What is an American classical education?
  • A traditional education in the liberal arts and sciences, defined by an emphasis on the American traditions of literature, philosophy, and history.
  • Classrooms where teachers instruct students and convey the tools of learning so that students are prepared for the pursuit of truth.
  • Curriculum that engages students with ultimate questions of truth and beauty that define the human experience.
  • A school culture defined by a seriousness of purpose and emphasis on the development of character and preparation for civic engagement.
When classical educators use the word liberal, what do they mean?

The word liberal is derived from the Latin word libertas, which means freedom. When you hear classical educators use the term liberal to describe any part of the education offered within a classical school, they are referring to the education befitting citizens of a free country.

What grade levels will Novus serve?

Novus will open as a K-6 school in 2024 and add a grade level each year until we achieve K-12 operation.

How do I enroll?

Click the “Enroll” button on the main page of our website to access the enrollment application. If the number of students per grade exceeds the total number of seats available, a lottery will be conducted to determine admission for that grade. More information about our first lottery is available at this link.

Will Christianity or any other religion be part of the curriculum?

Novus is a public school, which means it is non-sectarian with no religious affiliation. The classical model is inspired by the Western traditions of art, literature, philosophy, history, and language that are intertwined with the American tradition. These traditions had a tremendous influence on the development of the world and appear in the curriculum as essential historical context. When information about the major world religions is taught, it is included for its historical, cultural, and literary significance.

Why do you teach classical literature?

The classical tradition acknowledges objective standards of correctness, logic, beauty, weightiness, and truth. These concepts can be illuminated through an education that is full of time-tested literature. Your children have an incredible intellectual inheritance available to them through more than two millennia of contemplation documented in the Great Books. We take pride in supporting your efforts to raise children with excellent character by using literature to help them consider the questions examined by profound thinkers from ages past.

Why is moral virtue important?

Aristotle wrote about virtues in Nichomachean Ethics (around 350 B.C.E) and explained that humans are not born with virtue but become virtuous through practice. The school culture that you can expect at INCA is one that nurtures the development of virtuous character. As James Madison explained in Federalist Paper No. 55, “…there are other qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form.” In other words, a virtuous citizenry is not only possible, but also a necessary component of our representative form of government.

How is moral virtue taught at Novus?

At Novus, we are dedicated to the formation of virtuous citizens. Our school virtues are courage, courtesy, honesty, perseverance, self-government, and service. These virtues are taught in every subject, at every grade level, and permeate all aspects of school culture. If these concepts are as important to you as they are to us, then you will find no better partner in your efforts to prepare your children to lead virtuous lives.

Does Novus recite the Pledge of Allegiance?

Yes. We also have a school pledge, which is: I will learn the true, I will do the good, I will love the beautiful.

What is the student honor code?

We will strive to be virtuous in conduct, seek to grow in scholarship and learning, and pursue a commitment toward civic responsibility. We will not lie, cheat, or steal, and will discourage others from doing so.

How do you teach mathematics?

We teach math conceptually using Singapore Mathematics. This approach involves an emphasis on developing number sense using concrete tools (such as base 10 blocks), followed by the introduction of pictorial strategies that begin with images on a page and grow into visual models. Once students master the concrete and pictorial approaches, abstract concepts such as algorithms and equations are introduced. This cycle occurs when teaching specific concepts and broadly throughout the curriculum.

During part of the day, students in grades 2-6 will be organized into ability-level groups for mathematics. This means that students will work on mathematics at their current level and may spend extra time on concepts or accelerate their learning as appropriate.

Why do you emphasize civics education from kindergarten through graduation?

“For as man is the best of the animals when perfected, so he is the worst of all when sundered from law and justice.” -Aristotle, Politics, Book I (around 350 B.C.E)

Our civics program begins with a strong foundation in American history, geography, and the founding documents of the United States and eventually concludes with a deep dive into moral and political philosophy and American government in grades 10-12. Students read the Constitution several times with increasing levels of depth and rigor throughout their education. Our intent is to foster a deep understanding of the American founding and the structure and function of our government. This knowledge contributes to an appreciation for the American experiment and a sense of responsibility for their role as a citizen in the civic life of the nation. We refer to the ability to meaningfully contemplate these matters as thoughtful patriotism.

What languages will students learn at Novus?

Great emphasis will be placed on mastery of the English language. Students will also learn two other languages. Spanish will be taught in grades K-5. Latin and Greek roots will be introduced in grades 4 and 5, then all students will take Latin from grades 6-9. In grades 10-12, students will take advanced coursework in either Spanish or Latin.

Does the curriculum include fine arts?

Yes! Students in K-8 alternate between co-curriculars, including art and music. In grades 9-12, students have the option of selecting art or music elective course options. We never use the word “specials” to describe the fine arts (or other co-curriculars), because we believe that a broad education in all subjects is necessary for children to grow into well-rounded adults. In that regard, we consider an education in the fine arts to be normal, rather than “special.” One lesser-known fact about our curriculum is that all students will learn how to read music by the end of fifth grade.

Will students be physically active during the school day?

Yes! Physical education is included in the co-curricular rotation for students in grades K-8. In grades 9-12, students have the option of selecting physical education elective course options. Students in grades K-6 have access to recess daily, with additional time included for the youngest grades.

Will Novus have athletics programs?

Yes! Novus will introduce an athletics program over time based on student demand, available resources, and facility access.

Does Novus serve students with special needs?

Absolutely! Novus is a public school and will have a special education team consisting of a coordinator, teachers, and paraprofessionals. We believe that American Classical Education is appropriate for everyone.

What is the Hillsdale College K-12 Charter School Initiative?

Hillsdale College. The Hillsdale Office of K-12 Education supports the establishment of American Classical Schools throughout the United States. Idaho Novus Classical Academy is a Hillsdale K-12 Member School. We will use the curriculum scope and sequence developed by professors and master teachers at Hillsdale College and our teachers will receive ongoing training and support provided via classical pedagogy trainers and an annual summer conference. The services offered by Hillsdale College are provided to Member Schools free of charge. American classical schools are started by founding groups made up of local families and interested citizens and operate completely independent from Hillsdale College.