Hamlin Student on American Ninja Warrior Junior

An accomplished artist and singer, Grade 8 student Abbie is also an avid climber. She was recently contacted by American Ninja Warrior Junior to compete on the premiere of the show, a spin-off of the popular obstacle course-based reality television show created in Japan. We had a chance to talk with her about climbing and the show.

What do you like about climbing?

It’s really fun. It is a challenge to figure out the climb, to envision what you want to do, then try to execute.

What do you like about Hamlin’s climbing program?

It’s great that Hamlin has a climbing program, not many schools have climbing walls. It is really cool how we learn to belay and mock lead climb.

What was it like being on television?

It was a new experience being on TV. It made me nervous racing against another competitor, that is not something I’d ever done before.

How long will you continue climbing for?

I want to do competitive climbing for as long as I can. I want to do it in college.

The San Francisco Chronicle did a piece Abbie. You can read it here: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/SF-teen-to-star-on-first-ever-American-Ninja-13303293.php

Abbie’s episode airs on 10/27. You can learn more here: https://www.universalkids.com/shows/american-ninja-warrior-junior

 

Hamlin Students Visit the SFMOMA

On Thursday, students in Grade 6 had the opportunity to visit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and see the Magritte exhibit.

René François Ghislain Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for creating a number of witty and thought-provoking images. Often depicting ordinary objects in an unusual context, his work is known for challenging observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality.

Hamlin art teacher, Ms. Feldman put together an interactive Keynote that allowed our students to engage in profound learning as they experienced the artwork.

As part of the Keynote tour (with their iPads), girls did the following (among other activities):

Discuss with your partner:

-Explore the works in this room. What emotions are being expressed? Do you think that art needs to express emotions? Whose emotions does art express?

-Choose one piece of artwork to talk about. What do you think will happen next in this piece?

-With your partner, find a piece of art in this room to talk about and answer these questions: What is the story that you see in this work of art? What do you see in the work that tells you it is about this story?

To learn more about the exhibit, please visit: https://www.sfmoma.org/exhibitions-events/

 

 

Hamlin Students Read Books at Hamilton Families

Wednesday evening, seven (Emma C. is not in the photo) altruistic Hamlin students went to the nonprofit Hamilton Families to read books to children experiencing homelessness. This was our first Read With Me visit of the school year. The girls read to the Hamilton kids, colored with them and even played blocks with a baby.

Hamilton Families’ mission is to end family homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area. Hamilton Families is nationally recognized for pioneering homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing programs.

For many, many years, the Hamlin School has worked to support homeless families in San Francisco through a profound partnership with the nonprofit Hamilton Families. Hamlin students promote literacy through this Read With Me program. Multiple times a year Hamlin students visit Hamilton and read to younger children in the center. Both Hamlin students and Hamilton children alike, treasure this very human exchange.

To learn more about Hamilton Families, please visit: https://hamiltonfamilies.org/

 

Interview with Kindergarten Teacher: Jen Phillips

Ms. Phillips is in her 7th year teaching kindergarten at The Hamlin School.

What do you love about teaching kindergarten?

So much, kindergarteners are so open, excited, and happy. I really enjoy teaching students to be good young people. We focus on social-emotional learning. How do you make a friend? How do you solve a conflict? How do you tell your friends what you need? Academically they are excited for everything, they don’t always get enough credit (because they are the youngest), but they are capable and ready to learn.

What do you love about teaching at Hamlin?

The girls are amazing. Every year you get this new group of bright and diverse students. I also love my co-workers. Hamlin is a supportive community. I’ve done many professional development workshops that have helped enrich my teaching practice. I love coming to work every day.

What is one of your favorite memories from elementary school?

I have great memories of reading and writing. I always loved reading books on a cushion underneath a table in the classroom; it was like my own little cocoon. I would read books like Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins.

Describe a favorite teaching moment.

I love when the girls take on the role of peer teacher, extending their learning and deepening their understanding. In these moments I often see the girls making connections between what they have learned and their own lives. When they begin teaching each other I know that I’ve done my job.

 

Hamlin Students Speak at Alliance for Girls Event

Thursday night four Grade 8 students and Ms. Wanda M. Holland Greene (Head of The Hamlin School) spoke at the A Day of the Girl Fundraiser and Celebration held by the nonprofit Alliance for Girls. The event took place at the Salesforce building in San Francisco.

