Members of Nueva's Board of Trustees were given a true inside look into the progress of the new Upper School on Wednesday when they were treated to a guided tour of the site by Bill Leddy, Charlie Stott, and Sade Borghei from architectural firm Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects.  

The visit was an exhilarating and breathtaking experience, as the Board walked through each level and could see this vision truly coming to life. Bill, Charlie, and Sade helped describe where many of the unique features to the Upper School will exist such as a performing arts theater, state-of-the-art athletic center and gymnasium, recording studios, two-level writing and research center, and underground parking garage.  

The new campus is being built at Bay Meadows in San Mateo and remains on track to open in August 2014 when we will welcome our then ninth and tenth grade high school students. We invite you to checkout the continued progress by viewing our live webcam!


It started off with a simple question, “How did this happen?”

As part of a transdisciplinary lesson on Brunelleschi’s Dome, students at Nueva’s Upper School were charged with investigating how this iconic piece of 15th Century architecture was built.  

On the surface, the task seemed simple and the starting point logical: build a mini model. However, as students started to dig in, they realized the true complexity of the lesson.

“There was definitely a healthy amount of frustration,” said Nueva Upper School Teacher Dan Cristiani.domeproject

Before students even started on the construction of their mini models, they studied and researched Brunelleschi and the Renaissance Age. The question, “How did this happen?” became just one of many, all of which crossed multiple subject areas.

“How do you measure the volume of the dome?” paired itself with math; “Why was it necessary?” touched on the history and sociology; “How it is structurally sound?” with physics and engineering; and “What sources would cause for such innovation?” with social science.

Students explored these questions through a variety of assignments. In history, they attempted to build a dome with foam bricks. Through trial and error, students experimented with the foam bricks but couldn’t always find a structurally sound way to construct a model.

“Through the activity, students understood what Brunelleschi went through,” Cristiani said, noting they felt sympathetic and could really grasp the complexity of what he accomplished.

In Mark Hurwtiz’s introductory physics class, students built arches out of blocks they cut from potatoes. They explored questions such as: How do we describe the contact forces between solid objects? What is the most stable shape for an arch? “What external supports does an arch require, during and after construction?

This project provided a very tactile lesson in friction, normal force, and the catenary curve. It also provided a natural transition into algebra, where the students would then explore how to apply these same concepts learned from the build of their 2-D arches toward the construction of the 3-D domes, Hurwitz noted.

In Mike Peller’s algebra class, students modeled the dome using a parabola, and rotated it around the y-axis. While they did not know how to calculate the volume of the paraboloid, they considered it as being created by a number of cylindrical rings with a small height.
“Our students recognized that in order to have a more accurate approximation, they would need an infinite number of infinitely thin rings. Realizing this would take a long time to calculate, they created a computer program to calculate the volume by using 100,000 disks. The work they did is a fundamental idea in calculus called Riemann Sum approximations,” Peller explained.

Now, with a fundamental understanding of not only the mental struggle Brunelleschi experienced but also the mathematical and scientific concepts used, students were able to successfully construct their models using foam rings.

“Brunelleschi built the dome without interior supports. Physics taught us why this works,” one student noted.

As Nueva continues to grow and build out its preK-12 experience for students across all three of its divisions – Lower, Middle, and Upper School – projects such as Brunelleschi’s dome extends the types of hands-on, project-based learning, and integrated curriculum that defines an integrated Nueva experience across all grades.


Until now, one could only use imagination and architectural renderings to envision what Nueva’s new campus will look like at Bay Meadows. Now, thanks to a live webcam on the construction site, our community can check-in on the progress and watch construction 24 hours a day! Click on this link at any time to see what is going on at the Bay Meadows site.

As construction progresses, look for more details regarding our community-wide celebration of the ongoing construction when school resumes in the fall. The new campus remains on track as scheduled to open in August 2014 when we will welcome our then 9th and 10th grade high school students.ConstructionCam20130912

The image shown here was captured on September 12, 2013 at 6 am when crews were already hard at work for the day.


outsidecsmAs the doors to Nueva’s Upper School opened for the first time on the campus of the College of San Mateo (CSM), members of the inaugural ninth grade class immediately gravitated to a collection of white board installations and chalkboard painted walls.

“You can’t write on the walls,” cautioned one student, watching as her classmate dragged a piece of blue chalk along the gray wall.

“Yes you can!” the classmate shouted back with excitement as she continued to draw.

It was a flurry of free-thinking expression, as students sketched out mathematical equations, jotted down inspirational quotes and wrote out pieces of music. This artistic gesture was not only a reflection of the diversity of passions amongst students, but also symbolic of this next step in their Nueva journey to the Upper School.

MarcyThis summer, Marc Y. traveled to China where he visited remote towns and village schools to listen to children’s hearts to detect murmurs. Along with several volunteer interns, he furthered the efforts of Dr. Robert Detrano and the China California Heart Watch (China Cal), a non-profit that operates out of UC Irvine to provide free heart care to denizens of China’s poor and polluted Yunnan Province.

“Most village doctors there do not receive the medical training needed to properly diagnose heart problems,” Marc said, regarding the purpose of his trip. “So we went from school to school listening to the kids’ heart rates for heart murmurs and if possible to give them an electrocardiogram and ultrasound test.”

Among other accomplishments, China Cal has diagnosed for and financially supported heart surgeries, treated countless villagers for high blood pressure and heart disease, and trained village doctors.

“I learned on the trip that congenital heart diseases are extremely common in these rural areas and I think it's great to be able to help tackle one of the major health problems in rural China,” he said.

Marc also really appreciated seeing China’s less populated areas through his work.  

girl“I really enjoyed meeting the kids and really just experiencing the culture there,” he said. “Rural China is very different from modern Chinese cities like Shanghai or Beijing and it was definitely a new experience for me.”

Through his service, Marc gained a deeper understanding of how much Americans have while solidifying his value for helping people less fortunate than himself.

“We're very privileged to be living here in the United States where there is plenty of clean water to drink and clothes to wear, which most of us take for granted,” he said. “The kids in rural China don't have clean water to drink. Their clothes are extremely dirty and many do not receive showers for weeks, if not months. We are very lucky to be here and since we have the resources to do so we should help those that aren't.”

Nueva is proud of Marc’s effort to make a difference in the world and his compassionate contributions to humanity.

doctor  Photos taken by Chloe, Marc’s mother




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