Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hamlin Welcomes Dr. Lisa Damour

LisaAmourPhotoNormal adolescent development is challenging, hard is normal; it’s not supposed to be easy.

These are the words of Dr. Lisa Damour. On January 11th she informed, reassured, and related to a large group of Hamlin parents. Dr. Damour is a mother, and the author of the recent New York Times best seller, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood.




Dr. Amour led the audience through the seven transitions into adulthood, following the chapters of her book.

  1. Parting With Childhood
  2. Joining a New Tribe
  3. Harnessing Emotions
  4. Contending with Adult Authority
  5. Planning for the Future
  6. Entering the Romantic World
  7. Caring for Herself

She emphasized that between 5th and 12th grade a tremendous amount of development occurs during a compressed period of time.  She revealed that it is natural for girls to psychologically begin to move out of the home by spending more time in their own room. She added, “it’s not about you; so much of parenting feels personal.”

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Hamlin Dancers Perform at City College of San Francisco

On the night of December 10th, a group of talented 8th graders took the stage with the Ultimate Alliance Dance Company, on the campus of San Francisco’s City College. They dazzled the audience of 100 while performing with college age dancers from the Strong Pulse Dance Crew. One dance focused on “All Lives Matter,” another piece featured blindfolded dancers recreating a West Nigerian myth urging people to not deplete the earth’s resources. The experience gave Hamlin students the opportunity to participate in the show and be exposed to a variety of dance genres, along with diverse cultures and body types.

The evening could not have happened without the leadership of Hamlin faculty member, Kirstin Williams who created and designed the entire event. Ms. Williams held over 60 hours of rehearsal time in preparation for the performance.

She states, “I was really impressed by the Hamlin students’ enthusiasm and commitment. They rehearsed during recess, extra time, and lunch. Their dedication was incredible. At the end of the show they asked if we could do this every night. They were hooked on the performance element.”


Bella L. Wins the Hamlin Spelling Bee

BellaSpellOn December 8th, Bella L. won the Hamlin School Oral Spelling Bee with the word “enervating.” Bella is a three-time champion and clinched the victory this year in a final round with Anne Marie O. Bella will represent Hamlin at the city-wide Spelling Bee in February.

Other Hamlin spellers included: Ceci H., Camille Y., Sofia B., Allie C., Mia S., Ellis M., Sadie C., and Katherine M.


Hamlin Welcomes Facebook’s Bianca Gates for Hour of Code

BiancaGatesphotoOn December 8th Bianca Gates, Facebook executive and entrepreneur, shared her professional journey while also emphasizing the importance of coding to online business platforms. Ms. Gates joined the ranks of influential women who have spoken at Hamlin during the Hour of Code week; this list includes Task Rabbit CEO, Leah Busque and Tech Entrepreneur, Kakul Srivastava.

Ms. Gates spoke about the importance of hard work and passion. Growing up in Southern California she worked her way through UC-Irvine while waiting tables for 30 hours a week at the Macaroni Grill. Her love of people and desire for financial freedom propelled her into a career in sales. After stops in Texas and Florida, Ms. Gates arrived in New York City, eventually working seven years for MTV. After hearing Sheryl Sandberg speak about the importance of “leaning in,” she was inspired to pursue a job at Facebook.

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Award-Winning Illustrator Christian Robinson Visits Hamlin

On Tuesday, the Hamlin School welcomed renowned illustrator, Christian Robinson. Mr. Robinson grew up in Los Angeles but now resides in the Mission district of San Francisco.

“Christian Robinson is a 2016 Caldecott Honoree and also received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for his art in Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (Putnam, 2015).”

Developing immediate rapport with Hamlin students, Robinson asked the girls which book they would like him to read. The overwhelming choice was Gaston, which he read with his vibrant, colorful, book illustrations projected onto the big screen behind him.

Mr. Robinson went on to speak about his methodology as an artist. He emphasized the importance of starting small to tell a big story, sharing that he sometimes makes many mistakes with his sketches before getting an illustration just right. He spoke about his joy of research, explaining how he often checks out books from the library to look at inspiring images for his work. He then talked about the unique perspective of the artist stating, “we all see the world differently, so we draw the world differently.”