The Hamlin School has been a member of Alliance for Girls for a number of years. The mission of Alliance for Girls is:

To ensure that girl-serving organizations are more connected, more effective and better able to prepare today’s girls to be the leaders, agents of change and thriving women of tomorrow.

Our students spoke about their work creating the film, “Strawbucks.”

Strawbucks is a short film that interweaves detailed information connecting the use of plastic straws (in businesses like Starbucks), to the growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The film utilizes interviews with Hamlin students to create a powerful narrative, urging viewers to replace their plastic straws with ones that are more environmentally friendly (metal, glass).

Dani shared the following in her remarks:

Girls and women have multiple stereotypes and negative connotations attached to them. We are often thought of as overly emotional. Well, we used that “emotion” to fuel and put our hearts into our film. When women are passionate about something, there is no stopping them. You push them down and we pop right back up. Investing in young women is investing in the future.

“Strawbucks,” was shown at the event, it can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H78u-Ne11Qc

 

Carnaval de Hamlin

On Wednesday night students, parents, and faculty members gathered to celebrate San Francisco’s Latin American heritage. Guests tasted traditional foods like pupusas and tamales, while listening to a live band. There was also a performance by Hamlin’s capoeira students. This festive event was enjoyed by over 140 people.

Carnaval de Hamlin was created by our PLAID parent group.

PLAID is a Hamlin Parent Association group focused on educating our community about diversity and promoting an inclusive environment. We seek to broaden perspectives and experiences via cultural events, dialogues and films, and deepen connections at Hamlin by fostering open dialogue and celebrating our commonalities and differences. 

Be sure to join PLAID’s next event, a celebration of Diwali on November 8.

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

 

 

Matter of Trust Speaks at Hamlin

In the spring, Grade 7 students will be participating in a active learning experience called Rise to the Challenge.

Rise to the Challenge is the intensive for our Grade 7 studentsIntensives are a concentrated period of study where an entire grade is working on a project or projects, with profound research and preparation, followed by a public event. These intensives are designed with Hamlin’s mission in mind, as our students meet the challenges of their time.

Grade 7 students have the opportunity to choose their own topics, do in-depth research, then share their findings, providing short and long-term solutions to various problems.

To prepare and inspire our girls for Rise to the Challenge, we have had speakers sharing their altruistic passions with our students.

Yesterday, Lisa Craig Gautier, the founder of the nonprofit A Matter of Trust, spoke with students.

Matter of Trust provides systems for sorting recyclables and compostables into useful stockpiles. By focusing on convenience, we learn what households need most from community reuse programs. Gathering perspectives from global industries, we find motivations and new zero-waste opportunities. We are passionate about efficiency and deconstructable designs.

Ms. Gautier encouraged our students to discover their passion and make a difference in the world by thinking outside the box in creative ways.

Special thanks to Mr. Ditto (in the photo), who invited Ms. Gautier to Hamlin.

To learn more about Matter of Trust, please visit: https://matteroftrust.org/

 

 

Grade 4 Explores Pie Ranch and Big Basin State Park

Grade 4 students recently went on an outdoor education adventure to Pie Ranch and Big Basin State Park.

As part of the experience, our girls did the following:

Wednesday – Students went on a tour of Pie Ranch and picked fruits and veggies, later eating these with dinner. Girls set up tents at Big Basin, followed by free time, dinner (students prepared and served the meal and did clean up), and a night hike.

Thursday – This was a “big hike” day, led by Big Basin Rangers. Art, Science and Social Studies rotations took place in the afternoon. Snack, free time, dinner. Campfire and s’mores.

Friday – Pack up, time for self-reflection, drive to Waddell Beach for beach fun and closing circle.

To learn more about our Outdoor Education Program, please visit: https://www.hamlin.org/page/program/outdoor-education

 

Drew Daywalt and Scott Campbell Visit Hamlin

On Tuesday, Drew Daywalt and Scott Campbell spoke with lower school students.

Drew Daywalt is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling children’s author whose books include The Day the Crayons Quit, The Day the Crayons Came Home, and The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors.

Scott Campbell creates paintings, illustrations, comics, kid’s books and video games. He has published numerous comics and created paintings that have appeared in galleries and publications around the world.

Mr. Daywalt and Mr. Campbell shared a humor-filled presentation and talked about their creative process. When developing the character Sleepy (from Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy), the two spoke on the phone, discussing various ideas for the illustration. Mr. Campbell then sketched 40-50 different versions of Sleepy before coming up with the final depiction. On the writing side, Mr. Daywalt spent a month editing the story until he was very happy with the narrative. Mr. Daywalt also shared that the main character in Sleepy was modeled after his 9-year old son.

