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access to 20 academic databases, offering thousands of articles from scholarly journals, as well as court cases, historical documents, and more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:
Inspired by a recent visit to the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit in Seattle, Washington, Nueva PreK Teacher Claire Wasserman-Rogers introduced her class to three-dimensional glass art by artist Dale Chihuly, an American sculptor who creates vibrantly beautiful installations and environmental artwork.
Over the last year, the students of Nueva’s current fifth grade class have been on a mission to make a difference. Inspired by an episode of the Netflix series, The Kindness Diaries by Leon Logothetis, they sought to help children without access to clean water.
Last year as fourth graders in Matt Berman’s class, the students discovered there were no books for kids their age on the Greco-Persian Wars (part of their study of ancient Greece), so they wrote one of their own, published it on Amazon, and it quickly became the top-selling book in the Children's History category for two months.
Clarence B. Jones, the former personal counsel, advisor, draft speech writer, and close friend of Martin Luther King Jr., visited the Nueva Upper School campus on Tuesday, January 15 – what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 90th birthday – to share his life experience and inspire students and faculty. Dr. Jones assisted Dr. King in drafting the “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” and his iconic “I Have a Dream,” speech of 1963.
As part of the worldwide Computer Science Education Week,* the Hour of Code – deemed by Nueva Interim I-Lab Director Angi Chau as a “Celebration of Coding” – aims to broaden participation across gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups to show that computer science can be fun, creative, and accessible for all ages regardless of background.
Halloween is always a festive celebration at Nueva, and this year was no exception. With campus parades featuring unique, handmade costumes, and themed choice activities throughout the day, students, faculty, and families enjoyed what several students called "the best day of the year!"
On Monday, October 8, the eleventh annual Nueva Cup Golf Tournament was held at Green Hills Country Club in Millbrae. The weather conditions were ideal as nearly 60 parents, alumni, alumni parents, relatives, students, teachers, and friends of Nueva enjoyed a day of camaraderie, fun, and friendly competition benefitting the Nueva School.
“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.