My child scores at the gifted level in humanities, yet she made it all the way through Nova without being required to read one single novel. It was comics, movies, news articles, done. The 94% on the reading SAT was consistent with her middle school reading scores.
I have no idea how much homework my child received there. She wasn't aware of the amount of missing work she had, either. She should have checked; on the other hand, there was a time when Nova teachers really were counselors, and would set up meeting times with their kids and follow up if they did not show.
There's an agenda in place. If your child agrees with the political perspective of the staff, then a rapport can be built and your child will learn to treat others fairly and honestly. If your child is not interested in politics, or disagrees with staff political positions, s/he will be viewed as an outsider and may not feel like going to school.
The school is not the caring, mentoring environment it once was, and it is also no longer a democratic school in which student committees run every aspect, including teacher hiring and finance. The core faculty that built it have retired, and so now it's a school that does not give grades, does not give parents feedback even during freshman year, and also does not provide mentoring. Math here is a joke. A student that is gone for an entire semester--truant--will not inspire a single phone call home. There is a political agenda attached to the social justice aspect of the program, and if a kid doesn't agree politically with whatever social justice goal is being promoted, they will receive heavy pressure to fall in line. Mentoring does not happen, and parents receive no feedback. If the district sends out a letter telling the parent their child is not in line to graduate and needs summer school, Nova will tell them that because their program is different, that letter does not mean anything, but when the kid is truly at risk not to graduate, not a word is said. My girl scored 94% on the reading SAT, but did not get her diploma. Of course she is responsible, but as parents, we were discouraged from coming in for progress reports. The one time we insisted on a meeting, we were told, "Oh wow", and in the meeting we were assured our child could graduate easily and that we would hear if she got so far behind that she could not. This never happened. We got a cc'ed e-mail from her counselor to our child asking if she wants to be removed from attendance.
I know that trans students, about whose safety there are lots of class meetings and coor meetings, feel safe here. If you have a trans student, I still recommend this place because your kid will be safe. Students who do well in any educational environment may prefer Nova's laid back approach and can track their own credits. But if your child is introverted and depressed, this place is not going to help, and may even hurt.
Nova has been amazing to me! All the teachers really care about you and really want to see you succeed. I felt that through the classes that I am in, I have learned more than I ever have. All the classes are taught in a way that makes it interesting to everyone, and if things aren't working out for you in a class the teachers will work with you to change something so you will learn and want to continue learning. The other students are all really nice and there is no bullying at all. Nova has a reputation for drugs but all I can say about that is that they won't expel you for doing it, instead they will work with you to quit. They really want to help you and won't just push you away just to keep a good reputation which is a lot more than I can say about other schools.
As a current Nova student getting ready to graduate this year I can say Nova saved my life. I come from a small town where i dealt with years of people putting me down for being queer and mixed race and coming to Nova I found refuge. Teachers can appear to play favorites but for a majority of them if you talk to them about problems outside of class they are happy to help and talk to you. During my freshman year I had a mental breakdown due to family drama and landed myself in a pysch ward for a month and my coordinator came to see me once a week, not for homework but to check in on me. Nova is a very close knit community due to the size of the school and if you start there with out having friends that are current students it can be hard to find your way but if you try you can. It is a family and once you find the people you need to find there you will have a good experience.
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.