Common Curriculum

The Common Curriculum are the classes beyond the core academics that every student at NOVA will experience over their three years with us. These experiences are essiential for the healthy and happy development as they move through early adolescence. 

Art

Exploring human thought and emotion to deepen compassion for others and for themselves. The Visual Arts program at NOVA is simple but profound.

Students learn to use visual arts as a means of expression, communication, and understanding. At the same time, students acquire the skills needed to create what they imagine and employ tools and materials that real artists use. All students at NOVA participate in Visual Arts classes, developing their ability to formulate ideas, creatively solve problems, and develop their motor skills. 

A culture of consistency and connection.

Our Closing Crews provide a home-base for students. Each student is assigned to a teacher for the entirety of their time at NOVA. On a daily basis, the closing crew of students practice healthy community through daily chores and teamwork. 

Middle school students thrive on choice and exposure to a variety of ideas. 

In our Enrichment Program, students have the opportunity to select classes based on two factors: their interests and a set of requirements that guide them to explore broadly by including some classes in The Arts, Literacy, Technology, and World Languages.

The Enrichment Program allows students to take such classes as Science Fiction Short Stories, Video Game Design, Ukulele Choir, Winter Baking, Stagecraft, Embroidery, French, Strategy Card Games, and Songwriting... just to name a few!  It also allows teachers to create new classes every trimester based on their emerging interests as well as the students' suggestions. 

Knowledge for work, life and citizenship in an interconnected and ever changing world.

Exploratory allows seventh and eighth grade students to consider additional elements of the human experience such as media studies, world religions, healthy living, and understanding diversity.  

Middle school students need particular supports to prepare for future success. Honoring that readiness maximizes student growth. 

6th Grade: Study Skills 

  • Sixth grade students have dedicated time for regular guidance as they move toward increased independence and autonomy in their educational journey.  

7th Grade: Service Learning 

  • Seventh grade students study the landscape of ways people serve their communities and engage in service in various ways throughout the year.  

8th Grade: Independent Project and World of Work 

  • 8th Grade Project: Eighth grade students take on a yearlong independent project designed to help them practice skills necessary for long-term independent learning. Presentations of their project based learning are scheduled in the spring.

  • World of Work: In the winter term, eighth grade students experience the work of local businesses and present their experiences to the community at a World of Work evening showcase.

All students have the capacity to be team leaders and to grow confidence through physical activity. 

NOVA's PE program is varied, playful, and non-traditional.

During the fall and spring trimesters, students are on the NOVA campus for PE, playing games that allow them to practice teamwork and sportsmanship, to develop their capacity to self-referee in a way that is respectful of all participants, and to grow their confidence in participating as part of a team with a goal. Athletes become more coachable, responsible, and mature; and students who have not been athletes in the past find that they, too, can be important and valued team members. 

During the winter trimester, the PE program moves off-site, allowing students to pick recreational sports opportunities around the community. While the choices depend on availability and student interest, recent off-site PE classes include: rock climbing, bowling, tennis/racquetball, volleyball, Zumba, partner dancing, swimming, and golf. 

Early adolescents benefit from both guidance and practice with skills related to personal development.

"SoEmo" as refered to by our students and teachers is where students and teachers work together to create the All-School Agreement for each year's student body; they talk about communication, going through transitions from elementary to middle school and then from middle to high school, and navigating their growing independence; and they have the weekly opportunity to get to know themselves and their classmates more deeply as individuals. 

Students need to be nimble and confident in the everchanging digital world. 

Each student starts with a course entitled NOVA Tech, introducing them to the systems and software currently in use on our campus. Because of the widely varying skills students enter with, the class is structured so that each student can work forward from their pre-existing skill set. Likewise, as students move into our varied Technology enrichment classes, each one is differentiated so that students are moving forward – whether they come to us with little to no experience with technology or with a solid grasp of multiple coding languages!