Nowell prepares students for postsecondary education. Our goal is for students to gain relevant higher-order thinking skills (cognitive skills) and master rigorous academic content. To this end, the curriculum at Nowell fosters a rich and engaging student experience using research-based instructional and student assessment methods.

All R.I. high school students must demonstrate their ability to apply the knowledge and skills learned through their course work in order to graduate. R.I. students must demonstrate proficiency in six core areas: English, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, the arts, technology and in applied learning.

Nowell Leadership Academy has designated a completion of 20 credits and a Senior Capstone Project as the two indicators that a potential graduate has acquired proficiency in the core areas. This demonstration of proficiency will ensure that our graduates will be ready for a college or career transition where they will be productive contributors to the community.

To prepare students for career and college, all NLA classes focus on developing cognitive skills and content knowledge. Cognitive skills include skills such as critical thinking, analysis, problem-solving, and writing. Content knowledge is specific pieces of information that students learn in different subject areas - such as the parts of a cell or important historical events.
Grades show both the competencies students have as well as the growth they have made.

Families will receive progress reports and a final report card at the end of a term. However, students and parents can access real-time grades at any time through Nowell’s Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) dashboard.

Project Time

Delivering on the promise of college readiness means providing students with opportunities to develop the life or cognitive skills that have been widely identified as essential for lifelong learning and growth. We develop these skills through project-based-learning during Project Time so that our students are ready to not only enter but also succeed at college. During Project Time, students are working on projects that mimic the work of people in the workplace or field of the discipline with content teachers. This means that on some days students will collaborate in groups or participate in whole-class discussions. On other days, students will work independently to write essays, develop lab reports, and create presentations. Throughout the class, teachers are promoting learning by giving students feedback, facilitating discussions, and engaging and challenging students in their projects.


One of the things that is unique and special about Nowell is our warm relationships with students. All Nowell students are assigned an advisor at the beginning of the school year and that advisor serves as the student’s coach, advocate, and confidante throughout the year. The advisor helps students set goals, create plans, and make good decisions -- the skills of becoming a self-directed learner.

The advisor is also the main point of contact and advocate for a student’s family with the school. The advisor will communicate to parents any needs, concerns, and updates on a student’s academic progress across all courses and will be the parents true partner.

Everyday, advisees meet with their advisor for a 10 minute circle. Students drive these meetings to discuss their proposed goals and plans for the coming week, and reflect together on the past week. It is a unique time and space to push students on their academic habits and help set them up for success in all aspects of their school experience and college readiness. Mentees also have 1:1 check-ins with their advisor during personalized learning time.
Personalized Learning Time
Personalized learning time is a time when students can focus on mastering the content knowledge they need to apply to their projects. During this time:

• The PLT teachers will check-in with students regularly about their academic progress
• The PLT teachers will coach students on different learning and study strategies
• Students will work on developing skills to make them an effective learner
• Students will collaborate and practice content with peers
• Students will take content assessments (tests)

Students are given the tools and resources to access and learn the content that is required in their courses while at the same time learning how to be resourceful and problem-solve. These are the self-directed learning skills, such as persistence, learning when and how to ask for help, and strategy shifting, that they practice during PLT. Students will have 5 hours during their regular school week. We believe learning can happen anywhere and at anytime. Students are expected to work at home to diligently complete content and may be required to stay for extended hours if it is determined by teachers and support staff that is needed.

Nowell Reads

Reading is at the heart of learning and functioning in our society. Everything requires the ability to read. Because of the critical importance of reading, students have dedicated time to strengthen their reading skills during Nowell Reads and will receive .25 credit for this course.

During Nowell Reads, students will be reading books independently, with a small group or working with the reading specialist.

Art Explorations

Nowell believes helping students find their passion and interests keeps students motivated to learn, be curious, and persevere through challenges. It’s that spark and internal drive that creates a fulfilling and enriching life and help them become thoughtful, contributing members of society as adults.

That’s why for 4 weeks of the school year, during Art Explorations, students immerse themselves in energizing and engaging art experiences where students discover and deepen their art learning. During this time students will take a break from their core academic classes and dive into unique art experiences with community partners.

Computer & Electronic Device Policy

Access to computing resources and network capacity is a privilege to which all Nowell Academy faculty, staff, and students are entitled. Access may also be granted to individuals outside the school for purposes consistent with the mission of the school. Certain responsibilities accompany that privilege; understanding them is important for all computer users. These responsibilities are listed below.

The user is responsible for correct and sufficient use of maintaining the security and confidentiality of information stored on a computer. For example:
• Computer accounts, passwords, and other types of authorization are assigned to individual users and should not be shared with others.
• The user should select an obscure account password and change it frequently.
• The user should understand the level of protection each computer system automatically applies to files and supplement it, if necessary, for sensitive information.
• The user should be aware of computer viruses and other destructive computer programs.

Computing resources and network capacity should be used in accordance with the high ethical standards of the community as described in this student handbook. Examples of unethical use follow; some of them may also be illegal:
• Violations of computer system security.
• Unauthorized use of computer accounts, access codes, or network identification numbers assigned to others.
• Intentional use of computer telecommunication facilities in ways that unnecessarily impede the computing activities of others (randomly initiating interactive electronic communications or e-mail exchanges, overuse of interactive network utilities, and so forth).
• Use of computing facilities for private business purposes unrelated to the mission of Nowell’s community life.
• Academic dishonesty (plagiarism, cheating).
• Violation of software license agreements.
• Violation of network / computer usage policies and regulations (i.e. visiting inappropriate websites, downloading programs without Administrator permission and damage to equipment).
• Violation of another user's privacy

Violation of the policies described above for legal and ethical use of computing resources will be dealt with seriously. Violators will be subject to the normal disciplinary procedures and, in addition, the loss of computing privileges may result. Illegal acts involving computing resources may also be subject to prosecution by state and federal authorities

Student’s laptops are property of The Nowell Leadership Academy, and failure to follow these guidelines may result in student discontinued access:
• Students will receive a registered computer with access to a student wireless internet account.
• Nowell students must consent to have our virus protection software installed on their personal laptop at no cost. Not all virus protection programs protect computers adequately and we must do this in order to maintain security of our own network.
• Students using their own personal laptops at school must also adhere to our Computer Acceptable Use policy as stated above.
• Students are responsible for storing and securing their laptops. The Nowell Leadership Academy is not liable for damage or theft of student personal property.

Student use of electronic devices at Nowell will follow an expectation consistent with the workplace. Cell phones should be placed on vibrate when inside the school building. To assist students in concentrating on their coursework, teachers may volunteer to collect cell phones and store them in a safe, conspicuous place during class time. Ear phones may be used during independent work time at the discretion of the teacher. Social media, texting, and phone calls should be saved for lunchtime or designated breaks. In an urgent situation, students should step out for phone calls or texts. Assessments, tests and teacher designated activities are cell phone free.

Special Education

Nowell Leadership Academy adheres to state and federal regulations governing the education of children with disabilities.
The Director of Special Education provides leadership and support to the school community through quality special education services, alternative school programs, and student services so that all students achieve high academic standards. If you would like more information regarding Special Education services, please feel free to contact any member of the staff.