The Hamlin Middle School has temporarily moved its campus from Broadway to historic Fort Mason. Perched right above the Bay, the space is enormous, allowing our whole student body to be at school at the same time and still maintain social distancing protocols. The cavernous hall has primarily been used for art shows and artist studios and, with paintings from students in Ms. Feldman’s classes now adorning the walls, Hamlin Middle Schoolers are continuing that artistic legacy!
Although we miss our beloved Stanwood Hall, having all members of the Middle School together makes it more than worth the move. This transition, along with all the changes that have been required since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have certainly illustrated how flexible and resilient Hamlin girls can be. We knew this year would be an adventure and we are excited to start the next chapter of this journey in such a beautiful new space.
On Wednesday, December 16th, Hamlin welcomed San Francisco Mayor London Breed to our all-school assembly. Mayor Breed talked about being raised by her grandmother, who was a strong and fierce woman and taught her the value of taking care of your community. Mayor Breed also learned from her grandmother how important it is to be resilient, hopeful and to stand strong in your values. Talking about her experiences as a student and about the teachers that inspired her, Mayor Breed reminded all the Hamlin girls to listen to their parents and teachers and told us that it’s ok to make mistakes–it just matters how we learn and grow from those mistakes. Mayor Breed thoughtfully answered some questions from our community and told us about how she takes care of herself: long walks in the city, drinking plenty of water, getting exercise, and hanging out with her new plant friends. We are so honored to have been able to hear from such a strong, caring leader!
Hamlin’s Opening Assembly looked a little different this year. Even though over 600 students, teachers, and parents logged in to a virtual version, you could still feel the excitement of the start of a new year and a deep love of Hamlin coming through the screen. Student body president, Audrey Spaly, introduced this year’s theme: “I Am Changing.” Ms. Holland-Greene beautifully sang the lines from a song in Broadway’s Dreamgirls that inspires our theme:
“Look at me, I am changing. I am trying every way I can. I am changing–I’ll be better than I am.”
At a moment in history that requires all of us to be willing to change, to adapt, and truly to meet the challenges of our times, the girls of Hamlin are ready to begin.
Last week, Grade 4 students visited Slide Ranch as part of our Table to Farm Program.
Table-to-Farm field trips give Hamlin girls a chance to get their hands in the dirt and experience the process of growing food, tying in conversations about food justice, environmental sustainability, and the role of women, immigrants, and young farmers in the changing face of agriculture.
-Milking a goat named Sweet Pea and tasting the milk
-Gathering leaves and plants, then feeding them to the goats
-Picking lettuce, chives, mint, and sorrel from the garden; then eating those plants in rice paper rolls
-Sifting compost to make potting soil
During the month of January, Grade 8 students followed their scientific passions, created their own experiments, and learned a ton in the process. All of the hard work and investigation concluded Thursday with STEM Night.
The days leading up to STEM Night were an opportunity to go through the science exploration process, consider multiple proposals, then practice failing and trying again through many iterations (in some cases 20+).
All the projects involved energy/force in some way, working in the realms of physics, chemistry, engineering, and robotics.
Science teacher, Ms. Gillian Curran adds:
I provided guiding questions, but they figured everything out themselves. In the month leading up to STEM Night, every student had something they were super engaged with, and was self-driven. As part of the work, each girl was in a research group that figured out the science behind the various projects. During February they will create iBooks about the science topics in their experiments, they will then teach part of the upcoming units.
Our students delved into the following topics (among others):
For many, many years, The Hamlin School has worked to support families experiencing homelessness in San Francisco through a profound partnership with Hamilton Families.
Hamilton Families’ mission is to end family homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Our largest event connected to Hamilton is our annual Harvest. This year over 200 Hamlin students, parents, and faculty members prepared food for families currently experiencing homelessness. On Saturday, January 27, we made vegetable lasagnas, salads, fresh garlic bread, and apple crisps. The following day a group of Hamlin Grade 8 students served the food at Hamilton Families. Altogether, Harvest provided nourishment for 300 people.
