About the N.O.V.A. Principles Foundation
The mission of the N.O.V.A. Principles Foundation is: “Nurturing youth to seek out positive Opportunities, internalize good Values, and to accept Accountability for their choices in life. N.O.V.A. assists parents, families, and communities in protecting youth from the potentially devastating effects of illegal drugs, violence, and negative media exposure.”
The N.O.V.A. program was created in March of 2003, by officers from the Orem Police Department in Utah. In April of 2004, N.O.V.A. Principles LC, was created to allow the N.O.V.A. program to be implemented beyond the confines of the City of Orem. In September of 2017, N.O.V.A. Principles LC, became the N.O.V.A. Principles Foundation, a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Public Charity.
N.O.V.A. acknowledges the key role of parents and family in keeping youth away from the harmful effects of illegal drugs, violence, and negative media exposure. N.O.V.A. supports parents in this endeavor by teaching youth and also by providing a Parent’s program. The N.O.V.A. Parent’s program is derived from sound psychological principles to give parents assistance in raising youth in today’s world.
The N.O.V.A. Principles Elementary program is a 13-15 week program taught at the 5th, or 6th grade level by uniformed law enforcement officers. Students who participate in this program receive a N.O.V.A. folder, program material, and can purchase a N.O.V.A. T-shirt at minimal cost. N.O.V.A. Officers spend time with students in the classroom, at lunch, and on the playground building a great rapport between students and officers.
The N.O.V.A. Principles Jr. High program is a 4 week program taught at the 6th, 7th, or 8th grade level by uniformed law enforcement officers. Students who participate in this program receive a N.O.V.A. folder, and program material.
The N.O.V.A. Principles High School program is a 2 week program taught at the 9th, 10th, or 11th grade level by uniformed law enforcement officers. Students who participate in this program receive program material.
Elementary Program Curriculum
The following is a brief outline of the elementary program curriculum. One lesson is presented each week for a total program course of 13 to 15 weeks.
Lesson 1 – Introduction:
The purpose of Lesson 1 is to introduce the N.O.V.A. Principles program to the students and to detail it’s structure and foundation.
The meaning of N.O.V.A. is explained as follows:
N stands for “Nurturing”. The meaning of Nurturing is “To encourage positive development and growth”. Just as parents, teachers, and coaches are nurturer’s, they want to help children and youth grow in positive and productive ways, this is the purpose of N.O.V.A. Principles as well.
O stands for “Opportunities”. The meaning of Opportunities is “Good things that come your way”. One of the main focus’s of N.O.V.A. is to encourage students to take advantage of the many good opportunities that come their way.
Values are good principles, ideals, and standards that you believe in and live by.
Accountability is being responsible for your actions and the choices you make.
Each student is given the opportunity to earn prizes, awards, and a Certification of Achievement award from the N.O.V.A. program if they agree to abide by the N.O.V.A. Commitment Contract which is: Have a positive attitude about the N.O.V.A. program; Show respect and good behavior in class; No illegal drug use; Obey the law; Have good attendance; and Write a personal constitution (see lesson 13).
Students receive a N.O.V.A. folder if they promise to respect and take good care of it. The folder is used to put lesson plan material and assignments in it for safe keeping.
The N.O.V.A. motto is taught: “Illuminating the path to excellence.”
Students participate in an active learning lesson activity that teaches how important it is to gain knowledge and a good education to become happy, independent and successful.
The N.O.V.A. mascot (Wolf) is introduced. The name of the mascot is “Polaris”, the North Star. Students are taught that they can look towards the N.O.V.A. Principles program and Polaris the mascot, to be a guiding force in their life that stands for everything that is good and to illuminate their path to excellence.
The meaning of a N.O.V.A. Lone Wolf is explained. A N.O.V.A. Lone Wolf is a person who has the strength not to follow the crowd when they choose to do wrong.
Lesson 2 – Drug Facts:
This lesson teaches some basic facts & effects of tobacco, marijuana, alcohol and inhalants such as:
Tobacco: The addictive substance in tobacco is nicotine, one of the most addictive drugs on earth. Cigarette smoking kills more than 400,000 people in the U.S. each year. About 3,000 kids start smoking everyday in the U.S.. Tobacco causes heart disease, lung cancer, addiction, tooth decay, respiratory illness, shortness of breath, mouth & throat cancer, and death.
