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Girls Raise Funds To Help Australia

Millions of acres have burned in the recent Australia fires causing tremendous loss for both people and animals.

This destruction did not go unnoticed by a group of altruistic lower school students. Annabelle G. came up with the initial idea to raise money to help address the fires in Australia. She wanted students to donate change (instead of a bake sale), so that anyone could participate regardless of the amount. Annabelle brought this idea to Eco-Council where it was approved. Girls then presented to the Lower School at an assembly last week. Money is being donated each day into the buckets at our school entrances. Funds will be split between the Australia Red Cross, World Animal Protection, and NSW Rural Fire Service.

To learn more about these organizations, please visit:

Hamlin Hosts Common Sense Media Teen Panel

On January 15 a large group of Grade 8 students from schools all over San Francisco (including Kinnari A. and Chloe H. from Hamlin) shared thoughts about their media use. The event was facilitated by Dana Blum from Common Sense Media.

Since 2003, Common Sense has been the leading source of entertainment and technology recommendations for families and schools. Every day, millions of parents and educators trust Common Sense reviews and advice to help them navigate the digital world with their kids. Together with policymakers, industry leaders, and global media partners, we’re building a digital world that works better for all kids, their families, and their communities.

The panelists addressed several topics. Below are some of the items that were discussed:

-The use of social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok

-The drawbacks of anonymous posting on social media

-The allure of watching videos for entertainment and connectivity

-The addictive aspects of online apps and websites

-The use of click bait to keep young people online

-The positive aspects of learning to build a computer and play a ukulele using tutorial videos on YouTube

-The downside of phone usage in terms of sleep deprivation

-The connection between excessive media use and anxiety/depression

To learn more about Common Sense Media, please visit:

Exploring Racism and Virtual Reality with Dr. Cogburn

On January 14 Dr. Courtney D. Cogburn from Columbia University demonstrated a virtual reality experience that she has developed to help combat racism. Hamlin faculty members participated in this activity in Ms. Holland Greene’s office.

Dr. Cogburn directs a research group that uses innovative means to characterize and measure racism and evaluate its effects on mental and physical health.

Associate Professor Courtney D. Cogburn employs a transdisciplinary approach to examining the role of racism in the production of racial inequalities in health. She is on the faculty of the Columbia Population Research Center and a faculty affiliate of the Center on African American Politics and Society and the Data Science Institute. The National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at the Columbia School of Journalism have supported her work.

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Entrepreneurship in Guatemala with Madi Lusk ’11

In late December Hamlin alum Madi Lusk visited with students in Ms. Kane’s Spanish Honors class. Ms. Lusk graduated from Skidmore College in 2019, and is currently immersed in a prestigious Princeton University fellowship working with aspiring entrepreneurs in Guatemala.

Girls posed questions in Spanish to Ms. Lusk about her Hamlin experience, her University High School experience, her college experience, and her decision to work in Guatemala with young people interested in careers in STEM. Ms. Lusk spoke about a program she started to teach high school girls about programming and engineering. She responded to all the student questions in fluent Spanish with a beautiful accent, but also shared that it is challenging to speak Spanish all day long in Guatemala. Ms. Lusk mentioned that she was thankful for her Hamlin education, which gave her the confidence to work in a primarily male-dominated space.

Ms. Kane adds.

“Hamlin Spanish students loved hearing about Madi’s journey and how she is able to take the lessons and the language skills she learned at Hamlin and apply them in an international setting.”

Planting Trees To Help Our Environment

April marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. With this in mind, this year’s environmental theme is “Earth Day Birthday,” with a focus on climate change. This year we are also supporting The Canopy Project and hope to plant 4,320 trees as a school by June.

Trees filter the air and stave off the effects of climate change. Trees also reverse the impacts of land degradation and provide food, energy and income to communities. In just one year, a mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen as 10 people inhale!

The Canopy Project improves our shared environment by planting trees across the globe. Since 2010, Earth Day Network has planted millions of trees with The Canopy Project, working worldwide to strengthen communities.

Earth Day Network has a goal of planting 7.8 billion trees- one tree for every person on earth- in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020.

Our Hamlin Environmental Ambassador Club has set a goal of raising funds to pay for 10 trees per student (at $1 a tree). We have already made progress toward this goal through the efforts of a hot cocoa sale and the work of “The Green Team Sewing Machine,” which sold reusable napkins and scrunchies at Winterfest. In the coming weeks girls are planning on asking for tree donations in lieu of traditional birthday gifts.

To learn more about this important project, please visit:

Candy Pop Art in Grade 7

Art students began this project by choosing an image of their favorite candy. The image was cropped to create an interesting composition. Using the technique of scale and proportion students drew their images and painted them using Gouache paint (an opaque paint that is a cross between watercolor and acrylic, known for its saturated brilliant color).

Pop Art is a style of art based on simple bold images of everyday items, such as soup cans painted in bright colors. Pop artists create pictures of consumer product labels and packaging, photos of celebrities, comic strips, and animals.

ASA Drama Presents Global Folk Tales

Hamlin students in our dynamic After School Academy (ASA) performed the eclectic and upbeat Folk Tales for Fun in front of two audiences this week.

Let the Navigator from Folk Tales for Fun take you on a magnificent tour of Germany, Egypt, Turkey, Liberia and more with entertaining, universal folk tales both new and familiar to children.  With the help of Decipher, the play’s foreign language translator, and I Don’t Know, a character who surprisingly knows it all, you can bridge the gap between cultures by experiencing these six stories from other countries.

Hamlin Student Wins San Francisco Novel Contest

Emily M. won first place in a citywide novel writing contest called Kids Write Now! hosted by the SF Public Library in partnership with WritopiaLab and NaNoWriMo.  Based at the Richmond District Branch Library, the program challenged kids (10-14 years) to write as much as they could during the month of November. Inspired by writerly advice she received from Katherine Rundell during the author’s recent to Hamlin, Emily dove into this opportunity with great relish. She worked on her book every day, completing 106 pages during November. The novel is in the fantasy genre with a female protagonist named Venus. Emily hopes to finish the book in the coming weeks. The student coordinator and originator of this wonderful program is Hamlin alum, Kaya Dierks ’17 (standing next to Emily).

To learn more about the contest please visit:


California Self-Portraits in Grade 3

Earlier in the school year Grade 3 students made beautiful California Self-Portraits as part of their Social Studies curriculum. Saaya did the above piece and and shared this:

My favorite place in California is Pinnacles National Park because the slight breeze on your face feels nice. If you ever decide to go on a hike with no work, good luck! If you do go there are big rocks.

2019 Hour of Code @Hamlin

December brings a weeklong celebration of coding and STEM. Students in all grades Kindergarten through Grade 8 are participating in various activities centered on a dynamic exploration of technology and related fields. Our students join kids from around the globe in this engaging endeavor.

Throughout the week students have been practicing their coding skills using the following:

Lightbot, Cargo-bot, Playgrounds, 7 Billion Humans, Human Resource Machine, Kodable, App Lab, Dance Party, Blockly, Classic Maze, and Compute it.

On Wednesday morning we welcomed guest speaker Melinda Lu (Director of Engineering) from VSCO (a creative channel). Ms. Lu spoke about the culture of VSCO and her early interest in science and technology. She also answered specific student questions related to her workday and daily activities at VSCO.

This STEM focused week has been a wonderful and profound learning experience for our entire school.