HSArts Community Newsletter – May 31 – Special Edition


San Francisco High School of the Arts Community Newsletter | May 31, 2023


Important Dates
May 31 5th Grade Graduation
Jun 1 Awards Ceremony (am)
Jun 1 Middle and High School Graduation (pm)
Jun 2 Spring Spectacular recital and art exhibition

Remarks from our Head of School

Learning is a lifelong journey and each year brings new discoveries and accomplishments. Consider the moments when we overcame obstacles, achieved breakthroughs, and experienced the joy of mastering new concepts. These experiences are the building blocks of our personal, academic and artistic growth. A great year of learning also encompasses personal development, character building and the formation of valuable life skills. Think about the friendships we have cultivated, the resilience we have demonstrated and the ways in which we have grown as an individual.

Congratulations to everyone on a great year of learning!

Dr. Sherry Zhang 
Head of School
San Francisco High School of the Arts

Special Edition – Celebrating Learning

Ms. Lona Lou and the Academics Department

Dear Students, Parents, and Staff,

Time flies! At the end of spring semester, we now issue our last newsletter to celebrate an academic year of inspiring learning, and you will see some excellent student sample work here too!

We had a great mid-cycle visit from our accreditation agency WASC’s earlier this year. WASC visiting team was highly impressed with what we have accomplished in the past three years. WASC is all about student learning. Being recognized and congratulated by the visiting team is a testament to our exceptional curriculum and the collective commitment of our entire school community, including teachers, staff, students, and parents, who have worked together to create an exceptional learning environment.

This school year has been filled with countless moments of learning, discovery, and personal triumphs. Congratulations to all our students for their outstanding achievements and for embodying the values of our school. Our students have demonstrated remarkable dedication and enthusiasm for their studies throughout the year. They were delving into complex mathematical competitions (AMC8!), dissecting thought-provoking literature (see their amazing presentations), exploring the wonders of scientific inquiry, and surviving from a Chinese-speaking only Taiwan trip!

At last, let’s express our great gratitude to the teachers, parents, and staff who have provided unwavering support, guidance, and inspiration along the way. It is through the collective efforts of our entire school community that our students have been able to reach such wonderful heights!


Our AP Calculus BC students have just completed their AP Exam this past Monday, May 8th. For the last few weeks, students were hard at work: studying review sheets, working through practice problems, and ensuring they knew all the calculator commands. Prior to that, students jumped into the deep end coming out of precalculus last year; they entered AP Calculus BC running. We finished the AP BC curriculum in 5 months. Calculus is best understood in retrospect since there are only two concepts at the core of calculus: derivatives and antiderivatives (also known as integrals). Once you understand both, you can start to play! You can see how they relate, you can jump from one to the other, and even grasp complicated iterations of either or both. AP students got great at understanding deep thought theorems such as the Sandwich Theorem, Mean Value Theorem, Intermediate Value Theorem and Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. On top of rattling off proofs, students gained a great conception of shapes, their rotation, movements, and edges. I believe our students grasped the visual side of calculus so well because of their work in visual arts and envisioning in dance classes. I am proud of how much our students learned in such a short time, and how robust their analytical skills and background understanding of calculus has become, and I hope they are proud of themselves as well. With hard work comes great rewards! On Tuesday, we celebrated with complimentary coffee from Flywheel and a leisurely, cheerful walk through Golden Gate Park. In the remaining ten classes students have requested lessons about wealth management, study skills for college, and applications of calculus in the real world. We look forward to having more fun learning these things! 

Mrs. Darragh Leddy


Since computer science became more and more important in our daily lives and also career development, HSArts has been introducing more computer science classes. Starting this school year, our innovative Integrated Science curriculum has incorporated computer science and data science into our core scientific subjects such as physical science, biology, and physics. Students are learning those contents and using computers to build models, to simulate results, and to analyze resulting data. For example, our “Integrated Science – Bio Focus” class is reproducing the current Australia’s rabbit crisis using JavaScript. Students code this real world problem of  “breed like rabbits” by randomly simulating 3-4 liters per year and 1-12 babies per litter per doe rabbit. Another coding project our math students are working on is using repetition to tell if a number is prime. The manual process of telling prime is tedious but JavaScript only needs 8 lines to take input and give output, true/false of prime. Students not only build up their coding skills but also get the important sense that their future careers may benefit from computer science and data science. 

