Curiosity calls.
Finding the path to lifelong success.

An unduplicated school

designed to help students thrive.

This is not a Henry Ford assembly line education. This is a school that recognizes that every student is different. So we create a custom curriculum tailored to each student.

It’s an uncommon solution, but for children with a variety of needs and speeds of learning, it’s the right path to take. One where their own natural curiosity propels them forward.


And now the nuts and bolts:

What we teach.

Yellow Wood Academy welcomes all children—those who are ahead, to those who are behind—from kindergarten through 12th grade. We offer any combination of math, science, language arts and social studies courses that are required by public school districts. A Yellow Wood graduate will have the necessary proof of competence for advanced collegiate study.


Language arts


Social Studies


And unlike typical prescriptive one to one teaching facilities, Yellow Wood Academy offers a more holistic educational experience. Our one to one courses in the fundamentals—mathematics, science, social studies, language arts—are augmented by small group activities in three critical areas: music, art and physically challenging activities.


MUSIC: Yellow Wood music programs are powered by two gifted teachers who are also professional musicians. Students can perform solo or in groups, learn composition and use our state of the art recording and mixing facilities. Rock on.


ART: Part of the art of teaching lies in the teaching of art: Giving students the space and confidence to voice their inner feelings and aspirations through artistic expression. As with music, this helps students open up and become more accessible and successful.


PHYS ED: A sound mind and body is our goal. So we integrate physical activity into our curriculum. Our personal trainers tailor workout programs to the student’s interest. Additional sports activities and team participation add to the physical intensity of our program.



Courses at Yellow Wood Academy are offered at multiple levels: Foundation, Regular, Accelerated, Honors and Advanced Placement, as well as Remediation and Credit Recovery. Talk to our registration coordinators about how to configure your student’s curriculum to fit their exact educational needs. For a complete listing of our courses, click here.

Advanced Placement.

By taking an Advanced Placement course, colleges and universities can see that students have what it takes to succeed in an undergraduate environment. An "AP" course on a transcript shows that the student has already been tested by a college level challenge. These are the most rigorous classes YWA has to offer.

Honors courses

Yellow Wood Academy offers 135 honors courses in seven categories of classes: English, Social Studies, Math, Science, Foreign Languages, Physical Education, and Occupational Education. These classes proceed at a faster pace and cover material in more depth than our regular classes.

STEM aligned.

With a mind to better equip our students to work in high-demand future jobs, our curriculum is STEM aligned in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, our STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning program based on real-world situations.

Plus a focus on leadership

No curriculum is complete without focusing on how a student can make best use of their increasing knowledge, and how to successfully participate in all kinds of communities. By teaching how leaders illuminate a shared vision for the betterment of the community we help turn our student's potential into purpose. So our teachers actively work with students to build self-assurance, measured assertiveness and a team orientation. Because in real life, it's not just what you know, but how you use it.

"Where are you

"Lunch. Come on."

"Are those


"This is the

"I know, right?"


This is

one to one


Surrounded by

social interaction.

Complementing the quiet focus of one to one sessions, Yellow Wood Academy daily life is vibrant, active, and full of energy. Students gather in common areas to talk, laugh, and you guessed it —grouse about homework together. Among other things.

Need a little extra focus?
We've got that covered too.

Extra focus areas.

In many cases, students benefit from specialized instruction in specific areas. Sometimes this is in the development of more advanced social skills, executive functioning and even speech therapy.

Executive Function

Executive function skills are those cognitive abilities that direct purposeful, planned, and organized thought and as with all skills, executive functioning there is a gradual emergence and progressive strengthening of skills. Our EF teachers can work with students and parents as a team to foster the development of skillful independence.

Social Thinking

People with social thinking difficulties must be explicitly taught what most of us do intuitively. Abstract concepts need to be divided into small steps. Students taught in this way learn what skills to use in various situations, and why they should be used as well.


Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find the most commonly asked questions about Yellow Wood Academy’s educational program. Click on a question to reveal the answer. Click again to collapse the answer. If you don't find what you're looking for, email us at

In a complex world, creative ideas and solutions are best formed by the widest range of perspectives.  Therefore, Yellow Wood Academy welcomes a diverse community, and believes that a diverse community is essential to healthy education. Further, we believe that such a community includes and embraces a range of differences in learning style, race, color, creed, religion, ethnic and national origin, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, and life experience. We therefore foster and encourage respect for human differences, growth of the individual, and diversity within the school population.

Janice L. Bleakney and Sheila Dwyer Scates founded Yellow Wood Academy in 1981. The school became a state-approved private school in 1992. Our highly skilled instructors and staff share a passion for helping students of all learning styles to become confident, independent, lifelong learners. Today, YWA serves hundreds of families a year. Our teachers and staff remain committed to helping all our students thrive and reach their full potential.

