Noe Valley Voice May 2003

James Lick Middle School Report

Stopping Traffic

If you've driven through the busy Clipper/Noe intersection at the peak of morning traffic, then you've seen S.F. Parking and Traffic employee Vanessa Mathews calmly directing the chaos of parents rushing to drop their kids off before work, harried commuters frustrated by their slow progress down narrow Clipper Street, and a few hundred very lively middle-schoolers rushing to beat the tardy bell.

She's "Miss Mathews" to the students, and there's usually a crowd of them around her because in the midst of all the commotion, she manages to be a very good listener. Her secret: "I treat people the way I want to be treated."

If you're thinking she must be a candidate for sainthood, read on. Not only does Mathews repeat these amazing feats in the afternoon, but she also volunteers inside the school every day, monitoring tardies in the morning, serving on the school's Attendance Committee, working in the Parent Room, and doing whatever is needed around the school.

Mathews says what's most rewarding for her is "interacting with the young people, being a good listener, and hearing them out." Of course, she's had a lot of practice: both of her daughters attended James Lick. "I like feeling what it's like to be that age again."

What does she think of the drivers on Clipper? "They can be difficult, but once they know the routine, they comply," she responds, flashing a smile that lights up the sidewalk.

What Color Is Your Parapet?

If the smile on Principal Janice Daniels' face is extra bright this month, it's because we've just learned that the entire school will be repainted this summer, inside and out.

Neighbors and merchants, we invite your participation as we develop a new color scheme for our local art deco landmark. Take a walk around the building and schoolyard (parapets, bas relief, incised columns), then come inside and check out the period architectural detail (glazed clay tilework, light fixtures, and double grand staircase). Then, tell us your ideas!

Mrs. Daniels will convene a committee of neighbors, parents, teachers, students, and staff to make recommendations for color selection and for other campus renovations. While the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) will do the painting, a community workday in November, funded and coordinated by the non-profit school beautification project Every One Matters, will allow us to complete additional work on the building and landscaping. We'd love to hear from you.

"I'm Going to College"

Fifty James Lick Middle School seventh- and eighth-graders will spend the first week of Summer Break (June 9­13) visiting local college campuses and getting a feel for what it's like to be a college student. In addition to team-building activities and campus tours, students will learn about campus housing, student organizations, social clubs, career choices, and leadership opportunities. The free program, a partnership between San Francisco State University and the SFUSD, is sponsored by GEAR UP, a federally funded early college readiness program.

Speech! Speech!

Once again our intrepid James Lick orators made us all proud at the annual S.F. School District Oratorical Contest. This year we had four winners! Congratulations to Antonio Ayala, who earned a trophy for a speech he wrote himself, and Brittany Hoskins, Nemo Wilkinson, and Jeanetta Louis, who brought home trophies for poetry.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Trip

A group of students from James Lick will travel to Ashland, Ore., May 9­11 to view productions of Our Town, Daughter of the Revolution, and Romeo and Juliet. Additional activities for the weekend will include a two-hour backstage workshop with festival performers and a tour of nearby Crater Lake.

Coffee with the Principal

Parents, neighbors, and local merchants are invited to join Principal Janice Daniels for coffee between 9:30 and 11 a.m. on the last Friday of each month in Room 107. All school topics are open for discussion.

Community Alliance

The James Lick Community Alliance meetings, where students get to hang out with their Noe Valley neighbors, continue on the last Wednesday of the month at 12:30 p.m. Lunch is provided.

Make a Difference!

Please visit Room 107 or contact Gail Koucerek, Student Advisor, or Denise Rueda, Parent Liaison, at 695-5675. Share your ideas, your talents, your enthusiasm and support for a diverse and caring community.

Ms. Susan Cattoche


Mrs. Janice Daniels


James Lick Middle School

1220 Noe Street at 25th Street

San Francisco, CA 94114

(415) 695-5675