Upper School News

Students Coordinate Diverse Creative Works in "Journal of Literature and the Arts"
Communications
Students convene around a magazine

Now in its third year as an official student publication, Nueva’s student-run Journal of Literature and the Arts, affectionately known by its staff as “Lit Mag,” is gearing up for its spring issue, which will be published in June.

The staff of the magazine, made up of students in all four grades at the Upper School, has begun the process of publicizing the journal’s open submission period, gathering student writing and visual art for consideration by the curation and copyediting boards.

Editor-in-chief Anika K., a twelfth grader, described how the Lit Mag embodies some of Nueva's most important values, “I think the most important thing about Lit Mag is that it’s student-run. Over the years, we have had to figure out all these things that we never realized about publications. We talk about content with the administration, and we come up with resolutions for any issues that arise.”

When asked about the different facets of the journal, eleventh grader Audrey C., a member of the curation board, also reflected on the student-centered focus, responding, “It’s made by the students for the students; we’re shaping the narrative told by what is represented in the magazine.”

The importance of the Lit Mag is not only the empowerment involved in the process of editing and publishing the final product, but also in the opportunities it offers to the entire Nueva student body. Students can submit work they’ve created in classes or outside of school. “Lit Mag represents all different skill levels, all different mediums. We represent a diverse group of students who have a diverse group of passions and talents and skills," said twelfth grader and publicity editor Ashley R.

In addition to the experience of hands-on, project-based learning offered by the magazine, the Lit Mag also offers students design-thinking opportunities, specifically in the iteration of the journal's editorial systems. Through an iterative process of re-envisioning the magazine’s editorial structure, the masthead has evolved this year to include an editor-in-chief, a managing editor, and four additional editors who oversee individual boards: design, curation, publicity, and copyediting. The staff also works with a faculty advisor, English teacher Lily Brown, who consults with students and attends editorial meetings.

As Anika said, “At many other publications, the editor-in-chief is literally the one who does everything, but we have a leadership group so we’re not a dictatorship.… We all get to make our own decisions and delegate to our own board members. It’s more of a teamwork thing.”

The staff is carefully considering how to have a flexible editorial process while also avoiding reinventing the magazine’s processes every year for future editorial teams. For the moment, though, the magazine’s staff is focused on creating this year’s product, which they hope will again showcase the breadth and depth of the artistic work created by Nueva’s students.

“I tend to be more literary than artistic," said assistant curation editor and eleventh grader Cameron C., "So I think it’s really great to have a nice forum for as many peoples’ thoughts as we can include in the magazine. Oftentimes, creative writing is so personal, and without the Lit Mag you definitely wouldn’t get to read this much work, or at least see it presented in this aesthetically pleasing way."

In discussing what’s most rewarding about working on the magazine, Anika and Ashley circled back to one of their main takeaways about the process of producing and publishing the journal — how it gives students a forum through which to both share their diverse creative works and learn more about their peers.

Anika spoke to the reactions she has heard from her classmates. “When the magazine comes out at the end of year, people say ‘This is what my peers came up with? I had no idea this person is actually doing all this creative writing, that this person is a playwright, that this person is a super-talented drawer.’ People who don’t traditionally see their work published in a more public way — people who may have just started taking an art or sculpture class — can see their work in the Lit Mag and…”

Ashley chimed in, “It’s empowering.”

“Yeah,” Anika agreed, “it is super cool.”

By Lily Brown, Upper School English Teacher/Advisor 

February 7, 2018



Read More

Catching Up with . . . Brian Cropper

Joyful and vigorous study is at the heart of the Nueva experience. We sat down with 12th grade dean, upper school history teacher, and Nueva alumnus ’05 Brian Cropper for a conversation about the inspiration for his newest class and his role as 12th grade dean. Brian also shares how his students and colleagues inspire him every day.

The Beauty and Joy of a Giant Six-foot Compass

One of the goals Andrew Alexander has for himself when he teaches his upper-school mathematics courses is to bring joy into the classroom. To launch the geometry unit in his Math 1 class, Andrew came up with a creative way to infuse joy and wonder into the learning: he constructed a six-foot tall compass and an accompanying 12-foot long straight edge.

The Power of Student Agency

The invitation for Wednesday’s roundtable event “Divestment: The Million Dollar Question” noted, “In response to student activism, the Nueva Endowment Committee is considering the divestment of its holdings in fossil fuel companies for the first time.”

This was very exciting news for students because for at least the past four-to-five years, the student-run Nueva Divestment Team has been working to convince the Nueva Endowment Committee of the need to divest. 

Ninth Graders Work to Create the Beloved Community

What does a community look like? What does it take to build a community and what are the difficulties that might arise? These questions serve as the foundation of the new curriculum in ninth-grade Science of Mind (SOM). Developed by Director of Social Justice and Equity Alegria Barclay, the revamped curriculum focuses on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Beloved Community. The course is very much about antiracism, Alegria said, and antiracism is woven into all aspects of the course.

Activist Kenan Moos Headlines First Event of Special Upper School Programming

A new addition to the upper school schedule this year is a block for special programming on Fridays. For the first in a series of special guest speakers, Dean of Student Life Hillary Freeman invited Black Lives Matter activist and local Bay Area native Kenan Moos to speak. In a conversation moderated by student council equity and inclusion rep Fiona T. ’22, Kenan shared not only his background and life experiences, but also how he became an activist and how Nueva students can step up to take action. 

Q&A with Upper School Student Council Co-leads Andrew C. ‘22 and Willow T.C.Y. ‘21

The upper school student council (colloquially known as STUCO) is a group of elected upper school students who work together to support the relationship between the student body and the Nueva administration. This year’s elected co-leads of STUCO are Willow T.C.Y. ‘21 and Andrew C. ‘22 sat down to discuss their backgrounds, their hopes for their roles, and how remote learning changes their priorities.

Quest Week Showcases Impressive Upper School Quest Projects

Quest, a signature Nueva program in the Upper School, is a journey of self-discovery, perseverance, and growth as students explore their own paths to purpose. This year, with all routines thoroughly disrupted, we had an opportunity to innovate how to celebrate Quest.