News

Audience: Homepage and Homepage

 

Dear parents and guardians, 

 

Family Portal debuted in Fall 2017, and since this is a new tool, we want to hear from you about your experience with Family Portal as a parent or guardian. We’ve worked with Parents for Public Schools of SF to develop a survey, and the information we collect will help us as we continually work to improve your Family Portal experience.

 

Please fill out this short survey, available in English, Chinese and Spanish, before June 8 to give us feedback!

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Posted by: Kang-Yun Joyce Tsai, District Staff, San Francisco Unified School District
Published: 5/21/18




Audience: Homepage and Homepage

There have recently been unconfirmed reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may conduct a major sweep in San Francisco. Please remember immigration officials are not allowed access to students or student information on school grounds without authorization from SFUSD’s Legal Office.

 

If you need immigration support, you may speak with a trusted adult at school. Your information will be kept confidential. Find legal help related to immigration from San Francisco Immigrant Support. If you encounter ICE officials in your home or community, or if you or someone you know is detained in San Francisco, you can call the Rapid Response hotline at 415-200-1548.

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Posted by: Kang-Yun Joyce Tsai, District Staff, San Francisco Unified School District
Published: 1/19/18




Audience: Afterschool Professionals, Assistant Principals, Associates, Parents, Principals, Staff, Students, Sys Admins, Teachers and Homepage

SFUSD continues to monitor the air quality index for the City and County of San Francisco for the week of Oct. 16. Principals are getting regular updates regarding precautions they should take, including bringing activities indoors when the air quality is orange or red and monitoring students with asthma and other health conditions. As the forecast changes during the school day or at any time during this week, an update will be provided to principals right away. Check the current the air quality index at airnow.gov.

 

三藩市聯合校區將繼續監測本週三藩市內的空氣品質指數。各校校長會定期獲得有關相應預防措施的最新消息,包括當空氣品質達橙色或紅色級別時,把所有活動安排在室內進行,以及監察患哮喘及其他健康狀況學生的情況。若空氣品質預測在上學日期間或本週任何時間出現變化,我們會立即向所有校長提供更新資訊。你可上網到airnow.gov查閱最新的空氣品質指數。

 

El SFUSD continúa monitorizando el índice de calidad del aire para la Ciudad y el Condado de San Francisco durante la semana del 16 de octubre. Los directores reciben actualizaciones periódicas con respecto a las precauciones que deben tomar, incluso realizar las actividades dentro de las instalaciones cuando la calidad del aire es naranja o roja y vigilar los estudiantes con asma y otras condiciones de salud. Conforme el pronóstico cambie durante el día escolar o en cualquier momento durante esta semana, de inmediato se proporcionarán actualizaciones a los directores. Verifique el índice actual de calidad del aire en airnow.gov.

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Posted by: Kang-Yun Joyce Tsai, District Staff, San Francisco Unified School District
Published: 10/16/17




Audience: Afterschool Professionals, Assistant Principals, Associates, Parents, Principals, Staff, Students, Sys Admins, Teachers and Homepage

San Francisco Unified School District officials are working closely with the Department of Emergency Management and the Department of Public Health to monitor the air quality situation in San Francisco. At this time, we continue to advise schools to conduct indoor activities during the school day. Schools will be open Friday, Oct. 13. If San Francisco's air quality is downgraded further, we will consult with Department of Public Health and provide families and staff with an update.

 

三藩市聯合校區正在與緊急事故應變管理部和公共衛生部密切合作,監測三藩市的空氣質量。目前,我們繼續建議學校在上課期間進行室內活動。 學校將在10月13日星期五正常開放。 如果三藩市的空氣質量進一步下降,我們將向公共衛生部諮詢,並對家庭和員工提供新指引。

 

Los funcionarios del Distrito Escolar Unificado de San Francisco están trabajando estrechamente con el Departamento de Manejo de Emergencias y el Departamento de Salud Pública para vigilar la calidad del aire en San Francisco. En este momento, seguimos recomendando a las escuelas que realicen las actividades dentro del plantel durante el día escolar. Las escuelas estarán abiertas el viernes 13 de octubre. Si la calidad del aire de San Francisco disminuye aún más, consultaremos con el Departamento de Salud Pública, con el fin de proporcionar a las familias y al personal una actualización sobre la situación.

