Noe Valley Voice November 2005

School Report


Student Newspaper Debuts

A new James Lick newspaper, initiated and produced by students, debuted in October following months of preparation. The budding journalists began by submitting a proposal for the project last spring, and then each applicant wrote an essay to qualify for the program. This fall, students have been working after school two afternoons each week to produce the new broadsheet. PTA president Heidi Anderson, who is herself a journalist, is providing training for the students in investigation, interviewing, writing, and editing skills. A contest to name the new publication is featured in the first edition.

This venture is just one facet of James Lick's extensive after-school program. Additional offerings include creative writing, yearbook, fencing, hip-hop dance, seasonal sports, and Carnaval dancing and drumming. In addition, young artists can choose between portfolio preparation (for students interested in applying to the district's School of the Arts) and comic art.

Merchant-Community Alliance Meeting Set

A dozen student ambassadors met with peer resources teacher Sarah Jones to plan the first Merchant-Community Alliance meeting of the year on Monday, Nov. 14, from 3:45 to 4:15 p.m. The alliance was formed to promote positive relationships between students and the surrounding community. All merchants, neighbors, and other members of the Noe Valley community who are interested in supporting the school are invited to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

Student Body Officers Elected

Newly elected student body officers Jessica Mauldin, president; Namezi Torrence, vice president; and Mathjs Arens, treasurer, presided over the year's first student council meeting on Oct. 19. Congratulations to these new leaders, and to all who ran for office or voted in the election.

Clean Sweep

Families and neighbors are invited to join us for our next cleanup and beautification day on Saturday, Nov. 5. James Lick families will be sweeping and weeding the sidewalks around the school. We love these chances to spiff up the school area and meet our good neighbors!

Election Day Bake Sale

Members of the PTA are warming up their ovens for a bake sale on Tuesday, Nov. 8. If your polling site is at James Lick--or even if it isn't--look for home-baked pumpkin and banana breads, cookies, and muffins, and hot coffee on sale to benefit the school's PTA. Cole Hardware is donating bottled water, and it is rumored that a few tamales might be for sale, too!

New Venue Sought for Auction

Having outgrown the beautiful Noe Valley Ministry, the PTA is looking for a larger space to hold our annual Silent Auction, on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006. A nice place in the Mission would be preferred, to make it easier for non-driving families to attend. Please call the school office (695-5675) and leave a message for the PTA if you have any suggestions.

We Need: Instruments for our new music classes; art materials for the after-school activities program.

Tours of James Lick Middle School for prospective families continue on Thursday mornings through Feb. 6, 2006. Please come to Room 107 at 9 a.m. You will have the opportunity to meet current Lick families, see the school, and meet with our principal. E-mail to confirm or to arrange another time.

Keeping in Touch: Call the school at 695-5675; leave a message at 436-0349; or drop by the school at 1220 Noe Street at Clipper. Thank you for sharing your ideas, talents, enthusiasm, and support for our public schools.

--Sue Cattoche


PTA Meetings Draw Crowds

The October PTA meeting at Alvarado Elementary School again pulled in large numbers as we broke out into committee groups and formulated school year plans for the Gardening, Literacy, Arts, English Learners, and other committees.

Work Day Is Saturday, Nov. 5

Want to help us clean a classroom, do minor repairs, paint, garden, photocopy, or create bulletin boards? Join us for a few hours or the whole day on Saturday, Nov. 5. Snacks, lunch, and child care will be provided. There is no need to call ahead; just drop by 625 Douglass Street (between 22nd and 23rd) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. We can use all the help we can get!

More Ways to Help

* Come help in the library. You can read to classes, reshelve books, or check in books that have been returned.

* Help repaint our mural. Contact Paul Lanier through the main school number: 695-5695.

The Rainbow Above Safeway

Sign up with E-Script when you shop at Safeway. This is an easy process, and you can get more information by contacting the school office at 695-5695.

If you are a Rainbow Grocery shopper, up to 10 percent of your purchase will go to Alvarado if you pre-purchase Rainbow scrip before shopping. Contact Carin Remstedt at 309-8115 or remstedt

Dates to Remember

School Tours are available on Tuesdays at 8:30 a.m., from now through Jan. 10, 2006. Please make a reservation by calling 695-5695.

PTA Meetings are at 5:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. The Nov. 1 meeting will focus on middle schools, with representatives from various San Francisco middle schools providing information to prospective students and their families.

On Dec. 6, we will hold a Community Potluck featuring arts and crafts to make or purchase.

For more information, contact Lisa Barry, volunteer coordinator, at or 467-4748. The Alvarado School web site in English and Spanish includes calendar information and much more: www.alvarado

--Lisa Barry


The Party Next Door

As mentioned in last month's Voice, community philanthropist Bob Pritikin is donating use of his Chenery Street mansion to the Fairmount School community for a Sunday afternoon fundraising party. Jorge Santana will be the featured performer at the festive event, scheduled for Nov. 20 from noon to 5 p.m. The Pritikin mansion is at 47 Chenery Street above 30th Street.

Running Partners Take Off for Year 2

Fairmount's Running Partners club initiated its second year with more than 30 second- to fifth-graders lacing up their running shoes on Monday and Wednesday afternoons after school. The kids are learning various running techniques as well as looking forward to running in different venues.

Volunteer coach and Fairmount parent Matt Patchell--who, by the way, plans to compete in the November New York Marathon--sees running as an ideal sport for kids. "Unlike many other youth sports, running requires nothing but a pair of shoes and a good attitude," he points out. As for the Fairmount joggers, "Our athletes are large and small, slow and fast, and come from different cultures, but they all work hard, have fun, and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the season."

Second-grader Ruary Girling agrees: "I would get tired, but in the middle felt okay, and then I felt really good at the end." Another runner with a positive attitude is fourth-grader Rebecca Hughes. She says, "I like to run. I feel hot and tired when I'm done, but I feel good."

The free program is a pilot project of the San Francisco Road Runners, which was founded with financial and program support from the New York Road Runners Foundation.

Hands on Science Rockets PTA Meeting

October's PTA meeting featured more than the usual announcements and updates. At the conclusion of the brief business meeting, two teachers from Hands on Science performed experiments for the assembled parents and students. One experiment used heated air to create a vacuum that sucked an egg right through a narrow bottle opening.

But the highlight of the evening involved students making rockets and jumping on large plastic soda bottles to launch them off the steps outside the cafeteria into the night air and the playground below. Students chanted the rocket builders' names and counted down, "Five, four, three, two, one, blast off!"for the liftoff of dozens of rockets, which were recovered by ground-crew kids who noted how long and in what direction they had flown.

Parent Jennifer Knudsen took the lead in bringing the program to the school. Science will continue to be an academic focus this year, says Fairmount Principal Karling Aguilera-Fort.

Fairmount Tours Start in November

Join interested parents for a weekly school tour every Tuesday at 9 a.m. Contact the school at 695-5669 for information and reservations, or just show up to tour the classrooms and meet the principal. Tours continue through the district's January enrollment deadline.

--Tom Ruiz


Alvarado Elementary School
625 Douglass Street at Alvarado
Clementina Durón, Principal

James Lick Middle School
1220 Noe Street at 25th Street
415-695-5675 or 415-436-0349
Carmelo Sgarlato, Principal

Fairmount Elementary School
65 Chenery Street at Randall
Karling Aguilera-Fort, Principal