The Bay School, San Francisco, CA – March 28, 2019

by George J Elbaum

Founded in 2004, The Bay School (Bay) is an independent, coeducational college preparatory high school in the Presidio of San Francisco.  With almost 400 students in grades 9 through 12, Bay balances challenging academics and innovative thinking with a mindful approach to learning and life – its goal is to see students unlock their individual and collective potential so they begin to realize their roles in a dynamic world.   Bay believes that a broad range of perspectives and experiences play a crucial role in achieving its educational mission, thus it intentionally recruits students and teachers from diverse cultural, racial, economic and geographic backgrounds.

Emphasizing depth of content, Bay’s curriculum focuses on problem solving, promotes critical thinking and encourages students to connect academic study with their extracurricular lives. Bay’s 9th and 10th grade courses build a broad foundation of basic skills, focusing on the relationships among traditional academic disciplines. Students’ interests and talents increasingly drive the academic program in 11th and 12th grade.

Students attend classes in a beautifully renovated, national historic landmark building. The 62,000-square-foot campus features 30 classrooms, three state-of-the-art science laboratories, a 3,000-square-foot library, an art studio, a media lab and a spacious student commons and dining room.  The Project Center, established in 2011, boasts dedicated facilities for engineering, design and robotics, as well as additional fine arts studio space for sculpture and printmaking. The Project Center also serves as the home of Bay’s distinctive Senior Signature Projects program.

This was my 3rd visit to The Bay School, and it was organized by Humanities teacher Hannah Wagner. Hannah and her colleagues Waleed Abdelrahman, Ben Cullen, and Colin Williams prepared the audience of 10th grade Humanities students on the subject of the Holocaust.  After studying World War I, 10th grade classes spent two weeks examining primary and secondary sources to discover how Hitler and the Nazi Party rose to power in 1930s Germany. Alongside political documents like the Treaty of Versailles, the Weimar Constitution, and Hitler’s speeches, students explored grassroots accounts of life under Nazi regime’s growing power.  In the coming weeks, these students will further explore impacts of World War II, including the Holocaust, internment of Japanese-Americans, the Nanjing Massacre, and the Battle of Stalingrad.

My talk was arranged by Penny Savryn of Jewish Family and Children’s Services and attending it also was Adrian Schrek, JFCS Director of Educator Development.

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