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Archive for the ‘Schools’ Category

Feb-21-2015

Star of the Sea School parents upset after young students questioned about sex

Controversy was brewing again at Star of the Sea this week after the church handed out pamphlets to young students at the adjoining school that many parents felt were inappropriate.

In preparation for their first confession, second graders were given a pamphlet asking questions about sexual topics like “Did I practice impure acts on myself or masturbate?”

Parents told ABC7 News that they’re not upset with the Star of the Sea School or its administration – which is run separately from the church – but rather with the new priest at the neighboring church who walked onto the campus and handed out the literature to young students.

“It talked about some pretty serious things, that pamphlet,” said parent Meghan Parent. “So yeah, obviously we want to protect our kids as much as possible.”

This is the second time that the church, led by Father Joseph Illo, has received media attention recently.

In late January, the church made national news when Father Illo changed a policy to now ban girls from being altar servers in the church.

ABC7 News reports that parents at the school are now forming a group that will help facilitate communications between the priest and the school. They hope future lessons about sin will be tailor-made for young children.

Sarah B.

10:25 am | Posted under Schools | 11 comments
Jan-27-2015

Local links: Burmese Kitchen back, Red Lantern to open, GWHS’ views & more


Sunset at Ocean Beach, 1/26/15. Photo by @ob-kc

Happy Tuesday, everyone! While the east coast is getting the lion’s share of harsh weather, enjoy last night’s sunset above – and these local links:

  • Hoodline has a new article on the coyotes of Golden Gate Park with some nice photos. “Coyote-watchers are encouraged to visit the western end of Golden Gate park at dusk and in the early morning hours. They’re also frequently spotted near North Lake, Ocean Beach, Presidio Golf Course and Land’s End near dawn.”
  • It was curtains for Burmese Kitchen but they have found a new home in the neighborhood in the old To Hyang space (3815 Geary near 2nd Avenue). “Though not strictly vegetarian, Burmese Kitchen prominently bills itself as vegetarian-friendly and even has a decent amount of vegan options, with most dishes priced between $6.95-9.50. Hours will be daily from 5-10 p.m., with weekend lunch hours to be announced soon.” [Bold Italic]
  • In other food news, a new Asian fusion / sushi restaurant called Red Lantern is getting ready to open at Geary and 22nd Avenue. They’re finishing their build-out according to their Facebook page but no opening date or hints as to the menu yet. Thanks to @cassfung for the tip.
  • Not surprisingly, one online publication named the George Washington High School football stadium as one of the top 10 in the country thanks to its amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The field is also “accented by a beautiful 2,500 square foot frieze with panels that depict both ancient and modern sports in the Olympics. Quotations from Plato and other philosophers are also displayed.”
  • You might notice some painting and tiling happening on the front of the Busvan buildings on Clement Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues. The improvements aren’t for a new tenant, according to owner Michael B. “We felt that we needed to repaint them to keep them fresh and attractive for our current tenants. The added benefit of retaining their pleasantness is that doing so helps improve the overall look of the Clement portion of the inner Richmond, which is both a business value for Busvan and a personal value for our family,” Michael told us. The project also includes uncovering and restoring some of the original, cobalt blue and black facade tiles that are upwards of 90 years old. Looking good, Busvan!

9:53 am | Posted under Business, Food, Golden Gate Park, Schools, Wildlife | 16 comments
Dec-4-2014

Local links: Purple Skunk closing, BART to the beach?, MAFIA online, reclaimed furniture & more


Reindeer are back at the Academy of Sciences for the holidays. Photo by @calacademy

