Noe Valley Voice May 2005

School Report

The Voice School Report features news from three local public schools--Alvarado Elementary, Fairmount Elementary, and James Lick Middle School--provided by school parents and volunteers.


To Spring, Mothers, and Cinco de Mayo

On the morning of May 5, the James Lick community will gather in the school's beautiful auditorium on Noe Street to celebrate the liberation of Mexico from France, the arrival of spring, and the closeness of Mother's Day. Our sixth-graders will sing a musical tribute to Cesar Chavez produced by Carmen Steele and Deb Bradway of Music in Schools Today. Popular Mexican band leader Miguel Govea and his 12-year-old daughter, Cecilia "CC" Govea, will also highlight the event.

Bell Market Grills Sausages to Benefit James Lick

Imagine eating lunch in Noe Valley for only three bucks, while helping us educate some of the best kids in town! On Saturday, May 14, the good folks at Bell Market will throw some delicious Aidells sausages on the grill at 11 a.m., and sell sandwiches with chips and a beverage until 5 p.m., for just $3--and all of the money collected will go to James Lick.

A warm thank you to Tim Arrivas, manager of Bell's 24th Street store, and to Chris O'Leary, Northern California vice president for sales and marketing, for this wonderful idea and their generous support.

Samba at the Car Wash

Our spring car wash and food sale has been moved to Saturday, May 7. This time, we're adding a free peek at our Carnaval contingent practicing their thundering drum lines and expert dance moves while your car ($5), truck ($8), or SUV ($8) relaxes in the suds and you chow down on a plate of delicious food ($5). The bubbly benefit for the school yearbook begins at 8:30 a.m. and continues until 2:30 p.m. You can drive in through the gate on 25th Street between Castro and Noe streets.

Art and Talent Shows Combined

On the evening of Wednesday, June 1, families visiting the school will get two shows for the price of one when the famous James Lick Talent Show shares the stage with a rising star, Ms. Redfield's annual Art Show. Self-portraits, linocuts, nichos (shrines), and contour drawings will be on display in the hallways while our talented kids perform. The fun starts at 6 p.m., and will be repeated on Thursday for our students. You can also view more than 100 works of art by James Lick students online at

By the way, we just got word that art teacher Alexandra Redfield will receive the Levi Strauss Outstanding Teacher Award at this year's Youth Arts Festival at Yerba Buena Gardens (see below).


Don't forget to watch the James Lick contingent of spectacular dancers and drummers in the big Carnaval parade in the Mission on Sunday, May 29. (It starts at 9:30 a.m. at 24th and Bryant, and salsas west on 24th and north on Mission to 17th.) You can support this effort by purchasing a colorful T-shirt for $15 at the school.

Thanks for the Brain Food

Muchas gracias to Bell Market and McKesson Foundation for supplying nutritious snacks--granola bars, cheese sticks, and fresh fruit--to our students on the days they've been taking standardized tests.

Special thanks to Leslie Crawford (Noe Valley Farmers' Market) and Carrie Varoquier (Friends of Noe Valley) for their assistance in obtaining these contributions, which mean a lot when so much depends on the results of the tests.

Keeping in Touch

As the school year draws to a close, please contact Denise Rueda to confirm times and dates for the James Lick Merchants/Community Alliance meetings and Coffee with the Principal. Call 695-5675 or our message number, 436-0349, after school hours.

Or you may drop by the school at 1220 Noe Street at Clipper Street and visit parent liaison Denise Rueda in Room 108. Thank you for sharing your ideas, talents, enthusiasm, and support.

--Sue Cattoche


Tuning Up for FiestaVal

It's that time of year again--the cooks in the Fairmount community are pulling out their best recipes, the children are tuning up their instruments and their voices, and the local shopkeepers are passing along some of their prized items for the raffle and auction. FiestaVal 2005 is almost here!

The party begins at noon on Saturday, May 21, at Fairmount School, 65 Chenery (at Randall), and goes till 5 p.m. All friends and neighbors are encouraged to stop by the school grounds to sample the food and the fun. There will be performances by the school's band and choir, along with dance shows by ballet folklorico and hip-hop dance groups.

As children check out the games and art booths, their parents can taste the delicious tamales and sweets made by Fairmount families, have their necks and shoulders massaged by a certified massage therapist, and check out the auction items that will be on display in the cafeteria.

