Noe Valley Voice June 2005

School Report

This month's School Report features news from two local public schools-- James Lick Middle School and Alvarado Elementary School--provided by school parents and volunteers. Look for a report from Fairmount School in July.


Music, Art, and Fashion on the Runway

On the evening of June 1, three of James Lick Middle School's most cherished annual events combined for a gala evening of student talent, art, and fashion. When families arrived to applaud their aspiring American Idol contenders, they were also treated to a display of the best of this year's student art work and a preview of the latest teen fashion trends, live onstage. Thanks to all the teachers who spent hours above and beyond their regular duties preparing our students for these activities, and to Vanessa Mathews, who spent hours on the phone following up with the dozens of department stores, cosmetics companies, and clothing manufacturers who donated merchandise for the fashion show.

Seventh-Graders Win Scholarships

Congratulations to the 20 James Lick seventh-graders who applied for admission to the B.A.Y. Fund scholarship program. Counselor Gina Martino reports that all were accepted and will be the first in their families to attend college!

They are committed to participating in the 10-year program, which will follow them with academic and mentor support through middle school and high school, and provide each with $1,000 in scholarships for up to five years of college.

Thank You, Neighbors

Was it the wild Carnaval music or the frenzied dancing that moved our neighbors to open their hearts and their wallets so generously at our car wash and food sale on May 9? Thanks to all who stopped by to support the school yearbook project. And people are still talking about the delicious Aidells sausage sandwiches sold at Bell Market on May 14 as a benefit for James Lick. They were so good that many went back to buy more!

Year Ends with a Bang

On Friday, May 20, parents bearing large trays of food were arriving at the school throughout the morning, preparing for the staff appreciation luncheon in the Faculty Lounge. The following day, our incoming sixth-grade class enjoyed an ice cream social and orientation. On May 25, Mr. Grimstead took his Algebra class on a seven-mile hike through Muir Woods and Mount Tamalpais in Marin County. Sports awards were handed out at a potluck dinner on May 26. Our dancers and drummers woke up the streets of San Francisco in the Carnaval parade, May 29. Eighth-graders are planning a dance with a live deejay on June 3 and a field trip to Lake Anza June 7.

Summer at James Lick

The James Lick campus will host summer sessions for City College students on Tuesday and Thursday nights June 7 through Aug. 21. Summer programs for James Lick students and the Beacon Program, which provides creative, educational, and recreational resources for children and their families after school, will run from June 20 through July 22.

Graduation for Principal

At 2 p.m. June 10, our eighth-graders will put on their caps and gowns and take one last stroll through the halls of James Lick before embarking on new careers as high school students. They will promise to keep in touch with their friends and say goodbye to the teachers who taught, inspired, and so patiently guided them through the complex and challenging three years of middle school.

We will also be saying a reluctant goodbye to our principal, Ms. Janice Daniels. She won't be wearing a cap and gown, but she, too, will be "graduating," as she moves on to a new position at Balboa High School next year. We send her our gratitude, and best wishes for happiness and success.

Keeping in Touch

If you need information about James Lick, please call 695-5675, or our message number, 436-0349, or drop by the school at 1220 Noe Street at Clipper. Thank you for sharing your talents, ideas, and enthusiasm for our public schools.

--Sue Cattoche


Cinco de Mayo Road Show

Our colorful Cinco de Mayo celebration, featuring performances by the Alvarado children, took place on Friday, May 6, in the school cafeteria, with a repeat that evening for parents. In addition, the kids took the show on the road this year, with additional performances at Harvey Milk and Sherman elementary schools. The Sherman students responded by performing their own assembly at Alvarado. In conjunction with Cinco de Mayo, bookseller Mariuccia Iaconi Books International (MIBI) of Potrero Hill held a sale of Spanish-language children's books to benefit programs sponsored by the Alvarado PTA.

Sun Shines on Spring Carnival

The annual Alvarado Spring Carnival took place on Saturday, May 14, under sunny skies, thanks to Noe Valley's legendary weather. Highlights included a cakewalk, an art show, T-shirt decorating, a raffle, performances by the children, and wonderful food from all over Latin America.

Max SF Gallery was the setting for "The Velvet Hammer," a new Alvarado event for grownups which debuted on May 19 showcasing the arts and other exciting programs at Alvarado, along with a wine raffle!

Ask a Teacher to Dance

May 2 to 8 was National Teacher Appreciation Week, but the appreciation for our staff lasts all year long at Alvarado. This year, the parents catered a luncheon for the teachers on May 19, and the teachers will show their appreciation by providing brunch for the school's volunteers on June 3. Parents will take the teachers dancing later that night at Il Pirato on Potrero Hill.

The Woodchucks Thank You

We'd also like to thank the voters who passed Proposition H last year, which will, over time, restore some of the funding for school sports, the arts, libraries, and school nurses.

In addition, we appreciate all who helped us fund the Junior Woodchucks program for some of our third-graders. This six-week program will merge instruction in basic woodworking skills with the teaching of skills across the curriculum.

The children will build projects that will help them develop planning and sequencing skills, and they will experiment with levers, cams, screws, and other wood and mechanical marvels. Working together with their peers will encourage cooperation. In math, students will apply abstract concepts as they estimate, measure, use fractions, calculate angles, and lay out plans. In science, students will learn about the characteristics of wood, where it comes from, and the role of forests in our environment. In social studies, they will begin to understand how houses and cities developed prior to the industrial revolution. The children will have so much fun taking part in a program like this, the learning will last a lifetime!

Farewell to Another Principal

On June 10, as we say goodbye and good luck to our graduating fifth-grade class, we will also be saying farewell to our principal, David Weiner, who has announced that he will be moving on at the end of this school year. He is sure to have every success in his next endeavor. Good luck, Dave!

How to Contact Us

Call Alvarado School at 415-695-5695 or visit the school's web site at The address of the school is 625 Douglass Street at Alvarado Street.

--Rebecka Hernandez Wright


Alvarado Elementary School PTA


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