Nova High School

High School
Nova High School


About Nova


Contact Us

Eyva Winet
Principal Winet

2410 E. Cherry St.
Seattle, WA 98122

Main Office: 206-252-3500
Fax: 206-252-3501

Principal: Eyva Winet (they/them)

Nova is a liberatory learning space where students, staff, families, and our community partners work collaboratively to move through cycles of growth which include healing, celebration, scholarship, reflection, creation, and action. Through these cycles, we deconstruct systems of power and privilege and rebuild ourselves, our school, and our communities with different ways of being. By decentering whiteness, patriarchy, hetero- and cis-normativity, and able bodies, and by embracing neurodiversity, we are revisioning educational communities as spaces where students’ needs are met, growth is the metric that matters, and behavior is understood as a form of communication. We are creating a space where bodies, minds, and spirits are treated with compassion and consent and where systemic harm is transformed into healing, creation, and action.

Nova’s innovative teaching and learning approach provides inquiry based instruction where students apply their learning through application, performance, and portfolio-based assessment. Nova is a non-graded competency-based program with a long history of successfully transitioning students into their post high school college and career goals. Our coordinating system provides a robust and individualized advisor and mentor for every student. Students share decision making and learn individual and social responsibility in a personalized and safe environment. Nova operates with a growth mindset where we build into our curriculum and our committee and advisory systems academic, social, and emotional development.

How Nova Works

Incoming 9th grade students attend 3-1/2 days of workshops and advisory activities when they arrive at Nova before signing up for classes. They meet their teacher advisor (aka Coordinator), meet with their advisory group, meet one-on-one with their teacher advisor, and sign up for classes.

All of our 9th graders are enrolled in Freshfolks during their first semester at Nova. Freshfolks gives students an overview of the tools they’ll need to be successful at Nova: 

  • Learn our competency-based system
  • Understand how to participate fully in seminars
  • How to work collaboratively with other students
  • How to manage their time
  • Making good personal and school decisions
  • Establishing expectations for reading, writing, presentations, critical thought and action

We also provide ongoing parent and family orientation meetings, and Nova Roots offers regional orientations for new parents and families at the beginning of every school year. 

The first few days of each semester are different from those at traditional high schools. All students are required to participate in the following activities: 

The first few days of each semester are different from those at traditional high schools. All students are required to participate in the following activities:

  • Coor Meeting
  • Meet Coordinator
  • Participate in Nova Con

Attend Coor each morning. Students get to know other members of their Coor group, hear school announcements and information, share personal stories, and plan for the school year.

Meet with their Coordinator. All students have a “one on one” meeting to discuss their student learning plan and possible course schedules to prep for class registration. 

Participate in NOVA CON . Nova Con is a justice, art and community conference hosted for Nova students twice a year at the beginning of each semester. It is focused on justice, art and community workshops and events. The conference is designed to connect Nova students to our community and also to the many communities we are nested within. Workshops are planned and facilitated by students, families and community facilitators. This also allows teachers to meet individually with every student before the semester starts to craft their unique educational experience. Nova Con happens at the beginning of each semester, so we are always looking for volunteer workshop facilitators!

Registering for classes: Students sign up for classes by visiting each teacher’s room. Seniors and those with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) may have priority and can sign up early. Students are reminded to be flexible when choosing their classes and have a “back up” plan in case a desired class is full. When a class fills, teachers may create wait lists.  Each teacher manages their wait lists differently. If a student is considering adding or dropping a class during the term, they must first speak with their coordinator.

Attendance: Key to student success at Nova is regular attendance, participation and engagement in all classes. Nova reports attendance daily.  Students are required to “sign in” on their COOR Attendance sheet daily, and each teacher also takes attendance.  Students are also expected to attend COOR every Monday and check in with their coordinator. Nova follows the attendance requirements mandated in the WA State Compulsory Attendance Law (28A.225 RCW). Please notify the school office @ 206-252-3500 if your student is absent.

