Curriculum > School of Rhetoric (9-12)

The content of the School of Rhetoric continues Nova Classical Academy’s focus on primary texts, rather than secondary works or textbooks. Our students study both Great Ideas and Great Books with the goal of a well-formed understanding of the great ideas, texts, events and people of Western civilization. In keeping with the model that we have employed successfully since the start of Nova Classical Academy, we here continue the practice of using history as our guiding principle and continue our division of history into four eras. The School of Rhetoric advances previous instruction; students work with increasingly advanced primary texts in order to both develop a deeper understanding of history and a clear conception of how ideas have unfolded over time.


Regular and consistent instruction in the art of close reading is an essential feature of an education at the School of Rhetoric. Our students are taught that it does no good to rush through a book, especially a text selected because it is worth reading time and again. They learn to read with increasing sophistication and judgment, to attend to details both large and small, and to track nuance in both style and argument. Working through texts in a careful and conscientious manner serves to develop habits of mind that are an essential life skill. Those who have learned to read and discuss the Great Books are equipped to analyze new arguments; and the habits learned in presenting and arguing the complex ideas found in the Great Books facilitate development of the powers of thought students will need in college and beyond.


In the School of Rhetoric, the use of seminars provides a mode of assessing how well students have mastered ideas and allows them multiple opportunities to practice essential intellectual and communication skills. For these reasons, the cornerstone of the School of Rhetoric’s pedagogical practice is the seminar. Central to the use of the seminar as a mode of instruction is the belief that an idea is not fully grasped until both a claim and its underpinnings can be expressed and defended by the student in his or her own words. Seminars are an appropriate technique for the School of Rhetoric in their multiple intertwined functions: they model clear thinking and they afford students rich opportunities to master the art of constructing and communicating their thinking to others.

Course Guide/Graduation Requirements/Resources

School of RhetoricViewDownload
FINAL SOR Course Guide (2024-2025)ViewDownload
Latin EssentialsViewDownload
School Profile Nova Classical Academy 2023ViewDownload

Student Volunteering & Service Work

Nova Classical Academy is not only committed to providing a rigorous academic environment that engages students to think more deeply about the world around them, we also work to help our students develop into dedicated and compassionate citizens. Serving one’s community is a key aspect of eudaimonia, or the practice of raising a good and whole person, and embodies our school motto “We learn not for school, but for life.” Seeking out opportunities to be involved in and support the needs of one’s community is critical for our students to not only develop their understanding of the needs in our society, but also reflect on the positive change they can bring about for others and themselves.

We believe that classical education at Nova Classical Academy will allow us to graduate a young adult who is a rational thinker, self-motivated learner, and has demonstrated themselves to be a person of character. As such, we hope to graduate engaged students who are involved in their communities. This is why Nova Classical Academy’s graduation requirements include not just course and credit requirements, but service hours as well.  Students in the School of Rhetoric are required to have 80 volunteer hours, 60 of which can be volunteering at Nova Classical Academy. Receiving any monetary form of compensation will not meet the required hours. Students may begin accumulating and recording volunteer hours as soon as the summer prior to their 9th grade year.


Where are some places Nova students have volunteered?

College & Career Preparation

Access Nova’s Naviance website
11th Grade College Exploration and Postsecondary Planning PresentationViewDownload
11th Grade Meeting ChecklistViewDownload
12th Grade Meeting ChecklistViewDownload
12th Grade College Application ChecklistViewDownload
12th Grade College Application Process PresentationViewDownload
Nova Graduation Requirements and Postsecondary PlanningViewDownload
NACAC College Planning Checklist and TimelineViewDownload

Financial Aid

Minnesota Office of Higher Education

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

MAFAA Outreach Committee FAFSA Presentation

College Board/CSS Profile Assistance

CSS Profile FAQs


Scholarships offered by Minnesota Colleges and Universities

Nova Classical Academy Raise Me

The MN College Grants and Scholarships Database

PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Options) Information

Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) is a program that allows 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students to earn both high school and college credit while still in high school, through enrollment in and successful completion of college nonsectarian courses at eligible participating postsecondary institutions. Most PSEO courses are offered on the campus of the postsecondary institution; some courses are offered online. Each participating college or university sets its own admissions requirements for enrollment into the PSEO courses. Eleventh and 12th-grade students may take PSEO courses on a full- or part-time basis; 10th graders are eligible to enroll in PSEO on a more limited basis (see note below). Students must meet the PSEO residency and eligibility requirements and abide by participation limits specified in Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.09. If a school district determines a pupil is not on track to graduate, she/he may continue to participate in PSEO on a term by term basis.

