Recently our director Peter Wieczorek sat down with author and podcaster Steve Barkley to discuss what makes Northwest Passage High School special. Barkley mentions being drawn to NWPHS through our mission statement and wanting to learn more.

I’ve collected some of the key moments from the pod below, but head over to Apple Podcasts, or Barkley’s website to listen to the whole thing.

Rekindling our Hope, Exploring our World, Seeking our Path, While Building our Community

NWPHS creed

Hope is at the core of Northwest Passage High School

Our mission statement is intentional. We re-examined our Mission a few years back when we saw other schools starting to use the same language, “live long learning” and “21st Century skills” over and over. While those things are undoubtedly important, they didn’t really speak to what we are trying to do at Northwest Passage High School. Because of our focus on expeditions and outdoor experiential ed, we liked the idea of using the term rekindle.

It’s a powerful word especially when paired with hope. So often, when we do intake meetings with perspective parents and students, they tell us that they’re not hopeless, they’re just… looking for someplace that can inspire them again. We think that our small class sizes and opportunities explore their interests are the types of things that can help fan the flames of hope. To restore hope in education and themselves.

Small School Design

The NWPHS community is small by design. With never more than 180 students spaced between grades 9-12, we keep advisories small and intimate. Our focus is on Student-Centered Learning. We find that when students don’t have the opportunity to bond and interact with their advisors on a true one-to one level daily, that can cause problems for growth and achievement.

By limiting our size, we can ensure student to staff ratios of around 15:1. We like to keep students with the same advisors over long periods of time. Ideally from when they join to when they graduate, they will keep the same advisor. This allows relationships and histories to develop, strengthen and grow.


The podcast goes into greater detail about the ways Peter and the staff approach problems and building coalition, working to involve parents in the learning community and engaging students in the learning process. It’s well worth your time. Check it out!

To learn more, check out the podcast link here or head back to the blog read more.