Mr. Ray Chen


Dear Parents and Guardians,
It was an honor teaching your child this year.  I had so much fun in all of my classes.  I hope your child reported to you some of cool assignments we did this year.  That being said, I realize that maybe you are interested how I structure my classes in general and how (or what way) I like to go in-depth with topics and teach critical thinking while at the same time make sure that my students have a solid foundation in historical knowledge and/or scientific literacy.  The best way for me to explain this (my style of teaching) would be to briefly discuss one of my courses from this last year.  So let’s focus on the 8th grade U.S. History course.  
I try my best to design a course that is practical, informative, expands a student’s horizons, improves character, improves life skills, and gets a student ready for the next level of learning.  Although I cannot share everything I do in a short newsletter, hopefully these examples are enough for you to get a feeling into how I teach and approach the subject of history.  So let’s get into it…
The very first day of 8th grade history I gave my students the U.S. Citizenship Test.  I didn’t grade it, it was just a reference.  But guess what?  It was also our final exam this last week.  The class learned about the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which states that anyone born in the USA is automatically a citizen.  But our country is also unique and special because people from all over the world can come here, put down roots, and become Americans themselves if they so choose.  They just need to take a test.  Our 8th graders just experienced that (unofficially).  It was a nice (and practical) way for them to learn about our system of government and a bit about civics.  I didn’t have too many other tests with the students this year.  High school is coming up soon.  So they needed to improve their essay writing.  
One of the big essays they must learn to write in high school is called the Document-Based-Question or DBQ.  It’s on all the AP History exams.  Well our students began learning how to write this style of essay with me.  They had to apply their knowledge from the class while analyzing these primary sources of information (the documents) related to the topic.  Then they had to use these documents successfully as evidence in their arguments.  It’s a challenging writing assignment that most middle school teachers don’t introduce.  But I think our kids can handle it.  I love reading primary sources actually.  And this year I went beyond the textbook to give students different perspectives.  
My primary sources focused mostly on the lives of regular people.  For example, we read the journal of a private in the Revolutionary War named Joseph Martin.  He wasn’t a hero, nor famous, but his journal gave kids unique insight into war itself.  We read different articles and journals all year.  There was Doc Hay, a traditional Chinese medicine doctor in Oregon who helped anyone who came to him and consequently did so much to promote empathy and understanding between people.  There was Sojourner Truth who risked her life to help African Americans and women (of all ethnic groups) to be free.  There was Jane Addams who wrote an excellent essay trying to convince men (and even women) that the right to vote for all people would be a great benefit to society.  And many more (famous and not famous)…
We also had some practical history lessons.  Our class watched videos of history reenactors and we copied some of their knowledge….like cooking colonial recipes.  We discussed the history of law enforcement (police work) in this country, then had a visit from two police officers from SFPD that talked about their lives and their work on the streets today.  We had a local lawyer stop by and discuss a famous Supreme Court case and also explain how our judicial system works.  
And those lessons on character happened throughout the year, often in subtle ways.  We did not shy away from controversy and the horrific mistakes of the past, but there has been good in people from all time periods too.  History is not always gloom and doom.  It is important for students to know these lessons as well.  So I’d share when I could.  For example, during our unit on World War I, a war filled with so much mechanized death, I was able to find a primary source that detailed an interesting dogfight.  If you remember, “dogfighting” was between two airplanes.  In this case a German and a French pilot were dueling to the death, but the German’s machine gun jammed.  The French pilot saw this and let the man go free.  He wouldn’t harm a defenseless person.  To show mercy in war is a special thing.  To forgive others is a special thing.  Hopefully our students will be those kind of people.    Maybe these stories of mercy and forgiveness will stay with them and be a helpful guide.  
I could go on and on, but hopefully these few paragraphs are enough detail for you to have a window into my style of teaching.  And please feel free to contact me any time you wish about ideas and/or feedback.  One parent this year shared a fantastic series of videos with me from Yale University’s history department.  I’d be happy to hear about, read, or research any kind of topic that would bring history to life for our students (your children).  Take care and have a great summer.  
Lee Randazzo
History Teacher
In 5th grade language arts we read a mix of literary and informational texts which strengthened their reading fluency and comprehension skills, as well as expanded their vocabulary. Writing skills improved this year with paragraphs and essays focused on descriptive, narrative, and expository writing. Students followed and understood each of the five stages of the writing process: planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Essays included a research report, compare and contrast, and a short story complete with an event, narrator and characters. Fifth grade students had plenty of opportunities to learn and practice new grammar skills in order to enhance their writing and communication skills, including recognizing and using parts of speech (particularly verb tenses) correctly.

