Author Archives: polk@hamlin.org

Hamlin Students See “Bright Star” at The Curran Theatre

On December 6, Hamlin girls from grade 7 visited the recently renovated Curran Theatre to watch the musical Bright Star. Students absolutely loved the performance and will have an opportunity to discuss both the story and narrative structure of the play in their English classes.

Directed by Tony® winner Walter Bobbie and inspired by a real event, this “downright wonderful” (Newsday) original musical tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ‘40s. The story unfolds as a rich tapestry of deep emotion, beautiful melodies and powerfully moving performances. An uplifting theatrical journey that holds you tight in its grasp, BRIGHT STAR is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful.

Propelled by an ensemble of onstage musicians and dancers, the entire show is framed around Carmen Cusack’s Alice Murphy, who is “nuanced and forceful, effortlessly eloquent both as the younger Alice and as her older, sterner iteration.”(The Guardian) Literary editor Alice develops a relationship with a young soldier just home from World War II, awakening her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past—and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives.

For more information about Bright Star at the Curran, please visit: https://sfcurran.com/shows/bright-star/

 

Salesforce Women Speak at Hamlin for Hour of Code

As part of our Hour of Code Week, we were visited this morning by two dynamic female engineers from Salesforce, Armita Peymandoust (Hamlin parent) and Ayori Selassie. They spoke about the mission of Salesforce, data science, artificial intelligence, developing apps, and what it takes to be a product manager. They also both shared their personal journeys from Iran (Ms. Peymandoust) and West Oakland (Ms. Selassie) to Salesforce, and how math and working with BASIC computer programming language provided them with initial guidance for their career trajectories.

They made the following points (among others):

-Salesforce believes in “doing good as you are doing well,” and demonstrates this by investing in San Francisco public schools and supporting the local community in multiple other ways.

-“Women make the best product managers because of their higher emotional intelligence.”

-“With code you can create anything, you can solve any problem that you think is important.”

-Coding can change the world for women by creating financial independence and allowing them to step out of traditional roles.

-A software engineer’s life is wonderful because you get to: build something and see results immediately, focus on the problem at hand, be a logical thinker, decompose life challenges into blocks, travel and work remotely.

Interview with Hamlin Teacher: Kirsten Gustavson

Since 1985, Ms. Kirsten Gustavson has been sharing her life energy with students of The Hamlin School. Whether teaching French (as she used to), singing out Morning Meeting, or leading graduation rehearsal, Ms. G is a Hamlin institution. A San Francisco native, Ms. Gustavson attended French-American International School, Lowell High School, then Princeton University. She is a meditator, a music enthusiast, and a maker.

We recently had the chance to sit down and speak with Ms. Gustavson.

1) Tell us about your current work at The Hamlin School.

I teach 8th grade social studies. The course is an overview of the major events of the 20th century with a focus on current events as well. I’m also a teacher-peer coach, basically a pedagogy nerd who talks shop with other teachers about things they are working on, with a focus on supporting teachers new to Hamlin.

2) You’ve worked at Hamlin for well over 30 years, share one story from your early days.

I was a practical support person for men during the AIDS crisis in the mid-1980’s. I shopped for people, cooked for people, and provided general support for those facing AIDS. One weekend I volunteered to take a small group of students to see the AIDS Quilt. It was moving to know my students wanted to see the quilt. It was a challenge of their time and they sought to understand more about what was being lost. We were in the epicenter and they wanted to know what was going on.

3) Alumnae from many years past still reflect fondly on your teaching. What is a core facet of your pedagogical philosophy?

The one doing the talking is the one doing the learning. It is my job to set up situations where as many students can talk in a way that is structured and supports the learning objectives. I want them engaged and speaking for as much of the class time as is possible. Also, being humorous and being real, showing up authentically.

4) What do you like most about Hamlin?

How unapologetically feminist and empowering it is. It has become more concentrated and that over the time I’ve been here, putting the talents and experience of girls front and center, giving them the tools to be young women in this place, in this time.

5) Tell us something about yourself that isn’t specifically Hamlin-related.

I’m really a maker. I come from a long line of craftsmen and women. I do sewing and jewelry-making, but I also do a lot of other stuff. I designed and made my son’s talis for his Bar Mitzvah, that meant a great deal to me.

For alumnae with fond memories of the Colonies Song, here is a recording of Ms. Gustavson’s rendition:

 

STEMming the Gender Gap 2017

For the 3rd year running, The Hamlin School celebrated STEMming the Gender Gap Day on Friday, December 1. The day was an opportunity to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education/careers for our students, while connecting with female tech leaders in the Bay Area. Hamlin girls had the chance to observe, interact, and learn, as they prepare to be tomorrow’s tech innovators and help #StemGenderGap!

This year Hamlin partnered with a variety of fantastic Bay Area tech companies; we are incredibly thankful for our partnership with these organizations.