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Posted by: Kang-Yun Joyce Tsai, District Staff, San Francisco Unified School District
Published: 10/12/17




Audience: Afterschool Professionals, Assistant Principals, Associates, Parents, Principals, Staff, Students, Sys Admins, Teachers and Homepage

San Francisco has very poor air quality due to the fires in the North Bay. SFUSD has advised all school sites ​to keep students indoors on Oct. 12 during recess​, physical education​ and lunc​h​​. All outdoor sports and learning ​activities should ​also ​​​be ​moved indoors.  

 

These guidelines are to remain in place until the San Francisco Department of Public Health deems the air quality has improved and it is safe for children to do activities outdoors. We will continue to update principals regarding any changes. 

 

由於北灣火災,三藩市空氣質素非常差劣。三藩市聯合校區已吩咐所有學校在小息、體育堂及午餐時安排學生留在室內活動。所有戶外運動和學習活動也應轉到室內進行。

 

這指引將一直生效,直至三藩市公共衛生局認為空氣質素已改善,並適合學生在室外安全活動為止。如有任何變化,我們將會繼續通知校長。

 

En estos momentos la ciudad de San Francisco tiene muy mala calidad del aire debido a los incendios en el norte de la Bahía de San Francisco. El Distrito Escolar Unificado de San Francisco (SFUSD) ha aconsejado a todas las escuelas que mantengan a los alumnos en el interior de sus inmuebles el 12 de octubre durante el recreo, la clase de educación física y el almuerzo. Todos los deportes y actividades docentes al aire libre deben también realizarse en el interior de las escuelas.

 

Estas directrices deberán respetarse hasta que el Departamento de Salud Pública de San Francisco considere que la calidad del aire ha mejorado y es seguro para los alumnos realizar actividades al aire libre. El SFUSD continuará informando a los directores de las escuelas sobre cualquier cambio de última hora.

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Posted by: Kang-Yun Joyce Tsai, District Staff, San Francisco Unified School District
Published: 10/11/17




Audience: Afterschool Professionals, Assistant Principals, Associates, Parents, Principals, Staff, Students, Sys Admins, Teachers and Homepage

Beginning at approximately 2:00 p.m. on Oct. 11, the air quality in San Francisco is expected to become "unhealthy for sensitive groups" (known as a code orange). At that time, schools have been advised to minimize outdoor exertion for students and staff with asthma or other health issues. Alternative activities and settings will be made available for all students at all of our schools.

 

各位三藩市聯合校區家長:從今天下午2點開始,預計三藩市的空氣質量會升級為橙色警告,即“對敏感人群有健康危害”。 學校已經收到建議盡量減少哮喘或有其他健康問題的學生和工作人員的戶外運動,並提供其它活動給所有學生。

 

Se espera que hoy alrededor de las 2:00 de la tarde, la calidad del aire en San Francisco no sea saludable “en especial para los grupos de personas más sensibles” (conocido como código naranja). Al llegar ese tiempo, a las escuelas se les ha recomendado que “a estudiantes y personal con padecimientos de asma o de salud” se les limite la salida al exterior. Para todos nuestros estudiantes de las escuelas se tendrán disponibles medidas y actividades alternativas.

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Posted by: Kang-Yun Joyce Tsai, District Staff, San Francisco Unified School District
Published: 10/11/17




Audience: Afterschool Professionals, Assistant Principals, Associates, Parents, Principals, Staff, Students, Sys Admins, Teachers and Homepage

San Francisco has very poor air quality today due to the fires in the North Bay. SFUSD advised all school sites ​to keep students indoors during recess​, physical education​ and lunc​h​​. All outdoor sports activities ​and outdoor learning ​activities should ​also ​​​be ​moved indoors today.  

