3rdfloorOn the third floor of the Upper School, history teacher Brian Cropper can see students come and go from a quiet, sun-filled corner. Sacred texts and religious icons line book shelves, and comfortable cushions decorate the floor. Unlike so many of the shared learning spaces across both campuses that invite collaboration, this corner invites introspection.

"This is an amazing campus that is designed to foster community-building, but I felt that there was nowhere to go to show people 'I need alone time,'" Brian said.

Over the summer, Brian partnered with Upper School Division Head Stephen Dunn to find the right place to offer students a place to meditate. Since school started, Brian has steadily added more resources for students to try. "We have coloring mandalas, prayer beads, and meditation cards. It has been really cool to watch how students use the space," he said.

Brian collaborated with the upper school science of mind educators to plan the space. Celia M. is one of several students benefitting from the teachers’ efforts. "This space is a place devoted to taking a break from our fast-paced days by taking a moment to reflect and de-stress," Celia said.

The meditation corner is an extension of Brian's work to help students feel more comfortable bringing their spiritual selves to school and sharing their religious practices with each other. Brian began teaching Nueva’s first religious studies electives in September of 2015. Nueva is rich in religious diversity, and Brian has watched his religion classes continue to expand as more students yearn to explore the subject academically and socially. “The courses are designed to introduce students to the field and demonstrate how world religions play a role across our interdisciplinary curriculum. I focus on what students need to know living in a religiously diverse world.”

As Brian’s religious studies classes continue to fill with students inspired and interested in the subject, support is growing for a new interfaith club, which currently comprises several upper school students. Members plan trips, exchange perspectives, and work to build a culture of appreciation for different religions. "The intention is to provide a venue for promoting well-being and engaging spiritual curiosity, either in one’s own faith or in someone else's," said Brian. Students in the club want their classmates to know they do not have to leave their religious lives at home. The club will partner with the NPA to organize a religious diversity week in the spring.

Middle school educators are also working to raise awareness about contemplative spaces on the Hillsborough campus. Teachers encourage students to take advantage of Mindful Mondays and Wellness Wednesdays during lunch and recess, sponsored by the social-emotional learning department.

(Photo Credit: Sinead C., Grade 12)

 October 13, 2017




6565 Skyline Blvd.
Hillsborough, CA 94010





131 E. 28th Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94403



fbinstagram 01intwitter 01



© The Nueva School 2016 · Sitemap · Terms of Use