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 Rhetoric Course GuideDownload 
Latin EssentialsDownload 
Family Resources Upper SchoolDownload 
School Profile – Nova Classical AcademyDownload 

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 “eudamonia”, 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.

As such, we hope to graduate engaged students who are involved in their communities.  This is why Nova’s graduation requirements include not just class requirements and credit expectations, but service hours as well.  Students in the School of Rhetoric are required to have documented 80 service hours, up to 40 of those hours can be volunteering at Nova. Service hours are recognized beginning in the summer after a student’s 8th grade year through Senior year. Volunteering opportunities can take a variety of different forms, however students may not receive money or other compensation for their service for the hours to be considered. For questions about service hour requirements or examples of opportunities students have engaged in previously, please contact the School of Rhetoric counselor for more information.


Where are some places Nova students have volunteered?

College & Career Preparation

Access Nova’s Naviance website
11th Grade College Exploration and Postsecondary Planning PresentationDownload 
11th Grade Meeting ChecklistDownload 
12th Grade Meeting ChecklistDownload 
12th Grade College Application ChecklistDownload 
12th Grade College Application Process PresentationDownload 
Nova Graduation Requirements and Postsecondary PlanningDownload 
NACAC College Planning Checklist and TimelineDownload 

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

2021-22 PSEO AgreementDownload 
2021-22 PSEO ChecklistDownload 
PSEO General Links and Higher Education Institution LinksDownload 
2021-22 PSEO Information Session PresentationDownload 

PSEO Information from the Minnesota Department of Education

Participating PSEO Institutions

2021-22 PSEO Notice of Student Registration Form

2021-22 PSEO Notice of Student Registration Form–Digital Version

National Honors Society

National Honor Society (NHS)

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

Students interested in the National Honor Society must meet the criteria to join. Once students apply for the group, their responses are read and discussed by a faculty panel of five Nova teachers.

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)

Students meet as a large group once a month during house time. They will also meet with their committees, usually during lunch, to work on upcoming events. Some events include American Red Cross Blood Drive, Cancer Awareness Bake Sale, and Hygeine Drive. We are welcome to new ideas! Please join us!

Advisor: Ms. Strand