Marijuana: Smoking marijuana weakens the body’s immune system. Marijuana is both mentally and physically addicting. About 4,700 kids start smoking marijuana everyday in the U.S.. Marijuana effects include poor memory, respiratory illness, paranoia, depression, loss of energy, addiction, slow reflexes, and death.
Alcohol: Alcohol is the most abused drug in the U.S.. About 104,000 people die each year in the U.S. due to alcohol effects. Drinking alcohol not only kills brain cells, but it shrinks the brain as well. Effects of alcohol include heart & liver disease, brain damage, addiction, violence, domestic problems, drunkenness, and death.
Inhalants: Inhalants are chemical fumes that will make you high if you inhale them. Inhalants are highly addictive and can eat your brain. Inhalants kill by blocking oxygen from getting to our brain.
The class participates in an active learning lesson activity where they put on drunk goggles that simulates the effects of being drunk.
Drugs do not have a path to excellence, they will only lead to trouble and problems.
Lesson 3 – Windows of Opportunities:
This lesson discusses, “Opportunities” (Good things that come your way), and, “Accountability” (Taking responsibility for your choices and actions). Students are taught that if they want the windows of opportunities to be wide open to them, they need to make good choices and decisions.
The first two N.O.V.A. principles, namely, “STS” (Study the situation), and, “Cause & Effect” (When you do something or don’t do something, something happens) are introduced. These principles help students realize the importance of thinking first before they make a choice or decision.
There are 2 different active learning lesson activities in this lesson to help reinforce the STS and Cause & Effect principles.
Lesson 4 – True Colors:
The, “True Colors” (What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong.), and, “Lifetime Decisions” (Decisions you make that determine your success or failure in life.) principles are introduced. These principles focus on teaching students to make good Lifetime Decisions now.
Some major Lifetime Decisions that students are encouraged to make are: To be honest and have integrity; Have a positive attitude; and Have respect for self, others, and things.
Students are encouraged to: Say no to things that are harmful, dangerous and wrong; Stand up for what they believe in and value; Don’t put themself in bad situations; and Choose good friends.
There are 2 different active learning lesson activities in this lesson that help reinforce the True Colors and Lifetime Decisions principles.
Project N.O.V.A., an optional assignment is given to the students. Project N.O.V.A. is an assignment where students build, draw, or sculpt a rocket. Students are asked what it takes to put a man on the moon and bring him back to earth safely. They are then asked what it takes for them to become the most successful person they can be. The purpose of Project N.O.V.A. is to get students to think about what it takes for them to be the most successful person they can be. They are taught that becoming successful won’t happen by accident, it will only happen if they make it happen through hard work and dedicated efforts.
Lesson 5 – Self Esteem:
Feeling good about yourself, liking who you are, avoid giving put-downs to others, and having a positive attitude are important conduits in order to become happy and successful.
Students are taught that having an “I don’t care” attitude is poison to their self esteem and success, and that the only antidote is to have an “I care” attitude.
This lesson teaches students how to deal with situations where someone puts them down so that they don’t feel bad about themself. Students are taught that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and that one of the most important things for everyone to do is to do the best they can with what they have.
This lesson reinforces the fact that everyone is special, however, everyone has problems and troubles that they have to deal with. Students are taught that they can handle all their troubles and problems, and that there are lots of people who can help them if need be.
Students are taught that the biggest issue is not that they have problems or troubles, but the important issues are: How you deal with your problems; What you do to solve your problems; and What can you learn and how you can grow from your troubles and problems.
Students are taught that there are 2 basic, “Paradigms” (The view or perspective of how you see things) in life, the Victim Paradigm, and the Hero Paradigm, and that they get to choose which Paradigm they want to have. Students are encouraged to have a Hero Paradigm where they have a positive attitude and see themselves as producers who create things of value for themselves and others.
