Noe Valley Voice December-January 2006

School Report

Here's the scoop from volunteers at James Lick Middle School and Alvarado Elementary. Next issue, we'll hear from Fairmount School as well.


Winter Wonderland Ball

Snowflakes will be dancing to a hip-hop beat when our students dress up for a semiformal dinner dance Friday evening, Dec. 8. The art class is providing the special snowflake décor, and adult volunteers will prepare and serve the festive meal. Food will be served at 5 p.m., followed by dancing from 6 to 8 p.m. A $10 donation covers both food and music, with proceeds benefiting the school's 75th-anniversary yearbook. Yearbook adviser Tobi Hacker is coordinating the dressy event.

Benefit for Yucatan Trip

Grownups will be able to enjoy their own dance party at El Rio on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 5 to 9 p.m. Miguel Govea and his popular band, Los Compas, will provide the music. Proceeds will benefit the students' field trip to Yucatan, Mexico, in February. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. We will also sell plates of rice, beans, salad, and chicken for $5.

Leveling the Playing Field

Nurses from UCSF Medical School were on campus four days in November to provide free physical examinations for students planning to play on our soccer, volleyball, and track teams. Additional free health screenings will include scoliosis screening on Jan. 11, hearing tests on Jan. 23, and vision exams on March 16. These screenings are especially valuable for students who would not otherwise have access to medical services.

It's Bee Season!

Our language arts teachers have been busy holding in-class spelling contests, as well as helping students learn common roots and affixes, in preparation for competition in a schoolwide spelling bee on Tuesday, Dec. 12. James Lick's top speller will advance to the next level of the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The competition was founded in 1935 to foster language understanding and to improve spelling, vocabulary, and word usage.

Science Fair Gives Moms the Edge

Why is it that moms always remember things that kids want to forget? Last year, one of our students compared the memories of boys and girls his age with those of middle-aged women. His award-winning experiment used a sophisticated statistical analysis to reveal that moms really do have better memories than their children. Another student compared the effectiveness of popular hair products, supporting his conclusions with photographs of himself wearing various sprays and gels.

You can see literally hundreds of amazing new student experiments in our gym on Wednesday, Jan. 10, beginning at 6 p.m. The best entries will advance to citywide competition at the Randall Museum in February. Come see why this is such a popular event!

Holiday Showcase: A holiday showcase of talent on Thursday, Dec 14, will feature performances by our school's new rock bands at 6.30 p.m. in our lovely auditorium. Suggested donation is only $3!

Chats with the Principal: This month's chat with Principal Carmelo Sgarlato happens at a special time: Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 5 p.m. Regular monthly chats at 8:30 a.m. on the third Friday of the month resume on Jan. 19, 2007.

Wish List: The Bulldog Cafe needs a stainless-steel percolator-type coffeemaker...the bigger, the better. If you have a spare one hiding in your basement or storage closet, please contact the school and leave a message for parent liaison Leonor Jackson or café coordinator Jewli Judd.

Final Tours: Our last school tours for prospective families will be on Thursdays, Dec. 7 and 14, from 9 to 10 a.m. No reservations are necessary.

New Web Address: As we go to press, the school's primary web address is moving to the James Lick PTSA web site: www.james

--Sue Cattoche


Festive Winter Fair

One of the PTA's largest and most popular events is just around the corner! Get ready for the Alvarado Winter Fair on Tuesday, Dec. 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Alvarado school cafeteria. Families and staff all pitch in and bring a favorite dish, to create a magnificent feast featuring foods from around the world. The students perform and sing on stage for entertainment. Seasonal arts and crafts are provided for children and their parents.

Learn how to make paper cranes, bead icicles and snowflakes, adorn wreaths, and create unique garlands. Shop at the PTA Holiday Marketplace! The marketplace features art and jewelry designed by some of Alvarado's talented teachers, various homemade gifts created by PTA families, Alvarado T-shirts and sweatshirts, a Spanish book fair, and note cards designed by the students. Proceeds from the sale of these items will fund the Winter Fair event and support other PTA programs. Mark your calendars!

School Is Clean and Green

On Saturday, Nov. 4, Alvarado was a busy place as nearly 100 volunteers descended upon the school for its annual workday. Despite all the extracurricular activities that occur on the weekends in the fall, the school had a fantastic turnout.

The halls and classrooms are now clean and organized. Teachers have new shelves, computer desks, and pulley systems. Furniture and walls have fresh paint, rugs are cleaner, and there are new planters in the upper yard containing cheerful young plants ready to thrive, just like our children.

Thanks to the parent and community volunteers and donors, who make this annual event one of the most rewarding of the school year, the children's learning environment has truly improved. A special thank you to the following local businesses for their generous donations: Action Rentals, Aidells Sausage Company, Andiamo Deli, Beronio Lumber, Café Ponte, La Victoria Panaderia and Bakery, Noe Valley Bakery, Martha and Brothers Coffee Company, and Happy Boy Farms at the Noe Valley Farmers' Market. Please show them some appreciation for their support of the neighborhood's public schools.

Tuesday Tours

Interested in visiting Alvarado Elementary School? School tours are currently offered every Tuesday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. Please call the school office to schedule an appointment.

--Dan Willhite


Alvarado Elementary School
Gene Barresi, Principal
625 Douglass Street at Alvarado

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

James Lick Middle School
Carmelo Sgarlato, Principal
1220 Noe Street at 25th Street
415-695-5675 OR: