San Francisco Storytellers Visit With Grade 2

Monday morning seven vibrant San Francisco natives gathered to speak with Grade 2 students. Our girls are learning about the history of San Francisco as part of their social studies curriculum. Speakers shared fond memories, describing how various neighborhoods have both changed and stayed the same.

Madeline Hancock, West Portal:

Ms. Hancock spoke about her parents buying their house for $26,000 in 1958, riding streetcars for 10 cents, and Shaw’s Ice Cream and Candy Shop (which is still there!).

Natalie Holland ’98, Bayview, Excelsior, Mt. Davidson, Outer Sunset, Lakeview, Inner Mission:

Ms. Holland spoke about taking ballet at the Bayview Opera House, gardening in the Sunset, and the murals in the Mission.

Helen Ortiz ’03, The Castro:

Ms. Ortiz spoke about how her neighbors were like family, going to the Castro Theatre for sing-alongs, and riding on the Seward Street Slides.

Judy Ching, Chinatown, The Richmond:

Ms. Ching spoke about the construction of the Broadway Tunnel, the Chinatown telephone company with switchboard operators (where her mother worked), and how Chinese people weren’t always welcome to purchase homes outside of the Chinatown area.

Charlee Underwood, Hayes Valley:

Ms. Underwood spoke about playing outside with all of her friends in the neighborhood, and how there are fewer families now in Hayes Valley.

Ann Kung, The Richmond:

Ms. Kung spoke about getting bread from the Boudin Bakery and playing softball with neighborhood kids in front of the library, she also mentioned that the Richmond has more Asian restaurants now.

Lisa Aquino, The Sunset:

Ms. Aquino spoke about how San Francisco has a small town feeling and that natives are often interconnected, she also mentioned that many people have moved out because of the high cost of living.

After each native spoke, Grade 2 students asked several thoughtful questions about San Francisco history, favorite landmarks, and neighborhood celebrations.

 

 

Hamlin Picks Up Litter In San Francisco

This Friday students in Grade 3 walked to Lafayette Park picking up trash along the way. Maia Kolbeck from the Aquarium of the Bay spoke to the girls beforehand about the importance of keeping our city litter free. She emphasized that San Francisco is surrounded by water on three sides and that trash on land often ends up in the Bay where it is ingested by fish and seals. Students filled multiple trash bags with everything from old party balloons, to glass bottles. Ms. Ray led this thoughtful environmental stewardship project.

Designing an Earthquake Proof Home

San Francisco is situated in earthquake country with two historic quakes that took place in 1906 and 1989. Innovative science and engineering bring more protections to our urban structures.

Grade 6 students have been studying the science of earthquakes and are getting ready to design earthquake proof houses.

Below is their assignment:

Congratulations! You have just been selected to design a new house or building in San Francisco. You have only $500 to spend on your new house or building. It must be at least 30 cm tall, be two stories and have weight (6 washers) at every level (2nd story, roof). Each story needs to be at least 15 cm tall. 

You will have the following materials to build from:

Brick (sugar cubes) $5

Metal Ties (pipe cleaners) $15.00

Wood (sticks or straws) $2.00

Marbles: $25

No cost: Glue-you will be given a specific amount.

Please include all of the following in this lab!

Identify Problem:

Brainstorm:

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Tea With Inspiring Women

On May 10, Grade 4 students brought the lives of inspiring women to Hamlin, showcasing in-depth knowledge, accents, and costumes.  Students selected a woman from history, did extensive research from multiple sources, and then embodied that person at a table with tea and treats.

The conversation was guided by a series of thoughtful questions addressing everything from education to important life events, and even embarrassing moments. Girls sat in groups of four at tables. Guidelines for the discussion included: Have fun, See what you have in common with the other inspiring women, stay on topic, stay in the personality of your inspiring woman, react to what each other is saying.

Women from various eras were represented including (among others): Abigail Adams, Oprah Winfrey, Sylvia Earle, and Michelle Kwan.

Next week these students will have the opportunity to formally present as their women for our Jan Micha Women In History Program.

The video below shares a slice of the tea and conversation:

 

Hamlin Visits Preschoolers in the Mission

On May 9, Hamlin Grade 8 students visited Holy Family Day Home in the Mission, a nonprofit organization that we have worked with for the past 14 years. The visit was led by our middle school Spanish department.

