a Crossroads class, students come to trust in, and hone their abilities to communicate in professional settings.