The Nova Classical Academy Experience

Know Yourself. Know the World!

Welcome to Nova Classical Academy, we are a public charter school free and accessible to all students looking for an exceptional education in a classical setting. While we are known to excel at academics – we consistently rank in the top schools in the state each year – you might be surprised to learn our extracurriculars are fast coming into their own level of excellence. Our success can be credited in part to our unique yet time-honored approach to teaching thought and discipline of both the mind and heart. This practice not only ensures that all students are seen and heard but has proven to produce compassionate, articulate graduates poised to contribute as global citizens.

Know yourself. As a Nova Classical student, you are empowered to be intellectually curious. You get the opportunity to explore who you are and what you want to be. A focus on character values in daily interactions instills the habit of engaging with others in a thoughtful, kind-hearted manner. As you grow in knowledge and are encouraged to exercise self-expression and self-discipline, confidence becomes second nature. You learn to know your strengths and abilities and will grow into your own person, prepared and self-assured.

Know the world. You will be educated in the time-honored classical traditions and exposed to concepts and philosophies from around the globe. You will learn not only facts but how to gain knowledge. You will analyze, evaluate, and critique information and begin to develop independent thought. And lastly but most importantly, once you have obtained this knowledge, you will develop the skills of argument and persuasion, and become accomplished in the art of communication. You will be ready to engage with the world.

We invite you to join our inclusive community of learners.

Take a virtual tour: Explore our website for a glimpse of what it means to belong to the Nova Classical community. Review our curriculum guide and follow us on social media to hear our success stories.

Feel free to contact me directly at any time. Please call 651.209.6320, ext. 208 or email

It’s a Great Day to be a Knight,

Dr. Brett Wedlund, Executive Director

A Day in the Life of a Nova Classical Academy Student

What is it like to be a Nova Classical student? What does it mean to be a Nova Knight?

Although each student’s experience is unique, a classical education at Nova Classical is a rigorous and formal education method that teaches thought and expression of the mind and heart. Students and families of students in all grades will find a welcoming and inclusive environment at Nova Classical Academy. Our small setting is ideally suited to deliver truly personalized learning and build developmental relationships. Each student will receive the resources, support, and academic challenge they need to reach their highest individual levels of academic excellence.

A Conversation Carried on Throughout Time

A central tenet of Nova Classical’s education is the idea that education is a conversation carried on throughout time and our students inherit that great tradition. Nova Classical Academy students are taught how to gain knowledge and, in the process, form exemplary study habits and time management skills that help them develop self-discipline and accountability in academics and life. While knowledge‐centered instruction is the norm, student participation and healthy debate are encouraged in lively classrooms.

Inside Nova Classical Academy
Children at Nova Classical Academy

An Everyday Focus on Character Values

Our teaching style ensures that students are seen and heard, resulting in self-assured and confident individuals. With our everyday focus on character values, all students are encouraged to develop habits of interacting with others in a thoughtful, kind-hearted manner.

Our students are encouraged to discover their unique purpose, interests, and abilities beyond the classroom as well through a variety of clubs, sports, music, theater, and other activities. Annual traditions such as Homecoming Week, Snow Days, Ascot, Medieval Feast, and various school trips engender in students a sense of community that enriches their educational experience.

A Sense of Community and Respect

Older classes are partnered with younger ones in activities designed to foster a sense of community and respect between and among age groups. Students and teachers forge strong relationships, and Nova Classical parents support the school generously through a variety of volunteer efforts as well as monetary gifts.

A classical education at Nova Classical develops confident, compassionate, and articulate graduates who are poised to engage as thoughtful global citizens. Our students graduate empowered to be intellectually curious, to identify their personal strengths — and gain the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to make their world a better place.

Children at Nova Classical Academy

What Exactly is a Classical Education?

What is a public charter school education experience at Nova Classical Academy like?

Classical education is a rigorous and formal learning method that rests on the concept of the Trivium—grammar, logic, and rhetoric—as the structure of every subject and discipline.

At Nova Classical Academy, students integrate the three stages of the Trivium into everything they learn.
The learning process moves through each of the three stages. For example, a student learning to read and write will learn the sounds that letters make in the grammar stage, organize words together in meaningful ways in the logical stage, and create written compositions expressing their opinions in the rhetoric stage.

  • Grammar is the foundation of a subject—the collection of its parts and the mechanics of how they work.
  • Logic is the organization of this collection of parts and mechanics of grammar into a whole and an understanding of the relationships among them.
  • Rhetoric is the ability to apply the foundational knowledge and logical understanding of a subject purposefully and creatively to solve a problem, express an opinion with clarity, or create something new.

