Noe Valley Voice December-January 2004

School Report


First Annual Family Winter Ball

From Sinatra to Salsa, reggae to R&B, the gym will be rocking when James Lick Middle School hosts a Winter Ball for students, families, school staff, and local merchants on the evening of Friday, Dec. 17, from 7 to 11 p.m. This holiday social event will feature a deejay, door prizes, photos, and food.

Parent volunteer Patricia Hoskins says it will be an opportunity for everyone to dress up, get acquainted, and have fun while raising money to enhance school programs. Tickets are $10 per person, or $25 per family. Bring home a Polaroid photo of your family for an additional $5.

Celebrate Six Languages

Families who find music in the mingled sounds of many languages and who delight in tasting exotic foods gathered at James Lick for an all-day Language Immersion Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 4. This lively event featured hands-on cultural activities, colorful music and dance performances by students, and workshops on immersion education for parents. Did you know that our district offers immersion programs in six languages? That's Spanish, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Tagalog.

Fundraising Begins for 2005 Mexico Trip

Look for signs announcing garage sales at the school on Saturdays in the coming months as we begin fundraising for this year's student trip to Mexico Feb. 18 to 27. Giving kids a chance to experience international travel often brings other rewards, such as greater sensitivity and insight into the lives of others, and renewed enthusiasm for the school's academic offerings! As in the past, we value your support in making this program available to students who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

James Lick Night at Chevy's

Join James Lick families at Chevy's Restaurant in Stonestown for dinner on Thursday, Feb. 3, and 20 percent of your bill will be donated to the school. Stop by the parent room at the school and pick up a flyer with the details. It's a great way to support our school while enjoying a delicious meal.

Keeping in Touch in the
New Year

Starting in January, the James Lick Merchants/Community Alliance meetings will continue on the last Wednesday of the month at 12:30 p.m., with lunch provided. Parents, neighbors, and merchants are also invited to join Principal Janice Daniels for coffee, refreshments, and discussion of school issues between 9:30 and 11 a.m. on the last Friday of each month.

How to Contact Us: Call 695-5675 (or our message service for same-day response: 436-0349). Or you can drop by the school at 1220 Noe Street at Clipper Street. Go to Room 107 and ask for Denise Rueda, our parent liaison. Thank you for sharing your ideas, talents, enthusiasm, and support.

--Sue Cattoche


Architects Drawing Up Plans

Everyone at Alvarado is talking about the plans to upgrade our beautiful old building, courtesy of bond measure A, passed by our neighbors a year ago. The community will be meeting through December with members of the architectural firm Hamilton Aitken Lemanski Rockwell, which has the challenging job of bringing our building into this century while retaining the charm and beauty of the last. If the plans are approved by the school board in January, construction may begin as early as this summer. This is truly your tax dollars at work.

Holiday Celibrations

The winter holidays at Alvarado will kick off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7, with an evening Winter Fair, sponsored by the Alvarado PTA and featuring crafts, performances, and a Spanish-language book fair. The traditional Winter Assembly will take place on the morning of Friday, Dec. 17. This holiday spectacle, full of music and performances by Alvarado's students, never fails to delight. This year, we will announce the winners of our November Read-a-thon at the assembly, and then celebrate with a party for the classroom whose students read the most books!

Food Bank Drop-Off

The Alvarado Student Council is working with the San Francisco Food Bank to promote a holiday food drive. Stop by the school anytime before Dec. 14, and drop off canned or packaged food in the barrels located at the front entrance at 625 Douglass Street. You may also make a monetary donation to the San Francisco Food Bank via check and leave it with Patty in the school office. Thank you for your generosity.

Art and Inspiration

On Saturday, Jan. 8, our wonderful Aiko Cuneo and her crew of talented artists will present a family art workshop for Alvarado families. Reservations are required: call 695-5695.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be remembered at a breakfast on Friday, Jan. 14, at Alvarado. Community members are invited to join us.

School tours will take place every Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. through Jan. 11. There will be no tours on Dec. 21 or 28. Happy holidays!

--Alvarado PTA President
Rebecka Hernandez Wright


Cookies Cheer Up Voters

When locals went to cast their ballots for last month's election in the Fairmount School cafeteria, they were treated to a bake sale as they stood in line in the sunshine. Parents baked cookies, cakes, and lunchtime treats and brought the fresh goodies to sell at school all day long on Nov. 2. Voters and parents picking up kids bought so many items, most for just $1 or $2, that the school raised $700 that day. The bake sale will definitely become a regular Election Day event. What a way to get out the vote!

School fundraising has been going strong on other fronts, too. So far this year, the Fairmount PTA has raised nearly $20,000, including roughly $6,500 from gift wrap sales, $1,200 from the car wash, $1,300 from the rummage sale (plus another $1,000 from the bake sale that day), and nearly $9,000 in the Check-It-Out campaign, which urges parents to write a check, for $5, $50, or $1,000 (as at least one parent did), if they're looking for a way to help.

Pomegranates, Pears, and Persimmons

Fairmount's Nutrition Night last month turned into a fun-filled party, when families who came to learn how to help their children eat right got to sample some surprisingly good treats. The nutrition committee prepared fruit smoothies, oat squares, roll-up sandwiches, and gorp made of fruit and nuts. They also served herbal tea and sparkling water and discussed which foods had the most sugar and fat and what some good alternatives were.

"We ate the most delicious seasonal salad filled with pomegranate, pears, persimmons, and lush greenery--all smothered in a delicious dressing," said fourth-grade teacher Loreta Torres. "Along with the salad was broccoli macaroni and cheese--a vegetarian's delight!"

The event was coordinated by Laurie Mackenzie, a first-grade parent and caterer who was trained at the Cordon Bleu in Paris. Mackenzie presently works as the program manager at La Cocina, a non-profit, shared-use kitchen helping Latinas and low-income women start food businesses. The event was so popular that the school is planning to hold others soon.

Winter Around the World

Last year's Posada was such a special winter celebration that Fairmount is doing it again, on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 11. While last year's event celebrated Mexico's holiday traditions, this year's party will be more multicultural, with parents from many different backgrounds showing how the holidays are celebrated in their cultures. All community members are invited to share their family's food, music, and other traditions.

Tuesday Is Tour Day

Meanwhile, school tours are happening every Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. Just drop by to visit the classrooms or chat with parents or the principal, Karling Aguilera-Fort. If you have questions, call the school at 695-5669.

--Jan Ruiz


Alvarado Elementary School

625 Douglass Street at Alvarado


David Weiner, Principal

Fairmount Elementary School

65 Chenery Street at Randall


Karling Aguilera-Fort, Principal

James Lick Middle School

1220 Noe Street at 25th Street


Janice Daniels, Principal

School Bells Ringing for Next Year

The San Francisco Unified School District would like to remind you that applications for children entering kindergarten in the fall of 2005, and for new middle school and high school students, are due

Jan. 14, 2005.