The list of items includes gift certificates and special gifts donated by the Asian Art Museum, Cover to Cover Books, Kids Cuts, Noe Knit, Teatro ZinZanni, and restaurants such as Alma, Andalu, Liberty Café, Firefly, and Thirsty Bear. Items will be added to the web site,, up until the last minute.

And in the weeks before the big event, if you're approached by students selling raffle tickets, be aware that your purchase could net you an iPod, a weekend in Monterey, or a certificate to one of many great local restaurants.

Funds raised at FiestaVal will go toward arts, P.E., and other enrichment programs.

A Boost from the Mayor's Office

Fairmount's after-school programs have received a grant from the Mayor's Office of Community Development for $27,000. The money will provide additional support for homework help, enrichment activities (music, art, dance, theater), and physical education.

The grant will be used for the 2005­06 school year.

We're Full Up for Kindergarten

As we near the end of this school year, Fairmount is looking ahead to next year and to meeting the new kindergarten families. All 60 seats filled up fast, and there's a long waiting list for our Spanish-immersion and English programs. For any questions about the school programs, please call the principal, Karling Aguilera-Fort, at 695-5669.

--Jan Ruiz


Model for a Successful Arts Program

Do you ever wonder what it would take to start a successful arts program in your child's school? Or how you can help support an arts program that's already up and running?

In 1968, renowned sculptor and Noe Valley resident Ruth Asawa protested the lack of meaningful arts instruction at the elementary school her children were attending by creating, with art historian Sally Woodbridge, the Alvarado Arts Workshop to bring practicing artists into the schools. The program expanded over time to encompass as many as 50 San Francisco schools. Asawa's son, ceramicist Paul Lanier, is currently an artist-in-residence at Alvarado Elementary School, where the program originated.

Parents for Public Schools and Spark, the Bay Area arts program on KQED-TV, invite you to a special screening of a Spark episode about Ruth Asawa and the Alvarado Arts Program--a family legacy of art in the San Francisco public schools. You will be able to meet Asawa's talented adult children Paul Lanier and Aiko Cuneo, and see how they are continuing their mother's work. You will also get tips on how to build successful arts programs in the schools.

The event will take place on Wednesday, May 4, at McKinley Elementary School, 1025 14th Street at Castro, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Door prizes will be provided by Spark. For more information or to register for child care, call Parents for Public Schools at 468-7077 or visit or education/outreach.jsp.

You can support existing programs by making donations online at www.donorschoose, where requests from Alvarado and other neighborhood schools are posted.

Behold the Youth Arts Festival!

More than 60 San Francisco arts organizations will be performing, exhibiting, and providing hands-on workshops for K-12 youth May 7 to 15 at the San Francisco Youth Arts Festival held downtown at Zeum and Yerba Buena Gardens. Throughout the festival, the rooftop museum and gardens, located at Fourth and Howard streets, will be filled with non-stop activities, events, student performances, hands-on art, art demonstrations, and entertainment. Over 8,000 children will actively participate or showcase their work in the 2005 Festival, representing 223 schools in San Francisco. All Youth Arts Festival events, performances, and exhibits are free to the public.

Boogie Night Is Your Reward

May 3: The PTA General Assembly meets at 6 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

May 14: Our annual school carnival, "La Feria de Alvarado," will start at 11 a.m. and run throughout the afternoon in the schoolyard. There'll be art, food, and lots of fun!

May 19: Have dinner at Chevy's at Stonestown, 3251 20th Avenue, from 5 to 9 p.m., and help raise money for Alvarado. You can pick up a fundraising flyer at the school.

June 3: At last, it's Boogie Night at Il Pirata, 2007 16th Street at Potrero Avenue. Cost is $10 per person (includes admission and appetizers), and teachers get in free at this grownups-only event.

How to Contact Us: Call the school at 695-5695 or visit the school's web site at The address is 625 Douglass Street at Alvarado. Chat with Principal David Weiner on the first Friday of each month from 8 to 9 a.m. in the Alvarado cafeteria.

--Sue Cattoche


James Lick Middle School
1220 Noe Street at 25th Street
Janice Daniels, Principal

Alvarado Elementary School
625 Douglass Street at Alvarado
David Weiner, Principal

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