Dear Nueva Community,

For more than 50 years, Nueva has demonstrated unwavering commitment and focus—a commitment to gifted learners and a focus on social-emotional learning. This would not have been possible without an environment of trust, one in which diverse voices are encouraged to participate so that our discourse and decision-making are bold and empowering. These principles not only serve the education and well-being of each student, but larger communities as well. The school’s vision stipulates that a dynamic educational model is used “to enable gifted learners to make choices that benefit the world.” 


However, as successful as Nueva has been in embodying these principles in practice, our community is not immune to the effects of racism and marginalization. Increasingly, we have had to accept the fact that even in an innovative and caring community like Nueva, some members of our family don’t experience the same levels of agency, belongingness, and joy that others do. In recent weeks, members of Nueva’s Black community have shared their feelings of disappointment and stories of suffering stemming from a variety of incidents, policies, and cultural biases. It is clear we are not as inclusive as we may have thought we were, and certainly not as truly inclusive as we would like to be. As Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. And once you know better, do better.” The spirit of her words describes Nueva’s iterative approach perfectly—we investigate and change accordingly. Clearly, now that we see the pernicious effects of racism within our community, it is the Nueva way to do better. 

We must be even more intentional and strategic in ensuring equity and accountability in issues specifically pertaining to racial diversity. It is time for us to listen, learn, and take action not only to ensure that our learning community is free from overt racism, but also to dismantle whatever structural racism is perpetuating inequities affecting Nueva’s Black community members. We will make mistakes, certainly, but it is our hope that with curiosity, courage, and trust, we will address our missteps honestly, and we will grow, gaining agency and competence to address racial inequity in other spheres as well. While we are currently focused on the impact of racism on our Black community members, we know that when we do the work of antiracism and anti-bias meaningfully, it will have a positive impact on every member of our community.

Taking Action: On Becoming A Diverse and Racially Inclusive School Community
The Nueva Board of Directors and Leadership Team have convened a task force led by trustees Jody Sievers and Puja Kaul to constructively and ambitiously address the issues of racism and inclusion at Nueva. This task force has already initiated the first phase of its work by listening to members of our community who are directly impacted. A presentation to the Board’s Executive Committee has already taken place and another conversation is scheduled with the full Board in September. This listening phase will continue throughout the coming months and will expand to include our broader community to ensure we hear what is on people’s minds and what is in their hearts. 

When engaged in work like this, we begin by building upon the foundation created in the past. It is important to recognize the valuable work that has already been done within and by the Nueva community. These are some of the initiatives and projects that have already shaped the starting point for this task force, to name just a few:

  • Striving to increase diversity within the student body, faculty, staff, and leadership as part of the current strategic plan
  • Embedding themes of social justice and equity throughout the PreK–12 curriculum

  • Encouraging innovative approaches to equity-minded education through professional development

  • Convening roundtables on identifying gifted students of color

  • Supporting parents in navigating challenging conversations due to current events

  • Pursuing connections with underserved communities on the Peninsula and in the East Bay

Embracing the Nueva Way: An Iterative Approach to Strategizing and Implementing
The work of the task force will deepen and extend this foundation, and it will likely take us in new directions as well. We will not wait for the conclusion of the task force to implement change. Rather, as best practice in design thinking shows, as good ideas emerge, Nueva’s faculty, staff, and leadership will strive to implement them as quickly as possible. Indeed, short-term interventions have already begun. 

We approach this work with a spirit of optimism. The Nueva community has always faced challenges with a sense of creativity, collaboration, and opportunity. Through the work of this task force, we fully expect to develop ambitious and uniquely “Nuevan” paths of progress.  

We look forward to hearing from many of you about how to strengthen our beloved community and how best to position it so that we make choices that do benefit the world. All of us in the Nueva family have the privilege, the responsibility, and the opportunity to leverage what we know to truly make a positive difference. Now is the time for Nueva to learn by doing and learn by caring.

Lee Fertig Kathleen Donohue Gerald Risk
Head of School Board Co-Chair Board Co-Chair


6565 Skyline Boulevard, Hillsborough, California, 94010

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