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Continuing a founding tradition and building on a 45-year legacy of educational innovation and leadership, The Nueva School is pioneering a new model high school. The high school program will be a natural extension of the school's fundamental educational philosophy, emphasizing inquiry-based and experiential learning, design thinking, and social-emotional acuity. As such, this program will fundamentally re-envision the traditional high school experience and uniquely address the needs of 21st century students.
The program has been designed with input from educational leaders at some of the country's most notable colleges, universities, charter, and independent schools. In many ways more like a university than traditional high school, the program will offer broad interdisciplinary studies coupled with deep explorations into specific areas of interest. Students will combine theory and practice in real-world problem solving. Students will discuss and debate the critical issues confronting our world and develop the skills required to contribute as actively engaged citizens and leaders.
Importantly, The Nueva High School will emphasize:
- The discovery of individual passions and the joy of learning
- Accelerated college-prepartory curricula
- Deep, immersive experiences and "learning by doing"
- Integrated, interdisciplinary thinking
- Sophisticated instructional technologies
- A diversity of perspectives and experiences
- The opportunity to take risks and learn from experience
- Social-emotional capabilities such as resiliency, empathy, and civic and ethical responsibility
- A balanced approach that allows students to emerge ready, excited, and inspired for college
Nueva is at the forefront of a broader global movement to readjust our educational paradigms to the rapidly changing global and technological environment and simultaneously offers the experience of a proven educational philosophy that has stood the test of time.
The expansion of the school has long been a part of Nueva's mission and vision and the commitment to pursue it began over a decade ago when first explored within the previous strategic plan. Four years ago, the idea became more than just a vision as a Stanford University Alumni Consulting Team (ACT) confirmed that conditions were right to explore this project. Task forces were launched and a three-year design project encompassing extensive demand analysis, competitive surveys, in-field research, and design workshops began. Nueva has long been interested in creating an environment in which its students could continue to foster their love of learning and their individual interests. The time is right now, in part because the current educational debate has revealed that the skills now universally sought are the ones Nueva has always supported. Nueva is in a unique position to pioneer a new way of thinking about high school that is entirely aligned with, and an extension of, its preK–8 program.
The new high school will share the same core values and educational hallmarks of the preK–8 school, but it will expand the curricular focus and programs to be appropriate for the developmental maturity of high school students. Most critically, the school remains united around its mission of inspiring lifelong learning, fostering social-emotional acuity, and developing the student’s imaginative mind.
The high school, which is expected to grow to a total student population of 400 in grades 9–12, will draw from a wide array of schools as well as the preK–8 program. This diversity and scale will enrich the educational discourse and support an expanded social and extracurricular component appropriate for high school.
The high school will have new faculty, new resources, new programs, and a new campus. It will share many of those resources with the existing preK–8 divisions, while at the same time benefiting from their seasoned faculty leadership, administrative talent, community, and culture. It is the best of both!
Mark Schoeffel, Assistant Head of School, is the Founding Head of the high school program. Mark came to Nueva from The Shipley School in Pennsylvania where he served as the Head of the Upper School, and previously from the Lawrenceville School, a co-ed boarding and day school in New Jersey. He has worked in education for more than twenty years and led a redesign of Shipley's 21st century learning and leadership standards as well as an expansion of the upper school campus. Diane Rosenberg, Head of School of The Nueva School, will continue to be responsible for the entire preK–12 program.
The new high school has been designed in conjunction with educational leaders from the most innovative and influential high schools and universities around the country and is singularly focused on developing the fundamental skills most required for competitiveness in today's world, including critical thinking, creativity, and communications. We have listened carefully to what universities are identifying as critical skill gaps and are developing core curricular and extracurricular programs and activities to ensure our students will be academically, socially, and emotionally prepared for college and beyond.
The academic program will focus on broad interdisciplinary studies to build foundational knowledge combined with in-depth explorations, laboratory exercises, and real-world applications to create opportunities for accelerated learning. The school's social-emotional learning will focus on empathy, resiliency, and agility. Authentic real-world experiences like internships, exchanges, and entrepreneurship will further equip students with hands-on learning. A robust creative arts and competitive athletics program will round out the high school experience.
The integrated studies program at Nueva offers accelerated college-like academics, allowing for extensive individual choice, advanced studies, and guided internships and apprenticeship opportunities. The program provides a robust conceptual foundation in the core disciplines (mathematics, science, history, languages, English and humanities, and the arts) as well as in methods of thinking and reasoning. Balanced graduation requirements ensure competence across disciplines as well as deep inquiry into topics of individual interest (the “Nueva Quest”). Advanced electives and independent courses of study allow students to progress and accelerate at the rates they are capable of.
