Tag Archives: Education

5th Annual STEMming the Gender Gap Day

For the 5th year running, The Hamlin School celebrated STEMming the Gender Gap Day on Friday, December 6. 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 were able to observe, interact, and learn, as they prepare to be tomorrow’s tech innovators and help #StemGenderGap!

This year Hamlin visited a variety of fantastic Bay Area organizations; we are incredibly thankful for these partnerships.

Students in grades K-7 had wonderful learning experiences at:

The Hiller Aviation Museum, The Bay Area Discovery Museum, Mission Science, The Apple Store, Butterfly Joint, Salesforce, UCSF, USS Hornet, Tesla, Sentry, and JU.ST

Students in Grade 8 had the opportunity to learn from the following speakers on campus:

Interview with Beth Brizendine Hall: Our New Lower School Division Head

What do you love about working at Hamlin?

The people! Being surrounded by individual and team excellence. Everyone who works at Hamlin, in any capacity, works hard and joyfully. We bring our full selves to work every day and support each other to be our best selves. We know that everything we do here is absolutely for the benefit of our students, and that makes doing the work part of our passion. We are a fast paced, hard-working, fun, and successful group of people. It is exhilarating.

What are you excited about for this year?

I’m excited to learn about everything that is Hamlin beyond the classroom. I do have many classrooms to learn about and plan to be in classrooms as much as possible, but learning about all the parent run committees, such as PLAID, The Student Ventures Program, and our room parents, has really allowed me to see a bigger Hamlin picture. I’m also exciting about continuing to build our community with many new teaching teams in Lower School. Coaching and mentoring teachers has been a big part of my work for many years, and I’m excited to deepen this experience and lead an already incredible team of educators.

How does being a parent inform your work in Lower School?

Patience and empathy. I know from having my own children that things can seem dire one day and then fine the next. I pay attention to what is going on, but always allow for time to give people, adults or children, a chance to grow and develop resiliency in problem solving. There are definitely times when immediate intervention is needed, but being a parent has helped me get a sense of when these times are, and when it is better to keep the pulse and “wait and see.” I’ve always used humor as something to help me be my best self and see the best in others, and that is definitely true with parenting, and working with children. I find them both to be hilarious and daunting at times, and I know that creating the environment where children and adults can be themselves is the first step to helping everyone thrive.

You’ve had a long-standing interest in birds, what lessons have your learned from that exploration?

Birds are incredibly accessible. They are everywhere! You don’t need a ticket or a certain geographical location to observe birds. Observation is an important tool in developing so many critical skills in children: patience, focus, listening, formulation of ideas based on what you see, noticing patterns, keeping notes, sketching, and above anything else, picking your head up from whatever you’re doing and looking around you. I have seen children who struggle with focus in the classroom be able to sit and watch a bird for 20 minutes without moving, they are riveted. In my own birding practice, I find it calms me and focuses my thinking. It also reminds me to look up and around, too!

Students Add Diversity To Their Classroom Library

At Hamlin, students never hesitate to honor our mission and “meet the challenges of their time.” Last year students in Grade 4 discovered that many of the books in their classroom library were outdated and didn’t truly represent diverse voices. Of the over 1,000 books, not many addressed topics like: non-traditional family structures, sexual orientation, gender identity, or the nuance of cultural identity. For example, one student found that most of the books about African-Americans were about the Civil Rights Movement, and didn’t connect to her life in 2019.

Using the website We Need Diverse Books, our girls were able to find a wider range of titles for their classroom reading pleasure. Working with their teachers, students ordered these new books from Ms. Cardone in our main library and from the San Francisco Public Library. After vetting several books, students then wrote a persuasive essay explaining why a particular book was important to them. Girls also took the opportunity to share their favorite books with each other, doing some wonderful peer-to-peer teaching.

The last component of this 6-week project was an invitation to speak with Hamlin administrators at a SCOPE meeting (our Standing Committee On Program Excellence). A group of girls articulated the importance of adding these 30 books to the Grade 4 library. Impressed, SCOPE members asked for a budget to purchase the new books.

These girls, (now Grade 5 students) came back down to the Lower School and unveiled the more diverse books for their younger peers. Their thoughtful work has created a legacy that future readers will enjoy for many moons.

