Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hamlin Welcomes the Author Avi

On March 20th Hamlin welcomed back the prolific and talented writer, Avi.

Avi is the author of more than 60 books for children and young adults, including Newbery Award-winning Crispin: Cross of Lead.

Avi mesmerized Hamlin students by both reading from his work and sharing facets of Bay Area history. His upcoming book Rotten Row is set in 1848, San Francisco, and includes details about that time period.

As he has in the past, Avi imparted some wonderful pearls of wisdom for our students and faculty alike.

Here are a few choice quotes:

The job of a writer is to get you to want to turn the page. 

If you write something one time and think it’s good, you are in trouble, because you can and have to make it better.

Writing is not writing per se, it is rewriting. The more you rewrite the better it gets.

Robert Frost said, ‘the ear is the best reader.’ If your read things out loud you will catch things that make the piece better. Ultimately writing is about speaking to someone.

The more you read, the better the writer you will become. Reading is guaranteed to help your grades go up across all subjects.

Below is a brief video of Avi:

For more information about Avi and his books, please visit:



Hamlin Engages with MoAD in the Classroom

MoAD in the Classroom (MIC) is a visual literacy and arts program offered to third-grade classrooms across the San Francisco Bay Area. The program is an evidence-based arts program that is consistent with recent research showing that coordinated school visits to museums increase children’s confidence and ability to retain knowledge while adding to their depth of knowledge in critical content areas such as social studies and history. The objective of the program is to work collaboratively with teachers, MIC Educators, and MoAD teaching artists to build an integrated arts program highlighting themes of the African Diaspora through art and culture. The program seeks to provide professional development opportunities to teachers and add to the content of the classroom teacher’s existing curriculum, while seamlessly blending into the existing learning goals of the classroom teacher.

The program includes two visits to the classroom by a MoAD in the Classroom Educator and two field trips to the Museum of the African Diaspora. During these four visits, MoAD Educator’s will facilitate a visual arts literacy-based curriculum unit based on themes of the exhibitions at MoAD, which include: an introduction to the concept of the African Diaspora, an introduction to visual arts vocabulary, activities to help students observe art and talk about art using visual arts vocabulary, and hands-on art making activities. MIC Educators meet with classroom teachers prior to the visits to ensure learning goals are aligned with the overall learning goals of the teacher.

“The program connected nicely with our social studies themes: how people move, change and discover themselves. The girls really connected with the artists and learned about expressing ideas in abstract ways. They had so much fun making their own art during the two sessions at MoAD.”

-3rd Grade Teacher, Nicole Silva

To learn more about MoAD, please visit:


Hamlin Welcomes Lenore Skenazy, Founder of Free-Range Kids


Today Hamlin welcomed the insightful, intelligent, and humorous, Lenore Skenazy to speak with parents and San Francisco community members. Lenore Skenazy is the founder of the book, blog, and movement “Free-Range Kids,” that emphasizes how to raise safe, self-reliant children.

FREE RANGE KIDS has become a national movement, sparked by the incredible response to Lenore Skenazy’s piece about allowing her 9-year-old to ride the subway alone in NYC. Parent groups argued about it, bloggers blogged, spouses became uncivil with each other, and the media jumped all over it. A lot of parents today, Skenazy says, see no difference between letting their kids walk to school and letting them walk through a firing range. Any risk is seen as too much risk. But if you try to prevent every possible danger or difficulty in your child’s everyday life, that child never gets a chance to grow up. We parents have to realize that the greatest risk of all just might be trying to raise a child who never encounters choice or independence.

Ms. Skenazy shared the following thoughts (among others):

-Contemporary culture makes us think that our kids can be perfect and sells us products with that in mind.

-It is a myth to think that we can shape our kids into whatever we want.

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Hamlin Tech Program Featured in The Huffington Post

Article excerpt:

“We are never in one place with technology,” says Mark Picketts, director of program innovation and professional development for Hamlin. “We model design thinking by constantly evolving and taking tech to the next level.”