The high school curriculum, continuing to build on Nueva’s hallmarks, will support the development of what have been identified as critical competencies for the 21st century, specifically creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. The experiential approach to learning further develops these capabilities by preparing students with real applied and practical learning opportunities with current practitioners and industry experts. The program itself has been designed with the direct input of some of the best, most forward-thinking educational leaders in the country and will continue to be a laboratory model that evolves in response to new learning and discoveries.
Similarly, the campus design is informed by the latest research and industry innovations. Leveraging new findings on spatial design and pedagogy, the new facility will create flexible, dynamic environments that allow for collaborative learning; integrated smart technologies; sophisticated laboratory and R&D spaces for innovation and design engineering; a state-of-the-art writing, research and information center; and extensive venues for the sharing of work and best practices. School schedules are fluid to allow ongoing integration between classroom and applied learning and between academic and co-curricular activities. Even the school’s daily schedule and later-than-average start is in response to current understanding about the productivity of the teenage mind.
Like those of many college preparatory high schools, Nueva’s curriculum moves beyond the standardized AP program, instead focusing on deeper intensive units, seminars, projects, upper level Advanced Topics electives, and longer college-level research papers. While Nueva will not “teach to the tests,” the curriculum will certainly prepare students to take SAT II and AP tests with deep mastery of core concepts and intensive electives, and the expectation is that many will take the tests. Nueva is already an approved site for AP testing and has many middle school students that take (and excel at) these exams every year.
During their tenure at the high school, students will develop a personal plan of study with an apprenticeship component that honors individual student interests and takes full advantage of the resources available to us in the Bay Area. The individual apprenticeships will match students with experts who will act as mentors, provide feedback on student work, and counsel them on real-world applications and skill development. Students will engage in primary field research, internship programs, and other applied learning opportunities as part of their core requirements for graduation.
What sort of college counseling and support services will be available? How will you ensure that students have equal consideration in the college admission process, compared with those at more established schools?
Nueva is committed to seeing that its students thrive, including preparation and support for and through the college application process. The collaboration of university leadership in the design of the program has afforded unique insight into that process and will inform the curricular content. In addition, recruitment of experienced college counselors, close student-teacher relationships, and academic advising and guidance from class deans, advisors, and the head of school will provide students with a strong support network.
The Director of College Counseling, Elise Maar, is already on staff and will be with the entering grade 9 class from the first day of school. Elise, who has worked with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Stanford University for more than 10 years, has read tens of thousands of college applications and provides valuable insight to the college application process. (A second counselor will be added when this entering class commences its junior year.) Students will work with the counselor(s) and their advisors to create a course of study that prepares them for college and also allows them to enjoy high school as a time of exploration, learning, and growth.
Social-emotional acuity, health, and wellbeing have always been core values at Nueva. These programs will be expanded to support the needs of our high school students as they grapple with the challenging issues of adolescence, transition toward increasing independence, and ultimately prepare for graduation and college. Core curricula, advisories, workshops, tutoring, counseling, and parent education are all embedded in the high school design.
One of the hallmarks of a Nueva education is the use of robust narratives from teachers to communicate student progress. These narratives allow faculty to communicate a much broader assessment of how students are developing their skills and competencies, with an eye not just to absolute benchmarks, but as a way of encouraging students to take academic risks and motivating them to achieve their full potential. Assessment in the high school will continue this long-standing tradition of narrative feedback and a focus on continuous learning, but in recognition of the requirements for college applications will also introduce more standard evaluation criteria, including grading and achievement testing. Nueva's individualized learning allows students to progress at their own rate, demonstrating mastery and pursuing accelerated studies as appropriate.
Recruitment of faculty and staff is ongoing. Outside interest in the new high school began long before the official announcements about the school, and resumes have continued to pour in. The school began interviewing candidates in the summer of 2012 and has already made some key hires. Faculty retreats are planned for the winter and spring breaks for curriculum development, and all staff will be on board at least six weeks before the start of school.
Given our commitment to seek the very best high school teachers and even college-level professors, most of our high school faculty will be new to the community but will come with specific expertise developing interdisciplinary college preparatory curricula. We will recruit faculty who share the school’s core values and will invest the time to build community and connection between campuses and programs.
ADMISSIONS & TUITION
Nueva will start with a freshman class and each year will add a new class of grade 9 students. Enrollment will build to reach 100 students per grade, or a total high school enrollment of 400 students in grades 9 through 12 by 2016–17. In our first year, we anticipate welcoming 40 new students to the program, for an initial grade 9 class size of approximately 75 students.
