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access to 20 academic databases, offering thousands of articles from scholarly journals, as well as court cases, historical documents, and more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:
When Nueva Mandarin teachers Weixia Han, Tina Zhang, Min Larson and Jamie Gao learned about food relief organization Heart of Dinner, they immediately knew they wanted their students to get involved with the initiative.
In the new fall 2020 elective “Colors of Nature,” seventh- and eighth-grade students explored the notion that people of color have different access to and privileges in the natural world. Through class discussions and creative journals, students reflected on how environmentalism and racism are intertwined. Eighth-grader Jax C. shares an introduction, and three students—Anika G., Kayla L., and Anjuli M.—reflect on their experience in this course.
Viewing the world with an artist’s eye. Creating projects rooted in empathy. Empowering students with iteration and innovation.
Throughout the past year, I-Lab engineer and Hillsborough shop manager Christine Braun has been a fixture on the Hillsborough campus, using the I-Lab as her home base while teaching, leading, and planning for design thinking-related initiatives. She is also a lit club facilitator for a seventh- and eighth-grade lit club.
Intersession, hosted each year since the upper school’s inception during the first week following winter break, is a time for upper school students—and, new this year, lower and middle school students, as well—to engage in interdisciplinary exploration with real-world experts. Many alumni often share that intersession was a favorite time for them during their tenure at Nueva.
Even in a year that has been anything but typical, students had hundreds of intersession courses from which to choose, ranging from cooking and art to politics and computer science to improv acting and juggling, and so much more.
Over the course of the last nine months, everyone in our community has worked tirelessly to ensure that we continue to offer the academic program and community experience our students and families love about Nueva. One team that has worked particularly hard, and entirely behind the scenes, is the Facilities and Operations Team. In this season of thanks, we are so very grateful to Director of Facilities and Operations Steve Osbourne and his entire team, spanning both campuses, for their efforts to allow us the safe return we have had over the past few months.
Many Nuevans first memories of school began in Patty Home's kindergarten class. Beginning her nearly-three decade tenure shortly after Nueva moved into the Crocker Mansion, Patty witnessed the growth and development of both her students and the Hillsborough campus.
With the assistance of her granddaughter, Charlotte, daughter of alumnus Todd Parker '76, Patty recently reminisced about her time as a Nueva educator from 1975 to 2001.
“Good afternoon, Lisa. I’m so glad we could take a break from painting to join this kindergarten class.”
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).
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.
We recently interviewed Sean Schochet, upper school Science of Mind teacher, and the peer consulting team in the high school to hear about the warmth, friendship and support this outstanding group of young people offer Nueva high school and middle school students.