The Honors Academy of Literature in Reno

The Honors Academy of Literature in Reno

Will be the first Nevada school to fully design curriculum around the Common Core Standards and will use Children’s Literature throughout the content to Enliven a Love of Learning, Promote Critical Thinking, and Encourage Leadership


The Honors Academy of Literature is currently enrolling students in grades 1st through 8th.  Please see the enrollment tab for more detailed information.

Note: All students who submitted applications during the May 12th event have been successfully enrolled.


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Arianna Bennett
Channel 2 News

On Thursday we took a look at what makes a charter school stand out. Tonight, meet a pair of women who are starting their own charter school, because they say they can do it better than the options in the area now.

Both women are doctoral students at the University of Nevada’s School of Education, and in the course of their research and from working in classrooms, they say they found a number of ways that traditional schools don’t cater to the students.

So they’re practicing what they preach, by creating the Honors Academy of Literature.

It is every concerned parent’s dream: you see that the traditional school system is failing your child, so you create a new school, that does everything you wish a school would do. That’s the idea behind this new charter school.

“Where would we want to send our own kids to school, based on what we know about learning and education?” Academy Co-Founder and Elementary School Principal Andrea Morency asked.

Morency and her partner J-Lynn Van Pelt are both mothers who wanted a school that would fit their kids’ needs. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re both earning their doctorates in education.

“This is really the culmination of all my learning, all my experience,” Van Pelt said, “into something that we think is really unique and really exciting.”

Van Pelt said that as a teacher in a traditional school, the tools she had been taught to use in the classroom just weren’t cutting it.

“I had eighth graders, and I was supposed to teach them Shakespeare and Chaucer and all these great things I had been told to teach,” Van Pelt said, “and they were reading at a third and fourth grade level. I didn’t know how to handle that.”

So she went back to school. She met Morency, and the idea behind a new charter school was born.

“What we love about charter schools is that it allows a small community of learners to develop differently than a larger school district might allow,” Van Pelt said.

“They are really getting that intervention that sometimes is missed in general ed classrooms,” Morency added.

Charter schools are within the public school system, with the same per-pupil funding as traditional schools. They just have more freedom in developing a curriculum.

In this case, Morency and Van Pelt designed the curriculum around individual development, keeping class sizes small, so teachers can give personal attention to students at all levels.

The program also uses literature to make a link between the classroom and the real world.

“There is research going on about students who don’t make the jump between doing something as a skill in a classroom, and then incorporating that into their daily lives,” Morency said.

And these days, Morency and Van Pelt’s daily lives are focused on their new south Reno building. It doesn’t look like much yet, but it is where their ideas will turn into reality. It is a new school that they hope will fill the gap between what parents want, and what schools can do.

“The parents are new,” Van Pelt said. “The teachers are new; the students are new, and we can create the school together.”

The Honors Academy of Literature is opening this August, for elementary and middle school students. They are having an open enrollment day on Saturday, May 12, at their new building at 6980 Sierra Center Parkway, from 9am to 6pm.