Fall 2020 Reopening and Hybrid Learning Information
[updated November 24, 2020]
Nueva is a mission driven school where learning is complex and social. Our students thrive in classes with their teachers, where they are able to do hands-on labs or be given the book, in the moment, that will perfectly extend their discussion. While remote learning has demonstrated again the depth of professionalism and talent of our teachers, nothing replaces being face to face (or these days, mask to six-foot distanced mask).
With a collective commitment from all of us to prioritize the health and wellness of all community members, including our faculty and staff, and an understanding that our learning models this year will inevitably continue to adjust to a constantly shifting landscape, we confidently believe that we have the ability to bring students back to campus purposefully, safely, and joyfully. This return to campus will be differentiated according to divisional needs, and it will be implemented in phases.
Click here to see division-specific return-to-campus dates.
Click here to login and view recordings of meetings, town halls, and coffees in which we further explain our carefully-staggered approach for returning to campus.
November 24: Remote Learning Extended After Thanksgiving Break
Nueva Leadership Team
October 25: From Remote Learning to Nueva Flex
Lee Fertig, head of school
September 30: Planning Our Return to Campus
Lee Fertig, head of school
September 11: Update on the Lower School Waiver and Reopening Plan
Nueva Leadership Team
August 28: Health and Safety Plan for Return to Campus
Nueva Leadership Team
August 21: Nueva's Remote Learning Program 3.0
Lee Fertig, head of school
July 24: Important Message from the Head of School
Lee Fertig, head of school
Asymptomatic Surveillance Testing Dashboard
- Week Ending Nov. 20: 163
- Cumulative Total (since Oct. 8): 2,097
- # of Positives: 0
- % Positive: 0%
The story had all the makings of a Hollywood movie: a secret mission, an interview with the KGB, and the successful rescue of more than 2 million persecuted people. This was the true story shared by Adele and Joel Sandberg at an upper school Judaism Club event on the last Friday in October.
At Nueva, social-emotional learning is embedded in everything we do and is the foundation of the Nueva culture. It is during usual times and unusual times—like the one we find ourselves in—when SEL is on full display. From SEL classes and advisories to math, humanities, and electives, here are ten ways that SEL supports Nueva students emotionally, at a distance and when adapting to new social norms in the classroom.
Toward the end of October, fifth-grade Earth Science classes completed the fall study of Earth’s composition and the rock cycle. To help students solidify their learning and set it in stone, students created models of the rock cycle using upcycled or ephemeral materials found in their homes.
Joyful and vigorous study is at the heart of the Nueva experience. We sat down with 12th grade dean, upper school history teacher, and Nueva alumnus ’05 Brian Cropper for a conversation about the inspiration for his newest class and his role as 12th grade dean. Brian also shares how his students and colleagues inspire him every day.
One of the goals Andrew Alexander has for himself when he teaches his upper-school mathematics courses is to bring joy into the classroom. To launch the geometry unit in his Math 1 class, Andrew came up with a creative way to infuse joy and wonder into the learning: he constructed a six-foot tall compass and an accompanying 12-foot long straight edge.
After school on Thursday, October 21, about 40 students and teachers gathered on Zoom to enrich and extend their current interdisciplinary study of the Silk Road. They were participating in a noodle-making workshop by author and restauranteur Jennifer Lin-Liu that covered centuries of history and was generations of cross-continental journeys in the making. Organized by Jennifer Paull in conjunction with the seventh- and eighth-grade humanities teachers, this event is one of many the new Humanities Center will showcase in the years to come.
This month, students in Weixia’s class celebrated 中秋节 or zhōng qiū jié (the Mid-Autumn Festival), a traditional event celebrated by many East and Southeast Asian people. With their parents, students watched the full moon, recited an ancient poem, and gave their parents a handmade card of appreciation. These activities were part of their process of immersing themselves in Chinese culture, an important part of learning the language, and they also offered an opportunity for students to share their learning with their families.
As the lower school plans to return to campus came into greater focus late last month, Lower School Head Megan Terra felt strongly that she needed to find an extended amount of time for her teachers to plan, discuss, and put in action all that is involved with welcoming students back to their in-person classrooms.
Lower school teachers were incredibly grateful for the time Megan and our Mavericks Days programs afforded them. They used the time to prepare, create, and discuss every aspect of the upcoming return to campus.
The invitation for Wednesday’s roundtable event “Divestment: The Million Dollar Question” noted, “In response to student activism, the Nueva Endowment Committee is considering the divestment of its holdings in fossil fuel companies for the first time.”
This was very exciting news for students because for at least the past four-to-five years, the student-run Nueva Divestment Team has been working to convince the Nueva Endowment Committee of the need to divest.