K-12 Classical Education in Minnesota

The Trivium, a Latin word that means “a place where three roads meet”, is the pathway we use to teach and learn at Nova Classical, but can work at any age. For instance, Latin students chant verb conjugations in order to memorize patterns. Most everyone who speaks Latin learned the grammatical chant “amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant” when conjugating the verb “amare” which means “to love”. This chant means “I love, you love, he loves, we love, you (all) love, they love”. Memorized at the grammar stage, it becomes ingrained in one’s memory and can often be recalled by the student 50 years later.

The classical teaching method at Nova Classical Academy develops active learners who feel seen and heard, resulting in self-assured and confident individuals.

For a more in-depth description about classical education

Why Study Virtues?

And what are they anyway?

The classical search for Truth, Beauty, and Goodness and participation in the Great Conversation requires virtues, as well as the desire to serve and help humanity. At Nova Classical Academy, we teach and continually reinforce these five virtues: justice, temperance, fortitude, wisdom, and prudence.

As educational and transformational leaders, Nova Classical’s staff – from its support staff and its teachers to its administration– strives to model intellectual and honest living for our school community through our daily activities and interactions with one another.

At the grammar school level, young students are explicitly taught the nature of virtue as a good, repeated habit through the cardinal virtues of fortitude, justice, temperance, prudence, and wisdom. Students learn the behaviors associated with these virtues and are taught to look for them in the school’s rich content and in their daily lives. Once they can see them in the examples of others, they are taught specific ways to apply virtuous frameworks to their own choices.

classical virtue curriculum at Nova ClassicalExamples of how the virtues are incorporated into everyday school life also include “Virtue Assemblies” at the School of Grammar. These highlight a different virtue each month. In the Upper School students discuss and write about the virtues of figures they study. The virtues are the lens we use at Nova Classical Academy to teach our students to become young people of character.

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

― Aristotle

Why Nova Classical Academy?

What are our unique attributes? What makes us stand apart?

Nova Classical Academy delivers classical education in a small, tuition-free, K-12 public charter school that is ideally suited for personalizing learning and building developmental relationships.

A Leader in Classical Education
  • Nova Classical Academy is Minnesota’s leader in classical education.
  • Classical education is a rigorous and formal method that teaches thought and expression of the mind and heart.
  • Nova Classical’s approach encourages inquiry and creativity while also demanding self-discipline and hard work.
  • At Nova Classical, the development of virtue is thoroughly integrated with the acquisition of knowledge.
Welcoming Learning Environment
  • Nova Classical offers small classes and a challenging, accelerated curriculum with an emphasis on college preparation.
  • 485 students in Nova Classical’s Lower School
  • 530 students in Nova Classical’s Upper School

education at Nova Classical Academy
Superior Academics
  • Nova Classical’s current Graduation Rate is 94%
  • Average ACT Score of Nova Classical’s Class of 2021 is 27
  • Average of junior students on the 2021 PSATs is 1206
  • 72% students in grades 10-12 are taking at least one college level course
  • 84% of Nova Classical students receive a score of 3 or higher on all AP exams they take
  • MCA scores (view School Report Card)
  • Nova Classical had 4 finalists, 4 semifinalists, and 10 commended for National Merit Scholarship in the past two years
  • Received “High-Quality Charter School” designation from the Minnesota Department of Education
  • Innovation Award Recipient from Minnesota Association of Charter Schools
  • 2022 Niche Best Schools (view report)
  • US News and World Report Best High Schools Gold level (view report)

academics at Nova Classical Academy
Competitive Extracurriculars
  • Boys Cross Country State Champions 2021
  • Boys Track & Field State Champions 2022
  • Boys Tennis State Champions 2019
  • Mock Trial State Champions 2013, 2015, 2016, 2020, 2023
  • One-Act Play State Finalist – 2014, 2019, 2020
  • Robotics State Participant 2021
  • Skyline Conference Championships – 7 total
  • Twin Cities Athletic Conference Championships – over 20

School History

Nova Classical Academy began as a small group of parents who felt that public school students should have access to the same quality of education as many private school students. They wanted a school that was academically rigorous, that valued scholarship and individual excellence as well as self-discipline and virtue, that taught students to think and reason from a solid foundation of knowledge and skills, that allowed all students to study at an appropriate pace, and where parents, staff, and students all shared a unity of purpose.

Our Future

Nova Classical Academy has a K–12 charter. We opened in St. Paul in the fall of 2003 with grades K–6 and we have added grades yearly toward our goal of providing a complete K–12 education, beginning with our first ninth-grade class in the autumn of 2009. We graduated our first class of seniors in the Spring of 2013. After renting spaces for nine years, we were very excited for our new building in Victoria Park which houses our full K–12 programs. We believe strongly that an effective education must be systematic, comprehensive, and must have continuity from year to year. We provide many volunteer opportunities for parents to contribute to the success of the school.

Our Promise to You

Nova Classical Academy promises to be an inclusive community with a shared commitment to an exceptional, foundational education that teaches thought and expression of the mind and heart, resulting in compassionate and articulate graduates poised to engage as thoughtful global citizens.