The event took place between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and consisted of two work shifts. Between the shifts, Wanda Holland Greene (Head of School) and Tomiquia Moss (Executive Director of Hamilton Families), addressed the volunteers. Ms. Holland Greene shared inspiring words and led everyone in the song With My Own Two Hands. Ms. Moss stated that we can end family homelessness in San Francisco and stressed how important is for kids at Hamilton to be known, loved, and supported by their community.
Special thanks to Hamlin parents Betsy Ahlstrand and Nichole Sullivan for helping to organize this wonderful event.
For more information about Hamilton Families, please visit: https://hamiltonfamilies.org/
On January 20, 2018, Women’s March San Francisco united with multiple cities around the world to reaffirm the commitment to building a positive and just future for all.
The March began with a rally at the Civic Center, designed to engage and empower all people supporting intersectional feminism, women’s rights, human rights, civil rights, disability rights, LGBTQIA rights, workers rights, immigrant rights, reproductive, social and environmental justice (Hoodline).
Hamlin parents, students and alumnae, shared in the spirit of the day.
More information about Hamlin in the Women’s March appears in this SF Weekly article: http://www.sfweekly.com/news/youth-voices-surface-at-womens-march/
On January 17, Carole Shorenstein Hays and the Curran Theatre ushered in the 2018 season with a powerful performance by a few San Francisco Bay Area schools.
Audiences to the Curran’s press conferences were treated to a rendition of “You Will Be Found” from “Dear Evan Hansen,” performed by students from Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, the Hamlin School and Cathedral School for Boys — a fitting accompaniment to Shorenstein Hays’ announcement of the theater’s new student education program, the Curran Angels, which will underwrite children’s attendance at the theater. Lynne and Marc Benioff are lead sponsors (SFGATE).
Our Hamlin School chorus sang from the seated area to guests who were gathered on stage, creating a dramatic audio and visual experience for those in attendance.
One student shared:
I thought it was really cool that we got perform with high school students from SOTA (Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts). Being with them elevated our performance and was a great experience.
For more information on the performances coming to the Curran, please visit: https://sfcurran.com/
This video shows the final rehearsal for the event:
Created by our Food Manager, Tali Biale, middle school students from The Hamlin School are participating in Chef’s Table, where 15 girls meet in the afternoon, using fresh ingredients to prepare delicious dishes.
Today, students prepared Vietnamese spring rolls using mint, cilantro, basil, beets, avocados, onions, tofu, carrots, peppers, and a variety of other ingredients and sauces.
Ms. Biale states:
The vision is to have girls create their own food, be part of the process, and build community around collaborative cooking.
A Hamlin student shared:
Being a teen in San Francisco you usually rely on take out food or your parents cooking. Food tastes better because you know exactly what went into it and how it was made. It was a fun learning experience with friends.
Keep an eye out for the next Chef’s Table taking place in February in the East Dining Room.
For many, many years, The Hamlin School has worked to support homeless families in San Francisco through a profound partnership with Hamilton Families. A child born into this world has no control over their situation; our partnership strives to address hunger, literacy, and provide awareness of homelessness faced by some of our city’s most vulnerable citizens.
Hamilton Families was established as an emergency overnight homeless shelter in 1985. At that time the shelter was located in the Haight-Ashbury district and was open nightly from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.
These days family homelessness in San Francisco has increased by more than 90% from 2007 to 2014. Over 2,000 children were homeless in 2014 and it took most families nearly nine months to access temporary shelter. Hamilton Families is working to address this crisis by helping families quickly find permanent housing. Progress in communities across the nation over the last few years has affirmed that an end to family homelessness is an achievable goal (Hamilton Families Website).
Hamlin’s connection to Hamilton dates back to the late 1990s when Hamlin’s Lend-A-Hand started partnering with the center. Lend-A-Hand is Hamlin’s dynamic Parents Association service learning program. It is open to all families and offers service opportunities with San Francisco organizations that focus on hunger, homelessness, and literacy.