You can read the whole piece here:


Hamlin Thespians Thrive in California Competition

On February 18th our Hamlin thespians demonstrated their impressive skills at the Middle School Theater Festival in Pleasant Hill. Competing with almost 300 students (Grades 6-8) from 19 different Middle Schools from all over California, our girls earned 22 gold medals, 10 silver medals, and 4 bronze medals from the adjudicators for their monologues, scenes, original pieces, and musical solos.

Special thanks to the dedicated and talented Heidi Abbott for helping to make this success possible.

Interview with former Hamlin Trustee , Barry Lipman

Today we had the opportunity to catch up with former Hamlin Trustee, Barry Lipman. Mr. Lipman is the father of Hamlin alumnae Amelie Marie Lipman ’00, Elyse Danielle Lipman ’01, and Monique Susanne Lipman ’05.

Mr. Lipman was the co-founder of the Law Firm Goldfarb and Lipman LLP, but he is no longer practicing law. He now dedicates his time to improving the lives of others through profound philanthropic engagement by supporting work that has innovative, sustainable social impact. His central vehicle for achieving this is the Barry and Marie Lipman Family Prize at the University of Pennsylvania. The award recognizes and amplifies the work of organizations devoted to positive social impact and creating sustainable solutions to significant social and economic challenges. The prize is a tremendous success and is the realization of Mr. Lipman’s visionary altruistic thinking.

Around the globe, trailblazing organizations are implementing cutting-edge solutions to the problems facing our world, however, they lack the access to resources and relationships that could extend the power of their ideas. The ultimate goal of the Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize is to spread those global lessons found in local success. The more we can shed light on solutions that work, the more effective we will be at creating a better world.

Interview with Barry Lipman:

What advice can you give to a young person who wants to be philanthropic?

Get involved, volunteer, find something you are interested in and get out there and do it. These days, philanthropy seems to be in the DNA of young parents; it is great when they convey the importance of giving back to the community. Where you choose to volunteer is a personal thing. How do you want to make society a little bit better? It is easy to write a check, but go out and get your hands dirty, get close to the work of improving lives.

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Hamlin Shows the Film SCREENAGERS

On Wednesday evening over 100 people gathered to watch the thought-provoking film, Screenagers. The audience was an eclectic mix of students, faculty, parents, and members of the San Francisco community.

The film was put on by PLAID, a Hamlin parent group whose mission “is to support a vibrant and inclusive environment in which all members of the Hamlin community can celebrate their authentic selves.” PLAID “fosters open dialogue through family programs, parent education, and community outreach.”

Award-winning SCREENAGERS probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director’s own, and depicts messy struggles, over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through surprising insights from authors and brain scientists, solutions emerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world.

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Lisa Sugar in Conversation with Julia Hartz

Sugar:HartzWork hard, play nice. These words guide Lisa Sugar, the founder and president of POPSUGAR.

POPSUGAR is a global media and technology company. The various POPSUGAR brands “attract 100 million monthly visitors worldwide, and inform, entertain, and inspire action through the content we create and the commerce we drive.”

On January 23rd, Hamlin invited Lisa Sugar to discuss her new book, Power Your Happy, with Co-Founder and CEO of Eventbrite, Julia Hartz.

The conversation covered topics from Matt Damon, to working with her husband Brian, to literally raising a toddler at the POPSUGAR office. Ms. Sugar spoke about the origins of her work. “I wanted to get in the habit of writing everyday. I didn’t tell friends I was writing a blog at first. I started sending it to a few people, then they started sharing my movie reviews and other posts with more people, and it just grew.” Eventually Ms. Sugar’s husband Brian, helped her launch the business and it took off from there.

Ms. Sugar and Ms. Hartz went on to trade stories of having daughters while starting companies. Ms. Sugar’s first child was in the office until she was three years old. “The POPSUGAR community cheered when she learned to crawl, gave her tea parties, and the young twenty-something employees would take Katie-breaks to play with her.” Ms. Hartz added that her own baby daughter often slept under her desk at Eventbrite for the first six months. Both women spoke about the joys and inherent challenges of starting families and businesses simultaneously.