  • Lizzie, the owner of Purple Skunk Skateboard Shop at 6037 Geary wrote us to say they are closing their doors after the Christmas holidays. “After 21 years the Purple Skunk doors will be closing. Christmas week is our last retail hoorah. It’s time to retire, but on a good note. We will miss ALL of our customers that we have been serving throughout the years. We will always remember our little groms that got their first skateboard here.” The business is for sale so if you’re interested, contact the shop for more details. We’ll miss you Purple Skunk!
  • BART to the Beach? Don’t get too excited, but BART is “investigating” service expansions over the next decade that would include a second transbay tube and a new line out to the western part of the city. You can download the proposal here, which was presented to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board committee recently.
  • Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. The Examiner reports that “Next spring, Washington High School in the Richmond is poised to produce one of approximately 3,000 teams to compete in an international robotics competition after students recently created the school’s first robotics club.” The 60 students who have already signed up will be broken into teams of four to focus on different aspects, including building the robot, developing its software, calculating the business and handling public relations. The program was supported by a $20,000 grant from Facebook.
  • Izakaya Ju-Ku on the corner of 19th Avenue and Clement closed a couple of weeks ago. That’s a nice corner spot but has always been challenging for restaurants. We’ll have to see what opens there next…
  • Arion Press, just inside the 14th Avenue Presidio gate, is hosting a free, holiday open house this Saturday from 11am until 6pm. Go on a tour, check out their gallery, and experience the historic bookmaking and letterpress workshop. See where their books are made, including their historic printing presses, 100-year-old machinery, and one of the largest collections of metal type in North America. Free tours of the typefoundry, press room, and book bindery take place at 12noon and 2pm.
  • Two Richmond District residents have started a new furniture business using reclaimed materials. “We started out small but then we quickly realized we have a love for working with reclaimed materials. We have now begun expanding our collection in hopes of sharing it with the community. We’re starting small with a few select pieces but will be expanding in the coming months.” You can check out their products on Etsy – we like that bathtub shelf!
  • Remember MAFIA Bags, a new business that set up a manufacuturing space in the Richmond District, making bags and accessories from recycled sails? Their online store is now up, just in time for the holidays.
4:30 am | Posted under Business, Food, Golden Gate Park, Museums, Schools, Shopping | 30 comments
Oct-22-2014

Lafayette Carnival, Burke’s Fall Festival this Saturday

This Saturday, October 25, two elementary schools in the neighborhood will be holding their annual fall festival fundraisers.

LAFAYETTE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CARNIVAL | 12pm – 4pm
4545 Anza Street
Enjoy a huge inflatable bouncer for the kids, different classes selling food (pizza, baked goods, hot dogs, ice cream, spam masubi, and more), old school carnival games, a dj doing music, and a cake walk. Admission is free but there are tickets that will be on sale to play the carnival games ($0.25 each or $5.00 for 25 tickets).

KATHERINE DELMAR BURKE FALL FESTIVAL | 10am – 4pm
7070 California Street
Stop by for games, bouncy houses, shopping, a giant slide, festival treats, food trucks and much more. Admission is $5 per person and certain activities require tickets which can be purchased on-site. Note that dogs are not welcome at the festival and there is no parking along 32nd Avenue during the event.

2:02 pm | Posted under Events, Schools | Add comments
Oct-22-2014

Getty’s Playgroup preschool to open new campus inside Presidio 15th Ave gate


The Playschool Preschool Education campus, currently under construction. Photo by Miller Company

Back in 2011, the New York Times published a piece on the Getty family’s private preschool, or as their lawyer liked to refer to it at the time, “a private recreation group”.

“For the past 14 years, Ann and Gordon Getty have run an invitation-only, free preschool for the offspring of some of San Francisco’s most powerful families, including their own grandchildren. Families cannot apply for admission. They are chosen, in sort of a toddler’s version of being tapped for Skull and Bones at Yale,” the article begins.

On top of the blue blood practices it revealed, the article also brought to light some of the concerning issues around the private organization, which hosts their two dozen wee attendees inside the Getty’s own mansion on Broadway.

At the time, the Playgroup had no official licenses for operating a preschool, and had never even been inspected by the fire department.

Concerns were also raised about The Playgroup’s director, Lonna Corder, who had informed some parents that their children had autism or some other developmental disorder – despite having no medical training or certification as a therapist.

Upset parents were hesitant to speak out for fear of offending their hospitable Playgroup hosts, the Getty’s, and risk being asked to leave the group which included perks like a Chez-Panisse trained chef on staff that prepared organic, multicourse lunches for their children.

Fast forward three years and The Playgroup is on its way to becoming a more visible preschool with an open admissions policy.

Just inside the 15th Avenue Presidio gate, on Battery Caulfield Road, sit two historic buildings where the new Playgroup Preschool Education will be located. Building 1818 and 1819, once the location of the Infectious Disease Research Laboratory and Offices of the old Marine Hospital, were built in 1932. The buildings have sat unused for 30 years and were magnets for graffiti and vandalism.

