The Novato Unified School District is excited to announce that the NOVA Education Center, also known as the NOVA Independent Study Program, is a 2022 California Pivotal Practice Award winner.
The California Pivotal Practice (CAPP) Award Program is being utilized by California in 2022 in place of the California Distinguished Schools (DS) Program. It celebrates schools and districts that implemented an innovative practice during the 2020–21 school year when California required schools to offer distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NOVA Independent Study Program is the only winner from Marin County.
727 schools and 121 school districts in California are being honored for their demonstrated efforts to support students in four target areas – Student Engagement, Distribution of Technology, Nutrition Services and Social Emotional Well-Being of Students.
CAPP Award winners completed an online application highlighting an innovative practice in one of the four target areas that was implemented during the 2020–21 school year. It is anticipated that the CDE will transition back to the California DS Program in 2023.
Since the isolation factor of COVID-19 restrictions was predictably difficult for—and potentially damaging to—students, the Pivotal Practice chosen by NOVA Independent Program was Social Well-Being of Students.
Even before remote learning commenced, teachers recognized the challenges that lay ahead. Most of the usual approaches that engage students—making them feel welcome, important, valued, and successful—were not going to be available in the remote learning environment.
Teachers strive to include the five competencies of social-emotional learning and wellness (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making)—along with Changing Perspectives curriculum—into daily lesson planning and objectives. NOVA staff members also meet weekly to analyze current data, exchange relevant information, share successful practices, problem-solve issues, and participate in short- and long-term planning sessions.
TK-8 students meet in small, remote class settings, and 9-12 students meet remotely or in person with an assigned teacher once a week. NOVA is accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
“I’m so proud of our staff for working hard to create a successful program for our students and truly honored that we have been recognized by the state for our efforts. NOVA provides an alternative, flexible educational experience and our teachers help to instill a sense of belonging and nurture a love of learning,” said Principal Kessa Early.
“Kessa and her NOVA team have done exceptional work to connect with students and provide the only alternative TK-12 program serving students in Marin County seeking flexible educational settings. We could not be more proud and excited to receive this award,” remarked Jan La Torre-Derby, NUSD Superintendent.