As previously indicated, NOVA has not made its AYP for the past three years, though it avoided Program Improvement in 2006-2007 by being eligible for Safe Harbor. Though participation rates and graduation rates meet the targets, the scores of statistically significant subgroups do not. The school overall has met targets in English Language Arts, but the subgroups have not. Scores in mathematics again point to a need for change as both school-wide scores and subgroup scores do not meet targets. It is worth noting, however, that in such a small school, the performance of a small number of students can have a disproportionate impact of overall outcomes. It is also worth note that in such a small school, a statistically significant subgroup in one year may not have that significance in the following year. For example, ELL students only became a subgroup in 2009, but many of those same students may have contributed to overall scores in only the general school population in previous years.
CELDT scores show improvement over the past three years. The 2006-2007 school year represented a growth in enrollment and as those ELL students have progressed at NOVA, their progress can be charted by level advancement on the CELDT. Ten students were reclassified RFEP in 2008, with another 14 being reclassified in 2009.
In the fall of 2009, the English department began to use a writing assessment and rubric that they had developed for all 6 grades. It addresses grade level standards and expectations and will allow teachers to clearly see progress over time.
The school also participates in the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project sponsored by the University of California. This project involves testing mastery in six different areas: Fractions, Decimals, and Percents (FRDM), measurement of Geometric Objects (GEOM), Co-ordinate Plane, Graphical Representation, Data Analysis (GRDA), Integers (INTG), Literal Symbols(LITS) and Proportional Reasoning (PROP). The test was given to 6th and 7th graders to indicate pre-Algebra readiness and to 8-12 graders to measure Algebra readiness. Math enrollment school-wide is highest in Algebra, with that number approaching 100 in the current school year. Also in this school year, none of the senior s are enrolled in any math courses.
NOVA’s grade distribution is different from the “normal” middle or high school in that there are no D’s given. Since the UC system does not accept a D grade in a class required for admission, it was decided to eliminate the D grade in favor of achieving mastery with at least a C grade. Students who are behind or who are not proficient with a concept are assigned to Power Hour from 3:30 to 4:30 after school. This program is monitored by teachers and allows the students to master concepts that they are having trouble with, to catch up on work or tests and to complete projects. Contact with parents is a vital part of assigning Power Hour and it keeps parents informed as well as helping students. Additionally, in the 2009-2010 school year, students who do not pass a class required for graduation in the first semester are immediately being given work to achieve mastery and a C grade. In the past, that work may have been made up in summer school, but the uncertainty with budgets and funding has necessitated a different approach.
NOVA offers a typical middle school curriculum with English, math, history, science and physical education. The middle school elective is art. At the high school level, all students have an English class, a math class and a social studies class. Science classes are required in the 10th and 11 grades and students are taking Career Choices in grades 9 and 11. Once the current 10th and 11th graders have taken Career Choices, it will be exclusive to the 9th grade. Two years of Spanish are required in the 9th and 10th grades, and a variety of electives are offered in the 12th grade. In addition, students have options with online classes through the APEX program of online independent study. In this way, students have additional access to an a-g curriculum for entry to a UC/CSU campus. From 2007-2009, 100% of seniors were enrolled in a college preparatory program and all graduating seniors met the a-g requirements. Though 73% of those students took the PSAT, only18% took the SAT test. Students also have the opportunity to enroll concurrently in community college programs.