 

These guidelines are to remain in place until the San Francisco Department of Public Health deems the air quality has improved, and it is safe for children to do activities outdoors. We will continue to update principals regarding any changes to this directive. 

 

由於北灣火災,三藩市空氣質素非常差劣。三藩市聯合校區已吩咐所有學校在小息、體育堂及午餐時安排學生留在室內活動。所有戶外運動和學習活動也應轉到室內進行。 

 

這指引將一直生效,直至三藩市公共衛生局認為空氣質素已改善,並適合學生在室外安全活動為止。如有任何變化,我們將會繼續通知校長。

 

En estos momentos la ciudad de San Francisco tiene muy mala calidad del aire debido a los incendios en el norte de la Bahía de San Francisco. El Distrito Escolar Unificado de San Francisco (SFUSD) ha aconsejado a todas las escuelas que mantengan a los alumnos en el interior de sus inmuebles durante el recreo, la clase de educación física y el almuerzo. Todos los deportes y actividades docentes al aire libre deben también realizarse en el interior de las escuelas.

 

Estas directrices deberán respetarse hasta que el Departamento de Salud Pública de San Francisco considere que la calidad del aire ha mejorado y es seguro para los alumnos realizar actividades al aire libre. El SFUSD continuará informando a los directores de las escuelas sobre cualquier cambio de última hora.

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Posted by: Kang-Yun Joyce Tsai, District Staff, San Francisco Unified School District
Published: 10/10/17




Audience: Afterschool Professionals, Assistant Principals, Associates, Parents, Principals, Staff, Students, Sys Admins, Teachers and Homepage

To date, nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrant youth have been granted DACA status, which provides work authorization and temporary relief from deportation. The program has enabled our graduates to contribute to their communities by significantly increasing opportunities for higher education and jobs. Unfortunately, on September 5, 2017, President Trump directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to phase out and eventually end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) over two and half years. USCIS will continue to accept and process RENEWAL applications until Oct. 5, 2017 from applicants whose DACA expires between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018. Below are resources in support of DACA students who are eligible for renewal:

Apoyo para los trámites de renovación de la Acción Diferida para Personas que Llegaron al País en la Infancia (DACA)

Hasta la fecha, casi 800.000 jóvenes inmigrantes sin documentos legales de inmigración han obtenido la categoría DACA, lo que les proporciona una autorización de trabajo y pospone temporalmente su deportación. El programa ha permitido que nuestros graduados contribuyan a sus comunidades al aumentar significativamente las oportunidades para que ellos obtengan una educación superior y empleo. Infortunadamente, el día 5 de septiembre de 2017, el presidente Trump ordenó al Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS) y a los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de los EE.UU. (USCIS) que gradualmente eliminen y eventualmente pongan fin a la Acción Diferida para Llegadas de Niñez (DACA) durante un lapso de dos años y medio.​ La oficina del USCIS continuará aceptando y procesando solicitudes de RENOVACIÓN hasta el 05 de octubre del 2017 de los estudiantes cuya DACA vence entre el 05 de septiembre del 2017 y el 05 de marzo del 2018. A continuación, presentamos una lista de organismos que ofrecen recursos de apoyo a los estudiantes DACA que califican para renovar su condición:

協助暫緩遣返無証移民計劃(DACA)資格續辦

迄今,接近80萬名無證移民青少年已獲賦予DACA身份,並從中獲工作許可和暫緩遣返。該計劃大大增加我們畢業生入讀大專院校及就業機會,從而有助他們貢獻社區。很不幸,在2017年9月5日,特朗普總統指令美國國土安全部(DHS) 及美國公民及移民服務局(USCIS) ,在未來兩年半內逐步撤銷「童年入境者暫緩遣返手續」(DACA),直至該計劃完全撤銷為止。美國公民及移民事務局(USCIS) 將繼續接受和處理DACA計劃參加者之資格續辦申請,直至2017年10月5日為止,只要申請者之DACA計劃失效日期界乎2017年9月5日至2018年3月5日。以下一些資源對符合DACA計劃續辦申請的學生會有幫助:

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Posted by: Kang-Yun Joyce Tsai, District Staff, San Francisco Unified School District
Published: 9/27/17




Audience: Afterschool Professionals, Assistant Principals, Associates, Parents, Principals, Staff, Students, Sys Admins, Teachers and Homepage

To date, nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrant youth have been granted DACA status, which provides work authorization and temporary relief from deportation. The program has enabled our graduates to contribute to their communities by significantly increasing opportunities for higher education and jobs. Unfortunately, on Sept. 5, 2017, President Trump directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to phase out and eventually end DACA over two and half years.

