Welcome to the 2020-21 School Year

Welcome to the 2020-21 school year, wonderful BVHM families!

As your children look with anticipation toward the beginning of the school year– one like no other–, I am sure that many of you are dealing with complex feelings, both your kids’ and your own. Nobody could have imagined that our children would be facing the beginning of school in a virtual space, and I want you to know that we educators, who are lucky to soon be entrusted with them, are doing all we can to create an experience that will feel safe, nurturing, engaging and enriching.

As you likely know, we will be starting the new year with 100% distance learning. The staff and I are grateful that the District’s decision to start the school year with distance learning prioritized the safety of all, even though we are eager to return to in-person instruction as soon as possible. We understand that you have lots of needs and questions as a result of this decision. I know that many families are worried about their need for childcare, technology, transport, and school supplies, in addition to food, employment, and financial support. While many aspects of our instructional day still need to be worked out, I created a slide show that will hopefully paint a picture of what you can expect from school in the coming months.

This Thursday, August 6th, at 6pm, I will review this slideshow with our community and also introduce our wonderful new Assistant Principal, Ana Zambrano. Please mark your calendars.

Last semester, on the whole, we received very positive feedback from our families about the distance learning experience at BVHM. Our teachers worked incredibly hard to figure out new ways of doing things, maintain a strong sense of connection in our classroom communities, and partnered more deeply with families to make sure that our children were still engaging in learning. We also gleaned lots of specific, constructive feedback from you, our families, about what did not work for you and your children. We will only get better as we extend the distance learning experience into the new school year. Over the summer our teachers have not stopped thinking about what worked well, and what didn’t work so well. They are already crafting creative plans for community building in the new classes even though they don’t officially return to work until August 11.

Please also know that educators, parents and our local elected representatives have been working through the summer on a school-wide plan to address racial equity issues that we face as a community. We will not push that work to the side as we continue planning for this new school year, but will maintain it throughout. As this Summer has taught us, the Coronavirus pandemic exacerbates the inequities in our society that have always been there– we must continue to help our children understand the way that power is distributed and upheld in this society, and what we can all do to engender equity and disrupt oppression. We commit to teach such critical thinking skills as part and parcel of a strong education about topics ranging from art to science, math to English, PE to social studies, and of course, we will teach so much of it in Spanish because WE ARE BVHM!

Know that your child’s teacher will be in touch with you before the first day of school, on August 17th, and that they will once again be asking about your entire family’s well-being, in addition to their student’s interests and needs. We intend to serve all of you, as we know that if the family is not thriving, the child can not thrive. Please accept our hand in partnership as we make it through this challenging time together. Juntos podemos. Si se puede!

I hope to see you this Thursday evening. If you can’t make it at that time, Ana and I will be holding zoom office hours at the following times:

Monday August 10 from 6pm to 7pm
Thursday, August 13 between 9am and 10am

Finally, I want to send a special HELLO and WELCOME to our Kinder families! We are so excited to meet you and your children 🙂 Welcome home.

Welcome Families 2019–2020

Dear Families,

On behalf of the teachers and staff of Buena Vista Horace Mann, we welcome you to the 2019-2020 school year!

I am sure that over the summer your children had opportunities to explore their world in different ways than they were used to. Whether they traveled, went to summer camps or “stayed local” with their friends and family and got reacquainted with their neighborhood, parks and libraries, we know that they will be eager to share stories with their classmates and teachers, and I can speak for our entire staff when I tell you that we are all filled with excitement to hear them.

We look forward to greeting your children, and welcoming them into their new classrooms, to helping them make new friends and to reconnect with the peers they have missed over these past months. We know that our school plays a huge role in your child’s life– school is where they come to be learners, friends and leaders– and we take our role in their development very seriously. I am grateful that you entrust your children to us, and that YOU also find meaningful ways to participate in our community, to be friends, learners and leaders here at Buena Vista Horace Mann.

We are coming back to a community that is stronger than ever– our academic data continues to climb and we have recently been certified as bearing the “gold standard” for healthy eating, physical activity and staff wellness, winning the SFUSD “Be Well” award. Students of all ages are increasing their voice by founding new clubs that benefit our school, such as the newspaper and cheer teams. They demonstrate teamwork and dedication through organized sports and in the Carnaval parade, and this year they will enjoy formal representation on our School Site Council. Most importantly, they are speaking up in class, working together to solve complex equations, challenging each others’ thinking and taking their essays through multiple drafts.

We know that true education can only transpire when the student feels engaged and invested, when they know that their perspective is valued and that their voice is important. As we embark on this school year, I want for us all to continue to focus on developing our students’ sense of agency, their ability to see the value of what they’re learning and to determine how they will use this information to better their world.

To this end, we encourage you to have conversations with your children about what they’re learning and what they think about it, what they want to do with this knowledge, how they want to interact with their world as powerful agents of change. As adults, let’s have these conversations too– what do we know and how do we feel about it? What do we commit to do together with this information? Together let’s create the community we want our children to grow and thrive in.

Principal Claudia DeLarios Morán and Vice-principal Gissell Medina

Students taking a photography seminar

Taking the photography seminar encourages students to unleash their creativity while learning photography and art composition skills. Students learn to use all the functions of a digital camera and have the opportunity to experiment with different compact and SLR cameras. Students learn the language of photography using and naming the different techniques to frame an image. They become familiar with using tech platforms to download, edit, and fix their images. They are introduced to the work of famous photographers throughout history giving them a sense of context to the art of creating a photographic image.


New BVHM Mural

Our extremely talented art teacher, Erin Mapes is bringing another mural to BVHM! 8th grade art students have been working with local artist, Grant Gilliland to design a mural for the 23rd Street wall outside the music room. The theme of the mural is “music” and it symbolizes the way that music has touched our school and community here in the Mission. The design will include the SF skyline, musical notes, the world, a tree, and instrument silhouettes. We will start the mural in the spring of 2017 and it will be done by the end of school year.

Computer Science at BVHM

Students in 6th grade are taking a new course in computer science for the first time this year!
computer_science_at_bvhmThey are learning how computers work and how we can use them to create, explore, and solve problems in the world around us. Students will be using Scratch for the programming portion of the course, and will investigate other Internet resources related to computer science and even get to program robots later on this year! We plan to expand this course to 7th grade and possibly some elementary grades next year.


Professional Development

Last week, BVHM welcomed the visit of long-time friend and colleague, Alexandra Roman of Teachers College.  Alexandra, visiting_teachersalong with our instructional coaches and administrators met with 3rd, 4th and 5th grade teachers while she demonstrated a number of strategies in the classrooms to support the professional development of staff relative to the Common Core State Standards for English language arts. Your children experience the immediate results of this professional development during the Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop portions of their school day. Whether working with a partner or in small groups, our goal is to provide structure so that students deepen their comprehension of the texts they read and can clearly articulate their thinking and cite texts as evidence. Ms. Roman will visit us two more times this year and in early December our middle school teachers will meet with a different Staff Developer from Teachers College.


The day before Election Day

The day before Election Day, Interim Superintendent, Myong Leigh visited BVHM during middle school community circle. Supt. Leigh spoke to the students about the current climate of fear and insecurity that has been heightened by our presidential race. He noted that it was time that we accept all people for their differences and demonstrate empathy so that we can become a stronger and more united community. Supt. Leigh praised the mindset of the students, families and staff of BVHM while quoting Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Yes, Supt. Leigh, we are ready to accept your challenge and remain true to our mission of empowering our students to transform our community for the betterment of all.


img951321 Myong-Leigh-visited-2