The Nueva

Use the tabs below to see glossary entries.



Advisories — Faculty-led Advisory groups meet regularly to help students build friendships, set personal goals, practice kindness and empathy through community service, prepare for grade-level trips, and develop relationships among the whole grade. Advisory groups are small to emphasize a family-like structure; these are safe spaces for students to practice self-advocacy and self-realization as well as to have fun! Advisors are advocates for the students and are a vital communication link between parents and the school.

After-CareChild care offered after the school day in the GCC classroom, from 3:30 to 6:00 pm.

Annual Fund — see Nueva Fund.

Art Helpers — Volunteers who support the art specialists in all divisions by hanging and presenting art. In the Lower and Middle Schools, art helpers also work in the classroom and help preparing materials.

Art Showcase — A school-wide exhibition of art from all grades. It is held annually, usually in springtime.


Before-CareChild care offered before the school day begins, from 7:30 to 8:20 am.

Benefit Auction — An annual celebratory fundraising event featuring live, online, and silent auctions to raise money for financial aid for students and professional development opportunities for our faculty and staff. Lots of volunteer opportunities and tons of fun!

Benefit Auction Chairs — Volunteers who design and implement components of the annual Benefit Auction.

Book Fair — Annual book sale for students, parents, faculty, and staff; proceeds support the library at the Hillsborough campus and the Writing and Research Center at the San Mateo campus.

Buddy Program — A program that links new students and their families with current Nueva families who support their integration into the Nueva community.


Café — Nueva’s Cafés, one at each campus, serve lunch to students, faculty, staff, and visitors and are gathering places for social events and meetings. The Hillsborough Café is located in the Hillside Learning Complex and the San Mateo Café is located adjacent to the Blue Reception Desk above the parking garage.

Class Benefit Auction Reps — Volunteers who work on behalf of their class in support of auction activities. Sign up!

College Counseling — The team at the Upper School that advises and guides students through the college search process.

Common Ground Speaker Series — A parent-education consortium, co-founded by Nueva, featuring prominent speakers, topics, and special events designed to inform, engage, and inspire. Founded in 2002 with eight member schools, Common Ground now represents more than 30 schools with events held at venues on the Peninsula.

Community Service — Volunteer activity on behalf of a community, also called Service Learning. Middle schoolers participate in various community service activities with their advisories during each school year. Upper School community service opportunities exist both on and off campus.

CRISP — Curriculum Related Independent Study Project. A fourth-grade program of choice homework that allows student to pursue learning about an interest and to share that interest with the class.


Elective — Course selections that offer students choices among alternatives. In the Middle School, seventh- and eighth-graders choose two electives each semester from a wide range of topics, including music; visual, performing, and literary arts; programming; robotics; and innovative courses spanning disciplines such as Science Rap Academy and Light, Sound, and Motion with Arduinos. In the Upper School, electives are the vast array of classes giving students unparalleled choices to meet their graduation requirements while charting their personal academic journey through high school.

Enrichment — Courses held after school that offer learning opportunities on topics not covered in the classroom. Each semester, Nueva offers a full slate of exciting after-school enrichment classes such as Steel Drums, Mad Scientists, Mathematical Puzzles and Game Design, Dance, Computer Science, Chess, Soccer, Dance, Theater, Art, and Nature. Enrichment classes are open to all Bay Area K–8 students.

Extended Day — A group of programs for students before and after the school day. They include Before-Care, After-Care, Enrichment Classes, and Homework Club.


FUR — A Facilities Usage Request is an online form that must be completed and submitted to Nueva Operations to reserve a campus space for an event or program. Use of this form reserves the space and provides necessary instructions to Operations regarding attendance expected, equipment needed, and setup requirements. To initiate a FUR, please contact a division administrative assistant.


GCC — The Gymnasium Community Center is Nueva's indoor athletic facility and theater on the Hillsborough campus. You will find the Admissions Office at the west corner of the building, and many meetings are also held in the GCC Lobby.

GPSF Day — see Grandparents’ & Special Friends’ Day.

Grade Leads — Volunteers who work on behalf of their Lower School class in support of activities in the classroom as well as coordinating community-building social activities for parents and families throughout the year. Grade Leads communicate regularly about major grade-, class-, or schoolwide events.

Grandparents' & Special Friends' Day (GPSF) — GPSF Day is an opportunity for students to share their extraordinary school with the special adults in their lives. Guests are invited to a welcome reception, followed by visits to classrooms and lively music and presentations by students and staff. GPSF Day is held immediately before Thanksgiving.


