Northern Light School

Community Subscriber

Private School
212 students
Email: admissions [at] northernlightschool.comPhone: (510) 957-0570
3710 Dorisa Avenue Oakland, CA 94605
Editors' Notes: 

Parent Q&A

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  • I am looking for feedback on Northern Light School in Oakland? There is very little current feedback on the internet from Parents-any information on the current curriculum?! Any information on the schools enrichment programs. Reading labs , math labs and stem programs. Are they up to date on modern teaching technology!? Thanks! From a parent looking for a school that has a lot to offer. 

    For transparency, I'm a former parent who has since moved my student. Northern Light is a very loving, nurturing, and supportive environment that has a large amount of diversity. There's a lot of emphasis on creating a kind school community through morning circle and  their speaker's series  However,it lacks ongoing support of the enrichment programs like stem and technology. There was one teacher that taught robotics and coding but she left and no one jumped in to take it on. There's a rather outdated computer lab and some chrome books, however. I found that the academics were lacking and that there was too much teaching to the lowest performing student and there were quite a few disruptive kids. There isn't enough emphasis (IMO) for robust curriculum development and implementation.  If you are looking for a safe school that will hug your child, it is lovely. If you are wanting that plus enough rigor for your kid to be prepared for high school and beyond, you might should keep looking.

Parent Reviews

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Check out Northern Light in Oakland. It’s tiny, but awesome. Most students of color, very warm and inclusive and welcoming vibe.

Hi! I am not sure if you would be interested in having your child attend the Kindergarten Program at Northern Light School in Oakland. My son goes there and our expereince so far has been remarkable. They also have extended care should you need it. Definitely, reach out to them and see if your child can be admitted. Best of luck to you! 

Admission's Director is Jill Diaz: jdiaz [at]

Admissions Portal:


Mercedes Ballesteros

Archived Q&A and Reviews

March 2015

I am beginning a search for a new school for my elementary school-aged child. I'm wondering about recent experiences with Northern Light School, Lighthouse Community Charter School, and Vincent Academy.

Thank you

While we are strong supporters of public schools and I came up through OUSD, we moved our daughter to Northern Light 1.5 years ago from an OUSD school and are so happy we did. She loves it there and we feel it really is a special place. She has only 13 kids in her class. As there are under 200 students in the school K-8, the kids seem to develop a really great bond and go on to do great things. It is a very diverse school which was important for us. The fees are reasonable and they offer financial assistance to those that need it. For such a small school, they offer quite a bit of extra curricular activities as well as an onsite afterschool program. The location is great and safe in a quiet, residential area. Nik

Feb 2013

I am looking for feedback on Northern Light School in Oakland? I did a school tour and was very impressed with the Philosophy and Mission of the school but there is very little current feedback on the internet from Parents. Most comments are out dated. Please advise if you have any information on the current curriculum. Thank you, Interested parent Looking for a good school

Both our children have been at Northern Light School (NLS) and I consider it an extraordinary hidden gem of a school, worth commuting to from Berkeley. Here's some of what we so like and respect about it:

1) For my child who has already graduated from NLS, every High school we applied to said that they love Northern Light kids because they are so well prepared. This was true for both my child with learning disabilities and my very gifted child.

2) There is an immediate sense of community warmth and happiness when you walk in through the front door. Students of all ages tend to look me in the eye and greet me, even as ''just'' a visiting parent. The emphasis on growing world citizens is reflected in the United Nations flags and portraits of world peace/ sports/ community leaders that line the walls.

3) There is an amazing sense of community. Every day the whole school starts out in circle time together to celebrate birthdays, sing, for announcements. Sometimes they put on music and everyone gets up to skip in a huge circle together for 5 minutes.

4) At the monthly ''Impossible Is Nothing'' lunch series for the 7th and 8th graders, prominent business, sports, arts, community, and government leaders sit down with these kids to have lunch together and tell the youngsters the story of their lives and how they got to be so successful. Such visitors have included Jane Goodall, Maya Angelou, Jason Kidd, the CEO of Bank of America, a California State Supreme Court Justice, an inspiring Ethiopian restruant owner who escaped persecution in her country, etc.

5) The school puts a great deal of effort into helping every graduating 8th grader find the right high school for them. All go on to top notch private or public schools. Then every 8th grade graduate is considered to belong to the Northern Light School family through high school, college, graduate school, and into their working life with annual Alumni reunions.

6) Our family has found the richness of the diversity to be a huge gift. My children have both felt warmly welcomed, included, and celebrated for who they are. One of my children has been miserable in numerous other schools and finally, at NLS, has found a school where she feels at home.

7) The cost is much less than that of most other private schools.

I'm happy to answer any other questions you may have. Please ask the Moderator for my contact info. Delighted Northern Light School Mom

May 2005

Can anyone provide any information about Northern Light Montessori? I'd like to know if parents have been pleased with their academic program, social activities, etc.? I didn't see anything in the archives. Thanks!

When I found Northern Lights staff released a child to some stranger (check out the substantiated complaint at licensing) I pulled my child out immediately. I should have seen this coming as the amount of kids they have would lead to something like this. My other concern was the turnover of staff. In the brief time my child was there (6 months), I saw at least 25% of the staff leave. In fact, towards the end, I had trouble remembering the names of staff working there. A Smarter but Wiser Parent

Oct 2003

Re: Racially Diverse Private Schools

Sorry, I don't know anything about schools near Hercules. But since your post indicate you are looking at private schools in Oakland as well, I'd like to mention a couple that have and highly value racial diversity. Northern Light, a much smaller school [than Park Day School], is similar in its values and the only private school I've seen whose students are almost entirely non-Caucasian. Hope the info is helpful, and good luck in your search. School Mom '