I'm a former Nova student and all I can say is that this place is horrible. I came to Nova after several bad experiences with past schools - bullying, inattentive teachers, and a general lack of motivation to excel academically. I started classes my freshman year of high school and almost didn't make it through the year. There's no structure, organization, or support there. It's a fairly small school, so it seemed like it would be easier to get to know people - I was totally wrong. Most of the students know the teachers outside of school, and it was obvious that they picked favorites. There was a problem with drug use there - like to the point where I saw kids from class shooting up in the bathroom. It was impossible to know what grades you had or how many credits you were earning; teachers rarely responded to emails and even during class couldn't make a coherent point during a lecture. Aside from math there weren't any real academics being taught there. I struggle with math, and by the second month I was there I was moved to an online class because I couldn't get any help from the teacher, even though I repeatedly asked her for help. I know it's an alternative school, but there was very little being taught that could be actually used. The only decent classes were off-campus where you could get experience volunteering.
I will say, however, that the principal was interested in student activities and often talked with them, as well as teachers. He seemed to have a good relationship with the people there.
Aside from that, I don't think it's worth going there. I've heard from teachers at my current school that it used to be a lot better there, but I don't know what happened. Maybe all the good teachers left?
I ended up repeating 10th grade at another school due to the credits I lost there - and believe me, I really did try to get a good grade in my classes. I'm an A/B student, but it was impossible to succeed there. I'm going to have to spend an extra year in high school, even after completing 6 classes in summer school. I'd advise parents or students to avoid this place at all costs.
Nova High School exists because the dedicated students and staff that work there provide a unique experience in learning. I removed my son from SSD middle School system due to incompetency and an unwillingness to be flexible. As my son had developmental problems from birth and needed an approach to learning that was not available elsewhere, Nova filled that niche. My son is engaged and supported in Nova's envirnment and support this very special school. It is set up for students that have a desire to learn. Thanks Nova!
I am a recent NOVA graduate, and I have to say that NOVA saved my life. Traditional schools never worked for me, some were bad enough that I was literally able to write the answer is Fish on my math work and I would get an A+ NOVA actually got me to think about my work and learn. I will agree with a previous review saying " no one cares about fundraising or leadership there and the school will probably die soon." BUT from my first-hand experience, I feel that it is mainly because of all the cuts the district has done the past few years. From what I can tell, most of the newer students have been kids that the district placed there when they wanted to go somewhere else, which is why no one is doing fund raising.
Something is broken and I don't know how to fix it. The lack of organization and communication is appalling. I am very open-minded, which is why we sent my child to Nova in the first place. But whenever a problem arose instead of dealing with it head-on trying to correct it, we were told our child should drop out and go somewhere else. After 4 years we received a letter that arrived while I was in the hospital on bed-rest. It came after I had been admitted stating our child was going to be expelled. His Senior credits had been denied by the principal and I believe it was a retaliatory act. A family member called the principal to explain I was in the hospital and we were promised no action would be taken until September AFTER meeting with him to discuss the situation. However, he has been conveniently unavailable and won't return our phone calls and our child WAS "dis-enrolled" while I was still in the hospital after being promised that would not occur. I'm taking this up with the district. Our child did not do anything wrong and deserves to graduate. As an aside, no one cares about fundraising or leadership there and the school will probably die soon.
I need to add this to an earlier review in order to address a pejorative remark that someone made. One parent said that the only type of student who will excel at Nova, is one who would excel elsewhere. Familiarize yourself with their demographics. A large percentage of Nova students transfer in mid-way through high school because they were in danger of dropping out, or had dropped out, of another school. My son, who was in the APP program in middle school, racked up180 truancies at Garfield. He moved to Nova and graduated ON TIME by taking DOUBLE credits his senior year. This is because they got him to buy into what they were doing, whereas Garfield just did discipline. Check the facts before you trash a school.
Nova has my 5th child now; it's been 6 years since I've posted. I feel this outstanding and flexible school should be defended. First, please note that students are NOT routinely graduated. Check their SAT scores; they are among the highest in the state. One of my 5 was shown the gate for not attending class. Yes, you CAN get kicked out of Nova, but they will try to engage the student first. OSPI awarded ONE school in all of WA state the lang. arts award...NOVA. There's a reason for this. Before that child leaves school to start forging checks or burglarizing your house and car, they try to work with them, find their interests and passions, and build a curriculum (but real work) around that topic if it's what it takes to keep them in school. This is not a slacker school, but it is also not sink-or-swim. Students see the faculty and administration (outstanding!) as part of "we", not "us" vs. "them". This is especially critical for very bright students with power issues. This is how drop-outs turn in to high-scorers. And this is why my children and I love Nova.
This is an add-on to the last comment This school is really fantastic, its the only alternative school in Seattle so we better keep it loved as much as possible. Thats my review, please consider visiting Nova if your looking for schools. You won't be disappointed. I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!! One thing that has changed that I notice this site didn't change.
Nova empowers students to find their own voice. The grading system does not allow a student to fall through the cracks- if you don't "pass" the class then you don't get full credit. This system makes sure students comprehend the subject before moving on. There is a culture of mutual respect and a true diverse community. Our student finds the curriculum stimulating and engaging. The teachers are extremely supportive and caring- they love teaching. This is our second year at Nova and our family feels accepted and included. There is a huge amount of parent involvement. Their new building is slowly transforming to represent the current Nova students.
This alternative high school is student-focused and student-led. Its curriculum integrates writing, arts, and social justice and creates a safe environment for students 'outside the box' who prosper under a non-traditional learning plan. The teachers are devoted to the students and the school, which has been a part of the Seattle school district for decades. The students leave this school knowing that they have been valued as individuals and how to think about more than just themselves. It has literally renewed the lives of many young adults who thought they would never find a society to believe in and belong to.