迄今,接近80萬名無證移民青少年已獲賦予DACA身份,並從中獲工作許可和暫緩遣返。該計劃大大增加我們畢業生入讀大專院校及就業機會,從而有助他們貢獻社區。很不幸,在2017年9月5日,特朗普總統指令美國國土安全部(DHS) 及美國公民及移民服務局(USCIS) ,在未來兩年半內逐步撤銷「童年入境者暫緩遣返手續」(DACA),直至該計劃完全撤銷為止

Hasta la fecha, casi 800.000 jóvenes inmigrantes sin documentos legales de inmigración han obtenido la categoría DACA, lo que les proporciona una autorización de trabajo y pospone temporalmente su deportación. El programa ha permitido que nuestros graduados contribuyan a sus comunidades al aumentar significativamente las oportunidades para que ellos obtengan una educación superior y empleo. Infortunadamente, el día 5 de septiembre de 2017, el presidente Trump ordenó al Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS) y a los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de los EE.UU. (USCIS) que gradualmente eliminen y eventualmente pongan fin a la Acción Diferida para Llegadas de Niñez (DACA) durante un lapso de dos años y medio.​

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Posted by: Kang-Yun Joyce Tsai, District Staff, San Francisco Unified School District
Published: 9/7/17




Audience: Homepage

Greetings Willie Brown Community!

 

WBMS Principal Charleston BrownIt gives me great pleasure to formally introduce myself to the Willie Brown Community as your new school leader. Before I share my professional experience and some goals for the school 2017-2018 school year. I would like share with you some background information about myself. I was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles (Go Dodgers) and was the first male in my family to attend and graduate from college. I am a huge sports fan and was a student athlete from elementary school to college. I have been married to my beautiful wife for four years and we have a handsome 2-year-old toddler.  

 

I am proud, honored and extremely excited to join the Willie Brown Jr. Middle School team as the new principal for the 2017-2018 school year! My journey in education started nine years ago in Mississippi at Alcorn State University where I earned a master’s degree in counseling, while serving as an Americorps member providing service to elementary and middle school students. After completing my degree I returned to my home state of California to continue my work in education at a charter high school located in San Francisco, in the capacity of head counselor and dean of students for five years. After a successful tenure as head counselor and dean of students I re-enrolled in school at Cal State East Bay to earn an administrative credential and degree in school leadership.  During the 2016-1017 school year I served as the principal of San Francisco Flex Academy and for the current school year I served in the capacity of assistant principal at Willie Brown Jr. Middle School.

 

As the school leader I will utilize my previous experience as a counselor, dean, assistant principal and principal to build upon the great work that Principal Kappenhagen has started at Willie Brown Middle School. As the principal of Willie Brown Middle School, I am eager to develop and sustain strong relationships with the Bayview/Hunters Point community, community organizations and sponsors through collaborative efforts to provide Willie Brown students with a meaningful middle school experience. A middle school experience that will develop students 21st century skills while empowering them to take agency over their education and solve real world problems with the skills learned from the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) department.

 

As the school principal, I am most excited about enthusiastically and tirelessly working with the Willie Brown staff, families, and all stakeholders to achieve the following:

 

1.     Create a safe, inclusive, and welcoming learning environment

2.     Continue to foster students growth social-emotional and academically through project based learning

3.      Engage parents and community partners through education,

communication, and collaboration to promote student success

 

We are the Willie Brown Warriors and warrior pride is what I will promote daily through the school's core values Respect, Responsibility, Empathy, and Growth Mindset while your students make gains towards greatness at Willie Brown Middle School!

