Social justice projects

A brief history of social justice time at Nova (according to the memories of Mark and Eyva): 

Social justice has been part of the mission of Nova from its inception. When we moved from the Mann building to the Meany building we had an end of the year Crossroads-type meeting and many of the students and teachers present wanted to increase community involvement so that when we moved schools we could translate our community the best way possible to our new students and new neighborhood. We started coor/family time and did that for a year. Coors met twice a week and created projects as a group and did service for the school and surrounding communities. In the crossroads at the end of that year it was felt that a new social justice structure would be better. Again students and staff came up with the proposal to have social justice activities grouped by interest and not by coors and we tried that out last year. We are now in another phase of that and have created the social justice league committee to address the ongoing issues with social justice that students asked for at last year’s crossroads. Those issues include having more options, breaks, independents, accountability, information about activities around the school and the flexibility to switch to different social justice groups when necessary. We are meeting in Eyva’s room on Friday during committee time. Please join us or visit us if you have any ideas for improving our social justice programs at Nova.


Independent Social Justice or Starting your Own Activity (Fall 2011):

Talk to your coordinator and the Social Justice League and we will help you find an independent option, support an idea you already have or help you start a new activity with other students. If you are doing an independent your coordinator will have to check in with you weekly about it to update your attendance. The committee would also love it if you could produce some information/evidence of your project for us to hang up to spread interest in your cause.


Breaks / Length / Multiple Social Justices / Changing Social Justices:

Each social justice activity can determine its own plan for breaks, length, attendance requirements, changing to another and/or having students attend multiple social justices. If you don’t like what is going on or want to do multiple activities–speak up! Tell your coordinator and/or The Social Justice League. We want to help you have an awesome time helping your communities and yourself!




Patrice: Seattle: In Your City - Meet in Room #26 (participant limit 12)

This will be a small and committed group of students that may participate in rotating opportunities in the Seattle area. These opportunities will be off campus and may take place during other hours than the 1:30pm-4:00pm time slot. Options include but not limited to Operation Sack Lunch (cooking/feeding homeless), Providence Mt. St. Vincent (elderly care for intergenerational activities) and the VA Hospital.

The group will form other opportunities based on the organizations in the area and interest. This social justice requires commitment and responsible students. This is not for students who just want to hang or need to have me watching them at all times.


Becky and Karen: ART MAKING AND SOCIAL JUSTICE (no limit)

This is an opportunity to build community and create visual art. Students will lead a search to find organizations to donate hand-made objects of art and love which could include Children’s Hospital, Camp Ten Trees, and  hospice. We will work together to brainstorm about what kind of visual art students would be interested in creating. We hope to build connection and community through visual art.


Christina / Kelsey:  A Capella / Helping Animals (no limit)

(Christina is helping Kelsey but these are two separate activities –sign up for either with Christina)

Christina is definitely willing to host/facilitate/run the A Capella group again! Singing for social justice and for change is the goal of this activity/class/group. There are many instances of the power of song to bring people together, to inspire people to see things differently, to convey messages of hope, outrage, sorrow, longing, to create connections across cultures, and to provide a vehicle for working together as one. On Wednesday afternoons from 1:30 -4, we will learn songs and rhythms together, by ear and with music. We will explore ways in which song has “moved the earth” by exploring the history and biography of singing social change agents.


As our repertoire grows in response to requests from Nova students, coors, committees, and other social justice committees, we will make ourselves available to sing at events where our voices can support and inspire. This will probably involve some out-of-school time, and will require flexibility, energy, and generosity from singers.


We will actively request input from Sharon Cronin, of the Center for Linguistic and Cultural Democracy, for song and event suggestions supporting the struggles of Spanish speaking immigrants in our community. We will connect with Mary K. McNeill, she who conducted the all-ages chorus for the Dalai Lama, to share her multi-lingual compositions, and to explore opportunities to sing for peace and compassion. We have access to the material of Libana (, a group of powerful and kind singing women. We will connect with the Reverend Pat Wright of the Total Experience Gospel Choir for her ideas and advice, with the possibility of collaboration. We will apply to perform at the Northwest Folklife Festival next May.

