Lower School News

Instilling a Deeper Meaning of Community
Jim Morrison, Director of Student Outreach and Special Projects
Members of Nueva's operations and kitchen staff


From the first day of school, Lower School head, Megan Terra, has challenged faculty and students to be guided by three adjectives in all of their actions and interactions – Kind, Courageous, and Engaged.

On the morning of Thursday, September 29, Lower School students settling in for their monthly meeting in the Ballroom were joined by six members of the café staff, five members of our operations and security team, and our newest member of the library staff. The guests had been invited by students to introduce themselves and share a little bit about themselves and their role at Nueva. 

Lower School science specialist, Elena Stamatakos, who worked with the students to organize the event, said, “We all benefit from the opportunity to get to know new faces. One of the easiest ways someone can be kind, courageous, and engaged is to be friendly and authentically connected to all of your community members,” Elena said. “We hope that this assembly will help create these connections.”

To show their appreciation for the café and operations staff, our first graders wrote cards and notes which were presented by Colton K. Second grade teacher Sam Modest pointed out to everyone assembled that there are many languages spoken at Nueva. Third grader, Pablo M., served as a translator for anyone who wanted to share in Spanish during the event. Students heard about the staff members’ children, their hobbies, and memories of their own childhood riding bikes and having fun with their friends.

Over the next week, teachers and students will create an installation in the Ballroom with over 35 portraits of the people who are at the heart of Nueva. The portraits will be accompanied by each community member’s name and role at Nueva. Accompanying the photos will be messages of appreciation from Lower School students and teachers.

“As we move forward through the year, our hope is that students and staff can feel more connected – such as saying hello in the hallways, thanking individuals for their help, and opening the paths to deeper and more meaningful conversations in the café and spaces beyond our classroom walls.” 

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Members of Nueva's operations and kitchen staff

Lower School students explore the true meaning of community by meeting the people of Nueva who work beyond the classroom. At the same time, they learn the tenants of being kind, courageous, and engaged.

Nueva PreK Scientists Learn the Periodic Table

It all started with a question: “Why is the ocean so salty?” Which led to another question: “What is salt?” What could have ended there with a simple explanation turned into a months-long study this spring for the inquisitive four and five-year olds in the Nueva PreK class where they learned about the elements that make up our bodies and the world around us.

students perform play

In “Ocean Plastic Paradise,” sea animals navigate the perils of a habitat overrun with discarded plastic. Written and performed by Laraine Ray’s Kindergarten class, the film is the culmination of months examining the effects of plastic pollution in the sea.