NACA's educational foundation rests on the following tenets:
- Every child can learn and reach high levels of academic achievement (can be equipped to make a good living), when she/he has consistent support and high expectations from parents/guardians and other sectors, and when they have masterful, loving, always-learning, creative teachers.
Every child can realize continuous progress in her/his character development (can be cultivated to make a constructive life), when she/he has character principles taught, discussed, and modeled, frequently and consistently, by parents, teachers, and other adult authority/leader figures.
- Every child can learn, internalize, contribute constructively to, and participate peacefully and meaningfully in freedom and democracy, when they are introduced to the lives and contributions of authentic exemplars of freedom and democracy, especially those of The 1960s Freedom Movement.
- Families, teachers, administrators, staff, and community leaders, and peers are essential parts of students' success; and they help ensure the students' success when they are informed about and supportive of the school and the school's curriculum, vision, and policies.
- All of us grow as we embrace authentic multiculturalism.
- Literacy in Math and Science is essential for participation in present and emerging society.
NACA also utilizes the Rites Of Passage Shule (ROPS) instructional/pedagogical methods: "repetition equals reinforcement equals realization," "affirmation rather than negation," "real-life modeling and pratices for growth and success," and "think links; expect connections; (w)holistic integrative pedagogy."
Computers are utilized regularly for instruction; as all NACA classrooms are wired. NACA also has a computer learning lab. Regular computer contact and learning from K-12 is an essential and normal part of how NACA students learn and grow.
The culture and ethos of the school is optimistic, student-centered, high-achieving, committed to and expectant of excellence for all, culture-sensitive, respectful, engaged, energetic, creative, serious, fun, and finally, focused on and committed to freedom and democracy, so that our students are proficient at making a living and a life. Perhaps most importantly, NACA is guided by Yale University's Dr. James P. Comer's School Development Program (SDP), wherein all major decisions are made collectively, with parents, students, faculty, administrators, NACA's board, business people, and community stakeholders, all sitting, planning, and deciding together. This is a relatively time intensive process -- and it is a democratic process; as it allows and calls on everyone involved in the students' education to participate. While some may disappreciate the time involved in the Comer Process, we at NACA see the matter differently. At NACA, the students are the highest priority; and we put in the time now to ensure their success now and later.