Planning a schedule: Before choosing classes, students and their coordinators carefully consider their needs for the semester as well as graduation requirements, college or vocational plans, and other long-term goals. Using our internal ALE database — where every student has a written student learning plan that is updated monthly, based on teacher reports on student progress in every class — the coordinator helps students select classes that fit their interests and juggle schedules, all with graduation, college and future goals in mind.  

Students and coordinators also plan for any extracurricular activities – sports, music, work, and so on, working to build a schedule that best “fits” the student.

Together, they review the course offerings and select classes of interest plus a few back-ups. This process ensures that the student is well prepared for registration day.

Class Schedule: Classes meet twice or three times a week for one and a half hours each day. Current class schedules are available in the Nova office.  Nova’s weekly schedule incorporates time for Coor meetings, community service, committee involvement, academic support, field trips and additional activities.

As participation in these activities will depend on student inspiration and school/community needs, a student’s schedule can vary some week-to-week. Nova follows the SPS district calendar for all breaks and holidays but does not observe early dismissal days.

Competency Based Learning:  Nova’s teaching and learning system differs from traditional schools.  The student and their teachers collaborate to define the student’s specific interests and develop expectations for fulfilling competencies based on those interests.  A competency can be defined as a concept, a skill, or any specific knowledge essential for passing a class.

Instead of measuring student knowledge on the basis of teacher-assigned tests, homework, and reports, the student and teacher work together to define and assess mastery so that the credits earned correlate with the student’s understanding and application of the key concepts and skills covered in the class.

Alternative Learning Environment (ALE): We believe learning looks different for each person and thus should be a flexible and malleable personalized process driven by the learner with support and guidance from caring mentors and other learners. At Nova, students and staff are both learners and teachers. We work to find balance between personalization, academics, and community responsibility.

Governing Committees: Student engagement extends beyond the classroom. Nova has always been 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.

Nova is democratically governed by committees made up of students, teachers, parents, guardians, alumni, principal, and staff. School matters are addressed by the entire community. All have a voice and a vote on issues including managing the budget, changing class schedules and activities, staff hiring, and changing the governing system itself. Students can also participate in or create Committees for credit and fun. A list of current Committees .

Graduating from Nova: Graduating Graduation and State assessment requirements are mandated by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction-OSPI. Information regarding credit and state testing requirements for each graduation year can be found on the Seattle Public Schools website at; Requirements and progress are monitored by the Coordinator using the student’s graduation worksheet. In addition to the District credit requirements each Nova student will complete a Justice-Based Culminating Inquiry Project.

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.

Enroll at Nova

Please note that Nova is an Alternative Learning Experience school. We are able to create individualized learning plans for students, however, here are some of our Nova agreements and requirements (a full list of the norms). Please consider if you and your family are able to adhere to these agreements and requirements before coming to Nova. 

  • The student signs in daily or text/call/email excused absence. 
  • Students need to be active in their communication and education. The student attends and participates in the schedule they create with their coordinator. 
  • Family communication goes through the student and the coordinator, not individual teachers. The student facilitates family meetings as needed (when requested by student, family, or coordinator). Nova does not call home to report absences each day.
  • The student participates in school decision making through coor and committees. The student attends Coor weekly, on Mondays.
  • Each department has developed social justice competencies that are integrated into classes students will take to acquire the credits in Language Arts, History, Science, Art, and Math to move toward graduation. The student is actively involved in classes and projects where they will engage with social justice competencies. 

To learn more about Nova:

  • Stay tuned for more information on Orientations for 2023-24 transfer students

To enroll at Nova for 8th Graders:

  • If you are participating in the Open Enrollment for a current SPS student, please submit the school choice application through The Sourcewhich will allow you to review the receipt status of your application. If you are using a pdf form, e-mail your completed form to

  • Visit Schools Choice to access PDF’s of the School Choice Form. 
  • Open enrollment for 2024-2025 will be posted on the SPS Website in January.

To enroll at Nova as a 2023-24 high school transfer student within SPS:

  • Visit the SPS enrollment website and submit the School Option Form to the Admissions Office. 

To enroll at Nova for high school as a non-resident, living outside Seattle city limits: