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Archive for the ‘Schools’ Category

May-29-2014

Congratulations to the Class of 2014 at George Washington High!


Photo by @sfturkeytrot

You can’t beat that backdrop for a graduation ceremony! Congrats to the Class of 2014.

Sarah B.

4:50 pm | Posted under Schools | 3 comments
May-20-2014

Local links: Unimpressed Bison, free summer staycations, Skee-ball suit & more

Good day, Richmond District’ers! Here are some local links to kick off your Tuesday…

  • Even the Golden Gate Park bison got a taste of the Bay to Breakers madness on Sunday when a participant leaped the fence and began taunting them in their paddock. As you can see from the video above, he got pretty close and despite previous reports, was fully clothed. The man was arrested according to this funny tweet from the Richmond District station: “@sfpdrichmond: Officers just arrested a naked man in the bison paddock in GG Park. The bison seemed unimpressed.”
  • The Richmond District Neighborhood Center has published their Summer Staycation Schedule, which includes kayaking in the bay, camping at the Presidio, an overnight at the Zoo and a Bike Day in Golden Gate Park. They’re also adding two two Craftcations to the agenda, one for families and one for older youth and adults. All programs are free but space is limited so get all the details here (PDF).
  • Now covering the Inner Richmond: New app Washio claims people spend 13 hours per month doing laundry, so they want to reduce that to “just seconds” so you can get back to having real fun. Load up their app, place an order, and they’ll come pick up your laundry or dry cleaning from your home or office, and return your clean clothes back to you within 24 hours. No word yet on whether they lose a sock every load like the rest of us.
  • Game on! Skee-ball’ers that play in a national league at the Buckshot Bar on Geary are locking horns with the makers of Skee-Ball, who allege that the league name – Brewskee Ball – is infringing on their trademark, despite giving them permission to use the name in 2005. This has prompted a Skee The People drive to raise money for legal funds to fight the company. They’ve raised $22k so far. Can’t we all just skee along? [via SFGate]
  • Star of the Sea School (345 8th Avenue) is hosting their 41st annual festival on Saturday, May 31st from 10am to 4pm. The popular festival features food, games, crafts, a bouncy house, live entertainment and the always popular Touch-A-Truck when city agencies bring their police cars, fire trucks, street cleaners and other manner of big trucks for kids to hang out on. Admission to the festival is free but there is a $7 fee for entry to the Touch-A-Truck area.
  • Do you love all manner of flora and fauna? Do you love telling other people about it? Then we have just the opportunity for you. The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park is recruiting volunteers to lead group tours and conduct school visits. The annual 7-week training session runs every Wednesday from August 6 through September 17 from 1-4pm, and costs just $60 cost. If you’re interested, contact Erika Frank, Director of Volunteers & Education, at (415) 637-4326 or efrank@sfcof.org.
  • Green Apple Books was honored at City Hall last week during Small Business Week. Oddly, the cute little girl in the photo with Supervisor Mar and Green Apple owner Pete Mulvihill is holding a RED apple… Name change coming?


5:04 am | Posted under Business, Golden Gate Park, Schools | 2 comments
May-8-2014

Local Links: Mayfaire Carnival, grad research, fundraisers, Green Apple & more


The labyrinth at Lands End. Photo by Stan-the-Rocker

Happy Thursday everyone! Here are some local links to distract you from the fog…

  • Argonne School’s Mayfaire Carnival fundraiser is this Saturday, featuring bouncing castles, a climbing wall, a dunk tank, crafts, games, a used book sale, raffle tickets for prizes, a silent auction and food. It runs from 11am until 4pm on the Argonne campus at 18th & Cabrillo. Admission is free.
  • A Stanford grad student is conducting a research project that investigates social interactions, specifically among neighbors, in the neighborhoods of Richmond District and North Beach. If you’d like to help her out, take the short online survey here (Richmond Dist or North Beach residents only!).
  • Back in April, a 3-year old boy named Nikita was hit by a truck while riding his bike across Fulton Street near 43rd Avenue, leaving him with critical brain and body injuries. Family friends are asking for financial help from the community to cover medical costs via an online fundraiser, which you can donate to here.
  • In other fundraising news, the George Washington High School baseball and softball teams need to raise $40,000 for a new batting cage facility, which the coach describes as “a first-in-class, enclosed, steel-structured cage” that will be permanent. Learn more and donate online here. P.S. – If you want the chance to win a signed bat from Giants player Hunter Pence, go to the end of the video for details.
  • Green Apple announced the winner in their t-shirt design contest. Congrats go to neighborhood resident Carrie Niziolek who is a scientist by day and part-time artist. She won $250 plus a $200 Green Apple gift card, and soon her design will grace hundreds of t-shirts and bags. Check out her winning design and runner-ups here.
  • There will be an open house meeting about the Ocean Beach Master Plan this Saturday in Golden Gate Park. The plan recommends ways to improve coastal access, restore ecological function and protect critical infrastructure in the face of chronic erosion and sea level rise at Ocean Beach. To find out more about the three projects that are underway, attend the meeting at the County Fair Building from 9am until 12noon.
9:27 am | Posted under Business, Ocean Beach, Schools | Add comments
May-2-2014