The Playgroup Preschool Education school is designed by architect Zack DeVito, who also designed the Lone Mountain Preschool, just a stone’s throw down the road from The Playgroup Education’s location.

Also part of the team is landscape architecture firm The Miller Company, whose design “features a new arrangement for student pick up and drop off, accessibility upgrades, and secure outdoor play and learning areas set within native plantings adapted to the soil, climate, and orientation of the site.”


The layout of the Playgroup Preschool Education campus by Miller Company. Enlarge

The buildings are relatively small – 6,000 square feet for 1818 and 1,600 for 1819 – but large enough for 60 students.

According to the Presidio Trust projects website, the scope of work for the construction of the school includes hazardous materials abatement, seismic upgrades, ADA improvements (including a limited use/limited application lift to service the basement of building 1818), a new deck to connect the two buildings, a new glazed entry vestibule at the rear of 1818, restoration of historic windows, and select tenant improvements necessary for preschool use (new floor finishes, paint, lighting, ceilings, bathroom fixtures, etc.).

The school will also have a fenced, outdoor play area and when completed, the buildings will be LEED Silver certified.

The Playgroup will also be lifting the veil on its private admissions process by offering the general public the chance to apply for admission. It has contracted with website KidAmit to accept, review and manage applications. The school already held their first informational meeting about the new campus on May 1st.

The school’s location and admissions process is changing, but the leadership is not. The new Playgroup Preschool Education will continue to be directed by Lonna Corder, who is listed as a co-founder along with Ann Getty.

According to the listing for Playgroup on KidAdmit, the school will be employing the Montessori approach with an emphasis on “a teacher directed experience in the year before Kindergarten in order to prepare them for the most competitive Kindergarten programs.”

Annual tuition for the Playgroup, which still lists its current 2880 Broadway location on KidAdmit, ranges from $13,000 up to $19,000 per year depending on the age of the child, how many days per week and hours of attendance. The school’s listing indicates that financial aid is available.

Just down the road, Lone Mountain Preschool’s annual tuition ranges from $8,250 up to $17,500 for pre-kindergarten class. Both offer a September to June school year.

We were unable to find the planned opening date for the Playgroup’s new Presidio campus, but most likely it will be September 2015 when the next school year begins.

Thanks to reader Jason S. for help with researching this story.

Sarah B.

4:10 am | Posted under Schools | 8 comments
Aug-19-2014

Mayor’s program seeking local job opportunities for high school students


Two MYEEP interns working at the Boy’s & Girls Club in the Tenderloin this summer.

I remember my first real job – it was selling (and sometimes nibbling on) Mrs. Field’s cookies on Chestnut Street, and then I moved onto Lombardi’s Sports on Clement Street where I worked in the shoe department. Those early jobs gave me important working experience where I learned how to deal with people, be professional, and take pride in my work. And it put a little spending money in my pocket.

The Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP) works to provide first work experiences for high school students throughout the city.

“Annually, over 800 young people are given the opportunity to develop work skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. In addition to paid work experience, each MYEEP participant also engages in a variety of learning opportunities such as workshops, community service projects and field trips to colleges and companies,” Selena Levy, Project Coordinator for the Richmond District, told us.

The program is currently looking for local businesses in the Richmond District to host MYEEP interns and provide them with work experience.

Levy says the guidelines for how a business can participate are flexible, but they typically look for opportunities where a MYEEP youth can work 6 to 8 hours during the school week in the afternoon hours (3-6pm).

“Most work sites take anywhere from 1-3 interns depending on the work site’s capacity to supervise the youth and how much work they have for the youth to complete while they are there,” Levy said.

In addition to work experience, MYEEP provides support to youth as they transition towards successful adulthood by strengthening their understanding of the connection between employment and education as well as the responsibility of adults to contribute positively to society.

If you own a local business and are interested in hosting some MYEEP youth interns, contact Selena Levy at selenal@cycsf.org or 752-9675 for more information.

Sarah B.

5:15 am | Posted under Community, Schools | 3 comments
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 | 3 comments
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