Housed mainly in our original building Ellis Hall which is named for our first teacher, Margaret “Billie” Northcross Ellis, children in the Lower School are encouraged to explore and revel in their own talents, even as they are made increasingly aware of their relationship and responsibility to their peers, their teachers, and their families. To that end, faculty in the Lower School work closely with parents to set appropriate and reasonable expectations and to provide support that fosters excellence, achievement and, at each step—from age 3 through fifth grade—the confidence needed to succeed.
The Junior Kindergarten through Kindergarten classes include a modified Montessori curriculum designed to progress through three levels: Junior Kindergarten (JK3, JK4, JK5), and Kindergarten. The program first develops language, math, social and emotional readiness skills in a nurturing, half-day setting, while in the second year, students begin to develop handwriting, letter recognition and seat work while incorporating literature, dramatic play, arts and crafts, cooking activities, and hands-on science experiments.
All students in Junior Kindergarten programs through fifth grade have daily Spanish and P.E., and they rotate through “specials” including Art, Library, and Music during the week. Once in grade school, a more structured curriculum begins to take form in which students' language and math abilities are challenged and developed. For those students who need specialized instruction due to a diagnosed learning disability, the CrossWalk Program is an on-campus, "school within a school" where students meet with specially trained Orton-Gillingham instructors during the school day for remediation instruction. The Singapore Math curriculum focuses on teaching students to visualize quantities and to 'see' numbers as moveable parts within an equation.
With entrance into the sixth grade, students are introduced to more responsibility, more opportunity, and with that, more is required of their time-management skills. Students move into Eaton Hall where they have their own lockers and schedules to keep track of. By promoting scholarship, honor, integrity, and community responsibility, as well as providing an environment in which the students’ best interests are at the heart of every decision, Eaton Hall has an immediate goal of preparing students for the academic demands of the Upper School.
Collecting toiletries for a local shelter may be an odd way to foster camaraderie, but the Eaton Hall's intramural advisory teams do just that. Each day faculty advisors meet with their respective groups to welcome students to school, update them on school matters, or, on a good day, issue an intramural challenge. Groups compete, points are tallied, and privileges are won—such as a cherished ‘jeans day.’ Middle schoolers attend dances, participate in team sports (no tryouts required), and audition for the spring musical. At the end of each term, high-achieving students and athletes receive honor certificates and awards in front of their peers during a special assembly. Spectators revel in the sheer number of students who have worked hard enough to earn the honor of walking onto the stage to shake the Head of School’s hand and receive recognition.
Students work in small groups, organized by skill level, in which they rotate through stations of reading, writing and word recognition. As students progress through the fourth and fifth grades, their classes take them beyond their “home room” to specialize study in science, math and social studies, introducing them to what life will look like in Middle School. For specialized information on different levels in the Lower School, click the links below.
Lower School Division Director Victor Lamas
Upper School AP World History Teacher
Washington and Lee University—B.A.
University of Virginia—M.A.
Morris Award 2014
Two-time recipient of The Roanoker's “Most Inspiring Teacher” Platinum Award (2016, 2017)
Eaton Hall Dean of Students
Eaton Hall English, No Ceilings Program
University of Virginia—B.A.
University of Virginia—M.Ed.
An outstanding faculty, over 80% of whom hold advanced degrees, deliver a demanding, creative, and innovative college preparatory curriculum culminating in college level work in every discipline. Indeed, academic offerings in the Upper School most closely resemble those of a fine liberal arts college: introductory, honors, and 18 Advanced Placement courses are available in English, computer science, math, the sciences, history, the arts, and world and classic languages — Spanish, French, and Latin. Students who have the benefit of a North Cross Upper School education find their advantages to be many when they head off to the finest colleges and universities in the country: their ability to read critically, write thoughtfully, and speak clearly and convincingly make the transition to college life a seamless one.
Outside of the classroom, the Upper School co-curricular program is a mix of required and optional activities and events, all intended to expand student experience, increase community feeling and identity, and provoke intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth. All students attend Thursday assemblies to which the administration brings speakers, presentations and dialogue that ranges from science discovery to human rights. The Upper School also gathers as community for assemblies in the Commons before lunch for community announcements and advisory lunches where groups discuss a “Quote of the Day” intended to provide thoughtful reinforcement of the School’s mission or commentary on current events. Students are also required to perform at least 12.5 hours of community service per year, but many of them exceed that requirement. On the field, students are required to participate in at least three seasons of team athletics, though most students participate in more—some, in the same season. No try-outs are required, yet our teams consistently place for or win their conference and/or state championship titles.
DeHart speeches, a series of independent research presentations by each senior class member throughout the year, expose the entire Upper School student body to diverse topics and opinions, much like mini-lectures. By the time a freshman graduates from North Cross, they will have heard over 120 DeHart lectures. Also unique to the Upper School is our Horace G. Fralin Global Studies Program which requires its participants to engage in global travel, required coursework, and group discussions on topics concerning global issues and policy. Once the requirements are met, the graduate will receive a separate certificate in addition to their North Cross diploma, recognizing them as a Global Studies Scholar. And, new the 2018-19 academic year, students who fulfill course and activity requirements, including a senior project, can receive a STEM Certificate upon graduation.
Interim Upper School Division Director
Upper School Math Teacher
St. Andrews University—B.A.
Fayetteville State University—M.A.
Morris Award 2012
7:50am - 2:50pm*
8:10am-3:10pm (Grades 6 & 7)
*Half-day students in the Early Childhood Program are dismissed at 1:00pm and all Lower Schoolers may participate in Extended Day until 6pm.
8:00 - 3:10pm
4254 Colonial Avenue
Roanoke, Virginia 24018
540-989-6641 • (540) 989-7299 (FAX)
HOURS: M-F; 8AM-4PM
North Cross School is an independent, coeducational, college-preparatory day school founded in 1944 and governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees.
All contact information listed on this website is for official North Cross School business only. North Cross School does not accept unsolicited advertisements sent to school email addresses, phone numbers, or fax numbers listed on this site.
North Cross School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status in the administration of its educational, admission, financial aid or employment policies, or any other programs administered by the School. For more information, read our Inclusivity Statement.
North Cross is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools. North Cross School's Junior Kindergarten is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools who is recognized by the Board of Education pursuant to §22.1-19 of the Code of Virginia authorizes the Virginia Council for Private Education to accredit private nursery, preschool, elementary and secondary schools in Virginia.
North Cross is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, National Association for College Admission Counseling, and Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling, The Cum Laude Society and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.