Local Links: Romo pitches school, Aziza 2.0, plant sale, Saturday events & more


Sergio Romo speaks to students at Lafayette Elementary. Photo by Juan Pardo / SF Examiner

Here are some local updates to start your weekend. Have a good one!

  • Reminder: This Saturday the SF Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park will host its 47th annual plant sale from 10am until 2pm, featuring over 20,000 plants. This year’s theme is drought tolerance hundreds of beautiful natives, succulents, and plants perfect for SF’s many micro-climates are for sale. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the garden.
  • If pampering is more up your alley, head to outer Balboa on Saturday for an open house at Elevation Pilates and Sweet Cheeks Skincare. Sweet Cheeks will be offering free Hand Treatments demoing all of the latest and greatest skincare technology, selling some skin care items at 50% off, and selling a Mother’s Day Gift Certificate that include a free gift with purchase. Elevation Pilates will be offering free classes, special pricing on class packages, and hosting an art show. The open house runs from 11am until 3pm at 3425 Balboa Street.
  • The community garden at the Richmond District Neighborhood Center is going strong. Some students from Katherine Delmar Burke School paid a visit recently to plant some kale for the community.


Burke’s students plant kale in the community garden at the RDNC. Photo by Kinder Musings.

  • Giants pitcher Sergio Romo was at Lafayette School (4545 Anza) on Tuesday to talk to students about the importance of education. It was Romo’s fourth visit for such an event, put on by Washington High School’s Athletes in Math Succeed program, in which high school students and professional athletes cheer on students to succeed in school. “It’s more personal to me,” Romo said of visiting the school, where he high-fived kids and signed their baseball paraphernalia. “I can relate to this program.” (SF Examiner)
  • The Chronicle reported this week that Aziza owner and cookbook author Mourad Lahlou is moving ahead with a second, downtown restaurant in the former Pacific Telephone Building (140 New Montgomery). He’s looking to open the Moroccan-themed, 6,000 sq. ft. restaurant in late 2014/early 2015. No word yet on Aziza’s future.
  • A writer at SF Weekly lamented over the forgotten era of the Tiki Bar when he journeyed out to Trad’r Sam’s on Geary, one of the first in the city. After hearing Warren G. coming from the jukebox and listening to patrons order chilled vodka shots instead of Tiki-themed rum drinks, he concluded that Trad’r Sam’s is “now just another bar”.
12:15 pm | Posted under Business, Community, Golden Gate Park, Green, Schools | 7 comments
Apr-15-2014

Local links: Sand art, McCoppin grant, SFBG plant sale, 911 bravery & more


Inside the art studio of Jay Mercado at 10th & California. Photo by Jay Mercado

Lots of links to catch up on – enjoy! – Sarah B.

