About one month into this unprecedented 2020–2021 school year, we sat down with new interim head of the middle school, our own Nuevan Swiss Army Knife, Karen Tiegel, to hear her thoughts about the start of the year, learn a bit more about our continuously evolving middle school electives program, and provide a space to reflect on moments—both past and still to come—that are at the heart of her Nueva experience.
Nueva students learn by doing. They construct knowledge through hands-on engagement. As experts in project-based learning, teachers guide authentic and purposeful investigations that enable discovery while building the skills students need to be successful.
At the Nueva Upper School, the students’ experience is at the center of everything we do. We nourish their love of learning by providing each student unparalleled opportunity to chart their own pathway through high school. With support from advisors, students select from more than 100 electives that satisfy graduation requirements and allow them to dive deeply into exciting subjects.
Eighth-grade biology students have dived straight into an exciting study of genetic variation. One of the major themes of eighth-grade science is to understand humanity’s relationship with the living world. So, the teachers asked their students to grow Wisconsin Fast Plants to discover for themselves why plants produce offspring with variation. This led to a discussion about how humanity has modified species for food and other purposes.
Nueva middle school teachers are excited about student-led tutorial sessions this year. Introduced last fall to help students to get caught up after absences, ask questions about assignments, and ask for more challenging extensions on their work, tutorial has expanded to offer far more during remote learning.
For more than two decades, Nueva's lower and middle school students have gathered together weekly during assemblies to share ideas, entertain each other, and be entertained. While assemblies look different in remote learning, Division Heads Megan Terra and Karen Tiegel still see great value in assembling together. So during the first week of school, they made sure their students gathered on Zoom.
In the spring of their seventh-grade year, students dive into a semester-long humanities study of nature. They explore nature and adventure, nature and connection, nature and commodification, and nature and activism.
Every year, Nueva eighth graders participate in the Recital Project, in which students investigate and learn about a passion of their choosing. For his Recital Project, Owen Y.-L. wrote a musical based on a traditional Chinese folktale.
“One of the learning goals for our study of the Civil Rights Era has been for my students to see examples of young people making change and for them to realize they are never too young to effect change,” said sixth-grade humanities teacher Evan Bartz.
After learning about the rise in anti-Asian discrimination, Joshua K. wrote a song to remind us that we're "All the Same."
Remote learning is putting a modern twist on recess! Nueva Middle School students are playing Boggle, dancing, listening to music, telling stories, and much more.