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STEMming the Gender Gap Day v.2

StGG v2 ivThe Hamlin School will celebrate STEMming the Gender Gap Day on Friday, December 2. This day is an opportunity to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and careers among girls and to connect them with female tech leaders in the Bay Area. Hamlin girls will have the chance to see, interact with, learn from, and teach these women leaders as they prepare to be tomorrow’s tech superstars and help #StemGenderGap!

This year Hamlin is partnering with a variety of incredible Bay Area tech companies and organizations for STEMming the Gender Gap Day, such as The Lawrence Hall of Science, The Bay Area Discovery Museum, The Exploratorium, Quizlet, Twitter, NASA Ames Research Center, Autodesk, Common Sense Media, SalesForce, Pop Sugar, Event Brite, Mobilize, Other Machine Co., Honeybook, and more. Some examples of what Hamlin girls will be doing:

  • Third graders will be making a presentation to the design team at Quizlet about their experience using the app in the classroom. Afterwards, students will have the opportunity to hear from a panel of women who work at Quizlet.
  • Fourth graders will visit and learn about the largest wind tunnel on the west coast at NASA.
  • Seventh graders will visit with a female MIT engineer at Other Machine Company to discuss women in tech and female entrepreneurship.

For questions about STEMming the Gender Gap Day, please email Mark Picketts at

it’s baaaack …

StGG v2iSTEMming the Gender Gap 2016 is happening on Friday, December 2, 2016.

Once again, Hamlin girls will have the chance to see, interact with, learn from, and teach female tech leaders as they prepare themselves to be tomorrow’s tech superstars and help close the #StemGenderGap!

Cartoonist Dana Simpson Visits Hamlin

DanaSOn November 10th Hamlin’s Lower School welcomed creative comic illustrator, Dana Simpson. Ms. Simpson draws the syndicated comic strip, Phoebe and Her Unicorn, which appears in 200 newspapers nationally.

Ms. Simpson shared her passion for drawing by telling Hamlin students about various facets of her life as an artist. She spoke about the first comic that she drew at the age of 5 and her early love of the Peanuts comic strip. She looked at what Charles Schulz did and said to herself, “Someone does that as a job; someday I can do that.” She went on to draw a comic for her middle school newspaper that few found funny, but she stuck with it and later earned accolades for her internet comic strip,  Ozy and MIllie.

Perhaps the highlight of Ms. Simpson’s visit was when she read her comic illustrations from the big screen in McKinney. Hamlin students were mesmerized as they watched the creator of their beloved books reading with expression and flare. As she presented, Ms. Simpson emphasized the importance of having prominent female characters in her work. During the question and answer period, one person wanted advice for girls aspiring to create comic strips. Ms. Simpson stated, “Never stop, don’t quit, eventually I found a way to make it work, and you can too.”

Below is a short video of Dana Simpson speaking about her work:


To learn more about Dana Simpson, please visit:



Mountain Lake: Hamlin’s Outdoor Lab

MountainLakeThose who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.    -Rachel Carson

It is no secret that the Hamlin School is situated within the urban confines of San Francisco. However, every year students have the opportunity to spend intensive days studying nature, collecting data, and participating in ongoing research work.

This hands on encounter with ecology takes place at Mountain Lake, a natural 1,700-year-old freshwater pond. “The area around Mountain Lake is home to 250 species of birds, 30 species of butterflies, 50 species of mammals, and more federally protected species than any other national park in the continental United States.” Spanish explorers who went on to settle San Francisco spent their first night camped by the lake in 1776.

In more recent years it was discovered that the entire lake was polluted. This was caused by dirty water run off from a nearby road, pesticides from the adjacent golf course, and people dumping non-native fish and turtles into the lake. The situation became so dire that the Presidio Trust had to kill all the fish in the lake with 50 gallons of rotenone, an odorless, colorless, poison. Once the water quality was restored, the Presidio Trust reintroduced non-invasive species better suited for the Mountain Lake environment.

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CalFresh talks with Hamlin students about Hunger Relief

LEODid you know that 1 out of every 8 Americans lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food? That is roughly 43 million Americans across the country.

Earlier in the school year, Hamlin 7th graders volunteered at the SF-Marin Food Bank and participated in a Hunger 101 simulation. Yesterday they had an opportunity to learn more about how food stamps work by hearing from Leo O’Farrell, San Francisco’s director of CalFresh.

“CalFresh is a benefit that helps low-income people and families buy food. CalFresh is a federally mandated, state-supervised, and county-operated government program designed to eliminate hunger in the United States.”

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