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 February 2011 Edition


I Hella (Heart) Urban Happy Hour in Oakland 

Thursday, February 17, 2011
6 – 9 p.m. 
So many of our Urban friends live in the East Bay: from Richmond and Berkeley, to Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro, we love the territory. That's why we've planned the next Urban Alumni Happy Hour there. Meet us at Penelope, a locally owned bar in downtown Oakland for refreshing drinks and savory nibbles at great prices. And the first 10 guests get a free cocktail on us.

When: Thursday, February 17, 2011 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Penelope, 555 12th Street, Suite 120, in Oakland. (The entrance is on Clay between 11th and 12th streets.)
Because reconnecting with old Urban friends is not only fun, it helps us connect the community that supports the school today.

RSVP to Alison Brand at if you plan to attend.

P.S. If you're a San Francisco resident, never fear! Penelope is just steps away from the 12th Street BART Station, the greenest way to go Blue and attend the Urban Alumni Happy Hour.


Winter Art Show
Thursday, February 10, 2011
3 p.m. Jazz and light refreshments
3:30 p.m. Artists' talks and viewing
Urban Old Library/Art Studios
Join the entire Urban community for this annual event, featuring 25 student artists. The students' work ranges from classic to contemporary, from two- to multi-dimensional, and materials from traditional to unusual. 


Winter Production - bobrauschenbergamerica
Tuesday, February 22, 4:30 p.m. (Free Preview)
Wednesday, February 23, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday - Saturday, February 24 – 26, 7:30 p.m.
Gumption Theater
bobrauschenbergamerica, by Chuck Mee, takes us on the individual journey of people living their lives just as they come; everyday people searching for, finding and struggling with love, vulnerability, discovery, regret, loss, pain, joy, memories, while becoming who they are.

Tickets: $5 Students / $8 Adults. Purchase your tickets online by clicking here. 
Tickets may also be purchased with cash at the front desk from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.


Urban's Gone Mad Auction & Celebration at Bimbo's
Saturday, March 19, 2011
All alums are invited to join the Urban community for this fun evening of great company and unforgettable entertainment at Bimbo's 365 Club*. We'll be dining, dancing and bidding with a 1960s Madison Avenue twist, from the retro cocktails to the cool tunes provided by Pride & Joy and Urban students! If you can't make it to the event, be sure to check out the fabulous items, some of which are donated by fellow Urban grads, in the Online Auction which goes live March 4. Click here to RSVP by March 11. Alums receive special ticket pricing. * Must be 21 or older to attend.


Class of 2000 10-Yr. Reunion Gathering
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Stay tuned for further details. If you're interested in joining the planning effort for this event, please contact Alison Brand at or 415-593-9540.


Alumni Reunion Weekend 2011 - Save-the-Date!
Friday and Saturday, October 21 & 22, 2011
Make plans now to come back to 1563 Page Street for Urban's Third Annual All-Alumni Reunion Weekend. In an effort to reduce costs and be environmentally friendly, we will communicate with you via e-mail as much as possible. Don't miss out on reunion details by updating your contact information today!


Have you joined the 100 for $100 Club Yet?

Last year 101 alums joined together and successfully raised nearly $23,000 for the Annual Fund in support of Urban's teachers and programs through the 100 for $100 Alumni Campaign. We've upped the ante this year in our 100 for $100 v 1.5 effort with a goal of raising $30,000 and increasing participation to 150 contributors—that's just 4 people from each graduating class! A group of alums have stepped up again with an offer to match all gifts of $100 or more up to $15,000 in hopes of inspiring more support from the alum community.

So far, we're off to a great start but we need more alums to participate to meet the challenge and take advantage of the generous matching offer. If you haven't yet joined the 100 for $100 club, we encourage you to do so today by making a gift or pledge to support the Annual Fund.

Gifts can be made online by going to, or you can contact Brisen Brady at or 415-593-9538 to discuss your contribution. Thanks in advance for being a part of the 100 for $100 v 1.5 effort and continuing this meaningful tradition in support of Urban.

Why do I Support Urban?
"I donate to Urban because I believe in helping support the wonderful education Urban offers. It was a miracle for me and I hope it is as miraculous today. The best tidbit I took away was that learning can occur in many different ways. There is no substitute for a good teacher, and Urban had many of them while I was a student there."    - Anne C. Shepler ('74)



From time to time a current 9th grade parent writes up interviews with staff and faculty in which she asks four fun questions. Below are two recent interviews from this school year. We hope you enjoy reading these insightful quips from Charlotte and Tilda!

Charlotte Worsley, Assistant Head for Student Life

I came to  Urban in...1989 after teaching and coaching (field hockey and lacrosse) at Tufts University and teaching at two boarding schools - the Canterbury School in Connecticut and the Groton School in Massachusetts.

When I was in 9th grade...I was an over achiever. I cared a lot about getting A's. But I was at a school like Urban with fantastic teachers who got to know me and encouraged me to enjoy my learning.

