Noe Valley Voice February 2006

School Report

Here's the latest scoop on James Lick Middle School and Alvarado and Fairmount elementary schools, provided by school parents and volunteers.


Going Once, Going Twice!

Got plans for the evening of Friday, Feb. 10? Spend an evening finding a perfect Valentine's gift, munching on hors d'oeuvres, and dancing your cares away. It's the annual James Lick Middle School Auction and Party, one of the school's biggest fundraisers of the year. You'll enjoy great company, appetizers, and beverages, and the opportunity to bid on a multitude of items and services, including a print by local artist Ruth Asawa, lodgings at the Inn at the Opera, ceramics by Paul Lanier, gift certificates from Gallery of Jewels and other 24th Street merchants, Valentine's Day baskets, San Francisco Giants tickets, ski passes, restaurants, classes, and summer camps for kids.

All funds raised will support scholarships for student travel to Costa Rica and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, James Lick's dancing and drumming contingent at San Francisco Carnaval, and many more school programs.

The action begins at 6:30 p.m. at SomArts, 934 Brannan Street (near Trader Joe's), and concludes at 11 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door. Adults only, please.

Internet Crime Protection

The San Francisco Police Department's highly regarded presentation on Internet Crimes Against Children was featured at the Jan. 4 PTSA meeting. Parents learned some sad and scary statistics from Officer Kim Mercer, who had plenty of real-life stories to share with the group. Paper handouts from the meeting are available in the Parent Room, for those who were unable to attend the presentation.

Young Scientists Show Their Stuff

If you've never visited our annual James Lick Science Fair, drop by the school gym on Monday, Feb. 6, between 5:50 and 7 p.m., and prepare to be impressed. Individual students will demonstrate experiments they have personally designed and constructed, explain their hypotheses, and show you the results. (Many of our bilingual/biliterate students can explain their conclusions in both Spanish and English.)

Prizes will be awarded to students in each grade level, and eight of the best exhibits will be displayed at the Randall Museum. Teacher Molly Lazarus is coordinating the event.

Help with Home Study

On the morning of Friday, Jan. 20, parents of James Lick students enjoyed a delicious breakfast as Principal Carmelo Sgarlato explained the most effective ways to use the new study packets provided by the San Francisco Unified School District. The "extended-learning" packets, which will be sent home every Friday for 10 weeks, are instructional materials that parents can use to support their children's learning at home.

Principal Sgarlato also suggested ways parents can help children prepare for the California Standards Tests this April. James Lick parent Daisy Hernandez, Latino Coordinator for Parents for Public Schools, discussed the importance of school attendance and the impact of school truancy. December's Chat With the Principal featured a presentation on Gang Awareness.

Costa Rica Fundraiser

Friends and families from James Lick enjoyed a lively Saturday night in January, dancing to Miguel Govea's band Los Compas at El Rio on Mission Street. The event will help fund scholarships and other essentials for a student trip to Costa Rica.

Shakespeare Festival Field Trip

There's still room for more parents and students to sign up for the fourth annual Shakespeare Festival field trip in beautiful Ashland, Ore., March 31 to April 2, 2006. Please contact Ray Ponce, 334-4187, for more information.

Looking for a Way to Support James Lick?

Visit "Donors Choose" at the web site There you will see proposals from James Lick teachers who want to fund specific projects at the school. If a project strikes your fancy, you can make a donations online. So far, the projects include "Rhythm and Motion Across the Caribbean," "Photos for Language Development," and "Linocut Printmaking."

You can now view the latest linocut prints created in art class by James Lick students at a web site arranged by art teacher Alexandra Redfield. Go to You can even order gifts with imprints of the artwork to help raise money to buy more art supplies!

Speaking of which, we need art materials for the after-school activities program. Call the school at 695-5675, leave a message at 436-0349, or drop by the school at 1220 Noe Street at Clipper Street. Thank you for sharing your ideas, talents, enthusiasm, support-- and supplies-- for our public schools.

--Sue Cattoche


ADA Construction Begins

Alvarado School will be undergoing construction funded by Proposition A, starting in February and continuing for the next 10 months. This project will update the school facilities to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and improve the learning environment for our students. We extend a sincere apology to our neighbors as we anticipate increased traffic congestion around the school during this time.

New Morning Drop-off Zone

You may have noticed that we have instituted a drop-off zone to help alleviate the double-parking on Douglass Street and around the school. We are asking parents to continue to pull around the corner of the school onto 22nd Street to drop children off in the mornings. Everyone will benefit from the increased safety!

Not-So-Silent Auction Returns

Mark your calendars for Alvarado's annual Not-So-Silent Auction. This much-anticipated event will be held at Fort Mason on March 18 at 6 p.m. Garnering two-fifths of the PTA's annual budget, the party is truly a wonderful evening and includes a silent auction, live auction, live music, food, and beverages. Tickets go on sale in early March at the school office, so please come join the fun!

We'd like to thank all the local businesses that have already contributed items this year. If you would still like to donate an item to the silent auction, please drop it off at the school office or contact Mara Sieling, the auction chairperson, by calling 648-6158 or e-mailing She is available to pick up items from businesses or homes.

Please note that we will still have our annual rummage sale in mid-April, despite the ongoing construction. Watch for more details next month.

Ready for the Read-a-thon?

Our annual Read-a-thon will begin in mid-February and continue through the end of the month. Each year the PTA gives each student a book, and the kids really get enthusiastic about this enjoyable and educational fundraiser.

--Lisa Barry


Winter Celebration a Huge Success

Shortly before the December holiday break, Fairmount's Winter Festival was held in the James Lick auditorium. The event moved to Lick this year due to the inability of Fairmount's cafeteria to hold the ever-growing crowd of parents, friends, and family members.

After sharing a sumptuous multicultural potluck in the school's cafeteria, hundreds of members of the school community gathered in the auditorium to watch and hear students in each grade perform. The singing and dancing highlighted the various ways the winter holidays are celebrated throughout the world.

The evening ended with an onstage salsa dance featuring Fairmount principal Karling Aguilera­Fort and faculty member Linda Velazquez.

Parents Bound for Beautification

Fairmount's ongoing school beautification program, which over the last two summers has seen swarms of parents replacing worn-out carpets with new tiled floors in the classrooms and the cafeteria, is gearing up for its next phase. Under the coordination of parent Ricardo Alvarez, parents are looking at redesigning the existing pod structure of the school and creating additional storage spaces.

The school's landscape also continues to be enhanced through the efforts of parent volunteers and students' gardening activities.

Data Night Looks at Pluses and Minuses

Friday, Feb. 10, will bring parents together to look at data demonstrating the academic growth as well as the challenges facing Fairmount students. Data Night will also empower parents with strategies, tools, and skills to support their kids with easy and doable activities. Fairmount staff and the school site council will continue to plan and work with the principal on improving the academic site plan for enhanced learning next year.

Join Us at the Community Party

This school sure knows how to raise money through a party! Come enjoy great food, excellent company, and fantastic music and dancing at our third annual Community Party on Thursday, Feb. 23, 5:30 to 9 p.m., at El Rio (Mission Street near Precita Avenue).

Quality child care will be provided--call the school at 695-5669 for details--and all funds raised will support our fourth- and fifth-grade camping trip to Westminster Woods.

Stop by for a wonderful time and join our principal, parents, and staff in kicking up their heels.

--Tom Ruiz


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

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

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