Lesson 6 – Heros:
This lesson teaches students that everyone needs a Hero to learn from and pattern their life after. Parents, teachers, relatives, and many other well-known and respected people, both past and present, can be Hero’s in their lives. Most things we learn in life we learn from others, even things that seem impossible to accomplish. Hero’s can lead, teach and help us become the most successful person we can be.
This lesson has several fun problem solving active learning lesson activities to help teach this principle.
The, “Knowledge is Potential Power” (Using knowledge gives you power) principle is taught. This is a very powerful principle in that knowledge in and of itself does not give you power. The only way for knowledge to give you power is to use the knowledge you have.
The, “Boiling a Frog Analogy” (When do you know you’re a boiled frog? When it’s too late.) is explained. This principle is used to teach students that there are harmful and dangerous things in this world that might not seem too harmful at first, but over time, they have a boiling a frog effect that can become very harmful and dangerous.
Lesson 7 – Anger Management:
This lesson instructs students how to deal with and control their anger.
Students are taught the 3 stages of maturity. Stage 1 maturity: People in Stage 1 do things for selfish reasons. They tend to be demanding, and controlling. They do little to cooperate or communicate. They like to argue, fight, and bully others. Stage 2 maturity: People in Stage 2 cooperate rather than argue and fight. They cooperate even if they don’t want to. They want peace and try to stay out of trouble and work out their problems. They care about how their choices affect others. Stage 3 maturity: People in Stage 3 do the right things for the right reasons. Their decisions are based on good values, and principles. They do service for others, and forgive others who wrong them. They are responsible and disciplined.
When students know the differences between each stage, they are then able to choose which stage to be in. Students are encouraged to stay out of stage 1 maturity because it leads to nothing but trouble and problems.
Students are taught that no one can MAKE them angry or mad, that is something they choose to do. They are taught that what you think determines how you feel, and that you can change how you feel by changing what you think.
The, “Which wolf are you feeding?” (Which wolf is stronger? The one you feed.) principle is introduced. This principle is derived from an old Indian legend where an Indian Grandfather explains to his Grandson that inside of him lives 2 Wolves, one that is filled with hate, anger, and violence, and the other filled with goodness, kindness, and love. Students are encouraged to only feed their good, kind, and loving wolf.
Students are given anger management tools to help them manage anger when they get mad.
The foundation for this lesson was derived from the moral development model created by YRI (Youth Reclamation Inc.. www.youthreclamation.com).
Lesson 8 – Teasing and Bullying:
This lesson explains the difference between friendly teasing, mean spirited teasing, and bullying. Friendly teasing is done to friends and is harmless joking and kidding around. Mean spirited teasing is teasing that’s meant to hurt someone’s feelings and put someone down. Students are advised not to tease anyone in a mean spirited way.
Students participate in an active learning lesson activity that teaches them how not to let the mean spirited teasing of others bother them.
This lesson also explains the difference between mean spirited teasing and bullying. Bullying is a crime that involves threatening, assault, vandalism, theft or robbery. Students are told to report bullying and are given guidelines on how to deal with bullies.
Mean spirited teasing and bullying do not have a path to excellence.
Lesson 9 – Media Part 1 (T.V., Movies, & Video Games):
This first media lesson focuses on T.V., movies, and video games. Though there is much that is good with T.V., movies, and video games, much of it is violent, vulgar, indecent and obscene.
Safe T.V., Movie, and Video Game guidelines are taught.
The, “Garbage in – Garbage out” (What you put in is what you get out.) principle is introduced. Students are taught to be careful about the type of media that they view or play as the negative effects of harmful and offensive media can cause undesirable effects.
Because of the violent, vulgar and obscene material in movies and video games, rating systems have been created to protect children and youth from these harmful and offensive things. Students are taught to take the rating systems seriously and to research the content of movies and video games before they watch, play or purchase them.
This lesson also teaches students about neural pathways. Neural pathways are shortcuts that your brain creates to do things faster and more efficiently. Students are taught that your brain can create both positive and negative neural pathways, and that if they allow negative neural pathways to be created in their brain such as: Stealing, Lying, Swearing, Violence, Vulgarity, or Drugs, these neural pathways can become bad habits that are hard to break and can lead to addiction.
