You are now part of the Viking Nation – a school community with more than 50 years of excellence in education!

The NWHS Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) is a dedicated group of volunteers who advocate for our school and work together to bring many extras to our classrooms, campus, students, and staff.


Below is a list of FAQs - things we wish we had known when our kids started at Northwest. The topics here are relevant for Freshmen and new students in any grade level! 

Please keep in mind that this information has been prepared by parents and is subject to change in the coming school year. This is meant as a general guide only.

If you have other questions or need further information, please send us a note at and we’ll point you in the right direction!

Newcomers' Coffee

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next event!

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Newcomers' Coffee

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Media Center

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Join the PTSO!

Just as in middle school, fewer opportunities are available to be involved, but we offer several ways for you to be a part of the school community. We are always available to answer your questions via email at Like the elementary and middle schools, we are the best communication channel the school has – be sure to join and stay in the know! Our weekly newsletter, The Viking Voyager, is chock-full of info about what’s happening at Northwest. You can even submit your own information for us to include, such as photos from sports, arts, and academic competitions, performances, community event info, special events, etc.

Follow us on social media, too!  Facebook gcsncnwhsptso | Twitter @NWHS_PTSO | Instagram nwhs.ptso 



We rely on the support of engaged and enthusiastic parents throughout the year. Contrary to what you may believe, our kids need us to be a part of their high school experience. The PTSO has several opportunities for volunteers, whether it is coming out for a beautification project, baking brownies for a staff luncheon, or serving on one of our many committees. There is something for everyone and we can work with any schedule! We would love for you to be an essential part of our Viking Nation!!


The NWHS PTSO designed our annual Fund the Viking Voyage to be a “no fuss” direct donation campaign and is our main fundraiser benefiting the faculty and students at Northwest.

Each year, the PTSO works with educational departments and administrators to identify supplies, technology, and equipment needed to enhance and improve our children’s education experience as they make the “voyage” through their high school years at Northwest.

Northwest is the largest high school in our county – however, this does not increase the school’s budget. As our enrollment surges, our technology is being pushed to its limits. Unfortunately, budget cuts in recent years have put many improvements on hold. That’s where we come in! 

Our goal this year is $25,000 – and every single dollar we receive goes directly back into Northwest High School! Contact us at for more information!


School Info

The school’s website is and the phone number is 336-605-3300.

Our Principal is Mr. Ralph Kitley, and each grade level has its own Assistant Principal.

School hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00am-4:30pm.

The first bell, indicating students should head to first period, rings at 8:40am, and the tardy bell rings at 8:50am (except for Mighty Viking Mondays – more on that below). The afternoon dismissal bell rings at 3:45pm.

On early release days, the dismissal bell rings at 1:45. You can access the bell schedules here.

Freshman/Newcomer Orientation and Open House

The date and time are TBA – it is usually the week before school starts. Usually, students and parents can pick up “unofficial” schedules in early August. Check the school's website for the official date. Parents should attend the Freshman/Newcomer Orientation with students to learn all about Northwest!

Open House for all grade levels will also be announced on the school's website, as well. Students will have a chance to “walk the schedule” and find their classrooms. The PTSO will be there selling memberships and spirit wear, and to help you in any way we can!

Guidance Counselors

Your child will be assigned to a counselor based on the starting letter of your last name. To determine your counselor, go to the school website and click on the Counseling Department link under Student Services (or click here!). This will show you the portion of the alphabet each counselor covers. Directions are issued at the start of the year to inform students how to access counselors to help with any problems. The first couple of weeks are very hectic for the counselors as they try to fix scheduling problems.


When we face a problem, we are sometimes tempted to start at the top. If there is a problem with a class, encourage your child to talk to the teacher for that class. For schedule problems or placement, go to the guidance counselors. For other problems or when you need an advocate to help direct you in the right direction, contact the grade level administrators - they are great resources for parents and students and can help with your concerns. Call the school's office for more info.


Communications with Teachers

Parents can meet teachers at the start of the year during Freshman/Newcomer Orientation and Open House. You may not have much interaction with the teachers, not all send newsletters or regular emails. Most communicate directly with the students via text on Remind 101, email, or other means. 

If your child has a problem in a class, discuss the problem and see what solutions you can come up with together, and then encourage her/him to speak to the teacher directly. This is an excellent time for them to start learning how to self-advocate and become more independent! High school teachers will always want to hear from the student first and parents second. If you do need to get involved, start by sending an email to the teacher. There is staff email directory on the school website under the link Staff. If you must escalate an issue or problem, contact the school administrators or counselors next. Our teachers are very dedicated to our kids and will want to help them!


The days of paper report cards have long passed (they are issued but the kids don’t always give them to parents). The PowerSchool Portal is the best way to check on your child’s progress. You can learn more about PowerSchool on the school’s website under the Parents link. Classes are scored on a 10-point grading scale. Class grades may be weighted if your child is in honors or AP classes. While many freshmen are in honors classes, most students don’t take AP classes until their sophomore or junior year. You probably won’t see a GPA or class ranking until sophomore year.

Bell Schedule

Northwest follows a traditional schedule (not a block schedule). Students take the same 6 classes for the full school year. See the current Bell Schedules on the Quick Links section of the school’s website (near the bottom of the page) or click here.