Ms. Sugar explained the central premise of her book and the ethos of POPSUGAR. “Power Your Happy, means everyone can figure out how to do more of what they love everyday. It could be a hobby, yoga, or reading more books.” In terms of POPSUGAR, Ms. Sugar emphasized that the company has done well because it has a “distinct voice and vision.” She shared how POPSUGAR is focused on being a positive force that can “power optimism and turn inspiration into action.” POPSUGAR’s activism is evident in its commitment to supporting Tipping Point, “a non-profit organization that fights poverty in the Bay Area.” POPSUGAR also encourages employees to volunteer and be of service two days a year as part of their #PSGives program.

The evening was filled with insight and good humor. We are very lucky to have these fantastic women, leaders, and mothers, in our Hamlin community.

To learn more about Lisa Sugar’s book, please visit:

Hamlin Presents Animal Farm

AnimalFarm2The past few months have been politically tumultuous in the United States, to say the very
least, and I have been dismayed by the lack of critical thinking and civil discourse in our
country. From fake news to false prophets, we have had to work hard to discern facts from
fiction and understand our mixed emotions. In the midst of it all, however, I have been
delighted to enter Hamlin’s doors each day, and I am proud of the way Hamlin girls and the
adults in their lives have engaged in robust and respectful dialogue about all that we are
hearing and seeing. As I wrote in a previous letter to the community, this is the sacred and
good work of excellent schools.

Many months ago, we chose Animal Farm as our play for 2016-17, knowing that the
production would provide a vehicle for our girls and the entire community to examine the
past, the present, and the future. Ms. Abbott and I remembered reading the political allegory
when we were teens; the animals on the farm revealed deep truths about human behavior and
demonstrated the deleterious impact of a leader’s rhetoric and decisions. Just as George
Orwell intended for his audience to focus on Stalin and the Russian Revolution, we wanted
our school community to think about life and leadership in America and some of the current
challenges of our time: unequal distribution of resources; scapegoats; civil unrest; abuse of
power and greed. I have always loved the way theater invites us into courageous
conversations about our core values and, at its best, inspires us to become better versions of
ourselves. Might the story of America, unlike Animal Farm, end in triumph instead of
tragedy? I say yes! Fortunately, the chapters of our history are still being written, and I believe
passionately that we can all be authors of an American story that ends in peace, equity, and

The bookends of this school week must be noted—the celebration of the life and legacy of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, and the inauguration of President-elect Donald J. Trump
on Friday. These two men have striking differences, yet both said they could see America’s
vast potential and wanted to make the country more accountable to its founding principles of
equality, safety, and prosperity. Wherever one falls on the political spectrum, Animal Farm
will remind us that leadership matters and that we all have a role to play in the march (on two
legs, perhaps?) toward justice.

Wanda M. Holland Greene
Head of School

Common Sense Tip of the Week 01/09

digital_citizenship-certified_school-medCS_supporter_school-BIG-300x62Working out and eating right are at the top of most people’s New Year’s resolutions. But as tough as those are, nothing compares with the challenge of a healthy media diet. There are screen-time limits to manage, new apps to investigate, bizarre social media trends to make sense of, and, don’t forget, plenty more Pokémon to catch. It’s like a 24-hour all-you-can-eat buffet when all you really want is a carrot stick. But in a world where both parents and kids are racking up serious screen time, making a commitment to a healthy media environment is critical for family time, learning, relationships, and digital citizenship.

So whether you’re turning over a new leaf or trying to stay the course, our 2017 media resolutions can help you be more mindful, focus on what’s most important, get the most out of media and technology, and raise good digital citizens. And if last year was a rough one, past struggles with grades, organization, and friends are easy to carry over into the new year. Check out our Homework Help Apps, Time Management AppsNote-Taking Apps for Tweens and Teens for even more ideas on starting with a clean-slate.