The Urban School Alumni Association BLUESNOTES
MAY 14, 2015
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Affinity Show
Thursday and Friday, May 14-15
7:30 p.m.
Urban Student Center
Urban Lunchtime Outdoor
Music Concert

May 26-29
Urban Backyard
Urban One Acts Festival
May 28-30
Gumption Theater
Click here for details
Circus Class Performance
Thursday, June 4
11:15 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Gumption Theater
Cal Studies Presentation
Wednesday, June 10
11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Gumption Theater
Class of 2015 Graduation
Friday, June 12
11 a.m.
Stern Grove
For more details on any events, please visit the Urban web calendar.
Click here to see pictures from Urban's recent visit to the East Coast
Click here to see some photos from our Alumni Lunchtime Speaker Series
We are excited to anounce UrbanX Labs, Urban's integrated and interdisciplinary approach to the design, technology and engineering educational needs of the 21st century. With offerings like electronics and robotics, engineering, advanced coding, industrial design and more, students will be able to develop, design and build their ideas. UrbanX courses teach students the fundamentals of discovery, innovation, creativity and problem-solving, all deeply rooted in Urban's mission to ignite a passion for learning. Learn more about UrbanX Labs here.
Thank you again to all the Urban alumni parents who helped us meet the EE Ford Challenge grant last year. One hundred alumni parents stepped up and gave $163,500 in building gifts, exceeding the goal of $150,000. As a result, Urban received the foundation grant of $50,000 for the North Campus expansion. We are so grateful to you for your financial support which, combined with the challenge grant, contributed $213,500 to the Blueprint for the Future campaign!

We have now launched the Community Campaign Phase, and are inviting all members of our community to participate in this transformational project. To date, we have raised $17.4 million in gifts toward the new Academic and Athletics Center, and plan to break ground later this month. We look forward to opening the doors to the building in Fall 2016, and inviting you back to campus!

To learn more about our progress and the North Campus expansion, please visit
Jonathan Howland, alumni parent, English teacher and Dean of Faculty, is our featured guest blogger for This Term at Urban. We hope that reading his column and watching these wonderful videos of LeRoy Votto and Mary Murphy bring back many fond memories of Urban!

When other educators and prospective families ask “Why Urban?” they're likely to hear phrases like "Active Learning," "Collaboration and Teamwork," "Doing the Discipline," and even "Joyful Process of Discovery." To see these qualities at play is to be an Urban student. But here's an opportunity for the rest of us: in two videos produced for the Annenberg Foundation's Reading and Writing in the Disciplines series, we get a rich if brief rendering of the design features, the educational values, and the teaching dexterity that go into "igniting a passion for learning."

Featuring history teacher LeRoy Votto and science teacher Mary Murphy, the videos were produced as an online professional development resource for teachers across the nation. Mary’s and LeRoy’s explanations and descriptions of their approaches are emblematic of great Urban teaching, and what you see in students—the beam, the smile, the sweat— manifestations of great Urban learning.

LeRoy Votto video
Mary Murphy video
Alexander Rose ('90), Executive Director of The Long Now Foundation and founder of The Interval, sat down to speak with LeRoy Votto last month. Here are some excerpts from their conversation:
What has been your career trajectory, and how did you become involved with Long Now?

After I graduated from Urban I went to SF State for a year and then Carnegie Mellon where I graduated with a degree in industrial design. After college I did some virtual design work for Lucas Arts and Chrysler while living in Sausalito. One of the people that I knew growing up in Sausalito was Stewart Brand who is one of the founders of Long Now and the creator of the Whole Earth Catalog.
He told me about Long Now, which at that time was really just a conversation among its founding board, comprising people like Brian Eno, Kevin Kelly (the Executive editor of Wired) and computer scientist Danny Hillis. Their idea was to create a project that gives people the excuse to think on a long term time scale and eventually the founding board decided on a 10,000-year time frame. If we thought of ourselves not as at the end of a 10,000-year story, but the middle of a 20,000-year story how would we act? Would we act differently than we do now? To read more click here.

Tell me about some of the projects you are working on.

I was hired to work with Danny on the 10,000 Year Clock Project and we’ve built several prototypes; the first went to the Science Museum in London at the end of 1999 and some are here in the states. In 2005 we started working with Jeff Bezos from Amazon on the full-scale clock; he is funding it and also donated the site we are building on in West Texas. We’ve been in design for about ten years and construction for about five years.

Long Now has grown to include a lot of other initiatives, like the Rosetta Project which is about documenting as many human languages as we can and building a publicly accessible digital library.

We also run several lecture series here in San Francisco with artists, authors and scientists. One is hosted by Stewart Brand, usually at the SF Jazz Center, and I curate one here at The Interval almost weekly. All the talks center on long-term thinking in some way. To read more click here.
urban For questions about This Term at Urban or other alumni parent communications please email us.
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