Welcome to the San Mateo Campus Writing & Research Center
As the name suggests, this Upper School learning hub emphasizes the practices of writing and research, as well as providing thoughtfully curated fiction, nonfiction, and reference collections. We empower students to be strong, discerning researchers in any post-secondary context, and we help every student develop a clear, confident writing voice. More broadly, the WRC nourishes our community’s culture of curiosity. Our friendly, two-story space welcomes students with comfortable places to read, study, or collaborate with their classmates.
Research Skills and Resources
The world of research opens up to our students as they embark on their interdisciplinary studies at the Upper School. Our research librarian works closely with faculty to build our collections of digital and print resources, ensuring our students have both broad and deep access to the information they need. While creating a library for our students and faculty, our staff selects resources focused on the division’s specific curricula and special projects. These options include:
Nonfiction and reference materials, including specialized encyclopedias, primary and secondary sources, magazines, and newspapers
On- and off-campus access to 20 academic databases, offering thousands of articles from scholarly journals, as well as court cases, historical documents, and more
Access to e-books and audiobooks via OverDrive
Our librarian joins classes to coach students in research skills and also works extensively with students in one-on-one meetings during their course projects, guiding them in research strategies, source evaluation, and citation.
Individualized coaching is a signature of the WRC’s writing program. Students can meet one-on-one with a writing specialist at any stage of their writing to review their ideas and drafts for any academic or creative project.
Whether reviewing a research paper, a piece of fiction, or a college application essay, students consider both the work at hand and their overall writing process. With their coaches, students strengthen their writing’s clarity, argument, and structure; refine their tone and voice; and learn new techniques to match their writing needs. Our writing specialists also offer in-classroom student workshops and consultations to faculty.
The WRC hosts the Upper School’s peer-tutoring program, an initiative that exemplifies Nueva’s culture of collaborative learning.
Students apply to train as peer tutors; then selected applicants spend several weeks discussing and practicing their coaching skills before offering one-on-one appointments with their fellow students. The program began with student support in math and writing, and now also offers help in Mandarin and computer science. Students from any Upper School grade can book a session with a peer tutor.
This type of academic support supplements the work a student may do with their teachers and the WRC staff — students may feel more comfortable talking with a fellow student. Peer tutors, meanwhile, pick up new coaching techniques, which often dovetail with their SEL skills, and gain experience with different learning styles. Throughout the academic year, peer tutors have regular check-ins to discuss their practice.
Special Programs and Events
We regularly participate in local and national events that promote our culture of reading. Examples of past programs include:
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.
Nueva’s first internal Environmental Citizenship Curriculum Development Workshop was held virtually on June 22–26. Important topics included “What are the characteristics of an environmental citizen?” “How are we already developing environmental citizenship at Nueva?” and “How does/can environmental citizenship relate to your curriculum?”
During the week of June 15, our parents and students met with teachers on Zoom for their end-of-the-year conferences. More 350 Nueva students, across all divisions, participated in nearly 45 online-classes hosted by our enrichment partners and visiting educators.
Each year, a Nueva alum is asked to speak at the end-of-year athletics celebration and reflect on his or her time as a Nueva student-athlete and what he or she learned through involvement in our program. This year, we were honored to welcome back Audrey Chin '19, freshman at Harvard University and a member of the Harvard Women's Swimming and Diving Team. Audrey shared these reflections.
For this year’s virtual athletics celebration, Athletics Director Chris Wade and the entire Athletics Department welcomed alum Audrey Chin ’19, a member of the Harvard Women’s Swimming and Diving (HWSD) Team, and keynote speaker Schuyler Bailar, former Harvard swimming and transgender activist.
In the midst of the COVID-19 “new normal,” the popular Fireside Chat series has sparked many engaging discussions. Hillary Freeman, Jennifer Paull, Tanja Srebotnjak, Alegria Barclay, and Aron Walker took the lead a few months ago to provide the Nueva community with a relaxed forum to discuss some timely topics
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?”
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.
Gary Kaplan—Nueva’s favorite lawyer-turned-educator—retires from Nueva after 10 years as a humanities teacher and coach at the Middle School. Hear Nueva students reflect on the ways Gary had an impact on their lives.