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access to 20 academic databases, offering thousands of articles from scholarly journals, as well as court cases, historical documents, and more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:
“My years at Nueva were the best three years of my intellectual life,” upper school teacher and eighth-grade class of 2001 alum Lee Holtzman said. “Ever since I left Nueva, it was always the biggest part of me. Which is odd because I was only here for three years.” After only one week at the school, Lee identified the need for Nueva to expand from a PreK–8 school to PreK–12. “The end of my first week at Nueva (I started in sixth grade, so I was eleven), I went into the Head of School’s office, sat down, and said ‘You need to start a high school, because I need to go there!’”
Judee Brasesco has the unique perspective of seeing how Nueva shaped two generations of students in her family. When she learned about the Nueva School in the 1970s, she had two school-aged children, Jill Brasesco Thomsen (’77 sixth-grade graduate) and J.D. Brasesco (’80 sixth-grade graduate). Last spring, Judee’s oldest grandsons, Scott Brasesco ’18 and Chip Thomsen ’18, graduated from Nueva, and her youngest grandson, Jack B., is now an eleventh grader at Nueva.
When Andrew Lam (eighth grade,’01) visited the Upper School with his father last year, he was thrilled to see learning in progress. “There was stuff all over the floor,” he said. “An intentional mess of art and science projects where kids were learning and exploring.” He was happy to see that the culture of exploration and the freedom to make and learn from mistakes were still part of the school he loved so much.
On Tuesday, Nueva students in grades 1-12 were fortunate to hear an inspiring presentation from renowned primatologist and anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall...
The Bridge Experience Task Force
1) To explore the idea of a Nueva Gap Year Program.
2) The task force determined that Nueva is well positioned to provide graduates with a unique gap year experience, and the task force was charged with defining and launching the program.
"As you embark on your journey from here, I just wanted to warn you: you may end up back here.”
Lee Holtzman — upper school history of science teacher and Nueva alum — shared these opening remarks as she welcomed the Class of 2018 at their first official alumni gathering earlier this month. Just two days after graduates flipped their tassels and tossed their caps, they gathered at the upper school for a brunch to embrace their new official status as Nueva alums.
Graduation speaker Lucy W. posed this question to the audience at Nueva’s 2018 graduation ceremony, the culmination of a week of celebratory activities that began with the Lifer’s Dinner on Monday, June 4, and ended on Sunday, June 10, with commencement on Nueva’s Hillsborough campus. Lucy’s reference to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was also an allusion to one of the seminal readings in Nueva’s ninth-grade English curriculum, a reading experience shared by nearly all graduating students.
"When words divide us, music unites us.” A favorite saying of violin instructor Sin-Tung Chiu, who teaches his Menuhin-Dowling students to live by the values inherent in this aphorism. When asked about the most meaningful aspect of the Menuhin Program, eighth grader Audrey A. couldn’t choose just one.
“The teachers are incredible," she said. "My violin teacher (Sin-Tung Chiu) has taught me so many new things over the years, and I’ve improved as a musician so much through his coaching.”
On Friday, 86 eighth graders and their families gathered at Nueva's Hillsborough campus for one final celebration before advancing to high school (and beyond!).
The eighth-grade class of 2018 worked tirelessly to present, rhyme, and sing their appreciations of Nueva in 100 words or less. Together they reminisced over their completed STARPAP projects, painted exquisite literary memories of the Yosemite trip, and delivered clever, pithy speeches in true Nueva fashion.
Middle School Head Liza Raynal concluded her own 100-word address with, "Each student's speech will centuplicate the reasons why we are so proud to be the adults in their lives."