Upper School News

Students Explore with Outside Experts

Nueva’s Upper School was buzzing with excitement this month as students returned from break and started the new year and term with an assortment of “amuse-bouche” explorations from baking to bioethics. The first Intersession – an event more than two years in the making - enabled students to dive deep into passions, explore new interests, and engage with experts and peers on a variety of topics and educational experiences over the first two weeks of the new year. 

More than 30 sessions, many of which were led by Nueva parents and alumni experts in their respective fields, were offered for students to select.  (Please click here for the full Intersession catalog)

“Nowhere else have I found such an inspirational combination of motivated students, passionate teachers, and innovators all collected in the same room, so eager to delve into whatever it may be they are passionate about,” said one Upper School student. 

This distinctive program stemmed from the outstanding work of the 21st Century Task Force. The task force, chaired by Claire Perry with nine subcommittee chairs, involved more than 100 members of the Nueva community as well as many outside experts. Kate Bloch and Sandra Lee, co-chairs of the subcommittee that developed this concept, along with parent volunteer Linda Yates, joined with faculty and staff to bring the vision of Intersession to life.

“It was so inspiring to witness our Nueva families and alumni share their knowledge and expertise.  It was an incredible gift not just for our students but also for us as educators to welcome these innovative leaders into our classrooms,” said Head of School Diane Rosenberg.

"January terms at many schools are often fun, but this one was a uniquely vibrant and dynamic entity. We hosted everything from live animals to former Buddhist monks to bio engineers and documentary filmmakers.  So many people were so generous with their time and their offer of helping our students explore new possible passions or deepen existing ones," said Assistant Head of School Mark Schoeffel.

Nueva Intersession also provided an opportunity for students to further explore areas directly applicable to their experiences at Upper School – both in and out of the classroom. Whether building on their knowledge of mathematical or scientific concepts in real world applications or conversing about the ethics of high school problems in real world situations, sessions provided unique learning opportunities in a variety of on campus and in the field formats.  Many participated in field trips and unique site tours, including the De Young Museum, Flexus Biosciences, PG&E, Stanford’s National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC), and Jasper Ridge and Stanford Solar Decathlon House. 

“Intersession is not only a time to follow your passions, but also to discover them.  The classes that I’ve attended are a mix of both; one is delving deeper into a passion I had established pre-intersession and the other is a completely new experience for me.  After just six hours in the new class, I feel both well equipped to continue with and passionate about the new subject.  Intersession has definitely helped me explore –well –me!” said another student.  

We again want to thank all those who volunteered and generously donated their time, including the parent drivers and chaperones. Additionally, we thank the parent and alumni volunteers who conducted sessions and shared their valuable expertise.

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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.

Reading Event Debuts Student Poems 

Twenty-one Upper School Students, faculty and staff members participated in the WRC’s Poetry Aloud on Wednesday afternoon, a virtual poetry reading bursting with creativity.