Accelerated programs that allow students to work at their capacity versus their grade level while exploring are part of the curriculum planned for the new independent high school opening in San Mateo this fall.
Applications for The Nueva High School are due this evening. The first freshman class will be hosted at the College of San Mateo for the school's inaugural year. A new campus being built on a 2.75-acre portion of the former site of the Bay Meadows race track will open in 2014. During a meeting of local officials and alums Tuesday morning, the curriculum and vision for the new school was discussed by staff.
A pro bono study through Stanford University showed the interest for an independent high school in the area, said Nueva Executive Director Diane Rosenberg. Creating a new school meant lots of input and studying. School officials created a 36-person expansion task force and visited more than 50 schools within the United States and abroad.
The goal was to create a place that provides academic support without burning out students.
"It needs to be a place where students feel connected to their own experience and have a voice in shaping it,” said Mark Schoeffel, founding head of the high school.
With that in mind, Schoeffel described curriculum that will be designed by teachers who can teach higher levels of their subjects. Students will be able to take classes based on their ability rather than age or grade level. There will be opportunities for electives, language immersion programs and four years of college guidance. School will start at a traditional time but the academic portion will begin closer to 9 a.m., to allow students to really wake up and be engaged, Schoeffel said.
Sports will be offered and added as interest grows. There will be traditional competitive sports but also club-like offerings such as fencing and crew, he said.
Plans for the San Mateo campus were approved by the Planning Commission in December. In the meantime, studies will be held at temporary facilities at CSM adjacent to the College Center and move to the new state-of-the-art facility at the Bay Meadows Phase II development in 2014.
The new Nueva high school campus will feature a 133,000-square-foot sustainably designed facility on 2.75 acres overlooking a 12-acre public park, with flexible classrooms and seminar spaces, performing and fine arts studios, science laboratories and tech shops, an attached athletic center and gymnasium, extensive student and community center, two-level writing and research center and a future 425-seat theater. An 18,220-square-foot parking garage is also part of the plan.
The private high school will accommodate up to 450 students, 75 to 100 students in each grade. It will grow over four years.
Nueva School currently operates a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade campus on Skyline Boulevard in Hillsborough and was founded in 1967.
For more information visit www.nuevaschool.org.
Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.