Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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!