Founded in 1982, the Nueva Lit Club curriculum has provided middle school students with many opportunities over the years to practice reading strategies and literary analysis. This year, students have been faced with a challenging and changing world—in all of their classes, Nueva students have engaged in complex conversations and have raised important questions about race and social justice issues that were reignited this past summer.
Eighth-grade biology students have dived straight into an exciting study of genetic variation. One of the major themes of eighth-grade science is to understand humanity’s relationship with the living world. So, the teachers asked their students to grow Wisconsin Fast Plants to discover for themselves why plants produce offspring with variation. This led to a discussion about how humanity has modified species for food and other purposes.
About one month into this unprecedented 2020–2021 school year, we sat down with new interim head of the middle school, our own Nuevan Swiss Army Knife, Karen Tiegel, to hear her thoughts about the start of the year, learn a bit more about our continuously evolving middle school electives program, and provide a space to reflect on moments—both past and still to come—that are at the heart of her Nueva experience.
Since remote learning began, students have been faced with a multitude of challenges that are unique to the times. Dedicated weekly social-emotional learning (SEL) classes for students in 1st through 12th grades (SEL is integrated into the curriculum in preK and K) have proven to be particularly valuable during this time, equipping students with the tools needed to develop resilience, confidence, and well-being.
In the spring, lower school SEL specialist Lisa Hinshelwood noticed there was a need for third and fourth grade students to develop executive skills, such as skills around organization, planning, and prioritization.
Nueva middle school teachers are excited about student-led tutorial sessions this year. Introduced last fall to help students to get caught up after absences, ask questions about assignments, and ask for more challenging extensions on their work, tutorial has expanded to offer far more during remote learning.
With the move to remote learning, and the challenges teachers face of being able to meet one-on-one with their young students, reading specialist Liza Zassenhaus introduced the lower school faculty to Literably, a reading assessment tool that provides teachers with information on student accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.
The upper school student council (colloquially known as STUCO) is a group of elected upper school students who work together to support the relationship between the student body and the Nueva administration. This year’s elected co-leads of STUCO are Willow T.C.Y. ‘21 and Andrew C. ‘22 sat down to discuss their backgrounds, their hopes for their roles, and how remote learning changes their priorities.
For more than two decades, Nueva's lower and middle school students have gathered together weekly during assemblies to share ideas, entertain each other, and be entertained. While assemblies look different in remote learning, Division Heads Megan Terra and Karen Tiegel still see great value in assembling together. So during the first week of school, they made sure their students gathered on Zoom.
On July 20, the California Interscholastic Federation announced that high school sports would not resume until December. We reached out to Nueva Athletics Director Chris Wade to see what that will mean for Nueva sports and athletes.
For the first time in 10 years, Nueva families and students were not able to participate in the parade as it and many other Pride events throughout the world were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. While members of the Nueva community were certainly disappointed, the support our students, faculty, staff, and parents have for the LGBTQ+ community remains strong.
By Anouschka B. '22: This year’s new tenth-grade biology project—“Deep Dive”—is certainly one for the history books, with students creating projects ranging from desserts filled with clouds of chocolate mousse and oozing raspberry coulis to Zoom-made music videos.
For environmental educators, the pandemic creates a unique opportunity to engage with students in real time and on multiple fronts. Teachers can bring their disciplinary lens to examining the environmental effects of the pandemic with questions such as “What are the changes, where do they occur, and how do we measure them?”
Quest, a signature Nueva program in the Upper School, is a journey of self-discovery, perseverance, and growth as students explore their own paths to purpose. This year, with all routines thoroughly disrupted, we had an opportunity to innovate how to celebrate Quest.
In the spring of their seventh-grade year, students dive into a semester-long humanities study of nature. They explore nature and adventure, nature and connection, nature and commodification, and nature and activism.
It’s more important than ever to harness the power that art and music have to bring our community together. I was one of the student organizers for Coffeehouse, and we really wanted to emphasize the communal aspect of the event.
On a sunny Saturday morning a few weeks ago, families of migrant workers lined up outside the Half Moon Bay library for bags of food and supplies. They also were given 50 vibrant, patterned masks made by Nueva students.
Whether together on campus or spanning the globe, Nueva alumni share a unique and tight knit communal bond. That connectedness was most recently demonstrated by an outpouring of support for the Class of 2020.
Ask a student, teacher, or parent what makes Nueva so special and, more often than not, the answer you will hear is “The community.” This community has demonstrated in ways great and small what it means to come together during a time of great need to support one another, as well as the greater community around us.
The power of the written word is extraordinary, and the Nueva community is lucky to have a group of students who firmly believe in its power and the responsibilities that come with it.
It is important to remember that "diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity. People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get COVID-19 than any other American” (Source: CDC). Please help stop rumors, fear-mongering, and discrimination from spreading by letting people know that being of Asian descent does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19.