The N.O.V.A. Pack challenge is explained in this lesson. N.O.V.A. Pack is an optional assignment where students forgo T.V., Movies, and Video games for seven straight days. The purpose of this assignment is to show students that there are better things to do than wasting time watching and playing media that is harmful and destructive.
Watching or playing violent, vulgar, indecent and obscene media does not have a path to excellence and should be avoided.
Lesson 10 – Media Part 2 (Internet Safety):
The focus and purpose of this media lesson is to teach students how to use the Internet safely. Over 90% of sixth grade students report that they have a computer connected to the Internet at home. Because of this, this lesson on Internet safety becomes very important.
In every city in America, there are good places to visit and good people to meet. However, there are dangerous places to avoid and dangerous people to stay away from as well. Students are taught that the Internet or “Cyber City” is the same. There are dangerous places and people on the Internet that they should stay away from, namely pornography sites, and predators.
Just as a fishing lure attracts fish to take a bite and get hooked, there are those who want children and youth to get hooked on Internet pornography. These people are devious and despicable, and will do anything to get kids and adults to view and seek out this harmful and offensive material. Any responsible parent who has a toddler at home will, “Baby proof” their home to keep the toddler safe from harmful and dangerous “Lures” around the house. So must we as responsible parents who have home computers connected to the Internet “Baby proof” the computer to keep everyone safe from the lures of harmful and obscene web sites from being accessed or “Popping up”.
Children and teens who visit teen chat rooms is another safety concern. Predators seeking unsuspecting youth go to teen chat rooms with the express purpose to find a victim to harm. Students are taught to stay out of chat rooms. With the anonymity of the Internet, there is no way to know who you are talking to in a chat room, and as children and youth have been taught not to talk to strangers, why do so in a chat room. Just by signing in to a teen chat room, it is possible for a predator to find out who you are, where you live, where you go to school, and to obtain a map of your neighborhood, all within 45 minutes!
This lesson would not have been necessary 30 years ago. However, due to these contemporary internet issues, and the fact that the average age of exposure to internet pornography is 11 years old, it becomes absolutely necessary.
Viewing pornography does not have a path to excellence and should be avoided at all costs.
Lesson 11 – Media Part 3 (Music Awareness):
This last media lesson is about music awareness and how music can have a positive or negative influence depending on the type of music a person listens to.
We are fortunate today to have so much wonderful music that has been handed down to us over the centuries, i.e., music that is soothing, uplifting, and enlightening. However, much of the music of today is dark, depressing, filled with hate, violence, rage, vulgarity, and obscene lyrics. This negative side of music is destructive, offensive and harmful to all who listen to it. To warn children, teens, and parents as to this type of music, a “Parental Advisory Warning” system has been created. However, this system is only voluntary at this time, so music CD’s without a Parental Advisory Warning label on them doesn’t necessarily mean the CD is without offensive and harmful material. Students are advised to research the lyrics to a song before they listen to it or buy it to be sure it doesn’t have harmful and offensive lyrics.
Students are advised not to attend concerts where groups or singers perform dark, depressing, hate-filled, violent, vulgar, or obscene music. These concerts are ALWAYS plagued by drugs, violence, vulgar, destructive and or obscene behavior.
Students are encouraged to listen to music that is soothing, peaceful, uplifting and enlightening as a way to motivate and encourage a positive outlook on life.
Listening to music that is dark, depressing, violent, vulgar, or obscene does not have a path to excellence and should be avoided.
Lesson 12 – Gangs:
Although this is an optional lesson, due to the Gang problems in many cities across the country, it is highly recommended that this lesson be taught. The Gang lesson takes a simple and straight forward approach to Gangs and being a Gang member and how this relates to the directions and choices we make in life and where these directions and choices take us. This lesson also reviews every N.O.V.A. Principle and relates them to the “Positive Roads” & “Negative Roads” we choose to take everyday.