In 6/7th grade English, students increased their ability to analyze and synthesize information, strengthened their reading skills, and improved their writing proficiency. Sixth and Seventh graders progressed visibly in reading, writing, and vocabulary. We have developed complex writing skills by writing in-depth character analysis. Students have improved their fluency and comprehension skills and are able to apply punctuation, grammar, and syntax skills to their written work. 

In 9/10th grade English, we covered the more difficult reading comprehension strategies, literary analysis, writing methods and more. Students read a diverse selection of world literature organized into thematic units. They refined their listening, speaking, writing, and presentation skills. Over the course of this year students have determined the central idea and purpose of a text, analyzed how authors use historical events to build a claim, written essays to integrate properly cited research, and selected evidence that effectively supports an analysis.

In 11/12th grade English, students focused on the study of British Literature and identified the ideas, values, and themes of a historical period from the early epics to contemporary writers. Students explored the societal issues of various periods through reading novels, dramas, poetry, speeches and non-fiction. While focusing on vocabulary and comprehension, students compared and contrasted how British literature developed in a historical context. Students are able to recognize the elements of various genres of literature and compare and contrast conventional and contemporary poetry.

Mr. David Gallagher
AP Chinese Course Summary
In the 2022-2023 school year, the AP Chinese course will continue to design teaching plans based on the goals of improving listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. During the teaching process, in addition to regular classroom teaching explanations, the teacher uses video, speeches, games, field trips and other means to organize classroom teaching, train students; Chinese language sense, increase vocabulary, and especially strengthen students; speaking ability. Through the accumulated learning, the students; Chinese proficiency has been significantly improved, and their confidence in learning Chinese has greatly increased. This course has achieved the expected teaching objectives and successfully completed the teaching tasks.

AP Chinese課程教學總結
在2022-2023學年,AP Chinese課程繼續本著聽說讀寫技能共同提高的教學目標,設計教案和制定計劃。教學過程中,除了常規的課堂教學講解外,教師利用視頻、演說、遊戲、實地考察等手段,組織課堂教學,訓練學生中文語感,增加詞彙量,尤其強化學生的說話能力。通過日積月累的學習,學生們的中文水平明顯得到提高,學好中文的信心大增。本課程達到了預期的教學目標,圓滿完成了教學任務。

Mr. Qining Cai

This is the Create Performance Task from Sabrina. She created an app which implemented an algorithm named “selection sort”. Attached are screenshots and the actual link to let everyone play with this app. 

8th Grade Poster about Macbeth

Links to other student presentations and assignments
Presentation by Daphne Ng
Video from Ms. Yoyo’s Chinese Class
Presentation by Eric Li
5th Grade Presentation on the Golden Gate Bridge

Field Trip!
Our Honors Precalculus class visited a satellite company called Astranis. Our students learned how vector calculus is used to direct the satellite, how sine waves are used to measure frequency, and exponential/logarithmic models of possibilities and movement.


Coming soon!
May 31

Spring Music Concert

May 31
5th Grade Graduation
Jun 1
Awards Ceremony (morning)
Jun 1
Middle and High School graduation (afternoon)
Jun 2
Spring Spectacular recital and art exhibition
Jun 3 – Aug 15
Summer Break! Have a great summer! See you next year!

Communication is essential and we strive to connect with our students, parents, and families throughout the school year. We will continue reaching out to you with this weekly newsletter. We also encourage you to visit our website and follow our social pages including Facebook and Instagram for announcements, information, and celebrations