Kelsey wants to fundraise for and work with local animal shelters. (Sign up with Christina)


Bryan: Social Time with Lowell Elementary Students: (10)

These wonderful children have disabilities that physically differentiate them from “typical” looking people and in our society. These students are in constant danger of marginalization and need friends and allies . Having friends and allies from Nova will strengthen our community and create lasting friendships. The outcome of this experience will be a passion for advocacy, a greater depth of empathy, and a connection with new friends that will last a lifetime.


This social justice activity will be a social experience with students who have special needs. The students in this class have disabilities that require that they use a wheelchair to sit upright and get around. They are typically non-verbal communicators meaning they use pre-programmed electronic switches to communicate. They also use non-verbal physical cues and facial expressions to communicate.


Our friends from Lowell will want to spend time with Nova friends who enjoy hanging out in their classroom listening to music, working on art projects, playing basketball, going for walks around Capitol Hill, and being social.


This group of students is vibrant and they enjoy social time. They are a cool and fun group to hang out with. Please join us if you are interested!


Susan: Quilting / Finding Food for Hungry Nova Kids!!!!!! (25)

Quilting: Learn to make quilts and give them to projects like Linus Project, who serves hospitalized kids, Camp Ten Trees Auction, Lambert House.


Finding Food for Hungry Nova Kids: Make contacts for food donations, collecting food and determining distribution methods. This will serve Nova students who are in need. This could also expand to include other needed items beyond food.


Barbara: Sewing (20)

Learn to sew or use your sewing skills!  We will be making dresses for young folks who live in orphanages in Africa.


Debbie: Beginning - Advanced Knitting (35)

If you know how to knit, create; and if you don’t, learn how to knit (occ ed credit offered if you document your work and learning) and then share your individual and group creations with the linus project and/or SBOC families, and/or other agencies or persons in need of some hand-knit creations.


Eyva and Ellen: Action Faction and Beyond / Women's Seminar World Travel / Queer Teen Zine (no limit)

(These are three separate activities but participation in any is open to be fluid and shared between another social justice activity!)

Action Faction Mission Statement:

As an all-inclusive committee, we work to create a safe and respectful community for all genders and sexualities. We combat sexuality and gender identity oppression by creating positive actions in Nova and beyond. Positive actions include maintaining safe spaces for discussions, resources and events. We believe that any social justice movement must work towards inclusion of other social justice goals. We recognize that all oppressions are connected and in no way do we want out actions to propagate other forms of oppression. We welcome all. Beyond Action Faction: Imagine this mission but beyond the Nova Community!


Partner Organizations: Queer Youth Space, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (They gave us a grant for $1500!), Camp Ten Trees (potential for long term internships), Allyship and the Homeless Queer Youth Coalition, Bailey-Gatzert, Home Alive and any other groups folks want to work with.


Action Faction at Nova:
cares for the bathrooms to create safe gender space for all users and maintains the walls
has resources for trans youth city wide
hosts gender fluidity week
political actions and education for Nova

Beyond Action Faction will also:
support joint fund raising efforts with our partners
support projects that our partners are doing


Ellen: is creating a Queer Teen Zine !!!! (sign up with Eyva)


Adam and Joe: Interlaken Park Restoration (no limit)

Students and participating staff will work with a community volunteer in the ongoing effort at Interlaken Park to remove invasive species and plant native plants. Students and participating staff will also have the opportunity to partner with other local organizations, including EarthCorps, the SCA, Nature Consortium, and the Seattle Parks Department to enact similar work at other Seattle Parks. Our work is part of the larger effort toward environmental justice in our urban communities as we improve the health of Seattle’s green spaces. Improving the health of our city parks provides access to green spaces for all Seattle residents, helps to clean our local air and water, and improves habitat for our more-than-human neighbors. Students will also gain skills working in participation with local service organizations, a valuable skill applicable to any volunteer experience.

Joe will also be working on sustainability issues within Nova and tree planting in the community to off-set our carbon footprint!!!!


