Safety, Wellness, and Belonging: Our Continued Commitment to Building A Beloved Community


We are now experiencing the one-year anniversary of this global pandemic, with its devastating impact on physical health, mental well-being, and social connectivity. Sadly, as we know, this pandemic has also exacerbated societal inequities, often bringing to the surface bias, prejudice, discrimination, and systemic racism. Recent harassment of Asian-Americans in the Bay Area and throughout our country reflects this extremely disturbing trend, and it is imperative that communities like ours combat this through heightened awareness, mission-driven education, and engaged action—just as we are doing to support African-Americans in our community and beyond. Racial discrimination against any person of color violates our dearly held values of respect, dignity, and love for all.


At the beginning of this school year, our community discussed the need to elevate our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This commitment has not nor will not recede as long as we continue to fulfill Nueva’s vision of “enabling gifted learners to make choices that benefit the world.” Learn by doing, learn by caring has never been more important. Please allow me to share a few recent updates about how Nueva is including safety, wellness, and belonging in its recipe for building a beloved community.



Enhancing Belonging

As Abraham Maslow suggested years ago, our need to belong is a basic need for each and everyone of us. We need to feel connected to others, share a common purpose, be included.



Even in an enlightened and forward-thinking community like Nueva, we still have room for improvement to ensure that each and every community member truly feels like they belong.


In recent community forums about how we can work together to navigate the recent spike in harassment and violence against Asian-Americans, much of which has taken place right here in our Bay Area backyard, Nueva community members have shared with us how they need the school to do better. They are clamoring for a better sense of belonging within the Nueva family, especially during these unsettling times. It is important for us to understand this, act upon it, and hold ourselves accountable in making sure every community member feels a strong connection to Nueva. Without a collective effort, we risk being fragmented as a community and as a family.



Emphasizing Wellness

Psychological health and mental well-being are integral to achieving a sense of belonging in a learning environment like ours. At Nueva’s core is a focus on social-emotional health and balance and, as you know, the caring nature of this community has been one of the main reasons why we have been able to thrive this past year. From students looking out for each other to faculty and staff advocating for students and colleagues in need to parents offering all kinds of acknowledgement and support, the Nueva community has fully embraced its ideals of kindness, caring, and compassion—all key ingredients in a beloved community.


As I mentioned a few times in recent months, the school is keenly interested in increasing its focus on employee wellness during these challenging times. With the help of a talented and committed task force made up of faculty and staff from throughout the school, we are in the process of developing new programs and services within the following framework:



With the wonderful support of parents and other partners, we are able to boost our wellness initiatives for faculty and staff, those most responsible for successful implementation of the Nueva Way.



Prioritizing Safety

In addition to psychological safety, physical health is at the core of a beloved community that is focused on learning. With only 16 positive Covid-19 cases (mostly offsite during school breaks) surfacing from more than 9100 surveillance tests conducted since early October, only one of which required quarantine of a small group of students and teachers to prevent transmission, we can definitively say that this community has prioritized physical safety throughout the school year. We should be incredibly proud of this 0.17% positivity rate, meaning that there were fewer than two positive cases per every 1,000 tests in our community during  the past five months.



We are also enthusiastic about our faculty and staff now having the opportunity to receive vaccinations that will further enhance safety in our learning community. As of this week, approximately one-third of Nueva’s faculty and staff have already received the first dose of one of the approved vaccinations, and we are working with county and state agencies to make sure others who are eager to be vaccinated can do so as quickly as possible. All in all, there is a bit of light at the end of this phase of the pandemic tunnel in that the sooner we can protect our faculty and staff, the easier it will become to increase onsite educational programming at Nueva.



Solitude vs. Solidarity

It’s important for each and every one of us to individually commit to safety, wellness, and belonging in our community. This is the only way the recipe works. It is the combined, collective nature of these individual commitments that makes a sustained difference. The solidarity with which we engage in efforts to build and sustain a beloved community here at Nueva is just as important as the end goal itself. It is only with this true community ownership that we honor our ethos of learn by doing and learn by caring. Thanks for joining us in this work!





Lee Fertig

Head of School

This message was sent from to
The Nueva School

Update Profile/Email Address