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access to 20 academic databases, offering thousands of articles from scholarly journals, as well as court cases, historical documents, and more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:
On Thursday, Nov. 3, melodies from the opera La Bohème reverberated through the Hillsborough mansion ballroom, as fourth graders took the stage alongside SF Opera singers for an abridged performance of Puccini’s most famous work. This performance was a showcase of one of the central themes of the lower school music program: the voice and body as musical instruments.
When they learned that the environment would be the focus of the assembly, a trio of environmentally focused upper school students reached out to two San Mateo City Council candidates—Sarah Fields (running in District 3) and Adam Loraine (running in District 5)—to invite them to Nueva to talk about about environmental initiatives in the city of San Mateo.
For seniors, English class is a smorgasbord—a panoply of teacher obsessions and expertise. This fall, two of the newest advanced English seminars being offered are the 1980s and 1990s classes taught by Allen Frost. In these literature and cultural studies courses, students spend the semester reading, viewing, and listening to texts of all kinds (novels, poems, short stories, television shows, films, and popular music) from that respective decade.
Mavericks Making Waves is our latest roundup of exceptional student and faculty accomplishments and activities happening beyond Nueva's walls.
PreK teachers David Robinson and Claire Wasserman-Rogers share what a day in the life of pre-kindergarten students might look like. “While there is structure to our daily schedule,” they said, “no two days in preK are quite the same.”
On a typical Thursday morning, a cacophony of student and teacher voices could be heard in the hallways of the San Mateo campus. We invite you to learn more about a variety of Block 1 classes.
From fourth grade through eighth grade, every student takes classes in the Hillsborough campus I-Lab, where they practice hands-on prototyping, use tools and machinery, and learn coding and computer science—all within the framework of design thinking.
“Our guiding principle,” said I-Lab Director Angi Chau, “is that the core computer science curriculum is meant to be accessible to everybody, whether or not they have done a lot of coding before.”
As part of creating a beloved community, students in lower school classes begin the year by creating sets of class agreements and sharing things about themselves with their peers. In the second grade, students participate in an identity project, reflecting on who they are and what is important to them before creating their own self-portraits.
In April, the Nueva community gathered to raise funds for student financial assistance at our virtual Be a Maverick Benefit.