Nueva is accepting applications for the freshman class, entering August 2013 and graduating in 2017. These applicants will supplement students continuing from the 2012–13 grade 8 class.
The admissions process for Nueva's high school is designed to ascertain student interests, academic strengths and talents, personality, social and emotional maturity, internal motivation, intellectual curiosity, independent thought and depth of ideas, creativity in problem solving, collaborative skills, and much more. We hope to build a cohesive, compassionate, dynamic class and community.
Every year Nueva reviews and evaluates a student's academic performance, social-emotional growth and maturity, and readiness for the next grade level. We evaluate student match for our program through yearly assessments. Our hope is that every Nueva student will continue to our high school.
All students in good standing who wish to continue on to the high school will receive "early acceptance" in the form of a Re- Enrollment Offer and Agreement due back in February during the regular re-enrollment period for all students. General admissions offers (to non-Nueva students) will go out in mid-March. Current families who have not returned their re-enrollment agreements by the mid-February deadline may opt to participate in the general applicant pool under consideration for March offer letters as well.
No. Eighth grade students have had time to develop their learning profiles, so there is a greater array of metrics and testing to provide insight into the student's potential success in our program.
Students are welcome to attend an Information Session or Open House but must submit Part I of the High School Application and the $90 application fee before their admissions campus visit is scheduled.
It is not necessary to attend both an Information Session and the Open House. However, each event is intended to provide a unique perspective and offer a different experience for applicants and their families.
Open House events will feature student panels, sample lessons, and an opportunity to meet Nueva parents and faculty. Mark Schoeffel, Founding Head of the High School, will also provide highlights about our curriculum and new facilities.
Information Sessions offer a more detailed overview of the program as well as conversations with Diane Rosenberg, Head of School, Mark Schoeffel, and the Admissions Team. Discussions will encompass exploration of the four high school programmatic hallmarks, the curriculum framework, and the new campus facilities.
The deadline for all application materials is Thursday, January 17, 2013. It is helpful to receive Parts II and III prior to the scheduled student and parent interviews. The complete application is required by the time of the student activity session or the application deadline, whichever occurs first.
All applicants are asked to meet our stated deadlines. Only applications that are complete by the deadline will be considered for admission.
The Admissions Committee carefully reviews complete applicant files and will mail decision letters on Thursday, March 14, 2013. High school applicants receiving a financial award must notify the Admissions Office of their decision to accept or decline the offer by 10 am, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. High school applicants not receiving an award must notify the Admissions Office of their decision to accept or decline the offer by 10 am, Friday, March 22, 2013.
Unfortunately, Nueva cannot accommodate all qualified applicants. Applicants for whom we cannot offer a space are placed in an unranked wait pool and considered if an opening occurs. The Admissions Committee considers factors such as gender balance, ages, learning styles, and behavioral dynamics within the existing group when making an enrollment recommendation. The wait pool remains active until the first day of school in the fall.
High school tuition will be in line with other competitive independent school programs in the Bay Area. The figure will be made available in late fall. Please be sure to check our website for updates.
Yes. Nueva intends to maintain and, over time, increase its commitment to providing financial support for qualified families. The Nueva School's financial award grants are based solely on financial need. Approximately 20% percent of our currently enrolled students receive awards totaling more than $1.2 million. Admissions decisions are made independent of financial award consideration.
PreK through grade 8 enrollment is roughly 400. Nueva will be enrolling its first class of ninth graders for the 2013 school year and will have a high school student body of 400 once grades 9–12 are fully enrolled.
44% of our current student population is of color, as defined by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
Students travel to school from the North Bay, San Francisco, the Coast, Silicon Valley, and the East Bay. Families from the Central Peninsula represent 40% of the Nueva community. About 15% live in the San Francisco area and 30% commute from the Southern Peninsula. Nueva offers bus service from San Francisco and the Southern Peninsula.
The Nueva School supports diversity and inclusiveness in its community and its programs. Nueva's student body represents a broad cross-section of the Bay Area, pulling from over 35 cities and a wide array of demographics. Approximately 20% of current students receive financial support from the school and Nueva intends to continue this commitment for the high school. With an expansion of curricular programs, proximity to public transportation, and a distinctive approach to learning, diversity is expected to further increase and strengthen in the high school. Diversity and inclusiveness — both local and global — are core Nueva values and manifest in the curriculum, programs, celebrations, and community.
Nueva’s mission makes it a convergence point for people who share a vision about how joyful and meaningful education can be. We are supportive of each other, the school, and the wider communities and neighborhoods to which we belong. Nueva has many community-building events throughout the school year and summer. We celebrate individuals and value the diversity of our community and the world.