Holy Family Day Home’s goal is to provide affordable, high quality, early childhood education and family support services in a stable and nurturing environment, thereby providing the children of working families skills and hope for lifelong development.  

Hamlin students began the morning by singing the song Cada Semilla to the preschoolers and playing Simon Says, all in Spanish. Our students were then paired up with different children to read books. Our girls brought their very own self-created books written in Spanish with beautiful handmade illustrations. After sharing these fantastic stories, everyone went outside to play. The joy and energy between the younger and older students was palpable. One Hamlin student shared, “I loved how creative and caring they were, I got so many hugs.”

After playtime, Hamlin students heard more about program specifics from members of Holy Family Day Home’s leadership team. They learned about the food pantry that provides nourishment for families in need, and the emphasis placed on seamlessly integrating homeless and non-homeless students into classrooms.

Below is a video of our students singing:

To learn more about Holy Family Day Home, please visit: https://holyfamilydayhome.org/

Alumnae Reflect On Their Hamlin Education

On May 7, Hamlin welcomed back ten members of the class of 2014 who will soon be graduating from high school. These bright and articulate young women reflected on their Hamlin education in front of an audience of faculty members, staff and trustees. Wanda M. Holland Greene and Teebie Saunders led a vibrant and insightful discussion, asking the students about their time at Hamlin, exploring topics like: gender, core values, academic preparation, and their passions. Below are some of their thoughts.

Gender:

-Hamlin provided so many powerful female role models; I came to high school knowing what I could do as a woman.

-I’m very grateful for my Hamlin education. In high school I took a physics class with mostly males and always had the confidence to speak up because of what I learned at Hamlin.

-Hamlin provided the opportunity for me to feel comfortable trying new things like music and dance.

Core Values:

-Hamlin taught me to do what I thought was right, follow what I believe, and know what I want to fight for.

-Hamlin had natural born leaders. I learned what it means to be a leader while allowing space for the voices of other people.

-I learned how to listen at Hamlin, especially to someone I didn’t agree with. Hamlin emphasized mutual respect, we all learned from each other.

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Hamlin Attends San Francisco Youth Summit

On May 4, Hamlin joined eight other San Francisco schools at a Youth Summit focused on Awareness and Action. Hamlin Grade 7 students attended workshops and participated in the event. Our resident movie makers, Avery, Dani, Helena, and Allie led a workshop focused on their film, “Strawbucks.” The film interweaves detailed information connecting the use of plastic straws (in businesses like Starbucks), to the growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The attending schools were: Town, Creative Arts Charter, Children’s Day, Millennium, Live Oak, San Francisco School, Cathedral, and San Francisco Friends. There were almost 300 people in attendance.

The summit was hosted by the San Francisco Friends School and addressed the following topics (among others) in 20-minute workshops led by students:

Homelessness, Gun Control, Sexual Harassment, Mass Incarceration, Human Trafficking, the Israel/Palestine Conflict, Plastics and the Environment

At the end of each workshop, presenters shared specific ways to take action: using social media, contacting government officials, and supporting boycotts.

The summit no doubt inspired our students as they begin to think about their upcoming Rise to the Challenge (RTC) projects.

To learn more about RTC, please visit: http://www.hamlinblog.org/blog/2017/06/12/leadership-in-action-symposium-rise-to-the-challenge/

Spoken word artists from Youth Speaks performed in the morning. At the end of their performance they invited students to take the stage to share their voices. Sophie M. stepped forward and performed her original song, “Nightingale.” Below is the recording.

From Finance to Teaching Math: An Interview with Mary Kay Kosnik

What do you enjoy about your role at Hamlin? 

I’m currently teaching 6th grade math at Hamlin.  I have a dream job — I get to learn and help students!  Teaching in the middle school is pure magic. I witness great thinking, creativity, growth and joyful collaboration every day.   My students and colleagues are rock stars! The thread of excellence that permeates through Hamlin is what drew me into this diverse, dynamic and soulful community.   Everything that happens at Hamlin is aligned with best practices and continuously scrutinized for improvement.

Tell us about your career before Hamlin. What did you most like about that work?