Helping Hands — A program run by Nueva parent volunteers that helps Nueva parents, faculty, and staff in need of support during an extreme medical crisis.

Hillsborough Campus — The Hillsborough campus, located at 6565 Skyline Boulevard, houses the Lower and Middle Schools.

HLC — The Hillside Learning Complex refers to the campus buildings opened in September 2007 — the J-Building (Middle School classrooms, I-Lab, and administration), the Library, and the Café.

Homework Club — A teacher-supervised place and time to work on homework after school. It is held Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. After 5:30 pm, students remaining on campus join After-Care.

House System — A system of four houses created by Upper School students to increase cross-grade friendships and create community spirit. Every Upper School student is “sorted” into one of these houses: Aquila, House of the Eagle; Ursa, House of the Bear; Ceres, House of the Stag; and Lykos, House of the Wolf.


Ice Cream Social — Annual ice cream festival for all grades, generally held close to the end of the school year at both the Hillsborough and the San Mateo campuses.

I-Lab — Nueva has two Innovation Labs: One is located in the bottom floor of the J-Building at the Hillsborough campus and the other is on the first floor at the San Mateo campus. These hands-on facilities provide the space, tools, and teaching that enable students of all grades to put Nueva's Design Thinking curriculum into practice.

ILC — see Innovative Learning Conference.

Innovative Learning Conference (ILC) — A biennial conference hosted by Nueva, featuring renowned experts, thought leaders, and practitioners on various aspects of innovation in education. 

Intensives — Choice activities offered in fourth grade for two weeks during the fall semester, ranging across the subject areas — math, science, technology, art, writing, music, and humanities — and also ranging outside the normal subjects, into crafts, games, etc.

Internship Program — The Upper School Internship Program connects gifted, passionate students with Bay Area organizations for one- to twelve-week engagements, spanning the fields of technology, research, politics, medicine, publishing, fine arts, and more.

Intersession — A time between semesters for Upper School students to experience interdisciplinary exploration with real-world experts. Generally held in early January, students choose from a curated catalog of nearly 200 seminars, intensives, activity sessions, and field trips led by over 100 different experts.


J-Building — The building on the Hillsborough campus opposite the Library that houses the I-Lab, Middle School classrooms, and administrative offices.


Language Student Exchange — For many years, Nueva has nurtured strong relationships with schools in China, Japan, and Spain. Each year, as part of the eighth-grade language program, Nueva families host students from the exchange schools for one week. When our students take their culminating trip to China, Japan, or Spain, they participate in "homestays" with families from the exchange schools.

Lit Club — Founded in 1982, the Lit Club curriculum provides students in grades 2–8 with opportunities to practice reading strategies and literary analysis in small groups that meet weekly.


Maker Faire — A two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates the do-it-yourself mindset, held on the San Mateo County Fairgrounds, next to the San Mateo Campus. Nueva students and faculty host a booth displaying their creative products.

Mansion — A historic building that became the home of the Nueva Day School in 1971. Today it houses the Lower School classrooms and offices, beautiful grounds where students learn and play, and the Ballroom where many concerts, performances, and meetings are held. When driving onto the Hillsborough campus, follow the road past the south parking lot and bear right downhill. The Mansion will appear on your right.

Math Circle — A joyful community event where guest mathematicians and math educators lead PreK–12 students in engaging math activities or investigations. This is a Nueva community event that is open to the public.

Menuhin Program — Nueva's unique Menuhin-Dowling Music Program, established by Sir Yehudi Menuhin and Helen Dowling, provides advanced training for a limited number of music students selected annually by audition. Students accepted into the program demonstrate a high degree of musical potential. As part of the program, they take lessons twice a week, study theory, form ensembles, attend field trips, and perform regularly.

Musical Theater — Musical theater productions feature students in grades 3–8 at Hillsborough and grade 9–12 in the Upper School. Please see the Nueva calendar for the current year’s dates.


NPA — see Nueva Parents Association.

Nueva Fund — A major annual fundraising campaign. Every dollar raised directly supports the exceptional people and programs that make Nueva so special. The funds raised are used for the current year’s operating budget and are vital for the school. Learn more

Nueva Journal — A biannual magazine of thoughtful articles by Nueva faculty and staff about aspects of our program, often including illustrations of or excerpts from student work.

