A College Preparatory Private School with Two Campuses in Suffolk, VA. Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 12.

Baseball coach and players

Supported, Nurtured and Known

At NSA, students benefit from a school culture that prioritizes healthy growth in all areas of a student’s life—academic, social-emotional and physical.

Every teacher, coach, club sponsor and administrator is part of the “circle of wellness” that surrounds each of our students. On-campus experts, including learning specialists, counselors, nurses and more, stay up-to-date with the latest research to ensure we’re meeting the needs of all our learners, from pre-kindergarten through senior year.

Sandra F. Birdsong Center for Academic Excellence

Academic Development

To prepare our students to be successful in college and beyond, our teachers, advisors, counselors and administrators all work collaboratively to develop strategies to encourage academic success. The Sandra F. Birdsong Center for Academic Excellence provides supplemental learning support to maximize each student’s capacity to learn. The Center also provides professional development opportunities to faculty and staff to further their understanding of learning differences and differentiated instruction, which includes utilizing student’s strengths, learning styles and interests to provide the appropriate level of challenge for each student.

Sandra f. birdsong center for academic excellence


Lower School Counselor Carol Johnson

Social-Emotional Wellness

Identifying students’ social-emotional needs is essential in removing barriers to learning and helping students develop skills and behaviors critical for lifelong success. Our school counselors specialize in dealing with different types of student social and development issues specific to each age group. They visit classrooms and coordinate lessons with teachers as needed, working with students in a one-on-one setting or in small groups. Topics vary by age and grade level but include goal-setting, problem solving and decision-making, education in understanding self and coping strategies, conflict resolution and peer mediation, academic planning and support and school-to-parent communications and conferencing. They also provide crisis intervention and management and referrals when necessary.

Through the advisory program, middle and upper school students also participate in lessons that address a wide range of social and emotional themes, including gratitude, compassion, emotional wellness, communication and community building.

Ruler Institute Logo

To create a healthier and a more equitable, innovative and compassionate community, our counselors and nursing staff have partnered with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence’s RULER Institute to use a systematic approach to social and emotional learning called RULER, which is an acronym for the five skills of emotional intelligence (recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing and regulating).

NSA's facility dog, Jett
To further promote overall well-being among our students, faculty and staff, we welcomed Jett to the NSA family on November 11, 2022 in partnership with Mutts with a Mission and Tidewater Animal Clinic, which is owned by current parents Dr. Kate Henderson and Dr. Adam Henderson '03. Jett serves as our facility dog, and she works with the school counselors daily to facilitate conversations about mental health and wellness.

Physical Wellness

Opportunities for developing physical fitness abound, from athletic teams fielded in more than a dozen sports to an after-school running club. A weight room is also open to students. NSA partners with a specialist from Pivot Physical Therapy, who serves as the strength and conditioning coach and provides clinics, training and advice to coaches and athletes regarding conditioning, strength training and injury prevention. The specialist also partners with our certified athletic trainers to implement a comprehensive plan for injury prevention and recovery, including concussion management.

Two full-time nurses support our community’s physical wellness. At the Main Campus, NSA partners with Flik Independent School Dining to provide wholesome, nutritious meals in conjunction with nutrition education, equipping our students, faculty and staff with tools needed to live a happy, healthy life.  

Health and Wellness Committee

The Health and Wellness Committee is dedicated to promoting our current wellness initiatives as well as planning and coordinating new initiatives to encourage and support a healthy lifestyle.