The two men read Sleepy to the girls and demonstrated how to do a couple of drawings from the book. The assembly was a tremendous hit, our students were cheering and very excited to get a behind the scenes look at how books are created.

To learn more about Mr. Daywalt and Mr. Campbell, please visit: https://www.amazon.com/Drew-Daywalt/e/B00DW25OSQ and https://www.scottc.com/

 

 

Interview with Dr. Kelsey Twist Schroeder: Our New Middle School Division Head

We are very excited to have Dr. Kelsey Twist Schroeder with us this year. Dr. Schroeder comes to The Hamlin School from Roland Park Country School in Baltimore, where she was the Dean of Students for the Upper School. Dr. Schroeder attended Stanford University, where she was a scholar-athlete, excelling as an All-American lacrosse player. She went on to earn her Masters in Education from Stanford, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Schroeder is the mother of three girls; her two oldest are now attending Hamlin.

1. What are you most excited about for this school year?

In my first year at Hamlin, I am most excited about becoming part of this extraordinary community. When I visited Hamlin last year for my interviews, I could immediately sense what a strong, supportive community it was. Every person—from the students to the employees to the families—believes in the mission of the school and living the Creed, and you can feel that energy in the air.

That is the kind of environment where I want to be a school leader, and it is the kind of school culture I want for my own daughters. My spouse, Jamie, and I are simply over the moon that our daughters, Hazel and Lillian started in the Lower School this fall, and hopefully our youngest, Marion, will be here in a few years!     

2. You recently completed your Doctorate in Education. Tell us about the focus of your work.

The Mid-Career Doctoral Program at Penn brings together a diverse cohort of educational leaders from urban, rural, suburban, private, and public contexts. We had different backgrounds, educational philosophies, and professional roles, and we came together to use that range of wisdom to tackle complex educational challenges.

The focus of my dissertation was on how adolescent students at a selective independent girls’ school conceptualize and experience leadership. The premise of the study is that leadership is dynamic and that girls coming of age today may not approach leadership in the same way girls did ten or even five years ago. Because I am committed to developing leadership capacities in girls, I wanted to begin that work by first understanding what attitudes, experiences, and hopes shape the way the girls currently approach leadership.   

3. You are the mother of 3 girls; what is the best piece of parenting advice you have received?

Being a mother of three girls has been the greatest joy of my life, and as any parent knows, raising children is also challenging at times. My first daughter, Hazel, was born 13 weeks prematurely. We are blessed that Hazel had a remarkable recovery, but she had a difficult start to life. During her long stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) she had one particularly hard day and was having difficulty breathing; as a new mother, I was feeling overwhelmed. A nurse that I had become friendly with came up to me, put her arm around me, and compassionately said, “I know you wish you could, Kelsey, but you can’t learn to breathe for her.” I will never forget that moment and the caring way she spoke those words to me.

Watching your child struggle to learn is one of the most challenging experiences as a parent. It’s our instinct to want to step in and help. I have returned to that wise advice several times over the years. Whether it’s learning to tie a shoe or make new friends, I have to remind myself that I can guide and support and love my kids, and I also need to let them learn independently.

4. You were a highly accomplished athlete. How does that experience inform your work as an educator?

Growing up, I was blessed to attend a girls’ school that never asked me to pick between being a scholar, athlete, or artist. I loved being able to sing in my a cappella group and then dash off to my basketball game. While I learned so much in academic classrooms, I think I learned just as much being a three-sport varsity athlete (lacrosse, field hockey, basketball). Athletics is where I learned how to get along with others, including people who were very different from me. Being part of a team taught me how to put the group’s goals above my own individual goals. Being an athlete taught me the satisfaction of hard work. My dad shuttled me from game to game and would always tell me how proud he was that I “played my heart out” whether we won or lost. While I like to win as much as anyone, my family never prized winning over trying my best and being a good sport. I try to imbue those lessons into my work with students every day.      

5. What would your favorite K-8 teacher say about you as a student?

I had many amazing teachers during my K-8 education, so it’s impossible to pick a favorite, but one teacher who had a tremendous impact on me was my 5th grade teacher, Mary Beth Dyer. She had (and still has) one of the most wonderful laughs in the world. It’s big and joyful and carefree, and when you hear her laugh, you can’t help but smile. In addition to a contagious positive spirit, Ms. Dyer taught me to not be afraid of failing and live life as a learning adventure where you get a chance to grow every single day.