 

Passion Project Winner: Hannah Do

Lifelong learning spurs excellence, growth, and renewal. This year, The Hamlin School is supporting eclectic faculty-inspired passion projects. Faculty members were encouraged to brainstorm something they are excited to explore or learn. They then submitted their ideas to the administration. At the start of all-faculty events one winner is selected to receive $250 to “take their passion and make it happen.” Mark Picketts (Director of Program and Professional Development) adopted this idea from a school that he visited in Utah. Areas of interest range from a teacher hoping to take a glass-blowing class, to another faculty member who would love to do a fly-fishing clinic.

There have already been four lucky winners. Recently, Hannah Do (Grade 4 Associate Teacher) was selected. Ms. Do’s family comes from Vietnam. She is excited to take some classes to work on her Vietnamese language skills.

“This passion project will allow me to work on developing my accent in Vietnamese. I’m looking forward to becoming more fluent in the language of my family.”

The next passion project drawing is coming soon, who will be our next winner?

Hamlin Continues Social and Emotional Learning Exploration

On Wednesday afternoon, Hamlin Middle School faculty members engaged in a learning exploration with Nick Haisman-Smith of the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning. Mr. Haisman-Smith and the Institute for Social Emotional Learning have visited Hamlin several times over the past year.

Among other areas, the Institute focuses on honing the following skills with educators:

  • Conduct classes in ways that build capacity for personal reflection, meaningful conversation, ritual and group harmony.
  • Use silence, creative expression, listening and cooperation to activate SEL in all subject areas.
  • Use SEL principles to facilitate more powerful academic curriculum design.
  • Exploit the link between literary themes, creative writing, storytelling and SEL skills.
  • Facilitate the use of clarification, support and proposed solutions in conversation to unlock the power of collective wondering.
  • Work with values to build teacher resilience, humanity and creativity.
  • Model the resilience, compassion and inspiration at the heart of SEL.

Hamlin faculty members participated in community building activities, defined and refined the purpose and goals of the middle school advisory program, learned new ways to tangibly bring SEL into advisories/classrooms, and reviewed open session training (a specific type of conversation held in advisory to support the social/emotional welfare of students). As part of the session, teachers shared best practices including ways to: celebrate birthdays with only words of appreciation, create class mantras, practice mindfulness, observe silent reflection, and honor attention (among many others).

The Institute for Social and Emotional Learning also worked with Lower School faculty at a different session.

To learn more, please visit: https://www.instituteforsel.net/

Hamlin Alums Return To Teach

We are very excited to welcome back Hamlin graduates Erin Minuth ’07 and Claudia Tropp ’09. Both women will be working as Associate Teachers in Grade 2.

After attending Hamlin, Ms. Minuth graduated from Convent, then Whitman College, where she played tennis and was a Geology major. She then studied at the Teton Science School in Wyoming and is currently enrolled in the BATTI program (Bay Area Teacher Training Institute). Some of her favorite Hamlin memories are: performing in Mulan, speaking at the Grade 4 VIP assembly, and exploring Yosemite in the snow. This year she is very excited to work with our students on reading and literacy.

After attending Hamlin, Ms. Tropp also graduated from Convent, then Santa Clara University, later earning a Master’s degree from The University of Southern California (USC) in Elementary Education. She was inspired to be a teacher by her time at Hamlin, and was especially influenced by Ms. Chisholm and Ms. Micha. Some of her favorite Hamlin memories are: field days, graduating on the lair (she was the first class to experience this), and countless others. This year she is looking forward to bringing her many talents to Grade 2.

Hamlin Alumnae Reflect On Their Education

On May 6, Hamlin welcomed back ten members of the class of 2015 who will soon be graduating from high school (two just did). 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 a few of the central themes that emerged.

-All the panelists spoke about how Hamlin prepared them to speak up and advocate for themselves in classes and at their high schools. Many cited the “confidence” that Hamlin instilled in them.

-Most of the panelists were involved in various forms of leadership at their high schools, including: being a peer advisor, participating in student government, being captains on sports teams, and leading clubs focused on art, inclusion, feminism, and politics.

-Panelists spoke about how they felt very prepared for high school. They cited the skills of time management and organization that they developed while at Hamlin. Many of the former students also mentioned the excellent education they received in math, science and technology.