  • This Wednesday night is the general membership meeting for the Planning Association for the Richmond, also open to the public. Agenda items include a SFPUC Presentation about a proposed 4-year increase to water and sewer rates, and discussion of the recently released Urban Forest Plan for San Francisco. 7pm-9pm at the Richmond Recreation Center, 251 18th Avenue.
  • Sand art will abound on Saturday morning at Ocean Beach when artist Andres Amador returns to create his masterpieces on the shore. He’s being filmed for a documentary from 7:30am to 9am, so grab a spot on the Cliff House overlook and watch him at work. And if you want to learn his sand art technique, Amador has a workshop class on May 5.
  • Speaking of the Cliff House… The Chronicle took a look back at the “rollicking tale of the first Cliff House – a clapboard structure built by real estate tycoon Charles Butler in 1863.” One of the early visitors was author Mark Twain, who wrote, “The wind was cold and benumbing. It came straight from the ocean, and I think there are icebergs out there somewhere. True, there was not much dust, because the wind blew it all to Oregon in two minutes.”
  • Local art lovers, mark your calendars. The next Cabrillo Art Cave will take place on May 10 & 11 from 11am to 4pm at 925 Cabrillo. The cave is a community art space (read: someone’s garage) that opens occasionally for shows featuring a collective of local artists. Find out whose work will be showcased at cabrilloart.com
  • A new study shows that the median rent in San Francisco in the first quarter of 2014 was $3,200, approximately 8% higher than this time last year. In the Richmond District, we’re below the median at $2,695, but that’s still 14.6% higher than Q1 2013.
  • Frank McCoppin Elementary School (651 6th Avenue) learned in March that they’ll be receiving a $425,000 Kellogg Foundation grant, which is awarded to schools to optimize child development. The money will be used to implement a Balanced Literacy Program for the school, which has 265 students, about half of whom speak Cantonese as their first language.
  • Dirty Trix Saloon at 408 Clement shut down but has already reopened as Side Bar, “a remodeled drinking hole with more of a lounge feel than its previous incarnation. Multiple flat-screen TVs and a revamped sound system are part of the improvements,” says EaterSF.
  • Want to start growing vegetables in your backyard? Attend the free “Growing Vegetables from Seeds” class at the Richmond Branch Library (351 9th Avenue) on Saturday, May 3 from 2:30 to 4pm. Master Gardener Michael Klein will guide attendees through soil and bed preparation, propagation, planting techniques and plant maintenance.
  • In other gardening news, the SF Botanical Garden will have its 47th annual plant sale on Saturday, May 3 from 10am until 2pm, featuring over 20,000 plants. This year’s theme is drought tolerance hundreds of beautiful natives, succulents, and plants perfect for SF’s many micro-climates are for sale. If you’ve got a green thumb, don’t miss it!
  • 10 year old Dante Parker was honored by the city for his bravery while making a 911 call from his Richmond District home earlier this year, when his mother was experiencing severe abdominal pain. His mother made a full recovery from her stomach virus, and Dante said he was just “glad I helped. If I hadn’t helped, who would take care of me?” Aww. You can listen to it below.

11:32 am | Posted under Art, Business, Classes, Events, Green, Ocean Beach, Real Estate, Schools | 1 comment
Apr-14-2014

Survey of GWHS students shows surprising data about underage drinking

Peer Pressure.

It’s a common theme in high school, when adolescents are struggling to define their identities and in the process, can find themselves in situations where they feel pressured by their peers to conform to popular behaviors which sometimes extend to the use of alcohol.

Early in the 2013-2014 school year, a small group of seven George Washington High School students known as the Washington Positive Peer Pressure Group (WPX3), conducted a survey among their peers about underage drinking.

What they found was that perception was definitely not reality when it came to the actual drinking habits of their classmates.

The survey, whose intent was to discover the truth about students’ relationships with underage drinking, was completed by 350 students or 15% of the student body at George Washington High School.

“We chose this topic for our survey because we felt like there were a lot of stereotypes out there associating high school students and frequent drinking,” the group wrote in their survey summary.

What they found was that GWHS students engaged in underage drinking at a far lower rate than what their peers perceived.

When respondents were asked how often they consumed alcohol in the past 12 months, 60% answered “Never”. Surprisingly, when students were asked a similar question about how frequently they perceived their peers to drink alcohol, less than 6% of students thought their peers “Never” drank alcohol in the past year.

What drives such a large gap between perception and reality? One culprit could be the media. TV shows and movies about teenagers frequently show party scenes with alcohol and binge drinking. This sort of unhealthy behavior glamorized in the media negatively brands youth and creates a general assumption that many students frequently drink alcohol – even among high school students themselves.

The survey also asked respondents what usually pressures them to drink alcohol or think about drinking alcohol. 68.9% answered that they “never feel pressured to drink alcohol”. And when asked where they get information about underage drinking from, 41% answered “Teachers”, followed by “Internet” (29%) and “Parents” (28%).

The survey results spawned a “Positive Social Norms Campaign” on campus led by WXP3 to highlight the surprising data. The group has placed posters around campus with key messages like “FACT CHECK! Over half of students at GWHS have never used alcohol in the past year!” and “Yo teachers! We get most of our information about underage drinking from you. Keep talking, we’re listening!”

They’ve also set up social media channels to facilitate conversations around topics like “What are the positive things you do to avoid the pressure to drink?” Local businesses near the school have also been asked to put up campaign posters.

GWHS Principal Ericka Lovrin was very supportive of the students’ survey and campaign.