 

I would like to invite you to meet the 2017-2018 Willie Brown Middle school administration team on Friday, June 2, from 1-2 p.m.

 

Refreshments will be served!

 

Best,

 

Charleston Brown, Principal at Willie Brown Jr. Middle School

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Posted by: Maricella Miranda
Published: 5/30/17




Audience: Homepage

Greetings Willie Brown Community!

 

First, I would like to express my appreciation for the various ways that you all have participated as partners of the Willie L. Brown Jr. Middle Community! I especially want to thank you for your support, input, and participation in the various forums that helped identify what the Willie Brown school community wants in its next principal, as well as the characteristics you think are essential for any leader serving our students and families. From community meetings to impromptu conversations in the hallways and at school events, many of you said you wanted a leader who is devoted to Willie Brown Middle School, is able to align systems and build a positive school culture, is visible and interacts with all stakeholder groups, and can leverage the various programs, partnerships, and talents in the school to move towards fulfilment of the vision and realization of SFUSD’s Vision 2025.

 

Last weekend, a panel of selected parent representatives (SSC and PTA members), support staff, and teachers from Willie Brown interviewed principal candidates.  All of the candidates had passed the district's multi-step interview process. Among other things, this process assesses knowledge of teaching and learning, communication skills, reflectiveness, and cultural responsiveness. The panelists interviewed a group of candidates who scored highly in this process and went through an additional step of applying specifically to be principal of Willie Brown. We had a very diverse group of candidates, each of whom were experienced and passionate. After interviewing each candidate, the panelists engaged in an intense discussion before giving feedback on who they thought would best fit the role and who best matched what many of you said the school needs in its next leader. The panel’s feedback and recommendations are one of many components of the principal selection process that the Superintendent takes into consideration when making a Principal recommendation to SFUSD’s Board of Education. Based on the multiple factors listed above and taking into consideration our panelists’ discussion and feedback, the Superintendent identified a principal candidate for Willie Brown Middle School!

 

On Tuesday, May 9, in closed session, the San Francisco Board of Education approved Mr. Charleston Brown as the new principal for Willie L. Brown Jr. Middle School! Many of you are very familiar with Mr. Brown as he has become an integral part of the school as he subbed for Ms. Fuentes during her maternity leave. He has demonstrated his commitment to students, clear systems and excellence during his time. We are excited to have him a part of our team in this new capacity.

 

Thank you, again, for the many ways that you supported this process! It is clear to me that Willie Brown Middle School’s amazingness is not dependent on any one person, but is a result of its dedicated students, guardians, and staff members. Mr. Brown is lucky to lead such a committed school team and community!

 

In Community,

 

 

Enikia Ford Morthel

Asst. Superintendent, Cohort 3

Bayview/Potrero Hill

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Posted by: Maricella Miranda
Published: 5/12/17




Audience: Homepage

Dear Willie Brown families and students:

 

I am proud of the work that we have been able to do in our short two years together, and I want to let you know that I am leaving my position as principal of Willie L. Brown, Jr. Middle School at the end of the summer to explore future opportunities. It is has been nothing short of an honor to be called upon to help assist a school with such potential. We still have lots of work to do as a school community, and I am comfortable that we have started something that is achievable and noteworthy. Even though the school will have a new principal, the remainder of our leadership team plans to return to Willie Brown. Ms. Mary Weese and Ms. Malea Fuentes, assistant principals, are committed to returning to the school to ensure a successful transition. The grade level counselors and most of the faculty will return for the coming school year as well.

 

It’s been a rewarding and inspiring experience leading San Francisco’s newest middle school. Together, we’ve experienced the challenges and the rewards opening a new school, and we’ve worked together to mold the school’s vision to the unique needs and wants of the Willie Brown community. In our short time together we already established some really neat traditions:

  • Our seventh grade students will continue to have tech-based mentors, thanks to the Spark program and our generous donors.  

  • Our students have created their own robots and learned to code under the guidance of Mr. James Robertson and Ms. Julia Maynard, whose programs will continue to grow.  