By March 1 of each year, or three weeks prior to the date a student registers for courses for the following school year (whichever is earlier), schools must provide PSEO information to all students in grades 8-11 and their families. To assist the district in planning, a student must inform the district by May 30 of each year of their intent to enroll in postsecondary courses during the following school year.

There is no charge to PSEO students for tuition, books or fees for items that are required to participate in a course; however, students may incur fees for equipment that becomes their property when the course or program is completed, textbooks that are not returned to the postsecondary institution according to their policies, or for tuition costs if they do not notify the district by May 30 and the district does not waive this date requirement.

Funds are available to help pay transportation expenses for qualifying students to participate in PSEO courses on college campuses. For more information on these funds, access the PSEO Mileage Reimbursement Program Instructions.

Enrolling in a PSEO course does not prohibit a student from participating in activities sponsored by the high school.

School districts must allow a PSEO student reasonable access to the high school building, computers and/or other technology resources during regular school hours to participate in PSEO courses, whether on-line or on campus.

Each year, districts must publish their grade-weighting policy on their website, including a list of courses for which students can earn weighted grades.

All courses taken through the PSEO program must meet graduation requirements. Districts must transcript credits earned in PSEO by a ratio prescribed in statute. Districts have the authority to decide which subject area and standards the PSEO course meets. If there is a dispute between the district and the student regarding the number of credits granted for a particular course, the student may appeal the board’s decision to the commissioner. The commissioner’s decision regarding the number of credits will be final.

Postsecondary institutions are required to allow PSEO students to enroll in online courses consistent with the institution’s policy regarding postsecondary student enrollment in online courses.

Tenth-grade students may initially enroll in one Career and Technical Education (CTE) PSEO course if they receive a reading proficiency score of “meets” or “exceeds” on the 8th grade MCA. If 10th graders taking a CTE PSEO course earn at least a grade C in that class, they may take additional postsecondary courses. If the student did not take the MCA in 8th-grade, another reading assessment accepted by the enrolling postsecondary institution can be substituted. For students with disabilities, there is an alternative option to demonstrate reading proficiency.

For current information about the PSEO program, visit the Minnesota Department of Education’s Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) webpage.

PSEO AgreementViewDownload
PSEO Checklist 2023-24ViewDownload
NOSR Form 2023-24 Digital SignViewDownload
PSEO General Links and Higher Education Institution LinksViewDownload
PSEO Information Night PresentationViewDownload

PSEO Information from the Minnesota Department of Education

Participating PSEO Institutions

National Honors Society

National Honor Society (NHS)

Thank you for your interest in the Nova Classical’s National Honor Society!

Students interested in Nova Classical’s National Honor Society must meet the selection criteria to be invited to apply. Each fall student’s transcripts are reviewed to determine the students that meet the criteria noted below. Those students that meet the criteria will be invited to apply for membership. A panel of faculty members will review the applications and make a determination of admittance. If a student is not selected in a given year, they have the opportunity to apply again the following year, as long as they continue to meet the selection criteria for their current grade.

The overall criteria are:

  • 3.7 or higher unweighted GPA
  • 5, 7 or 9 honors, AP, CIS or PSEO classes (dependent on grade level sophomore, junior, or senior, respectively)
  • 20, 40, or 60 hours of community service logged with the school (based on grade again)

Members will meet as a large group once a month during the school day. They will also meet with smaller committees to plan upcoming events. Some events include American Red Cross Blood Drive, Cancer Awareness Bake Sale, and Hygiene Drive. We welcome new ideas from the community!

Advisor: Ms. Strand