The Dark Knight Batman: Nova's Literary Mag (30)

This will be the beginning of the Nova Literary Magazine/Book. You all will name it, but with this book, crammed full of Nova Short Stories, Art, Poetry, Essays, and in time, a CD of music and/or readings from Nova bands and writers, we will raise money to support different organizations who need money in these desperate times.

The class time, at first, will focus on the writing and reading of short stories. You will learn how to write a short story by writing to prompts and later teaching a short lesson. You can workshop your stories, or hone your already AWESOME short story writing skills. Later on in the semester, will we move to putting the book together.
You can earn either Language Arts or OcEd credit for participating in this social justice project. Service Learning hours and credit will be determined on amount of participation and attendance. Let’s change a little bit of the world with our art.


Jen: Paper Crafting for a Cause (25)

Want to be able to express your artistic side while earning social justice hours? Of course you do! Whether we make vases of paper flowers for local nursing homes, cards for service members to stay in contact with their families, or scrapbook pages to help families document amazing once in a lifetime experiences with their ill or recovering child, we can make a difference for the better in the lives of others while we enjoy and learn in the process. Projects and charities/locations supported will be determined by group members and can change throughout the year.


Stephany: The Naked Truth On Stereotypes (19)

The Naked Truth On Stereotypes uses theater and storytelling to expose and debunk socially constructed myths of identity and stereotypes, while building community and sharing our truths with each other.





Melissa: Diversity at Nova  (unlimited)


Diversity at Nova - a new social justice project seeking students to build a team with Melissa that works to support and celebrate the diversity of peoples and experiences at Nova. We will identify issues, concerns, needs, etc. at our school in order to implement and nurture positive changes to our school culture. We will program activities and events for continuous learning, cultural competencies, and community-building for all students and staff.


Joe / Toni / Zander / Miles: Teaching Music to Kids – Wed 3:45 -5:00 (unlimited)

Teaching music to kids will be teaching instrumental music to grades 2-8 who otherwise would not have the option to learn an instrument. Time is possible to change!


Eyva: Science Geeks @ Bailey-Gatzert (already signed up and started)

Room 32 / Bailey-Gatzert / Field Trips: Tue 13:30-14:25; Tue 14:30-15:55

Mission: Love the Science! Share the Science! Fight the power!

Tasks: Execute cool science field trips, host a science fair, bring cool science to Bailey-Gatzert, share science at open house/exhibition night, invent something that could be published in MAKE magazine. We have new lego mindstorm robot kits to share with rad fifth graders at Bailey-Gatzert. You can learn and share how to make almost any household product with safer and more environmentally sustainable ingredients.

Social Justice: Science is power! Science education is not emphasized and often cut out of schools that “don’t perform well on high stakes testing” to make more time to teach to the test. This means that students with the least amount of societal privilege are further punished by not getting to learn, love and explore science! Boooooooo! Fight the isms by helping me bring science to the people!


Stefan: Hollow Earth Radio (already signed up and started)

Walking Field Trip to HER (6 blocks away), Gruber's Lab : Tue 14:30-15:55

Hollow Earth Radio is the Pacific Northwest’s freeform online radio station that presents a forum for underrepresented music, sounds and perspectives. They are brand new to the community and need a lot of help with chores, flyering, merch design and creation, and old fashioned on the street journalism and audio creation. For those who pitch in the best, some shadowing of DJs is available.


Freeform Radio:
HER is a freeform radio. Freeform radio is a programming format in which the DJ is given total control over what music to play, regardless of music genre or commercial interests. Freeform radio stands in contrast to most commercial radio stations, in which DJs have little or no influence over programming structure or playlists.


Nondiscrimination Policy: HER does not condone discrimination. As a volunteer, we expect you to be respectful (off-air at the station and in the community when representing HER and on-air) of all people no matter the age, race, gender, sexual orientation, size, ethnicity, political stance, socioeconomic status disability, etc.

(group limited to 14, gatekeeping assignment TBD)


Click links below for examples of past social justice projects