On the first few days of school, students will report to an assigned room to receive their official schedules - administrators will hang posters in several areas throughout the school identifying to which room your student should report (usually by grade and/or name). After that, students will report directly to the first period classroom each day, unless notified otherwise.

Mighty Viking Mondays (formerly called Delayed Start Mondays)

Every Monday this year, the school will open at 8:30am, the first bell will ring at 9:15, and the tardy bell will ring at 9:25 (instead of the usual bell schedule at 8:45 and 8:55 respectively). Buses will always run on the normal schedule. Staff and students will use this extra time for various purposes - teacher department meetings, tutoring, etc. Your student can ask his/her teachers for more information about these mornings.

Zero Period

Zero Period is a class that starts before the official first bell. It is reserved for some electives that cannot be scheduled during the regular school day because of teacher or facility availability. Check with the school to find out if a zero period bus is available, otherwise you will need to arrange your own transportation.


One of the most important things for students to discover during the first week of school is which “Lunch” he/she has and whether his/her friends have lunch at the same time. Lunch is divided into 4 times during the 4th period classes – called First, Second, Third, and Fourth Lunch. (Classes of the same subject all lunch at the same time.) If students have First Lunch, they will go directly to lunch at the beginning of 4th period; if they have Second, Third, or Fourth, their teachers will direct them to go when the bell rings for each lunchtime. Their teachers will explain things on the first day of school, and several PTSO volunteers will be at school during the first week to help, as well. Students are given a grace period on tardies the first week while they figure out where they are supposed to go.


Because the school is so spread out, most students opt out of having a locker. They are available by request - students can go to the school's front office to request one.


Most teachers offer tutoring time either before or after school. If your child is struggling in a subject, encourage her/him to attend tutoring sessions. Teachers will announce their tutoring days and times to students, and are usually included on the class syllabus handed out during the first week of school.




Unlike middle school, attendance is tracked for each class rather than the entire day. All dismissals/absences are handled through the Attendance Office, which is located in the hallway to the right of the Media Center. 

For absences due to illness: a parent/guardian must send in a handwritten note with the student’s name, grade, parent’s phone number, and absence reason to the Attendance Office within 3 days in order for it to be excused. Always include the doctor’s note with yours if your child sees a doctor for the illness.


Ok, the next situation is a little confusing, so you may need to read it twice! 


For medical appointments (of any kind – doctor, orthodontist, etc.): a parent/guardian should send in a handwritten note with the student’s name, grade, parent’s phone number, and the reason for the early dismissal to the Attendance Office on the morning of the appointment, preferably before school begins. She/he will be given a “dismissal slip” to show the teacher of the class to be dismissed – this also serves as a “hall pass”. Your child can leave the class when it’s time and walk right out to your car - you do not need to come into the school, and your student does not need to “check out”. Same situation in reverse if you are bringing a student in late because of an appointment. When your student returns to school, she/he will need to turn in a Doctor’s note in order for this type of absence to be excused. She/he will be able to enter the building without you, turn in the note at the Attendance Office (or Front Office, if directed to do so), and return to class.

For future reference, once your student is driving, she/he will follow the same procedures above, but will be able to drive to and from school to appointments without you. (…breathe, it’ll be ok…an extra driver in the house is amazingly helpful!)

If you forget to send a note or your child fails to submit one to the Attendance Office, you will need to come in to sign out your student. In this case, enter the Front Office first and they will direct you. 

Always be sure to include a parent/guardian’s phone number on all notes - you may be called to verify that you sent the note.

Per current GCS policy, if students miss more than 5 days of any class/period in one quarter (excused or unexcused), they must make up the time during After School Detention or Saturday Make Up Sessions. Your student is not in trouble! She/he must simply make up attendance time. For a detailed explanation, please click the School Policies link under Students on the school’s website.




Encourage your child to get involved in a club at Northwest! It’s an excellent way to find a smaller group of students with shared interests. Students are able to learn more about clubs at Northwest during “Club Rush” in the first month of school. Representatives of the different clubs will have tables in the commons area at all lunches so that students can stop by and get more information.

Athletics and Arts Education

Athletics and the Arts are also a great way to get involved at Northwest. You can get more information about sports by hovering over the Athletics link on the school website, and information about Band, Chorus, Art, and Drama is accessible by hovering over the Arts Education link.

You can purchase a family or individual student sports pass, which covers the admission cost to all regular season home games for every sport, through the K-12 Payment Center on the school’s homepage.


Summer Reading

The school no longer requires summer reading assignments - enjoy the break and read for pleasure!

Service Learning

If your student would like to earn a Service Learning Diploma, she/he should get started during their first year. You can get plenty of information about Service Learning on the school website under the Students link. Mrs. Orr coordinates our Service Learning for students – she is an excellent resource! You can reach her at



The front main hallway is referred to as the Commons. This is the area where groups can set up tables during lunch to provide information or sell things, such as dance tickets, fundraisers, and club activities. The PTSO also uses the Commons to sell spirit wear and hand out candy for our BRAVO! Honor Roll Recognition program!

NWHS PTSO | 5240 NW School Road | Greensboro, NC 27409  |  Tel: 336-605-3300 | Fax: 336-605-3314