CACS was honored to have London Breed, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, join us for our weekly community meeting on January 23rd. After the community meeting, she spent some time chatting with parents and students, visiting a classroom, and taking a brief tour of the school. She was thrilled to see the art studios and the excellent resources we have here at CACS, and she remarked on how lucky our students are to have a school like this to attend. President Breed invited us to come and visit her at City Hall as well, which we plan to do. Thank you, President Breed, for your visit to our school.
This December, sixth graders at CACS teamed up with local developers and joined tens of millions of other students in 180+ countries to participate in a global computer science event called The Hour of Code. UClass, a local ed tech company founded by former teachers (one of whom works at CACS) was excited to spend some time with the population that their technology serves (students and teachers) and asked if they could facilitate the hour of code. CACS students are lucky to attend a school where they are already developing design thinking and applied math skills, so getting involved in the language of the future here in the heart of the tech bubble made perfect sense. CACS teachers immediately saw the application of science and math in coding and opened their classrooms to this authentic learning experience.
The UClass development team, four engineers who love the creative component of their jobs, shared how they got passionate about tech and what it is like to be an engineer. They opened the code base for Google and delighted students by fiddling with the code to plug in student names and new colors and expose the inner workings of the technology that students use every day. CACS 6th graders came with various levels of exposure to coding and were able to engage in engineering games that ranged from specifying coordinates to move a character across a screen to writing the code base for their own unique creations. The common thread between all of the activities was that students were given a problem and a set of tools and had to find solutions on their own.
During the hour of code, students could be seen leaning in to support their classmates in troubleshooting, high-fiving developers when they found their way to an effective solution, and making exclamations about connections to math lessons that arose from their work. CACS works to develop students who are engaged creatively and critically with the world around them. The Hour of Code provided both students and developers the opportunity to be inspired by the possibilities that problem solving opens both online and off.
Creative Arts overflowed with families for our 2nd Annual Exhibition of Learning- "We are Makers & Thinkers"- on Thursday, December 18, 2014 from 5:30pm-8:00pm. All K-8 classrooms were open for exploration and crafted something to share their learning, whether it be an artful product, a wall exhibit, interactive demonstrations/experiences, or performances. A stroll through the exhibits revealed a variety of wonders, such as 7th grade students testing their newly designed prosthetic prototypes for a fictionalized amputee victim of war, a culminating project for their study of skeletal and muscle systems using Design Thinking; 1st graders performing community dances in the Dance Studio as a part of their Community Unit of study; 8th graders explaining their MARS colony, a project integrating humanities, science, and math as students; and 2nd graders telling personal family stories via a dinner theater experience.
Students created art pieces that evolved from their classroom studies. Most classes had a creative product for sale, which told the story of their learning. A sampling of works included kindergartners selling animal pins from their unit " Woods," 1st graders offering coloring books and a "Go Fish" game from their unit "Community," 2nd graders hosting a printmaking station experience and block printed greeting cards from their " Food" unit, and 3rd graders peddling San Francisco landmark prints, puzzles, and coasters from their unit "We are San Francisco." Parent Artists exhibited too! Parent artists shared and sold their artwork, including comics, jewelry, knitting crafts, pottery and prints. Overall, the community was abuzz with art, creativity, and design on display in every classroom and hallway.
On October 9, Creative Arts hosted Family Arts Night, our annual celebration of the visual and performing arts at CACS and in our community. The evening began with a dance performance by our middle school dance department, featuring Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and a high-energy hip hop piece “One, Two Step.” We also celebrated the opening of the 3rd grade mural “Triving with Plants: A Tribute to Bay Area Indigenous Wisdom.”
Families and students explored art stations hosted by the SF Museum of Art and Design, the SF Moma, and the Asian Art Museums, as well as exhibits of family portraits by 7th/8th grade photo students, trash costumes, and the longest collaborative drawing. Our arts staff hosted workshops in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts, and the evening closed with an open rehearsal of Opera Parallele, in residency with our 4th grade, performing their newly commissioned children’s opera “My Head is Full of Colors.” We thrilled in a night of exploration and creation, and thank all of our community partners and families for contributing to the event.
Creative Arts' Equity Support Team (EST) is off to a great start. This team is comprised of 7 teachers and 3 administrators. We are collaborating with San Francisco Coalition of Essential Small Schools (SF-CESS), whose mission is to interrupt and transform current and systemic educational inequities to ensure all students have access to personalized, equitable and high performing schools that believe and demonstrate each student can, should and will succeed. SF-CESS is supporting the three branches of our diversity work this year by working with administrators, teachers, and our Family Association. Our administration will focus on enrollment and outreach in our attempt to diversify our student population. Our teachers will focus on ensuring their curriculum and pedagogy guarantee equitable outcomes for all students. Our FA will work to ensure that our family community is having serious discussion around diversity and equity at CACS.