Lesson 13 – N.O.V.A. Constitution:
In order for students to earn a Certification of Achievement Award from the N.O.V.A. program, they are required to write a personal constitution. This constitution becomes guide and road map to give them direction and focus in life as to what they wish to accomplish. Students are encouraged to include some or all of the following subjects in their personal constitution: Opportunities they want to take advantage of that will lead them to the path of excellence; The things they value; and Things that they want to avoid; What they have learned in N.O.V.A. that has helped illuminate their path to excellence.
Students are given the opportunity to read their constitution in class if they wish.
Lesson 14 – The Challenge:
If the teaching schedule allows, this fun and challenging active learning lesson can be used to help solidify the N.O.V.A. Principles that have been taught. This lesson focuses on making good choices and the necessity of getting a good education.
To wrap up the N.O.V.A. program, a special Certification Program is held to award students who complete all the requirements of the N.O.V.A. program a Certification of Achievement. Students also have the opportunity to earn other special awards such as, the Project N.O.V.A. Award, the N.O.V.A. Pack Award, the N.O.V.A. Constitution Award, and the Super N.O.V.A. Award as well.
Jr. High Program Curriculum
The following is a brief outline of the Jr. High program curriculum. One lesson is presented each week for a total program course of 4 weeks. Much of the Jr. High curriculum is derived from several key lessons taught in the Elementary school curriculum. The idea behind this is to reiterate and reaffirm key principles and knowledge taught in Elementary school, as well as to give these basic principles and knowledge to those students who did not have the N.O.V.A. program in Elementary school.
Lesson 1 – Drugs:
This lesson starts off by introducing the N.O.V.A. Principles program and the basic key points of the program. Students are then taught the following basic N.O.V.A. Principles: “STS” (Study the situation), “Cause & Effect” (When you do something or don’t do something, something happens), “Boiling a Frog Analogy” (When do you know you’re a boiled frog? When it’s too late), and, “Knowledge is Potential Power” (Using knowledge gives you power).
The main focus of this first lesson is to educate students about the harmful effects of drugs. This is accomplished by giving a basic review of the gateway drugs taught in the Elementary school curriculum, as well as teaching students about the harmful effects of harder drugs such as: Meth, Heroin, Cocaine, LSD, etc.. The premise for this drug education is that if a person knows the harmful effects that drugs cause, that knowledge will help a person to stay away from them.
An Active Learning Lesson game is played that centers around the idea that drugs are addicting and once addicted it will be very hard to break that addiction. In the end, when it comes to drugs, there is no path to excellence.
Lesson 2 – Self-Esteem:
This lesson is one of N.O.V.A.’s most powerful lessons that focuses on self-esteem. Much of what is taught in lesson 3 of the Elementary school curriculum is taught in this lesson as well.
Students are taught that feeling good about yourself, liking who you are, avoid giving put-downs to others, and having a positive attitude are important conduits in order to become happy and successful.
Students are taught that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and that one of the most important things for everyone to do is to do the best they can with what they have.
This lesson reinforces the fact that everyone has troubles and problems that they have to deal with. Students are taught that they can handle their troubles and problems, and that the biggest issue is not that they have troubles or problems, but it’s how you deal with your problems, what you do to solve your problems, and what can you learn and how you can grow from your troubles and problems that’s important.
The, “Paradigm” (The view or perspective of how you see things) principle is taught, and that there are 2 Paradigms a person can have, the Victim Paradigm, or the Hero Paradigm. Everyone gets to choose which Paradigm they want to have in life. Students are encouraged to have a Hero Paradigm where they have a positive attitude and see themselves as producers who create things of value for themselves and others.
An Active Learning Lesson game is played where students work through a mathematical formula with amazing results. This game teaches students that if they follow good principles, good outcomes are guaranteed.
Lesson 3 – Anger Management
Students are asked if they like to have people control them. They are told that this lesson on anger management will help them learn how to prevent this from happening.
This lesson teaches the basics of what is in lesson 7 of the Elementary school curriculum, as well as some material in lesson 8, and lesson 13.
The powerful principles of Control & Maturity and how your brain works is taught, as well as dealing with Bullies and Gangs. Anger Management tools are taught, as well as the, “Which Wolf are you feeding?” (Which Wolf is stronger? The one you feed) principle.
