This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Nova Classical Academy5
Posted June 19, 2014
- a parent
Great school with great opportunities for your child. I love the great parent involvement this school has constructed. I am very please with my son's kindergarten experience. I am excited for the upcoming year and what it will bring.
After my first (very neutral) review was taken off the site, I am following Great Schools review prompts to provide another useless review. I think everybody should know: that this is the best school in the whole world. What do I like? Everything! How could my school improve? It can't because it's already perfect! Is this better, Great Schools?
Nova Classical Academy gives my child the education I would have wanted for myself. My child receives a solid grounding in history, geography, science, art, music and mathematics. I delight in being able to discuss history with her and watch her grow and change as the world opens up to her through her classical liberal arts education.
The curriculum is outstanding and it shows through the wonderful bank of knowledge that the students develop. The faculty and staff are well training and very dedicated to the students and to the mission of school.
There are many negative comments about Nova on this site, and I think that goes to show that it truly is a niche school that does what it professes to do. It is not a school suited to everyone, but it is perfect for me and I never want it to change.
Nova is a solid school grades K-5 (the exception being the reading program which is ridgid and uninspiring). The school falters beginning in 6th grade where rigor begins to take the place of mastery and in some cases, common sense. For instance, no matter what kids have been taught, how they have been taught, etc., many 11 and 12 year olds are not developmentally ready for pre algebra. Nova's high school continues along the same path as the middle school but to an even greater degree. For instance, all sophomores are required to take what amounts to a college freshman level chemistry class. There are no other options for science in 10th grade. For some kids, great. For others, GPA busting. No helpful electives are offered to 9th and 10th graders making a significant portion of the kids seriously struggle with at least one class. Essentially, Nova's high school teaches to the top 5-10% of its students with limited options to kids who are not super advanced in all subjects. Parents should not assume that if their child starts Nova in kindergarten and thrives at Nova through grade 5, (even through grade 8) that their child will be able to thrive in Nova's high school.
[Rigorous but harsh] Sixth grade was tough for my child because of the homework load and social/bullying issues. (Staff handled the latter quite well.) Some of the teachers seem to equate academic rigor with a harsh and humorless demeanor; I wish they'd make learning more fun. My kid responds to positive energy from teachers. And the history curriculum is definitely not everyone's cup of tea, what with its emphasis on ancient times, the male worldview, and Christianity. I do like that they infuse school life with virtues education (justice, temperance, prudence, fortitude). But sometimes "rigor" is self-defeating: Half the sixth grade had to repeat pre-algebra this year because the school was pushing seventh-grade material at sixth-graders last year! On the other hand, when my kid was in SPPS she was bored silly, it was so unchallenging. And I do like uniforms as a way to keep the focus off fashion and peer pressure and on school. I've looked at other schools, but there's no happy medium -- you either get too much rigor (Nova), or not nearly enough (every other St. Paul school). So we'll probably stay at Nova as long as our kid seems happy, healthy, and able to handle the work.
My daughter is already asking how much longer summer will be until school starts. It is not that her days are lacking fun and relaxation, but that she finds Nova so engaging, involving and welcoming. The world-class (truly) curriculum and dedicated staff at Nova ensure a top-notch experience where scholarship and the development of the individual are the priority and the result.