  • Our show choir, The Pride of WB, will continue to take center stage under the direction of Mr. Eldridge Swiff Anthony.  

  • Our girls’ basketball team will continue to awe the city with their talent and discipline under the expertise of the WB athletic director, Ms. Edinburgh.  

  • Our sixth graders will continue to explore our area colleges and universities due to the resources garnered by Ms. Tachelle Herron.

  • Our school will continue to receive dental screenings, mental, and physical health services from our Health and Wellness Center.

  • Lastly, our students will continue to benefit from fun activities organized by Ms. Cody.

Next school year, the Willie Brown team is excited to take our instructional program even further in a new partnership with New Tech Network (NTN), a California design partner that’s helping schools nationwide create innovative learning environments with project-based, deeper learning for students. Team of teachers have already begun to dive into this work with site visits, conference participation, and brainstorming sessions.

 

Though the new principal has not been selected yet, my colleagues in the school district offices are committed to ensuring that a quality leader takes the helm at WBMS. Initial screenings have taken place and once qualified finalists have been selected, we are excited to engage you, the community, in the final selection.

 

Thank you for affording me the privilege of serving you and your child.

 

Warm regards,  
 

Bill Kappenhagen

Principal

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Posted by: Maricella Miranda
Published: 4/26/17




Audience: Mika Sasaki and Homepage

Email: SasakiM@sfusd.edu 

Work: (415) 642-8901 x.1320

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Posted by: Mika Sasaki
Published: 4/6/17




Audience: Homepage


Your challenge: Work on a team of three. Design and build a vehicle from scratch. Program lasers underneath the vehicle to follow a black line to a specific location.

 

Sound complicated? For seventh-graders at Willie Brown Middle School (WBMS), it’s just another project in James Robertson’s robotics class. His students use the latest technology and equipment to tackle project-based learning at WBMS -- the newest San Francisco public middle school with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

 

“In robotics, you’re never told what to build, you’re told what it should do,” said Robertson. “It’s really intense what the students are doing now. They really are doing it on their own.”

 

In group projects, students face challenges like building and programming a robot that lifts something heavy, or one that follows a black line. Students decide group roles as the team’s electrical engineer, computer programmer and computer engineer. To keep students engaged in class, Robertson connects group projects to real-world issues in the community.

 

“As a student, when I couldn’t see the connection to something bigger, it was harder for me to put it into a perspective that I could hold onto. My learning was more foggy,” he said.

 

Today, Robertson says he uses his experiences as a student to successfully reach his students. Robertson didn’t get the best grades in school. He eventually discovered he had dyslexia, which made learning a challenge. While enrolled at Solano Community College, Robertson found a love for science. He improved his grades, and began studying biology at the University of California Berkeley. His field studies eventually led him to excavating mummies in Chile.

 

Robertson found his calling teaching physics at a charter school in Oakland. He worked there for 12 years, and led his students to robotics competitions. When the chance opened to teach STEAM at WBMS, Robertson jumped at the opportunity to challenge himself and grow.

 

“I play with robots all day -- you don't get cooler than that. Maybe if you threw in dinosaurs,” he said. Robertson’s favorite part of his job is seeing what students from various backgrounds and experiences bring to robotics class, and how they individually shine during projects.

 

Engineering is about failing repeatedly, and trying again, he said. “That’s one of the most important things that you can get out of the class. No project is done. It’s just due.”

 

Robertson tells his students to think of him as a coach, not a teacher, so they solve problems themselves. He plans to grow robotics instruction at WBMS, and continue training his students for robotics competitions. Someday, he hopes to host a robotics competitions at WBMS.

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Posted by: Maricella Miranda
Published: 3/30/17




Audience: Homepage


Your challenge: Work on a team of three. Design and build a vehicle from scratch. Program lasers underneath the vehicle to follow a black line to a specific location.

 

Sound complicated? For seventh-graders at Willie Brown Middle School (WBMS), it’s just another project in James Robertson’s robotics class. His students use the latest technology and equipment to tackle project-based learning at WBMS -- the newest San Francisco public middle school with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

 

“In robotics, you’re never told what to build, you’re told what it should do,” said Robertson. “It’s really intense what the students are doing now. They really are doing it on their own.”

