Lower School News

Student Committee Tackles Community Issues at Nueva
Communications

Every Monday at lunch, students in grades 1–4 gather in a classroom on the second floor of the Mansion to problem-solve ways to improve their community.


The Community Committee, comprising two representatives from each class, provides students the opportunity to put empathy-based design into practice and make a positive impact.


The students identify issues facing their community, brainstorm solutions, implement action plans, and measure the efficacy of their work.

During the first two years of the project, students addressed issues related to the Café, bathrooms, and outdoor spaces in the Lower School. Now in its third year, the Community Committee, moderated by second-grade teacher Sam Modest, first-grade teacher Diana Friedman, and SEL teacher Lisa Hinshelwood, is focused on examining how students can make our school feel more welcoming for new classmates, families, and visitors to campus.

“My motivation for being involved is rooted in participatory action research. I view the Community Committee and the work they do as a way to empower students to improve their own community,” explained Sam.

This fall, the Community Committee generated overwhelming interest. As a way to engage as many students as possible, the faculty moderators suggested creating community jobs to empower students throughout the year. The committee members ran with the idea — immediately diving into the task of need finding and data collection through surveys and conversations about their own observations of life at Nueva. They made and hung posters around the Lower School, introducing themselves and their work.
 

Currently, students are reviewing survey responses from over 20 faculty and staff who were asked about the biggest issues and problems they observe across campus. The committee members are using color-coded categories to organize feedback according to the geography of campus.

Some of the problems the committee has uncovered so far include: garbage and balls left on the lawn after recess, spills and dishes left behind in the Café, and multiple pieces of clothing and water bottles going missing during the day.

The Community Committee will soon present its findings at the Lower School community meeting. The students are currently putting together a proposal for Lower School Head Megan Terra, outlining their suggestions for the creation of new jobs. The proposal will include a list of jobs, the reason they are needed, and how the adults on campus will be involved.

Reflecting on their work so far, Diana said, “Students are learning by experience that even a simple idea can be really powerful.”


November 22, 2017



Read More

Learning to Care for Living Creatures

We have all learned over the past year that while virtual learning can be done well, it can never replace the experience of being on campus. Lower school students have been back on campus since late October, and this spring they have been learning to care for silkworms and chickens, an experience that could not be replicated during virtual learning. 

Catching Up with . . . Izzy Mayer
Izzy Mayer is one of Nueva’s second grade lead teachers. While she is new to this role, she is not new to Nueva, having previously been an associate for two years. Drawing on the insights and experiences she gained through the Nueva ITP program and inspired by her students’ powerful sense of curiosity and humor, Izzy is proving to be an invaluable member of the second-grade teaching team.
Leonardo and Lisa Visit a Class of Renaissance Kids

“Good afternoon, Lisa. I’m so glad we could take a break from painting to join this kindergarten class.”

“Hello, Leonardo.” 

So began Paul’s and Rashida’s kindergarten class just before Thanksgiving break, one that took students all the way back to 15th century Florence to meet Leonardo da Vinci (Paul) and Mona Lisa (Rashida). 

Environmental Citizenship Program Launches Ambassadorship Role

Kindergarten associate teacher Carrie Stouffer has been named Nueva’s first lower school environmental citizenship ambassador. The role of the environmental citizenship ambassador evolved from the school’s desire to build strong, responsive, and effective relationships with faculty and division heads in all three divisions.

A PreK student playing in a puddle in a sandbox

PreK students have been our pioneers of hybrid learning! Watch scenes from their life on campus and hear more from students about their experiences this year.

Lower School Mavericks Days Provide Teachers Time to Prepare for our Return to Campus

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.

Investigation Provides Foundational Theme of Kindergarten

Questions abound in our lower school classrooms, and student inquiry is the driving force behind the yearlong theme in kindergarten. This theme of investigation provides a through line for a number of explorations that kindergarteners will engage in over the course of the year, the first of which is a focus on identity. 

Literably Literally Helps Build Student Literacy

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.