163 middle schools students and their teachers returned safely from their camping adventure, a three-day, two-night trip to Anthony Chabot State Park. Students went hiking, and engaged in workshops about first aid, photography, art inspired by nature, cultural reflections, team building, and dance, as well as orgami shapes and structures. They also took on responsibilities at the campsite, assembling tents and taking turns cooking meals. Students participated in advisory activities to get to know their classmates and advisor in a more dynamic way, while appreciating each other for the experience. Our middle school students (and teachers) were able to work through their challenges and feel proud of their accomplishments. They also celebrated with a trip-ending talent show full of the silly, the artful, and the fun. We hope the experiences they gained from the outdoor education program will provide them with their own real-life allegory, and remind them that they can accomplish so much.
A big thank you to all of the teachers and parents who helped in keeping this tradition alive.
CACS received the California Department of Education's prestigious Distinguished Schools Award in recognition for our educational excellence in all students and for our work in closing the achievement gap. In addition, CACS also received the California Department of Education's Exemplary Arts award for our outstanding arts programming. We celebrate our staff, students, and families for all they have done to achieve these two impressive honors.
On April 24, two of our first graders, Evie M. and Zimry R., will celebrate National Poetry Month at City Hall, performing alongside San Francisco's Poet Laureate, Alejandro Murguía, as well as poets from Wallenberg High School and Mission High School. They will lead off San Francisco's Poems Under the Dome, the city's largest open mic poetry event where poets of any age can enter a lottery to be selected for a performance slot. This free event runs from 5:30 to 8:00pm. We're proud of our young students representing our school!
The seventh grade participated in their third service learning activity for the year, focusing on a wide variety of issues important to San Francisco.
One advisory group spent the day learning about the organizations that serve the people of the SOMA community. Rudy Corpuz, CACS parent and executive director at United Playaz, took students on a tour of the neighborhood. They visited the Hub (a small police station), the Bayanihan (a community center that works with elders), Crossroads (a youth center), and an elementary school, then went to Westbay to learn about pedestrian safety. At each location, students had the opportunity to tour the buildings, speak with employees, and experience some of the fun activities they offer there. Their last stop was the United Playaz Center, where they learned about violence prevention, youth empowerment, and social justice. Students had to think critically about the problems, solutions, and ideas that support a community's growth.
A second advisory group focused on Golden Gate Park. Students met with Andy Stone, head gardener at the boat house, who lead a nature walk introducing them to several species of plants. They touched, smelt and even ate some of the agriculture. Students spent the rest of the day pulling invasive plants and planting banana trees, working hard to improve our community park.
A third advisory group volunteered at the downtown YMCA, where they learned about community resources and helped the neighborhood by picking up trash in the street. They also spent time learning about the effects of plastics on the marine ecosystem, then went to Ocean Beach and cleaned up trash. Students collected over 1,000 pieces of trash and talked about human's effects on ecosystems and our responsibilities to the world.
Overall, students spent an amazing day examining a wide variety of ways to support our San Francisco community, and they left our city just a little bit cleaner and greener in the process.
On Tuesday, our students were very fortunate to be visited by H20 EarthCapades, whose mission is to demonstrate that "saving the planet can be fun". The performers educated our students about serious environmental issues and taught practical solutions while juggling, performing magic tricks, and telling interactive comedic stories.
This was followed by a smaller presentation by SF Environmental for selected compost monitors, grades K-8. Students were trained how to be monitors during their lunch period to encourage their peers to compost and recycle. The monitors will be wearing orange vests and working one day a week to help protect our environment. Using a train the trainer model, students will educate their peers and take turns as monitors. We're working to help CACS become greener!
Last week, CACS hosted the Global Lives Project, an interactive video project that focuses on cultivating empathy across cultures. The project curates a collection of films that capture the lives of people around the world. Eight television screens were set up in the cafeteria, each displaying images from twenty-four hours of people’s lives from different countries and cultures. Students watched as others slept, ate, played, and went about their lives, discussing the diversity of the human experience while they ate lunch together. To explore the images yourself, check out the project's video collection.
Seven master teachers from six different states and two countries gathered in San Francisco to dig into the concept of "Quality Content." They spent the weekend at a retreat hosted by UClass, an educational resource sharing company co-founded by CACS Literacy Specialist Leah Schrader.