Nova Classical School in St. Paul MNOur promise is derived from our mission:

Our Mission

In a supportive community and through a systematic, accelerated college-preparatory education in the classical tradition, Nova Classical Academy challenges its students to develop intellect, to attain the habits of learning and mastery, and to live a virtuous life of duty and ideals.

About Charter Schools

Charter schools are tuition-free, public schools started and operated by teachers, parents, or community members. Your taxes pay for charter schools just as they pay for traditional public schools. Charters are part of the state system of public education but operate independently of the school district in which they are located.

Charter schools must agree to be held accountable for specific academic and non-academic outcomes. They must have an authorizer to oversee the school’s accountability efforts. Nova Classical Academy’s Authorizer is Friends of Education.

For more information on charter schools, visit the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools websites.

School Report Card

Each year the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) issues a report card on each school.  Nova Classical Academy’s School report cards can be found on the MDE Website. The report cards show test results, graduation rates, demographics, staffing profile, student progress, academic standards, and more.

Lower School Report CardUpper School Report Card


Average ACT Score of Nova's Class of 2021


Nova's Graduation Rate


students in Nova's Lower School


students in grades 10-12 taking at least one college level course

Envisioning our Future: 2022-2027 Strategic Plan

What is a Strategic Plan?

A Strategic Plan is a deliberate effort to establish a holistic, evolving plan that guides an organization for 3-5 years. Strategic Planning provides the opportunity to engage in reflection — a critical habit of learning — and refocuses on relevant priorities and decision-making. Strategic Planning ensures an organization continually recreates itself to maintain its leadership position despite rapid changes in education, technology, and society.

Our 2017-2022 Strategic Plan led us through complex and uncertain times, yet allowed us to remain focused on developing compassionate and articulate graduates poised to engage as thoughtful global citizens.

Creating our Strategic Plan

At Nova Classical Academy, we integrate the three stages of Trivium into the learning process for all students. Grammar (the foundation), Logic (understanding the relationship among collected parts), and Rhetoric (application of the foundational knowledge and Logic) are evident in all learning we do in life. 

It’s a process that leads to a more robust understanding, sound opinions, and the creation of new problem-solving methods for complex issues. Our Strategic Plan is our school’s method of integrating the Trivium to envision our future, set guidelines for unforeseen circumstances, and define measures of success. 

Grammar: As we set the foundation — the collection of parts to determine what works within systems — we rely on family, student, and staff input. Listening sessions and surveys give insight into what our community wants from Nova Classical Academy. Community input is integral to our Strategic Planning process; we want to ensure that every voice is heard, honored, and respected.

Logic: Once we have gathered and collected the information, the Strategic Planning Committee will organize the information in meaningful ways, comprehend it, and make recommendations based on the conclusions it draws. 

Rhetoric: The Board of Directors takes the recommendations and applies what it has learned in creating a new Strategic Plan, clearly articulating our mission, vision, and priorities for the coming years. 

What does this strategic plan do?

The plan reaffirms our commitment to classical education and our virtues – Justice, Fortitude, Prudence, Temperance, and Wisdom. We will work to define the core components of our model to easily share its value and importance with interested families, teachers, and stakeholders.

The plan works to ensure every student has a sense of belonging at Nova Classical Academy and feels supported in all areas of their education and well-being. We can provide this support through respecting and celebrating cultural and ethnic traditions, positioning Multiple-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) to meet the emotional needs of students, and documenting our position on fairness and belonging. 

We believe our students learn not only for school but for life. We believe supportive relationships between students, staff, and families are necessary for students to reach their full potential. We are excited about the opportunities presented in this plan.

Strategic Planning Committee Meetings

October 27, 2022 – Review the Agenda, State of the School Presentation, and the Results of the Strategic Planning Engagement Activities

November 10, 2022 – The committee gathered in small groups to provide feedback and record their thoughts and ideas for building a robust community strategic plan including discussing potential areas of focus and belief statements.

December 15, 2022 – Strategic Plan Draft

Who was involved in the strategic planning process?

Planning began in October with community listening sessions and surveys that provided invaluable insight into how to strengthen our classical model, support our students, and prioritize focus through the next five years. In total, over 600 individuals provided feedback and input into the process

Following the listening sessions and surveys, a 35-person Strategic Planning Committee — consisting of parents, students, teachers, board members, and community stakeholders — convened for three planning meetings to set goals and objectives for the future. 

What are the next steps?

At our Board Meeting on December 15, the Board received the Strategic Plan for consideration. The Plan will remain in draft form until the Board takes formal action on January 30. The plan has five focus areas: 

  • Classical Education
  • Academic and Student Support
  • Inclusive Community
  • Facilities 
  • Support Staff

On January 30, 2023, the Board approved the 2023-2028 Strategic Plan.