A group of exchange students from Doshisha International and Kori Senior High Schools in Japan visited the US at the end of March as part of a new US exchange program. While at Nueva, the students and chaperones attended classes, including a design thinking class, enjoyed the Evening of Song concert, and gave presentations in English on the cultural differences between Japan and the United States. Beyond Nueva, the group toured two local companies, Playground Global and Google, to learn about Silicon Valley entrepreneurship and innovation, and visited various sites in San Francisco, such as the Japanese Tea Garden and the California Academy of Sciences. To get a real taste of life in America, the students did homestays with some of the US students who went to Japan in February, thus bringing the program full circle. 

Recital night infographicA student rite of passage at Nueva, the Eighth Grade Recital Project was established more than twenty years ago as an opportunity for students to investigate and learn about a passion of their choosing. Students meet four times in the spring of seventh grade to begin scoping their project, working on it in class and throughout eighth grade, culminating in a presentation to the community.

This year’s projects showcased the wide-ranging passions that students have pursued for the past year. Students devoted their time to a fantastic variety of enterprises, from becoming a junior zookeeper or creating art projects to studying photography or learning millinery. Explore highlights from the night in a photo slideshow below.

ChineseExchangeStudentsNueva Middle School students and Chinese students from the SMIC Private School in Shanghai broadened their horizons as they practiced exercises in kindness while participating in the annual exchange program.

“Every January, they come over here and experience American culture and stay with a home stay,” Middle School Mandarin teacher Katie Lin said. “Students get to learn hands-on activities — learn by doing — so they can compare the differences and similarities in Chinese and American culture.”

WR msCSLdayMiddle School students learned the importance of volunteering last week during the annual Community Service Learning day, a time devoted to giving back to the local community.

“The intention is to connect with the community and learn outside the classroom,” Head of Middle School Liza Raynal said. “We’re always looking for authentic connections to the world. This builds empathy and compassion and gratitude.”

“It’s a program that’s been around for a very long time. At least 10 years, if not longer,” she added.

150 pi design thinkingUsing bright, cheerful, easy-to-use materials that they designed, Jenna Leonardo and Katie Kirsch, co-founders of Girls Driving for a Difference, inspired and guided participants to identify their strengths and abilities, discover their leadership styles and craft their own personal mission statements for changing the world.

On January 8, from 3:30 to 5:45 pm in the Hillsborough I-Lab, 22 middle school girls and two Nueva teachers participated in the Girls Driving for a Difference leadership and design-thinking workshop led by Leonardo and Kirsch. Girls Driving for a Difference is a team of Stanford women dedicated to empowering young girls to become leaders of social change. Abigail Joseph, Nueva’s K–12 computer science teacher, intrigued by the organization’s unique and innovative approach to working with middle school girls, worked with a Nueva parent to bring the workshop to campus.



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