Every student and family at Nova has an assigned coordinator for the duration of their entire academic career. The coordinator guides the student through their educational experience and also serves as a counselor. Students meet with their coordinators on a regular basis to plan their educational path, review how school and life are going, address any issues and receive support with the graduation process.
With support and guidance, students choose classes, create schedules and demonstrate learning. Classes at Nova are inquiry, project and seminar based. Each class has a clear set of established competencies that the student can choose how to demonstrate. Competency standards map to a “B” or “A” in traditional academic settings. In the classroom and independent learning contracts, students follow their own interests and create unique ways to engage with the material, all while meeting and exceeding graduation requirements. Nova students become deeply engaged in — and transformed by — their own learning experience.
Student engagement extends beyond the classroom. Nova has always been a grassroots, democratic school with a strong commitment to social justice. For over 40 years Nova has been run collectively by the students and staff. Students are required to participate in a governing committee that makes real decisions about how their school is run. Initiatives, improvements, and reforms are driven by student voice with staff support.
Nova is a really nice place to be. School norms prioritize acceptance, kindness, respect and consent. Students report that they love to come to school, and that they feel safe and comfortable in their skin, bodies, sexualities and genders. Nova works very hard to create a positive and supportive environment for all students, teachers and staff.
Nova recognizes that we are all constantly in a state of growth. Students take to Nova quickly, but sometimes it can take parents some time to understand how it works. As our families engage with Nova, it becomes clear that Nova is a place where our students find their people, get excited about learning, and take responsibility for themselves. As parents and guardians, we learn how to trust and support the process. If you have any questions about Nova from a parent perspective, feel free to contact us!
Life After Nova
Students leave Nova knowing how they learn, what they care about and who they are. Each student is supported to find their unique path and make meaningful plans for their future.
Nova has a designated Career and College counselor to provide an additional layer of support and meets with students and families to plan next steps.
Our graduates meet all state graduation requirements and receive a Seattle Public School High School diploma. College admissions officers from highly regarded colleges — University of Washington, Lewis & Clark, Mills College, Oberlin, The New School and others — seek out Nova students every year because they have come to expect creativity, critical thinking, maturity and self-reliance. Nova students are accepted at highly regarded colleges and other schools in our region and across the country.