Noe Valley Voice June 2000

City College Comes to Noe Street

By Collin Campbell

The halls of James Lick Middle School won't go quiet after Noe Valley's pre-teen population sprints out for summer vacation this year. City College of San Francisco is moving its Castro/Valencia campus, formerly at Everett High on Church Street, to James Lick through the summer of 2001. The college will offer classes in everything from conversational Spanish and Italian to elementary classical guitar, as well as on-site counseling and plenty of free parking in the lot behind the school at Noe and 25th streets.

This summer, people who are hungry for learning can choose from 17 classes offered on Tuesday and Thursday nights between June 13 and July 27. There are classes in the History of Jazz, Issues in the Lesbian Community, Western Art History, and Beginning Acting, plus five languages including Mandarin Chinese.

Starting in August, the college will run a much larger fall schedule, with spots for as many as 3,200 students attending more than 80 classes on weeknights and Saturday mornings. Fall offerings include Holistic Health Practices, History of Homosexuality in Film, Career Success and Life Planning, Cultural Anthropology, and Elementary Russian (in addition to all the languages offered during the summer). For those confident enough in their fame, there's even a creative writing class on how to write an autobiography.

The cost runs about $33 per seven-week class, and all but a couple of courses can be taken for college credit.

According to Dean Bruce Smith, the Castro/Valencia campus attracts some of City College's most talented teachers. "The faculty love to teach here, and the students really enjoy coming out. You don't find that very often," he says.

"If I had to take a class," adds Smith, "I think I'd go for Elementary Italian. I'd love to understand operas the way they're meant to be understood." Language classes are some of the most popular offerings, so signing up in advance is a good idea. "I could offer the elementary and conversational Spanish classes on the corner of 17th and Market, and people would come," Smith says.

Construction at Everett has forced the move, and the college is at the school board's mercy as to how long it will stay at James Lick after the summer of 2001.

To find out the complete class schedule, you can call the Castro/Valencia campus at 415-239-3127, or pick up a catalog at City College's main campus at 50 Phelan Ave. (near Ocean). You can also log on to the school's web site at

If you'd like to preregister for the summer session, Dean Smith recommends you run over to the main campus (since time is short). After June 6, just show up at the class at James Lick Middle School, 1220 Noe St. You can enroll up to the third meeting of the class, he says.

The Castro/Valencia campus is one of 11 sites operated by City College, a public institution supported by the City of San Francisco and the State of California. "Each campus adapts to the needs of the area it serves," says Smith, "so we'd appreciate your suggestions." He notes that fall catalogs should have been mailed out to all San Francisco residents.