Racial Equity
& Accountability


We understand that social justice is at once a process and a goal requiring both the capacity to envision the world we wish to see and the conviction and commitment to build it. 

At Nueva, our vision for that future world is rooted in the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who boldly declared, “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.” 

This concept of the Beloved Community frames all of our equity and inclusion work at Nueva as we seek to make the changes—individual, institutional, and ideological—we need to fully embody Dr. King’s vision of a world “tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.” 

Our institutional commitment to anti-racism is an extension of the work of building the Beloved Community. Considering the profound ways in which we are interconnected also requires us to examine in what ways we inhibit, deny, or break those connections due to our perpetuation of multiple systems of oppression. This examination of ourselves is both painful and powerful as we peel back the layers of pedagogy, practice, systems, and structures that have enabled some students to thrive and other students to struggle. That struggle manifests in multiple ways—from a sense of isolation to not seeing oneself reflected in the curriculum to microaggressions and outright discrimination—and is deeply impactful on the social, emotional, and psychological health of our students and faculty of color.

As we continue on this path and process of quantitative and qualitative change, we find ourselves grappling with profound questions of purpose and praxis:

  • How do we create an abiding sense of belonging for every member of our community?
  • How do we decenter whiteness in favor of the rich and varied complexity of our multiracial and multicultural community?
  • How do we respond to harm while embracing the capacity of each of us to transform? 

Our work for years to come is to find our way to the answers of these questions. 

As Maya Angelou said, 'Do the best you can until you know better. And once you know better, do better.' 

The spirit of her words describes Nueva’s iterative approach perfectly—we investigate and change accordingly. Clearly, now that we see the pernicious effects of racism within our community, it is the Nueva way to do better.  

– Lee Fertig, Head of School

Our Community in Action

Building a Present Tense of the Ohlone People

Second graders spent weeks researching the Ramaytush Ohlone to understand their culture, history, and impact on the land before culminating their learning by writing their own land acknowledgements and turning them into posters to be displayed around the Hillsborough campus. 

Sharing Identities Helps Second Graders Build Class Community

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. 

Reflections on Ramadan and Eid

When I explain Ramadan to people who aren’t Muslim, I’m often met with incredulity and disbelief—while the general idea of fasting for 30 days from sunrise to sunset is simple, it’s often hard for people to grasp what that looks like in practice. 

History, Culture, and Colors Pop on Upper School Field Trip

It’s a rare occurrence for it to be sunnier in San Francisco than in San Mateo, but upper school students in Chelsea Denlow’s Postcolonial Latin America history class experienced sunshine and blue skies, which made the vibrant colors of the Mission District pop as they visited the neighborhood last week.

Third Grade Religious Studies Unit Provides New Perspective into Culture

The study of culture is deeply embedded in the third grade curriculum. As part of this exploration, third graders learn about two distinct civilizations: the Mali Empire and ancient Egypt. It was through these two studies that Erin and Priscilla initially recognized the need to include a study of religion to help students better understand their cultures. The religious studies unit has blossomed into an exploration of the foundations of the five major world religions: Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

In Memoriam: The Black Leaders Who Inspire Me

In this essay below, sixth grader Julian D. shares the history of three important Black people from around the world, who have inspired him.

"These great men have all passed away in the past year, so I wanted our community to remember their stories," he writes. "When you read about them, I hope you’ll agree with me that they were great and inspirational people."

Anti-racism at Nueva

Our Nueva community—faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni—is working collectively to take concrete actions toward being an anti-racist institution. Like organizations all over the United States, we have been complicit in regards to issues of systemic oppression. We know that we have critical work to do. We are committed to being an anti-racist organization—one in which we all develop a comprehensive understanding of how racism and oppression operate—and to dismantling racism within Nueva and in our larger community.

Click on the images below to learn more.

The Task Force on Racial Equity and Accountability

The Nueva Board of Trustees has created a task force to help elevate the school’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)–with a specific focus on the Black community. The task force is working alongside the Nueva Social Justice and Equity Team, as well as administration, faculty and staff, students, the Nueva Parents’ Association, the African American Affinity group, the board of trustees, and others.

Watch the video to learn more about the task force's objectives and steps being taken to bolster accountability. (Illustrations by Anisha K. '22)