Students are taught that Stereotyping is where you classify a person to a certain idea based on what they look like. For the most part Stereotyping is harmless, unless it’s done to put down, make fun of, or to injure someone. Students are taught that Stereotyping a person to harm, put down, or injure them is wrong and unacceptable.
An Active Learning Lesson game is played where students are presented with a choice to play a trick game where they can not win and a negative consequence is given when they lose. This game teaches students to, “STS” and to think about the, “Cause & Effects” of things before they make choices. Doing so will help them get to their path of excellence and avoid unnecessary troubles and problems in life. In other words, “It’s easier to stay out of trouble, than to get out of trouble”.
Lesson 4 – Media
This last lesson teaches the combined basics of the 3 Media lessons found in the Elementary school curriculum, with the focus on teaching students to be careful about the type of Media they consume each day.
Students are taught that rating systems for Movies, Music, and Video games are there to warn them about the dark, depressing, violent, vulgar, obscene, and indecent content contained in much of the Media of today.
Students are taught that the Media of yesteryears is not the same as today, and that the change from decent, wholesome, and uplifting programs of years gone by to the dark, depressing, violent, vulgar, obscene, and indecent of today happened gradually, just like the, “Boiling a frog analogy”.
The, “Garbage in – Garbage out” (What you put in is what you get out) principles is taught. Students are cautioned to be very careful as to the type of media they put into their heads, as what they put in will come out.
The effects of negative Media consumption is taught. How our brain creates, “Neural Pathways” is taught. An Active Learning Lesson game is played where students can experience how Neural Pathways are created in their brains, and why it is so important to create only positive Neural Pathways.
Students are taught that there are many positive and negative choices they can make each day. Making positive choices will lead them to their path of excellence, whereas making negative choices will not.
High School Program Curriculum
The following is a brief outline of the High School program curriculum. One lesson is presented each week for a total program course of 2 weeks.
Lesson 1 – Creating Value
The meaning of N.O.V.A. is explained, as well as the motto, and what it is to be a N.O.V.A. Lone Wolf… “A person who has the strength to stand against their pack of friends or crowd when they are choosing to do wrong.”
The “Paradigm Principle”, one of the most powerful principles in the N.O.V.A. Program is taught to the students.
The “15 Lines” Active Learning game is played. This game is used to show that you can win this game every time if you have control over who starts the game, and that you don’t need luck to win. This analogy is used to show that if you have control over your life, which you do, then you can win in life as well, you don’t need luck.
Students are taught what a “Consumer” and a “Producer” is. They are encouraged to be a Producer, someone who creates or makes things of value for themselves and others.
The principle of being Box 1, Box 2, and Box 3 is explained. A person who is being Box 3 is a consumer. They consume more than they produce. A person who is being Box 2 is a consumer, however, they produce about the same as they consume. A person who is being Box 1, is a producer, they produce more than they consume. “Be Box 1!”
Lesson 2 – Steering Your Life
The Control and Maturity principles are taught as explained in the Elementary and Jr. High programs.
Students are taught about “Initiative”. This means that they need to go about taking the initiative to do the things that will lead them to their Path of Excellence and success instead of complaining or waiting for someone to help them.
Students learn about the different facets of the Path to Excellence. First, there is the Path of Inability, which are the things you can’t do in life. Then there is the Path of Ability, which are the things you can do in life. Next is the Path of Expertise, which are the things you are expert at doing in life. Lastly is the Path of Excellence, which is the thing you were born to do, the thing that makes you the happiest when you do it.
This lesson then teaches students about “Defeating their Giants”. Everyone has problems and troubles. This is normal. Students are taught not to let their troubles and problems become as Giants that keep them reaching their Path to Excellence and success.
The last part of this lesson teaches students that their hands are on their steering wheel of their car of life. Every day, they get to choose which roads to drive on. They can choose roads that will lead them to misery, captivity, drugs, gangs, bullying, crime, etc., or they can choose roads that will lead them to happiness, liberty, success, etc.. It’s always their choice.