HomeFeaturesSchools › Best Valley Schools 2024: Northwest Christian School Online

A quiet revolution is underway in the field of education.  Though the tide within this particular sea change turned prior, there is an unlikely genesis for this particular moment in educational evolution: the COVID pandemic.  Yes, the culture was largely critical of educators’ attempts to digitize the classroom environment, but all the same, parents and students took note of some of online education’s advantages.

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With over half of graduate level students in Arizona studying exclusively within online universities, market predictions suggesting that undergraduate online enrollment could grow by as much as 20% within the next five years, and both parents and students looking for flexible educational options, it is quickly becoming apparent that there is a latent and building demand for the convenience of online education in the Phoenix area.

“In every area of my life, I’m finding that technology is creating new opportunities for convenience and efficiency,” says Mary Rita, a parent of three school-aged children in the market for online education.  “Whether it’s banking or grocery shopping, technology is making things in my life easier, faster, and more affordable.  That saved time and money equates to extra time that I want to spend with my family and extra money that we can spend on making memories.”

Founded in 1980, Northwest Christian School has grown to be Arizona’s largest single-location private school, chosen by both Ranking Arizona magazine and the Phoenix Business Journal as “Arizona’s Top Private School” for most of the last decade.  As one of just twenty-one “Exemplary Accredited” private schools in the world, the educators within the school have demonstrated their capacity to address student educational needs in an objectively and demonstrably credible manner.  Just over five years ago, anticipating the online educational boon and listening to parents, Northwest Christian started building out its own online school.


“We had a parent who serves as a physician within Samaritan’s Purse, the multinational medical relief organization,” explains NCS Superintendent Geoff Brown, “and he wondered what it would take for his children to join him on some of his travels.  He bemoaned the fact that he was traveling to all of these exotic and educational locales across the globe and he wanted his students to join him.  Yet, ironically, education was the limiting factor in the lives of his kids that prevented them from traveling with him.  That’s when we started down this road–a road which we hoped would lead to more options and opportunities for students and parents. We wanted to establish an option in which education could be enhanced, not hindered, by the sort of flexibility that would afford these students to travel and learn.”

From the outset, however, the Northwest Christian team knew that they wanted their online school to be different.  “The vast majority of online schools are prepackaged,” explains Geoff.  “Though there are hundreds of online schools out there, in truth, there are just a handful of online curriculum producers, each with radically different levels of accountability and actual accomplishment.  Most aspiring online schools push the easy button, buy prepackaged curriculum, and rebrand it in their own image. As a result, in those typical situations, the on-ground and online student experiences are radically different.  That is not what our developers wanted to do.  From the outset, we recognized that if we wanted to reproduce online what makes Northwest Christian School truly effective on the ground, what has made us successful over the last four decades, it would require time and a substantial investment.  We couldn’t just rebrand a canned curriculum.  Rather, we needed to capture what makes our in-person classrooms such a special experience for students.”


Over the last five years that is exactly what has happened as experienced Northwest Christian course developers have worked with real world subject matter experts to cultivate a curriculum that reflects both the objective and demonstrable achievement of on-ground classrooms while enhancing curriculum with expertise that only online courses can afford.  “Our developers have enhanced learning by bringing in subject matter experts that are in the field and not in the classroom,” says Geoff.  “These are individuals who help us to deliver content in a way that is immediately both appealing and applicable to students.”

To learn more visit https://www.ncsaz.org/online-academics/ncs-online.

Photos courtesy of NCS Online.