Noe Valley Voice February 2005

School Report

This month's School Report features news from our local public schools James Lick Middle School and Alvarado Elementary. In the March issue, we'll get the scoop from Fairmount Elementary as well.


Looks Can Be Deceiving

With the end of production only two days away, the eighth-graders in Toby Hacker's yearbook class exhibit remarkable grace under deadline pressure as they take time out to talk about their work.

Assistant editor Leila Marks-Block explains why she suggested this year's yearbook theme, "Looks Can Be Deceiving." She believes that people who only see the outside sometimes misjudge James Lick, located in the heart of Noe Valley at Noe and 25th streets. "This really is a warm and welcoming place when you come inside. It's a real community," she says.

Her classmates point out there are 540 students at the school, but that some people blame everyone for the actions of a few. "Most of the students here are good kids," the yearbook class insists. "The ones who act out mainly want attention."

The young writers and editors emphasize that many Lick students attain a high level of achievement and are literate in two languages. They cite the GATE (gifted and talented) and Spanish-immersion programs at the school. The students also praise their teachers for supporting a broad array of activities, including the talent show, Carnaval, team sports, and after-school programs such as Ms. Dalmau's Cuban dance class.

Ms. Hacker's yearbook students learn a variety of practical skills, including technology, fundraising, sales, and marketing. For the first time this year, the yearbook is based entirely on digital technology. Student head of technology Dominic Butler-Parker acknowledges the stress of meeting a deadline: "It's like being fired if you fail."

The class raised $500 selling raffle tickets and has already pre-sold 100 of the 250 yearbooks. Future ad mavens Jasmine Tong and Jasmine Magsaysay sold several pages of advertising to merchants and family members. The class is even taking advantage of the cold weather to sell hot chocolate at lunchtime on Fridays.

Watch for another fundraising car wash as soon as the weather warms up in March, when most of these poised and articulate students will be enrolled in the school's new journalism class.

Help a Student Go to Mexico

The James Lick community is pleased that a group of 10 or so students will be flying off to Merida, Mexico, on the school's annual trip Feb. 18 to 27. But the students, parents, and teachers wish that more kids could take part in the adventure. Despite the best efforts of the school's hard-working families, the number of students who can afford this life-shaping experience has declined substantially in recent years. One parent who was able to send children in the past finds that her housecleaning income will not cover the cost of sending her youngest child this year.

It would be a shame if any of the students were deprived of this educational trip, which supports the school's curriculum, enhances the Spanish-immersion program, and deepens students' sensitivity to other cultures. James Lick is still determined to find more money for them, so if you can contribute funds or ideas, call the school at 695-5675 or leave a message at 436-0349.

Sold to Salsa Dancer No. 2!

One way you can help support student trips to Mexico (and to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival) is to attend James Lick's annual salsa dance party and silent auction on Saturday, Feb. 5, from 6 to 10 p.m., at SomArts, 934 Brannan Street. Even if you don't capture the grand prize (airfare to South America for two!), you can sway to a live salsa band, sip refreshments, and bid on dozens of other items, for only $15.

Did You Know?

April 15 is the deadline to apply for the new San Francisco Working Families Credit, an income supplement for low-income, employed families with at least one dependent child. Come to the parent room at James Lick or call the city treasurer at 554-5678 for more information.

Which graduate of the James Lick Class of 2004 is featured on Muni shelter ads promoting school attendance? Hint: he bears a family resemblance to Ms. Rueda, James Lick's parent liaison.

Don't forget the James Lick Science Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 6 to 7:30 p.m., in the school gym. It should be astronomical.

Invite your friends and family to dine at Chevy's Restaurant in the Stonestown Mall on Thursday, March 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and James Lick will receive 20 percent of your bill. You can pick up a flyer to bring with you in the parent room at the school.

Donations Gratefully Accepted

A big thank you to Voice photographer Pamela Gerard for generously donating supplies to the James Lick art program. (Does anyone have a DVD player you aren't using? The school does not have one.)

Keeping in Touch

The James Lick Merchants/Community Alliance meetings will continue on the last Wednesday of the month at 12:30 p.m., with lunch provided. Join Principal Janice Daniels for coffee, refreshments, and discussion of school-related issues between 9:30 and 11 a.m. on the last Friday of each month.

How to Contact Us

Call 695-5675, or our message number, 436-0349. Or drop by the school at 1220 Noe Street and visit parent liaison Denise Rueda in Room 108. Thank you for sharing your talents, enthusiasm, and support.

--Sue Cattoche


Lunar New Year Parade Shines on Neighborhood

On the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 18, several hundred children, dressed in red, will march around the Alvarado School neighborhood carrying ribbons and banners in observance of the Lunar New Year. Many students will wear costumes honoring their family heritage. This annual celebration of the school's cultural diversity is quite a colorful spectacle.

Celebrate African American History

Another vibrant cultural celebration is the annual African American History Assembly, held on Friday, Feb. 25, at 9 a.m., and repeating at 6 p.m. The community is welcome to attend this event, featuring live performances by a super talented lineup of students.

A Not So Shabby Auction

Mark Saturday, March 19, on your calendar for Alvarado School's 2005 Not So Silent Auction at Fort Mason Center. The year's biggest fundraiser, the auction has raised as much as $40,000 for the school's arts and literacy programs, all in one evening. The highlight of the night is a lively auction of large artworks, each produced by an entire classroom of talented children working in collaboration with a distinguished local artist. This event also includes a silent auction of gift certificates, getaways, classes, and goods and services from local merchants and restaurants. The auction is open to the public, and tickets will go on sale in February. For more information, please contact the school.

Community Meetings Set

Over the next two months, the school will be holding two meetings to get input from the Alvarado community on next year's academic plan and budget.

The first is on Tuesday, Feb. 1, and the second will be Tuesday, March 8, at 6 p.m. The Alvarado School Site Committee will have a final vote on the plan and budget, before submitting it to the district.

To Learn More About Alvarado

Call the school at 695-5695 or visit the school's web site at Or you may come in and chat with Principal David Weiner on the first Friday of each month from 8 to 9 a.m. in the Alvarado cafeteria. The address is 625 Douglass Street at Alvarado Street.

--Alvarado PTA President
Rebecka Hernandez Wright


James Lick Middle School
1220 Noe Street at 25th Street
Janice Daniels, Principal

Alvarado Elementary School
625 Douglass Street at Alvarado
David Weiner, Principal

Fairmount Elementary School
65 Chenery Street at Randall
Karling Aguilera-Fort, Principal