“Their efforts are extremely valuable because the students worked hard to bring out accurate data that reflects what’s actually happening at school versus what the media puts out about teenagers,” Lovrin said.

“This work is important to us because it gives us the opportunity to change stereotypes about high school students. We want to change the norms that encourage and perpetuate underage drinking by sharing the realities and positive choices youth are making,” WXP3 wrote.

The WPX3 group is funded by the Youth Leadership Institute, a program of the Department of Public Health. Amanda Trescott, a Program Assistant for the Youth Leadership Institute, says the Social Norms campaign is a 5 year program.

“We are currently in year 4 out of 5 of program implementation. After the 5th year, data results will be compared to evaluate the trends over time to see what changes occurred among the students who attend GWHS as a result of this program,” Trescott said.

Download “Reality Check – GWHS Students Don’t Drink As Much As You Think”

Sarah B.

10:17 am | Posted under Health, Schools | Add comments
Jan-20-2014

Washington High students get a lesson in manufacturing with Eric Mar, SFMade


George Washington High School students get hands-on experience in manufacturing at TechShop

Last Friday, a group of Washington High School students visited TechShop, a fabrication and protoyping studio located South of Market.

The students are all enrolled in an Automotive elective class at Washington High, and their visit is part of a new pilot program funded by Supervisor Eric Mar’s office called Inside Manufacturing. The goal of the program is to expose students to local manufacturing careers, enabling them to meet entrepreneurs and explore ideas through hands-on workshops and technology.

SFMade is a partner in the Inside Manufacturing program as well. The organization is focused on developing the local manufacturing sector by building and supporting the community of entrepreneurs, and promoting locally made products and businesses.

During their trip to TechShop, the students made customized tool racks using acrylic and metal, using the nearly $1 million worth of equipment that sits in the TechShop workspace.

The students also received a demonstration of 3D printing from Type A Machines, a local company that is working to build affordable 3D printers.

The visit to TechShop was the culmination of the pilot year of the Inside Manufacturing program, whose long-term goal is to create sustainable, long-term employment opportunities for youth in local manufacturing – as employees and as entrepreneurs/business owners.

Sarah B.


George Washington High School students talk with Supervisor Mar about the Inside Manufacturing program

11:18 am | Posted under Eric Mar, Schools | 1 comment
Dec-16-2013

Hoax story about “Argon” student suspension puts real school on edge

The National Report, a website that claims it is “a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways” (and features photos of Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz in their masthead), published a story last week claiming a 9 year old student was suspended from a San Francisco elementary school after wishing their teacher a “Merry Christmas”.

The school mentioned in the article was “Argon Elementary School” in San Francisco, eerily close to our own Argonne Elementary School here in the Richmond District.

No national media picked up the story but it did pick up some steam on smaller internet sites and blogs, who missed the fact that it was all a hoax. Readers left over 100 comments of outrage on the story, angry at the school for taking punitive action against the harmless act of a 9 year old.

“Good grief. Every time I read a story like this I am amazed that parents continue to stupidly send their kids to these schools where liberal leftists can indoctrinate them with all their perverted, godless, communist philosophies,” one commenter wrote.

At the bottom of the article it even offers a fake Gmail account for the “Atheist” teach in the article who suspended the student, encouraging angry readers to send him a “Merry Christmas” e-mail. The photo used in the story is actually of one in Maryland.

The “Argon” name of the school in the article caused a ripple of confusion among real Argonne parents and students last week as well. One parent told us that there has been increased security on the school campus since the story spread, and that Argonne’s Principal, Cami Okubo, had to post an explanation on the school website denying that the story had anything to do with their campus or students:

    Dear Argonne School Community,

    I am writing to inform you that a news story was published stating that a fourth grade student from Argon Elementary in San Francisco was suspended for saying “Merry Christmas” to a teacher. The incident did not occur at our school, Argonne Elementary or any school in the San Francisco Unified School District.

    Thank you for continuing to support our school community.

    Warm regards,
    Cami Okubo Principal at Argonne Elementary

The posting from Okubo is the only thing on the Argonne website at the moment – no other content is reachable.

The article on National News Report has since changed the name of the alleged school to “Anon Elementary School”, but it seems the damage has been done. What was meant to be a holiday prank turned into a real school incident, alarming parents and confusing readers. But let’s set the record straight – the story was a hoax and had nothing to do with Argonne Elementary School.

Sarah B.

12:22 pm | Posted under Schools | 1 comment
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