My professional background is in analytics, research and consulting to the financial services industry.  I began my career at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and later worked on Wall Street as a buy-side equity analyst.  For the bulk of my professional career I worked as a management consultant for KPMG Peat Marwick’s National Financial Services Consulting Group. All of these jobs had a steep learning curve, were entrepreneurial and enabled me to collaborate with very talented people. In consulting I traveled extensively and worked on really unique and exciting high impact projects.

How did you make the decision to go into teaching?

I consider myself a life-long learner and have always been passionate about stepping into service to support students.  While I was working professionally and raising a family (my husband and I have three grown children), I taught and volunteered in classrooms, tutored, and coached and managed youth sports.  I also collaborated on fundraising projects to improve schools and provide scholarships. In higher education, I serve on the Dean’s Council at my alma mater, the University of Michigan. I also mentor undergraduates.  

So I guess I would say that becoming a teacher was a natural progression of my lifelong interest in helping students. I knew that becoming a teacher would be challenging and deeply meaningful work.  As an educator, my goal is to inspire girls to enjoy math and to develop their competence and confidence as mathematicians. We need more women in STEM fields!

What advice to you have for women who would like to work in finance?

Study math, always apply your analytical skills, be bold and decisive, and expect to become the boss!

Finance is creative and fun — every organization needs competent people who can generate, analyze and understand the numbers that ultimately drive decision making and the business.

How does learning math relate to understanding “real world” finance?

I think there is a big misconception that the goal in math is to learn an algorithm to achieve a “correct” answer.  Sure we need this competency, but math is so much more than that! In math we question, explore, investigate, analyze, collaborate, strategize, build, explain, and problem solve in diverse and creative ways.   “Real world” finance is all of this, whether you are managing your allowance, your household or your company.

Hamlin Celebrates Holi

On Sunday 110 people celebrated Holi at PLAID’s final festive event of the year. Students participated in art projects, including drawing henna, with everyone enjoying wonderful Indian food and music.

Holi is a Hindu festival that marks the arrival of spring. Known widely as the Festival of Colour, it takes place over two days, and is a celebration of fertility, colour, and love, as well as the triumph of good versus evil.

After finishing lunch, parents and students were given cups of colored edible powder to throw in good spirit and fun.

This event was held at Marina Middle School. The video below captures a slice of this delightful experience.

To learn more about PLAID, please visit: https://www.hamlin.org/page/plaid

 

Dr. Sylvia Earle Visits Hamlin For Earth Day

On April 27, the Hamlin School welcomed world-renowned marine biologist, Dr. Sylvia Earle.

Dr. Earle is an American marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer. She has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998. Earle was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998. She is also part of the group Ocean Elders, which is dedicated to protecting the ocean and its wildlife.

Dr. Earle spoke for almost an hour to a room full of more than 400 students and parents. She made the following inspiring statements (among others):

-If anyone ever tells you can’t do something, ask why not?

-Every creature on earth is unique.

-We are the first generation to see the consequences of consuming the earth.

-The earth is all there is for the future of humankind and we have to take care of it.

-I was attracted to living things on this earth since the beginning of my memory.

-Get wet, get into the water of the earth, if I stay out of water too long dry rot sets in.

-I lived for two weeks underwater, having the ocean as a living laboratory.

-Women were not expected to dive, be scientists, or aquanauts.

-I can do what I can do to make a difference.

-Have the ocean be a part of your life.

Near the end of her speech, Dr. Earle spoke about Hope Spots.

Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blue heart. Hope Spots are about recognizing, empowering and supporting individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean. Dr. Sylvia Earle introduced the concept in her 2009 TED talk and since then the idea has inspired millions across the planet. While about 12 percent of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks etc.), less than six percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Hope Spots allow us to plan for the future and look beyond current marine protected areas (MPAs), which are like national parks on land where exploitative uses like fishing and deep sea mining are restricted. Hope Spots are often areas that need new protection, but they can also be existing MPAs where more action is needed. 

In addition to Dr. Earle’s visit, Hamlin students also participated in the following Earth Day activities:

-Explored the ocean with virtual reality glasses

-Wrote letters to government officials urging them to reduce plastic usage

-Watched the play “Plastic is not Fantastic” (performed by students in grades 3 and 4)

-Created pledges to support the environment

-Played ocean charades

To learn more about Dr. Earle’s nonprofit, please visit https://mission-blue.org/

Below is a clip of Dr. Earle speaking: