Inside SFS

Building Communities in Second Grade

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Second Grade’s neighborhood unit embodies principles in our mission statement as well as some of the priorities in our new Strategic Plan.

By Jeanie Chang, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees

One of the priorities in our strategic plan is to engage more fully with the Portola neighborhood and San Francisco with hope of exploring the many resources that our location offers. We strive to create an expanded, limitless classroom in which our community learns and instructs. Under the guidance of Maggie Day and CJ Logel, the Second Grade’s study of the neighborhood has enabled them to do just that.

The Second Grade students began by learning about the neighborhood as a conceptual entity. Through their own observations and the creation of their own model neighborhood, Hideaway Cove, they learned about the important components of a community (in the abstract as well as the concrete), issues and conflicts that may arise, and constructive, peaceful means of resolution, improvement, and co-existence.


Subsequently, they have been exploring the school surroundings and forging friendships. Several recent walking field trips have included a guided tour of the Portola’s rich murals by local artist and SFS parent Nico Berry. Students have also established a relationship with the preschoolers of the Portola Family Connections, an organization serving low-income, immigrant working families to develop healthy families and a thriving community through a wide array of support services.The Second Graders will visit their young buddies throughout the year to read picture books and play.


The class has also connected with the greater San Francisco community by enjoying the abundance of dance throughout the city. Second Grade teacher CJ Logel has been sharing his experience and love of dance in the classroom through kinesthetic instruction. The students were then able to expand on this by attending Cali & Co Dance’s site adaptive performances in the streets of the city which featured personal narratives about place, home, and connection. They further experienced the city’s artistic resources through a field trip to ODC’s The Velveteen Rabbit, a contemporary interpretation of the classic children’s story, where they watched the dance and participated in a Q&A with the kids’ cast.


The SFS Second Graders are taking advantage of the abundant resources of the Portola and San Francisco by exploring, understanding and building community, fully celebrating their humanitarian promise and embodying a central theme of the SFS strategic plan.

Posted January 03, 2018