 

In group projects, students face challenges like building and programming a robot that lifts something heavy, or one that follows a black line. Students decide group roles as the team’s electrical engineer, computer programmer and computer engineer. To keep students engaged in class, Robertson connects group projects to real-world issues in the community.

 

“As a student, when I couldn’t see the connection to something bigger, it was harder for me to put it into a perspective that I could hold onto. My learning was more foggy,” he said.

 

Today, Robertson says he uses his experiences as a student to successfully reach his students. Robertson didn’t get the best grades in school. He eventually discovered he had dyslexia, which made learning a challenge. While enrolled at Solano Community College, Robertson found a love for science. He improved his grades, and began studying biology at the University of California Berkeley. His field studies eventually led him to excavating mummies in Chile.

 

Robertson found his calling teaching physics at a charter school in Oakland. He worked there for 12 years, and led his students to robotics competitions. When the chance opened to teach STEAM at WBMS, Robertson jumped at the opportunity to challenge himself and grow.

 

“I play with robots all day -- you don't get cooler than that. Maybe if you threw in dinosaurs,” he said. Robertson’s favorite part of his job is seeing what students from various backgrounds and experiences bring to robotics class, and how they individually shine during projects.

 

Engineering is about failing repeatedly, and trying again, he said. “That’s one of the most important things that you can get out of the class. No project is done. It’s just due.”

 

Robertson tells his students to think of him as a coach, not a teacher, so they solve problems themselves. He plans to grow robotics instruction at WBMS, and continue training his students for robotics competitions. Someday, he hopes to host a robotics competitions at WBMS.

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Posted by: Maricella Miranda
Published: 3/30/17




Audience: Homepage

Teacher James Robertson teachers a student
Your challenge: Work on a team of three. Design and build a vehicle from scratch. Program lasers underneath the vehicle to follow a black line to a specific location.

 

Sound complicated? For seventh-graders at Willie Brown Middle School (WBMS), it’s just another project in James Robertson’s robotics class. His students use the latest technology and equipment to tackle project-based learning at WBMS -- the newest San Francisco public middle school with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

 

“In robotics, you’re never told what to build, you’re told what it should do,” said Robertson. “It’s really intense what the students are doing now. They really are doing it on their own.”

 

In group projects, students face challenges like building and programming a robot that lifts something heavy, or one that follows a black line. Students decide group roles as the team’s electrical engineer, computer programmer and computer engineer. To keep students engaged in class, Robertson connects group projects to real-world issues in the community.

 

“As a student, when I couldn’t see the connection to something bigger, it was harder for me to put it into a perspective that I could hold onto. My learning was more foggy,” he said.

 

Today, Robertson says he uses his experiences as a student to successfully reach his students. Robertson didn’t get the best grades in school. He eventually discovered he had dyslexia, which made learning a challenge. While enrolled at Solano Community College, Robertson found a love for science. He improved his grades, and began studying biology at the University of California Berkeley. His field studies eventually led him to excavating mummies in Chile.

 

Robertson found his calling teaching physics at a charter school in Oakland. He worked there for 12 years, and led his students to robotics competitions. When the chance opened to teach STEAM at WBMS, Robertson jumped at the opportunity to challenge himself and grow.

 

“I play with robots all day -- you don't get cooler than that. Maybe if you threw in dinosaurs,” he said. Robertson’s favorite part of his job is seeing what students from various backgrounds and experiences bring to robotics class, and how they individually shine during projects.

 

Engineering is about failing repeatedly, and trying again, he said. “That’s one of the most important things that you can get out of the class. No project is done. It’s just due.”

 

Robertson tells his students to think of him as a coach, not a teacher, so they solve problems themselves. He plans to grow robotics instruction at WBMS, and continue training his students for robotics competitions. Someday, he hopes to host a robotics competitions at WBMS.

more
Posted by: Maricella Miranda
Published: 3/30/17