Nueva School – “A dream come true”

A rock-climbing wall in a high school? How about playing chess in the hallway, experimenting with 3-D printing or learning how to fence?

These are just a few of the innovative activities happening at the newly opened Nueva School at Bay Meadows.

In case you hadn’t heard, Bay Meadows is now home (at least during school-hours) to 160 ninth and tenth graders – the first cohort to study at the recently completed High School. The youths will enjoy learning in a facility designed for LEED-Gold certification and will continue to grow as they welcome juniors and seniors into the school, as well.

The private school is a unique addition to a transit-oriented mixed-use development. Nueva’s 133,000 square-foot campus boasts innovations such as an organic rooftop garden and hydroponic flooring to heat and cool the building. The school was designed by Leddy, Maytum, Stacy Architects.

“It’s a dream come true, it’s vision to reality. And it’s a collective vision of so many people for so long,” said Head of School Diane Rosenberg. “The first time I walked in, just before it opened, I burst into tears. I just can’t believe it, the kids are so lucky and I’m so grateful to so many people for making this happen.”

As part of Bay Meadows, Nueva is embracing the concept of sustainability through transit-oriented development by ensuring that students do not drive to campus. The School provides them Caltrain passes and shuttle services instead.

The progressive, private high school expanded from its pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade Hillsborough campus into the new site in San Mateo. Desks are rarely seen in the Nueva School; instead, students sit at tables facing one another as classes are taught.

“Given a lot of classes are based on discussions and group activities, it allows for a much more community-based environment,” said 15-year-old sophomore Rachel Share-Sapolski, of San Francisco.

The school focuses on fostering character, interdisciplinary studies, exploration and caring, Rosenberg said. Outside of their core curriculum, which includes learning how to code starting in the fourth-grade, kids have yearly “Quest” assignments. Each year, students are required to explore a passion by independently creating a one- to four-year assignment while seeking out a mentor.

Bay Meadows is thrilled to have such forward-thinking youth and educators as an integral part of our growing community.


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