Throughout our website, you've seen how we tailor our school to fit the uniqueness of every individual student-their strengths and challenges, anxieties and interests. And how we construct a very personal curriculum for each student. Our mission document, found here, outlines in detail, why we do what we do. We invite you to review it.

Yellow Wood Academy is non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization. A non-profit organization uses its surplus revenues to further achieve its purpose or mission, rather than distributing its surplus income to shareholders as profit or dividends. Whatever surplus revenue we retain through cautious and thoughtful business management is directed back into the school to upgrade the facility, technology, teacher salaries, and other important areas as agreed upon by our independent board of directors.

Yellow Wood is accredited or approved by a number of independent, third-party organizations, who certify the school meets a variety of criteria that include rigorous academic standards. We invite you to follow the links of each accrediting organization below to understand their standards and methods.

  • Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction – Non-Public Agency (NPA):
  • State Board of Education (SBE):
  • Ai - Accreditation International:
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA CESS)
  • Washington Federation of Independent Schools (WFIS):
  • Affiliate Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS):
  • National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA):
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA):

Yellow Wood Academy welcomes all children-those who are ahead, to those who are behind-from kindergarten through 12th grade. We offer any combination of math, science, language arts, social studies, and elective courses that are required by the State of Washington. A Yellow Wood graduate will have the necessary proof of competence and diploma for advanced collegiate study or whatever path they choose.

Yellow Wood conducts tours of the academy almost every Wednesday at 9:30am. Click here to go to our scheduling tool. Tours last approximately one hour.

The answer is variable depending upon your needs while at YWA. Our rates are comparable to other private schools and extremely competitive with other one to one focused programs. To accurately answer, we would need to know if your student would use the school for full-time, part-time, tutoring, test prep or for our special focus classes. Since our menu of educational services is so extensive, it’s impossible to give a generic answer. But rest assured, we would be more than happy to assess your needs and provide a quick estimate on the cost of schooling.

We charge a non-refundable registration fee for each school year September – June and offer three payment programs for tuition. 1) An up front lump sum payment with a 2% discount. 2) A two payments plan paid at the beginning of each the two school year semesters. 3) A monthly payment plan paid at the beginning of each of the 10 months of the school year. During the summer months, all scheduled services are prepaid. YWA accepts cash, personal checks, and Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. Credit card payments incur a 3% fee.

Once a textbook is selected, your student will need an individual copy of that book. At times, YWA’s lending library may contain the appropriate book. At other times, one may need to be purchased. It is less expensive for the parent to order the student's textbook because by doing so the State Use Tax is avoided. Most textbooks can easily be ordered from,, or If a teacher edition needs to be ordered for your course, up to 20% of the cost of that teacher edition will be passed on to the student. Lab fees are charged at $47 per lab class. Photocopies and teaching aids are included in our Registration Fee. Any other materials or fees associated with field trips or other unusual expenses may be charged at face value.

Yellow Wood Academy has rolling admissions throughout the school year. YWA operates year-round on a three-semester system (fall, spring, summer). However, students may begin a semester at any time during the year. A trimester system (fall, winter, spring) can also be accommodated. To register, please contact us at 206-236-1095 or download a Student Information Form. Forms can be returned to the office via mail to Yellow Wood Academy, 9655 SE 36th St, Suite 201, Mercer Island, WA 98040, email at, or fax to 206-236-0998.

Credit course periods are 50 minutes in length. Tutorial sessions are 55 minutes in length. You may sign up for 1, 1.5, or 2 sessions.

We understand that sometimes students will miss a class because of illness, appointments, travel, etc. We ask that you let us know by phone (206-236-1095) or email ( as soon as possible. Absences communicated to the school after 7:00 am on the day of absence are considered unexcused. Students can work with their teacher to make up any absences so that they stay on track to complete their class on time.

Instructors send email updates once a week. However, you can email the instructor at any time and expect a timely reply. In person visits are also available by scheduling an appointment.

YWA hires teachers that meet our high standards for knowledge of subject matter, willingness to work with a wide range of student learning styles, comfort with the need for flexibility within structure and a passion for helping students to thrive.

The school is open from 7 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. This allows for enormous flexibility in designing a schedule that fits the needs of your child.

Complementing the quiet focus of one to one sessions, Yellow Wood Academy daily life is vibrant, active, and full of energy. Students gather in common areas to talk, laugh, and you guessed it -grouse about homework together. Among other things. While most classes are one to one there are opportunities for group classes in music, art, PE, technology, leadership and other electives. In addition, the entire school has lunch and breaks at the same time and once a month an all school activity is planned.