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Gender Inclusivity Dialogue with PLAID

On Tuesday morning, our PLAID parent group and some of Hamlin’s administrators showed the film Creating Gender Inclusive Schools, followed by an engaging dialogue.

PLAID’s mission is to support a vibrant and inclusive environment in which all members of the community can celebrate their authentic selves. We foster open dialogue through family programs, parent education, and community outreach.

Politicians and 24-hour news outlets spend a lot of time talking about gender and schools, yet most people are left wondering: how are schools talking about gender with students in grade-appropriate ways? Creating Gender Inclusive Schools shows how one school approached this important subject, and along the way demonstrates the power of having a conversation with youth about gender.

A large group of parents and faculty members gathered to watch the film and talk about gender inclusivity in small groups, and as a larger group. Head of The Hamlin School, Wanda M. Holland Greene facilitated the session with care and compassion.

The following were some of the key ideas that surfaced from the both the film and dialogue:

-Being inclusive doesn’t mean just inviting people; you have to work at it.

-Gender is not about biological parts; a person gets to decide their gender.

-At Hamlin there is a space for girls with all sorts of gender expression.

-Students don’t have to follow rules around masculine and feminine stereotypes, such as favorite color choices, types of dress, and free time activities.

-Many students (in general) are not binary in terms of gender, they often have aspects of their identities that are masculine, feminine, or neither.

-When thinking about gender inclusivity, it is important for schools to create an environment where students are safe and seen.

-“Hamlin provides a supportive and nonjudgmental environment for my daughter.”

To learn more about the film and topic, please visit: https://www.genderspectrum.org/creating-gender-inclusive-schools/

 

 

Grade 6 Partners with OneProsper in India

OneProsper International is working to empower girls in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India to break the cycle of poverty. Our solution brings clean water, education and better nutrition to underprivileged girls living in the Thar Desert. We recognize that a girl in India faces many obstacles before she can earn an education. OneProsper takes a holistic approach to solve the crisis of female literacy.

Grade 6 social studies students are studying the eastern hemisphere and the issue of water scarcity in countries like India. As part of their learning experience they are focusing on the struggle of women in the northern Thar Desert where resources are scarce, forcing girls to forgo school in order to walk long distances to get water for their families. This spring our OneProsper partnership continues for a 3rd year with students doing individual fundraising to assist women and girls in India. (The above photo shows a girl who has benefited from our partnership).

Below is an update from One Prosper’s Founder, Raju Agarwal.

Thanks (in part) to the generous donation of the Hamlin Class of 2020 in 2018, 100 disadvantaged girls in the Thar Desert of India will start going to school in July 2019, at the start of the next school year.

We are currently in the process of constructing taankas (rainwater harvesting tanks) and khadins (farming dykes) for each of the 50 selected families (100 girls).

Taanka construction will be completed by end of April.  As a result, 100 girls will be freed from water collection. Khadin construction will be completed by end of June.

In June, 100 girls will receive bicycles, school uniforms, and school supplies. And, their mothers will receive biosand water filters and seeds and training to plant crops.

To learn more about One Prosper, please visit: https://www.oneprosper.org/

Hamlin Welcomes Nthabiseng Lizzy Matsetela

During most of March, South African teacher, Ms. Nthabiseng Lizzy Matsetela will be sharing her talents with our Hamlin students and faculty as part of the program Teach With Africa. Ms. Matsetela is especially focused on instilling a love of math in her students. Ms. Matsetela is partnered with Hamlin teacher, Gillian Curran. Hamlin has participated with Teach With Africa for several years and always welcomes the cross-cultural exchange of ideas and friendship.

Teach With Africa is a non-profit organization empowering students and teachers in a reciprocal exchange of teaching and learning in Africa and the United States. Teach With Africa seeks to reduce the embedded inequities in our societies by working to provide access to quality education in order to transform children’s lives, schools and communities.

Ms. Matsetela shares:

My name is Nthabiseng Lizzy Matsetela; I was born and bred in Limpopo province, and currently live in Johannesburg. I’m studying for my B.Ed. with University of South Africa (UNISA) and am in my second year. I want to be a teacher because I believe I have all the qualities needed to be a teacher and a role model. I enjoy reading inspirational books. I also enjoy exercising and sharing information either by teaching or by having positive conversations.

To learn more about Teach With Africa, please visit: https://www.teachwithafrica.org/