In addition to visual and performing arts and sports and fitness activities, Nueva will support student-led clubs and other extracurricular activities. Graduate students and part-time faculty will help support these activites, but they will be directed and led by the students. Offerings might include Intel Science Talent Search (STS), FIRST Robotics, Futures Problem-Solving Program, Model UN, Mock Trial, Mathletes, Young Writers, Microfinance and Investments, newspaper, film, chess, organic gardening, anime, peer leadership, Amnesty International, and student government.
The Nueva High School campus, like the lower and middle school campus, is expected to be a vibrant and dynamic environment with visiting academics and artists in residence, a lively calendar of events and activities, and the active involvement of all the community members who are drawn to this energetic hub.
Health and well-being are an important part of the curricular program at Nueva. Offerings for 2013–2014 will be refined as we poll the incoming class, and we will continue to be responsive in the ensuing years as we develop the program to provide the best and most viable options for all.
Interscholastic: Baseball, basketball, crew, cross-country, fencing, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, volleyball, water polo
Club/Alternative: Cycling, dance, martial arts, outdoor adventures (e.g., kayak, rock-climbing, mountaineering), sailing, squash, strength training, wrestling, yoga
FACILITIES & LOCATION
Our planned permanent location will be at the Bay Meadows development in San Mateo. This location, just 11 minutes south of the current Hillsborough campus, is ideally situated near Highways 92 and 101, the Hillsdale Caltrain station, and SamTrans bus routes. The mixed-used development — a dynamic, vibrant, evolving community — provides unique synergies for the new high school as a model of innovative urban planning and sustainable development. There are potential collaborations and internships with the site's neighboring tech company tenants, and the site's extensive interpretive landscape lends itself to observation and research about Bay Area ecology. There are also the retail, commercial, and urban amenities of the immediate area, and the potential for faculty, staff, and families to live in close proximity to the school.
While there will be much interaction between the two campuses, including the use of shared facilities and all-school events, there are strong programmatic and developmental reasons for establishing the high school at a separate campus. Some of the benefits for the high school students include the direct proximity to public transportation and opportunities for real-world learning through internships and partnerships with neighboring commercial and corporate tenants. Keeping preK–8 unified on our current campus also allows younger children the freedom to continue to be children until they are ready for the increasing independence of high school.
When will construction on the new site begin / end? Where will the school be located before the new facilities are finished?
We are currently in the Site Planning and Review (SPAR) phase and hope to begin construction of the new site in 2013. Construction will take about 15 months. While the new site is being developed, the program will be located at a temporary site, also in San Mateo, in close proximity to the new campus.
Phase 1 of Nueva’s construction will be complete before the students commence classes at the new campus. It will encompass all the essential elements to support the successful implementation of the program. Additional developments, including the theater and the possibility of a third academic wing (not needed for the planned full enrollment of 400), as well as any operational enhancements gained from experience at the new facility, will be designed to ensure minimal disruption to the program. The school is intended to be a “living laboratory” in all senses and we envision the site and use of the facility to evolve over the years, just as has happened on our current campus.
The Bay Meadows development encompasses an 83-acre, mixed-use area and will include commercial, corporate, retail, and residential facilities as well as a 12-acre city park and smaller neighborhood greenspaces. The 12-acre Bay Meadows Park is already undergoing improvements and is scheduled to open in 2012. Most of the immediately adjacent developments have been approved and may be under construction as the school facility is being developed. Two residential developments broke ground this October with targeted completion in mid-2013.
The new high school location is ideally situated near extensive public transportation, including the soon-to-be relocated Hillsdale Caltrain station and SamTrans and AC Transit public bus routes. Nueva also offers fee-based private bus service to and from San Francisco and throughout the Peninsula. This private bus service serves 30% of current families to the Hillsborough campus and will be extended to provide easy access to both the temporary site and the permanent Bay Meadows campus.
Like the Hillside Learning Complex in Hillsborough, which was certified as LEED Gold in 2007, the new high school campus aims to receive LEED Gold status. The facility has been uniquely designed with these goals in mind and features such elements as:
- Natural ventilation and lighting
- Radiant slab heating
- Potable water conservation
- Integrated indoor-outdoor environments
- Reintroduction of local and lost ecosystems & habitats
- Renewable and recyclable building materials
- Integrated instructional elements such as usage meters
The high school will also promote responsible environmental practices to reduce pollution and energy consumption through proactive transportation demand management programs, environmental education, and recycling and waste management efforts.