Let us be your guide.

We have answers to some of the most frequent questions we receive.


How do I start the application process? 

Before submitting an application, it is important to submit an admissions inquiry form and set up a time for a discussion and tour with the Director of Admissions. After those steps are completed families are welcomed to submit an application. To view the full admissions process click here.

How long does the admissions process take?

This varies depending on the amount of time required to get a tour scheduled, have requested records received and reviewed, and shadow days completed. On average this takes 4-6 weeks, although there are exceptions.

How can I arrange a visit to the school? 

To arrange a visit to Northstar’s campus, complete the Admissions Inquiry form. Visits typically take about one hour and include a tour as well as the opportunity to ask more specific questions.

What tests are part of the process?

At Northstar, standardized tests are not a part of the admissions process, although during student shadow days, students participate in classroom activities which are viewed as an assessment. Northstar looks at the students’ goodness of fit, as well as reviewing supporting documents such as IEPs, professional evaluations, and observing the student on shadow days, to determine if the student would be a good fit for Northstar.

How will we find out whether or not my student is accepted?

Following the completion of shadow days, the Northstar Leadership Team reviews the student’s application, documentation, and staff recommendations to determine if Northstar is the right fit for the student and family. This decision is then communicated to the prospective family. If accepted, the student’s enrollment details are discussed and a date for admission is set. At this time, the family may apply for a scholarship.


How is Northstar different from other schools? 

Northstar is an independent school that operates traditionally, but uses proven programs to individualize instruction for students with disabilities and learning challenges including autism, dyslexia, and ADHD. Many of our students experience academic success for the first time once they come to Northstar. Our Academy serves students K-12 while students between the ages of 16-24 have the opportunity to attend our Career Career. Contact us today to learn how we can help your student love learning again.

How do I know if my student will fit in?

Northstar Academy is committed to creating and maintaining an environment where children feel safe to learn, have friends and receive the academic and social support they need.  When families apply to Northstar, their student will have the opportunity to visit for 2 or 3 days and shadow a student. This is one of the ways we ensure goodness of fit before inviting a student to enroll.  Click “Request a Tour” to get started!

Is Northstar licensed and accredited? 

Northstar is licensed by the Virginia Department of Education and accredited by VAIS.

How does Northstar educate students with different disabilities in the same classroom?

At Northstar we celebrate the abilities of our students. Since we serve students with a broad range of identified disabilities including autism, dyslexia, and ADHD, each of our classes has a unique mix of student strengths. Our 8:1 student to teacher ratio throughout our lower, middle and upper school programs allows each student to receive individualized attention. Our students support and learn from each other since they all learn and see the world differently. Contact us to learn how Northstar can be your child’s educational home.

Can you teach my student how to read?

Northstar reading teachers are trained in Lindamood-Bell® instruction and implement a specialized reading program to small groups of students at one time, helping students of all ages with many different kinds of learning challenges including dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. The strategies taught are also used in all academic classes across the curriculum. Contact us today to learn more about our specialized reading program and how it can help your student learn to read!

How can Northstar help my student learn social skills? 

At Northstar, students learn how to make friends. Our unique social skills program provides customized instruction to help students with disabilities such as autism, learning disabilities, and ADHD learn social skills. Our daily Advisory program explicitly teaches students how to interact with other people in school, at work, and in the community. We focus on growth in social skills and executive function skills including study skills and organizational skills. All of our teachers are social educators and can provide social coaching throughout the day.

Can my student earn a diploma?

Northstar students enroll in classes based on their Individual Academic Plan (IAP) or IEP which provides them the opportunity to earn verified credits towards an Advanced, Standard or Applied Studies Diploma.  

How can my family pay for Northstar?

Northstar offers generous scholarships for students at our Academy and Career Center. Over 90% of students placed by their families receive some sort of financial aid or tuition assistance. Northstar recognizes the investment families are considering when applying and families are encouraged to complete an online scholarship application through FACTS.

Virginia 529 Savings plans can be used to pay for tuition to VA private schools. Contact your tax advisor for more information.

Career Center

How is Career Center different from other employment programs for young adults with disabilities?

The foundation of our Career Center program revolves around our 3 pillars: employment skills, professional social skills, and executive function and productivity skills. This model helps students with all disabilities, including autism, learning disabilities, and ADHD obtain the skills to get AND keep jobs.

Does my student need to attend the Academy in order to enroll at Career Center?

Students do not need to attend Northstar Academy in order to enroll at Career Center. Students come to Career Center from many different schools and backgrounds. Some students are enrolled at both of our campuses, while others may work, attend college classes, or finish their high school studies elsewhere while attending Career Center.

Does Career Center find my student a job?

Students at Career Center receive job training in one of our 5 programs: Business Technology, Construction and Maintenance, Hospitality, Materials Handling, and Veterinary Assisting. All of these fields are in-demand in Central Virginia and provide career paths that pay a living wage.

Students who are actively looking for employment  work closely with the Career Center team as they go through the job application and interview process.  Career Center graduates can work with Northstar Career Services for more intensive employment support including job coaching.

My student is going to college after high school; why should we consider Career Center?

We teach our students the skills they need to learn, work, and manage daily life – all the skills they need for a successful transition to college. They also learn skills like how to network with professionals and  interview for a job that are invaluable once they graduate from college.

Can my student attend the Career Center AND the Academy?

YES! Students 16 and older can attend classes at the Academy and Career Center. Give us a call so we can tell you more about what student life looks like for students who attend classes in both programs.

Can my student attend Career Center after completing high school?

YES! Career Center serves juniors, seniors and young adults with disabilities like autism and ADHD. Many students use Career Center as a bridge between high school and college or as a 5th year of high school. Each student’s programming is tailored to their individual goals and dreams for life after Northstar.