Co-curricular classes

Fine arts

The fine arts program nurtures inventiveness, problem solving and creativity as it encourages students to experiment and explore different art making techniques and mediums in order to express their ideas. Students learn how to engage fully in the artistic process and gain skills and confidence by learning to work in two- and three-dimensional mediums, including drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, collage, fiber, computer arts, and mixed media. Drawing receives the greatest emphasis as it provides the basis for all other creative activities and is a direct link between reading, writing, science, and math. The art program is integrated with the core curriculum as much as possible in order to establish historic relevance and offer students the opportunity to create and express in all subject areas. Every year a visual theme is chosen to help give focus to the art program.  Teachers collaborate with their students and adopt the theme to make classroom connections.   

Our students:

  • Explore and experiment with tools and materials to gain an understanding of the unique properties and limitations of each
  • Develop self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperation, and self-motivation
  • Understand the relevance of historical and contemporary artists in connection to their own work
  • Learn to adapt to and respect the thinking of others
  • Analyze non-verbal communication, and communicate thoughts and feelings using a practiced and highly developed visual vocabulary
  • Discuss, analyze, and appreciate works of art by others as well as explain the decisions made in their own work
  • Strive to achieve a well executed finished product that demonstrates a knowledge of craftsmanship and good technique
  • Take artistic risks and push outside of their comfort zone


Our Spanish program promotes a lasting enthusiasm for the Spanish language and an appreciation of the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries and people. As students learn to listen, read, speak, and write in Spanish, they develop foundational skills vital to acquiring a second language, while also exploring cultural traditions. The rich curriculum, built upon American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language Standards, teaches effective communication and cultural competence in an authentic, sequential, and developmentally appropriate way. Lessons utilize everyday language in real-world contexts and allow students to make personal connections between school and home. Collaborative activities, such as songs, dances, skits, games, and projects, encourage students to take risks and discover creative ways to express themselves in a second language.

Our students:

  • Utilize Spanish throughout each class
  • Ask thoughtful questions about language and culture
  • Learn lingual structure, make connections to English grammar and syntax
  • Communicate information in writing, orally, and through creative presentation tools
  • Develop an appreciation for the rhythm and tone of a new language
  • Establish a desire to be a lifelong learner of languages
  • Develop a lasting and meaningful connection to Spanish-speaking culture


Music is a force within our daily lives and a part of everyone’s heritage. It provides us with a means of aesthetic expression and a unique way of knowing. We not only learn music to appreciate what others have created, but to encourage students to shape their own unique identity through study and performance opportunities.

Kindergarten–5th grade
For younger children, the music program focuses on singing, playing instruments, moving/dancing, and creating—all through the Orff Schulwerk Method, which starts with playing and allows for imitation, experimentation, and personal expression.

6th–8th grade
Middle school music is completely cross-curricular focusing on music history that parallels the social studies curriculum.

Winter showcase
All students participate in the annual winter showcase. This event is designed to showcase what is happening in the music classroom across all ages. Performances vary from vocal ensembles, instrumental groups, concert band, rock band all the way to emcee. The winter showcase is a large part of the fall music curriculum.


Students in 4th through 8th grade have the opportunity to join the beginner, intermediate or symphonic band. Elective options include the middle school rock band and chamber ensemble.

Our students:

  • Learn to describe music using appropriate terminology, to practice reading rhythm, and to recognize and match pitch
  • Are given the opportunity to explore their innate potential as musicians and increase these natural capacities through music instruction
  • Use technology to heighten musical experience, such as by creating music videos in iMovie or composing in Garageband

Physical education

The physical education (PE) program at NPES promotes favorable attitudes for active lifestyles, physical fitness, and safety through teaching the fundamentals of lifetime and leisure sports. Instruction focuses on instilling a positive self-image, teaching appropriate social behavior, promoting sportsmanship, and helping students learn how their bodies can perform more efficiently.

PE provides students with multiple opportunities to assess fitness levels and to engage in activities that will strengthen already developing gross and small motor skills. Students develop lifetime skills that enable them to lead full and productive lives both in and out of school—an active body for an active mind.

Our students:

  • Learn ways to become a life-long physically active person
  • Participate in activities that improve locomotor skill development and promote physical well being
  • Be exposed to a variety of activities and sports
  • Learn life skills such as respect, honesty, and sportsmanship while playing sports

Creative drama

In creative drama, our goal is to empower students to believe in themselves and to encourage them to discover and express their individual voices with confidence. Our program is designed to expand self-awareness, develop imagination, improve communication skills, express a healthy release of emotions, and build compassion and empathy. The emphasis is on experiential activities, including dramatic play and movement, story enactment, theater games, character development, improvisation, and creation and interpretation of scripted material.

A variety of after school programs are also offered, including a major musical theater production and a theater showcase.

Our students:

  • Support, inspire, appreciate, and enjoy each other in a non-judgmental arena
  • Are able to grow intellectually, emotionally, physically, and socially
  • Actively participate in the classroom
  • Create, invent and explore the imaginary and real worlds
  • Support classmates and work cooperatively
  • Find and develop individual and group voices
  • Are curious and open to new experiences
  • Develop a love for the arts


Classes visit the library on a weekly basis for story time, assisted research and book checkout. The library is open to students during study and free periods and for homework and study after school.

Annual reading programs, such as the winter reading program, the annual Rebecca Caudill books and the Battle of the Books, help to stimulate students’ appreciation for reading. Middle school students complete various projects in conjunction with the language arts program. Projects include an oral interpretation unit, independent book reviews and projects and age appropriate reading competitions.

Our students:

  • Are exposed to various genres of books representing different stories and cultures
  • Learn the Dewey Decimal and other library classification systems
  • Practice research skills and learn about credible websites
  • Engage in a variety of engaging book related activities and projects

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