Nueva NotesNueva's must-read news bulletin featuring critical information, announcements, and upcoming events, emailed weekly to all members of the Nueva community. Nueva Notes is the main resource for alerts and other need-to-know information.

Nueva Parents Association (NPA) — The NPA is our parent organization, providing avenues for parents to get to know one another and to work together on community programs and events throughout the year. The NPA works directly with the head of school, faculty, and administrative team to fulfill the mission of our school. All current Nueva parents are members.

Nueva Store — The Nueva Store offers clothing and other merchandise featuring the school's name.


Parent Education — From time to time, the NPA hosts parent programs featuring speakers addressing parenting or other education-related issues.


Quest — The Nueva Quest gives Upper School students the unique opportunity to pursue their own interests throughout their four years of high school. Working with their advisors and teachers, students identify and craft their own personal in-depth inquiry in a self-selected area of evolving passion or in pursuit of a deep question. Students may elect to pursue one field of study over four years or to frame and complete a series of different Quests, each taking one or more years.


Recital Project - The Recital Project is an Eighth-Grade rite of passage at Nueva. Recital was established more than twenty years ago as an opportunity for students to investigate and learn about a passion of their choosing. Many students continue to pursue their Recital Project's area of interest in high school in the form of Quest.


San Mateo Campus — The campus at 131 E. 28th Avenue in San Mateo, which opened its doors in August 2014. The Upper School is located at the San Mateo campus.

Science of Mind — The Science of Mind program is where SEL is given shape at the Upper School, using a curriculum that adapts to meet the needs and concerns of high school students. In this four-year program, students learn foundational principles of psychology and neuroscience, bringing clarity to social-emotional best practices.

SEL — see Social-Emotional Learning.

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) — A cornerstone program created at Nueva’s inception in 1967, SEL teaches students to understand themselves and others, to manage their emotions productively, to empathize with others, to forge healthy relationships, to work toward and achieve goals, to make responsible decisions, and to develop resilience, confidence, and well-being. Within the context of guided activities and peer feedback, SEL gives children the tools to be interpersonally successful. They learn to work collaboratively to create a vibrant, safe learning environment in which all members of the community are empowered to take responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings, and actions. Click here for more information.

Sport Field — The Sport Field is directly ahead of you when entering the Hillsborough campus.

Sports Boosters — Parent volunteers who support Nueva's competitive sports teams and provide assistance to the athletic department leadership.

Staff Appreciation — Activities that demonstrate parent and student support for faculty and staff. These are led by the NPA’s Staff Appreciation Committee.

STARPAP — A comprehensive eighth-grade research project that explores the Science, Technology, Art, Religion, Politics, Architecture, and Philosophy of a specific time period in a city in either China, Japan, or Spain, depending on which language the student is studying. By studying the cultural identity of the city in depth, students answer the question “How are beliefs made visible?” By completing the STARPAP project before they visit the country, students greatly enhance their intellectual understanding and appreciation of what they see and experience on the trip.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Technology) Fair — Annual school-wide fair providing explorations in the many fields of math, science, and technology. It is generally held in early spring on the San Mateo campus, and it buzzes with hands-on activities led by students, parents, teachers, and professionals in fields such as computer technology, biology, physics, mathematics, and more.

SWI Structured Word Inquiry is a scientific investigation of words that is an integrated element of Nueva's literary arts, English, and thematic curriculum. Students discover how word parts, structure, origin, and history come together over time to tell the story of what words mean, how words are connected, and how they are spelled.


Talent Show — Biennial, school-wide production featuring students, parents, faculty, and staff performing a variety of talents.

Tea on the Plaza — Annual welcoming event open to all parents and held at the Hillsborough campus on the morning of the first day of school. In addition to the social aspects of the event, parents also learn about the school’s priorities for the year and have the opportunity to sign on as participants in school activities.

Trips Program — One of Nueva’s hallmarks, an integral part of Nueva’s vision to empower gifted learners to make choices that benefit the world. Through our emphasis on global citizenship, we encourage students to engage with cultures and practices very different than their own. To that end, the trips program immerses students in transformative experiences that are extensions of classroom curricula.


WRC — see Writing and Research Center

Writing and Research Center (WRC) —Located on the second floor of the San Mateo campus, the WRC is a learning hub for Upper School students. In addition to thoughtfully curated collections, offerings include instruction in research skills and resources, writing support, peer tutoring, and special events and programs. The WRC is a friendly, two-story space with comfortable places to read, study, or collaborate with classmates.