We had experiences at:

The Lawrence Hall of Science, The Bay Area Discovery Museum, The Exploratorium, Quizlet, Salesforce, POPSUGAR, Eventbrite, HoneyBook, Smitten, The Tech Museum of Innovation, UCSF, Spring Studio, RobotLAB, Matter of Trust, USS Hornet, SF Cable Car Museum & StoryCorps, and SFMOMA.

The following are some examples of what Hamlin girls engaged in:

Continue reading

Hour of Code @Hamlin

During the week of December 4-8, 2017, The Hamlin School will be participating in the 5th annual Hour of Code, a global movement introducing computer programming to tens of millions of students in 180+ countries around the world, encouraging them to learn how to code. The initiative aims to demystify coding and show that anybody can learn the basics. Hamlin is both proud and excited to use this week, once again, to highlight our coding and robotics curriculum by having every student and faculty member code for at least one hour.

Hour of Code Events

In the Lower School, every class has been scheduled for at least an hour’s worth of coding instruction with Ms. Windell. Girls will use a variety of coding apps that have been selected to be developmentally appropriate for their age/skill level. These apps include Kodable, LightBot, Blockly Games: Maze, Human Resource Machine, as well as resources from the code.org website.

Continue reading

Emily Calandrelli: Author and Science TV Host

On November 28, Emily Calandrelli visited Hamlin and spoke with students in grades 1-5.

Emily is an Emmy-nominated science TV host. She’s featured as a correspondent on Bill Nye Saves the World and a producer and the host of FOX’s Xploration Outer Space. Her first science children’s book series – the Ada Lace Adventures – is now available on Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

Emily’s educational background is in engineering and policy. At West Virginia University she received a bachelors in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. She received her Masters from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics as well as Technology and Policy.

Emily is wildly passionate about space exploration. Through her show, she wants to prove that the space industry is more exciting today than ever before in history. As the host, Emily works to explain science-related topics in an easily digestible, and entertaining way.

Continue reading

Hamlin Students Explore Cubism

Cubism was an art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture in the early 20th century. The essence of Cubism is that instead of viewing subjects from a single, fixed angle, the artist breaks them up into a variety of areas, so that several different aspects of the subject can be seen simultaneously.

Cubism began in 1906 with two artists, Georges Braque (French) and Pablo Picasso (Spanish) who were living in Paris, France. They were both innovative artists in search of new ways to express space and form in painting. The two worked together closely until World War I broke out in 1914.

Grade 6 students studied the characteristics of Cubism by looking at examples of Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne and Georges Braque.

Students began the project by creating a Cubism inspired drawing from observation. They did this by first drawing lines across the paper to break up the space. Then they drew a ukulele from different vantage points. The drawing was later transferred to canvas. Students incorporated collage with painting, using a limited color palette.

Hamlin’s Book Drive

From November 2nd through 17th, Hamlin students and parents worked diligently to collect 3,346 books that were generously donated by members of our community. The volunteers sorted and stacked books during lunch with dedication and care. The large team of students also organized the event in terms of advertising and getting the word out.

This year books were donated to:

Continue reading

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Visits Hamlin

Over recent summers our highly talented theater teacher, Heidi Abbott, has been taking students to see Shakespeare plays onstage in Ashland, Oregon. For the past three years Hamlin has also been hosting visiting actors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival traces its roots back to the Chautauqua movement, which brought culture and entertainment to rural areas of the country in the late 19th century. Ashland’s first Chautauqua building—erected in 1893, mostly by townspeople—saw its first performance on July 5. In 1905, the building was enlarged to accommodate an audience of 1,500. Families traveled from all over Southern Oregon and Northern California to see such performers as John Phillip Sousa and William Jennings Bryan during the Ashland Chautauqua’s 10-day seasons.

The Oregon Shakespearean Festival was officially born on July 2, 1935 with a production of Twelfth Night. The Festival presented The Merchant of Venice on the 3rd and Twelfth Night again on the 4th. Reserved seats cost $1, with general admission of $.50 for adults and $.25 for children.

Continue reading

Parents Association & PLAID: Creating Community Through Dialogue

On November 15, a thoughtful group of 57 Hamlin parents came together to role play and talk about ways to further enrich our inclusive community. The event included members of our Parents Association and our PLAID parent group.

Parents were given the following scenario:

A kindergarten mom sends out an email to the class parent email group inviting fellow moms to a “Moms’ Mimosa Brunch.” The invitation reads:

Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2017

To: Class of 2026 Parents

From: Mom Host

Subject: Moms’ Mimosa Brunch

Hey Moms,

Let’s celebrate surviving the first two months of school with a moms’ mimosa brunch at The New Restaurant on Union Street (in San Francisco). The cost is $100 per person and includes food, beverage, and use of the room for our brunch. Join us Wednesday, October 24, 2017 at 11:00am. Please RSVP to me by Monday the 22nd so we can adjust our reservation as needed.

Hope to see you all there!

Cheers, Mom Host

After reading the invitation, participants responded based on the role that they were given. In some roles parents were offended, while other participants were designated to see nothing wrong with the invitation.

During the role play, parents answered the question: How do you feel and why? 

Continue reading