Campus News

Photo Walk Series: A Morning on the San Mateo Campus
Jim Morrison, director of student outreach & special projects

Our new Photo Walk Series aims to provide the community with a snapshot in time—a celebration of work being done across grade levels, content areas, and divisions. 

During the first few weeks of the school year, I have been focused on helping to get our extended day programs up and running on the Hillsborough campus and had not yet had the chance to spend time in San Mateo classrooms.

On Tuesday morning, September 14, I was excited to find time to visit the Upper School and document a moment in time for the community. 

I came away from the morning in awe of our teachers and students. Each class I observed on my random and meandering photo walk was unified by the immersive, authentic, and collaborative nature of both the content being presented, questions being asked, and a sense of genuine investment and engagement by everyone in the classes. 



In advance of an approaching draft deadline, students on the Nueva Current’s editorial staff in LiAnn Yim’s journalism class were crafting interview questions and reaching out to potential interview subjects to schedule interviews.

The articles, vetted through a successful story pitch process last week, focus on topics including: our return to school, COVID safety protocols, reviews of new podcasts, and in-depth coverage of events and clubs around school.


Adaptations: From Text to Screen

Students in Alexa Hart’s senior seminar worked in small groups to apply a critical theory lens to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s classic graphic novel, Watchman, and its two film and television adaptions.

Students were asked to extend their analysis to include a thesis and a citation of scholarly works, and to craft a response about how an applied lens reveals or makes clearer their selected narrative element.


Intro to Fabrication

In Rob Zomber’s class, students were busy working on various stages of two concurrent projects aimed at developing the practice of fit and finish: a puzzle piece and a mechanical pull toy. The class meets twice weekly and follows the design process through brainstorming, design, rough prototyping, and iteration through to final fabrication.


Drug Design

In Francine Farouz’s class, students are currently in the middle of a unit focused on the synthesis of aspirin. On this particular day, students were hard at work determining the purity of what they made using one of four methods, including spectrophotometry and thin-layer chromatography (TLC).


Intro to Mixed Media

Students in May Wilson’s class were creating portraits inspired by the work of British conceptual artist John Stezaker. As they crafted their pieces, May asked students to keep the following questions in mind:

  • Why did you choose the faces you did?
  • What will the emphasis of your piece be?
  • What do you want viewers to feel and/or think about when they see your piece?


American History

Barry Tressler’s class wrapped up their session with a review of some commonalities shared by the original thirteen colonies including:

  • The presence of religious tension 
  • The colonies viewing themselves as English, serving under, and being protected by, the Crown 
  • Their initial founding for economic reasons 

It was fascinating to hear students point out some of the early democratic contradictions taking hold in the colonies including: 

  • The presence of elected officials
  • Written agreements in pursuit of the common good
  • Feudal system in place, particularly in the Carolinas 
  • Corruption of the legislative branch 
  • The reality that not everyone had a say 


Biology 101

Students in Paul Hauser’s class were developing their understanding atomic properties and, specifically, how the structure of molecules influences the molecules’ function. Just before this photo was taken, he said, “Raise your hands high if you think you have a polar covalent bond in your molecule?”


Read More

Photo Walk Series: First Week of School on the Hillsborough Campus

Our new Photo Walk Series aims to provide the community with a snapshot in time—a celebration of work being done across grade levels, content areas, and divisions. This first Photo Walk took place on Wednesday, August 23, as students and teachers were settling into our first week back to school.

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