CACS teachers leapt at the invitation to share some of their unique approaches to student-driven learning and interdisciplinary collaboration. Jasmine Sheldon, first grade teacher and Ann Ledo-Lane, director of arts at CACS lead a workshop with the visiting educators. They shared a dynamic book project about activism that they collaboratively facilitated with Jasmine's first grade class. Highlighting the integration of the arts with history, they presented the power of bringing multiple disciplines together to offer children deep encounters with the learning process. They also shared the Studio Habits of Mind employed by CACS students and teachers alike and inspired the visiting educators with CACS' framework for making learning an engaging and meaningful process for our students. We're excited that our teachers are embracing opportunities to share our work with other educators around the country.
This year has been so artful with a variety of Arts Events, including our Family Arts Night and We are Makers exhibition of student work. We've also been sharing our work in the community, with a visual arts exhibit at the Madrone Art Bar, our middle band performing at The Knockout, and our photography exhibit at Photobooth. Spring brings a wide variety of additional arts events celebrating CACS student work. We kick off the season on March 28 with our celebration of Dance Anywhere Day on our school yard. Our K-5 Music and Dance Show will be held on April 30 at The Brava! Theater in the Mission district. This show features all of our students in grades K-5. On May 15, we hold our spring Exhibition of Learning, as students share their design-thinking projects and second semester studies, celebrating the integration of art and content learning. Our Middle School Dance and Theater Performance will be held this year at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, who has generously donated their space for our students to perform.
Performances are also headed to the CACS stage. On April 8, the Earthcapades will perform for our K-4 students, and the New Conservatory Theatre Center will perform a new show around CyberBullying on Tues, April 22 for our 6th graders. We're excited for our spring celebrations of the arts!
The CACS 7th/8th grade photography elective opens their exhibit "Gray" on March 13th at Photobooth SF on 1193 Valencia Street. The exhibit features a variety of works by our middle school photographers. The open reception will run from 6-8pm on March 13th, and the exhibit runs through March 30. Come check out the fine work of our artists!
The 7th grade advisories have been learning about how communities can make a positive impact on our city, and ultimately our planet. In addition, students have been exploring this question in their science classes, as they investigate human effects on ecosystems. To further their studies, CACS hosted the Goldman Prize this week, as Liz Means, Communications Coordinator at the Prize, presented about the history of the Goldman Prize, grassroots environmental activism, and the work of Prize winners.
Creative Arts has been thrilled to be a pat of the Goldman Prize Youth Program. For the past several years, CACS has been invited to attend the Goldman Prize ceremony, where our students have met current and past Prize winners and attended a special reception with a DJ and refreshments. We are excited for our continued partnership, and thank the Goldman Prize for their commitment to teaching our students about environmental activism.
On Tuesday, the Axis Dance Company performed for our students in two performances. AXIS dancers with and without disabilities came to Creative Arts to share innovative choreography that demonstrates how people with differences can work together. The assembly included interactive participation by the students, plus candid discussion and a Q&A with AXIS Dancers. Thank you, Axis Dance Company, for sharing your talents with us!
Congratulations to the CACS girls JV basketball team, who won 1st place in the championship on Friday. In addition, congratulations to the JV boys team, who ended the season with a 2nd place finish in the league, and to the other CACS teams, who all made it to the semi-finals. CACS sports are open to all students in grades 5-8, and our athletes are already looking forward to our spring sports, tennis and futsal. We congratulate our athletes on a successful season!
CACS middle school students put on quite a show on Thursday, Jan. 30 as they shared their science and history projects in the annual Science and History Fair. All sixth graders completed science fair projects, with topics ranging from the physics of skateboarding to how memory works to the effects of grey water on plant growth. Seventh graders shared their history projects on themes such as the fall of Easter Island, women's rights, slavery, and more. Eight graders chose science or history to specialize in. All students in the middle school worked throughout January to craft carefully researched and tested projects with extensive writing components. Winners of the CACS science fair will attend the San Francisco Science Fair at the Randall Museum in February. We congratulate all the students on their hard work!
CACS will be running our very own Summer Camp this year! CACS Summer Camp will run for three 1-week sessions from June 2nd-20th, with a morning session from 9am-12pm, and an afternoon session from 1pm-4pm. CACS Summer Camp is designed for students entering kindergarten through 5th grade. All proceeds from the camp will benefit CACS. Look for more information and enrollment forms this spring.
Our most recent fundraiser at the Knockout Room was another success! The seventh and eighth grade band rocked the night, while parents and friends gathered for music, refreshments, and good company. A huge thanks to John Segura for hosting this knockout event and to all the families and staff who participated.