Noe Valley Voice June 2003

James Lick Middle School Report

A Vision for Learning

If you stroll through James Lick Middle School on any school day, chances are you will encounter the school's principal, Janice Daniels. Whether you are a stranger or a regular visitor to the school, Daniels will make you feel like the most important person in the building. She will greet you with warmth and enthusiasm, and show you around as if the task of educating hundreds of lively middle-schoolers is the most gratifying work imaginable. Behind her infectious energy, there is the focus and resolve of an educator who has honed her skills over 24 years as a teacher and middle-school administrator in the San Francisco Unified School District.

Prior to coming to James Lick in 2000, Daniels taught Spanish at James Denman Middle School and McAteer High and served as assistant principal at Aptos Middle School for four years.

Originally from Boston, Daniels has been married for 33 years and is the mother of two sons, Benjamin and Christopher. She met her husband, San Francisco psychiatrist Owen Daniels, when both were participants in a national a cappella glee-club conference.

Daniels' vision for the school is to build a diverse group of focused students who share a sense of the big C's: Community, Civility, and Cooperation. Goals include promoting a college-bound state of mind for all students, and developing their talents through participation in the visual and performing arts.

She'll be on campus for a while after the students leave in June, and before school starts in the fall. She'd love to meet you.

Telling Our Own Stories

All the pathways to the brain travel through the senses; it is the function of the arts to stimulate, sharpen, and refine the senses.

On Friday evening, May 2, we celebrated the renovation of our Art Room with a stunning showcase of student art. The students' work ranged from linocuts of Victorian houses on Clipper Street to drawings of ancient pyramids made on-site in the Yucatan. A unit on artifacts and archaeology featured imaginary excavations through seven layers of the earth underneath the ocean, and journeys to distant pyramids and local landmarks. Following Day of the Dead traditions, students created nichos (from the architectural term "niche"), which are tin or wooden boxes displaying spiritual objects and images in honor of an absent or important person. Colorful self-portrait masks, symbolic personal quilts, and the artists' written biographies continued the "Our Own Stories" theme. A Freedom Quilt, created earlier this year to commemorate the Underground Railroad, was also on display. Photos accompanied the exhibits, showing the young artists at work on their creations. Five of the works have been selected as entries in the Youth Arts Festival at Yerba Buena Gardens Center for the Arts.

Our new art teacher, Alexandra Redfield, has managed to transform a colorful but unruly basement space into a sleek, loft-like, and well-organized environment, with light streaming through banks of windows to illuminate an abundance of gallery space. But this bright young "miracle worker," who so seamlessly weaves archaeology, aerodynamics, language arts, and cultural history into a vibrant, skills-based arts curriculum, may soon need a miracle herself. She, along with seven other caring and valued staffers, are fighting to keep their jobs in the wake of recent cutbacks.

Carnaval 2003: Ritmo de Caribe.

James Lick families once again participated in San Francisco's annual Carnaval Parade on May 25, with a contingent of lively dancers and drummers.

GEAR UP College Visits

Every seventh-grader was able to visit either U.C. Berkeley, Stanford, or U.C. Davis on May 20­21, as part of our commitment to preparing all of our students for college.

Year-end Farewells

Eighth-graders picked up their caps and gowns on May 22 in preparation for Graduation Day on June 5. But they aren't the only ones saying goodbye to James Lick. Our two veteran physical education teachers are being honored at a farewell banquet on June 3.

Nancy Williams is retiring after teaching at James Lick for an incredible 38 years, with Raymond Ponce hanging it up after a mere 37! Together, they taught such prominent alumni as musicians Carlos Santana, his brother George, and actor Benjamin Bratt. We will really miss them.

Coffee with the Principal and the James Lick Community Alliance meetings will resume in the fall. Have a nice summer!

Make a Difference

Please visit Room 107 or call us at 695-5675 to share your ideas, your talents, your enthusiasm and support for a diverse and caring community.

--Susan Cattoche

Ms. Susan Cattoche, Volunteer. Janice Daniels, Principal

James Lick Middle School

1220 Noe Street at 25th Street

San Francisco, CA 94114

(415) 695-5675