I notice that 9th graders...are full of energy and optimism at one moment and worried about fitting in and doing well in the next moment.

I am inspired at Urban because...students, parents and teachers authentically partner with each other to make the school an amazing place. I love solving problems with students and learning new ways of seeing the world. I enjoy sharing the challenges of raising kids with parents so that together we can do our best for our students.


Tilda Kapuya, English Department Chair

I came to Urban in...1999, after a term of teaching Spanish-speaking immigrants vocational English followed by a semester at Menlo School, where I taught English and worked at the Writing Center.

When I was in 9th Izmir, Turkey, I was only three years into speaking English. It's strange to think about that and look at where I am now.

I notice that 9th graders...need some structure within which to take risks, and that the sooner they connect with their teachers outside the classroom, the more comfortable they feel at Urban.

I am inspired at Urban because...I have a lot of support, especially from my colleagues, to be able to pursue the questions on my mind whether they be about teaching in general, my specific classes, or diversity and inclusion. The support I (and my curiosity) receive inspires me to offer the same to my students.



The Urban Farm Club is collecting recipes for The Urban School Community Recipe Book and welcomes inclusions from the alumni community. This is a publication of the Urban Farm Club (Urban's gardening club that maintains the backyard garden and promotes the importance of local and sustainable agriculture), so any recipes with healthful aspects are recommended– we do not, however, require vegetarian recipes.

Recipes can be submitted to the student Farm Club via:
Fax: 415 934 1807
Mail: Urban School, 1563 Page Street, San Francisco, CA 94117; Attn: Urban Farm Club
Or drop them off at the front desk if you're in the neighborhood!

The students in the Farm Club are happy to type up recipes (you should see how fast they are!), but please make sure all handwriting is legible. Personal introductions, side notes or other stories are welcome and encouraged. Also, please include your preference for acknowledgement, such as "submitted by Jane Lee, Class of 1982." Thanks in advance from Urban's Farm Club!

Deadline for recipe submission is Monday, February 28.


As you may have heard, Urban recently completed a comprehensive review of the school's grading policy and, as vested members of the Urban community, we wanted to bring you up to date on the school's decision and changes that will be implemented for the 2011-12 school year.

To give you some background: Over Urban's 45-year history, the school has grown and developed in many significant ways, most notably in the much larger, more diverse group of students it now enrolls. This year, the student body represents 35 different middle schools from all over the Bay Area. As a school that remains committed to innovation, reflection and evolution as means to improve teaching and learning, Urban began the grading policy review process to determine whether the current approach meets the needs of the broadest range of students and families we now serve, and to see how we might strengthen and improve our assessment practices overall.

The two-year review process, which involved surveying students and parents, as well as an extensive review of educational research, affirmed key strengths and benefits of our current practices, and gave us a more detailed understanding of some of the limitations of our assessment policy. Some of the key concerns that surfaced include:

  • Urban's grading and assessment practices were not effective for all students. Particular cross-sections of the student body tend to struggle with de-code and interpreting the assessment information they are given.
  • Everyone expressed misgivings about the lack of transparency around grades in a school community that values open and direct communication between adults and students.
  • Students expressed confusion about their overall achievement. A majority of them want to see their grades.

As a result of these findings, the revisions to our grading policy address the main concerns identified by making the following key changes and additions:

  • We will share the final course grades with students and parents/guardians at the end of each 12-week term. While this is a notable departure from our previous practice of not sharing grades until the fall of senior year, we will continue to view final course grades as one element in a comprehensive evaluation system, which includes written teacher comments, a student self-evaluation, and a standards-based rubric.
  • We will be giving students an indication of overall achievement on their Interim report. While this will not be in the form of a letter grade, it will give students a better understanding of their overall performance midway through the term, as well as an opportunity to take measures to improve their performance while there is still time to do so.
  • We will align the Interim and Course reports to have a consistent format, including a common set of performance indicators and learning standards.
  • Over the next two years, we will expand the use of rubrics to assess major papers, reports, projects, labs, and problem sets across all departments. These rubrics will serve to clarify and reinforce expectations around key skills, proficiencies and knowledge, thereby giving students a more complete and useful understanding of their course work and achievement. Urban's approach of not grading individual assignments, papers, problem sets, etc., will continue.

Taken as a whole, we are confident that these changes will give Urban a better evaluation system – one that will be more effective for a broader range of our students, and one that will be clearer, more consistent and more transparent. The core of our approach will remain committed to preserving our unparalleled learning environment that fosters meaningful engagement, depth of understanding, and achievement for all our students.

Further information and FAQs about Urban's grading policy can be found by clicking here. If you should have additional questions or comments please email Head of School Mark Salkind ('70) at

Support Urban through eScrip

eScrip is an easy fundraising program that everyone in the community can participate in. Sign-up your grocery club cards, credit cards, and debit/ATM cards and a portion of your purchases at participating businesses will go back to Urban. For more information or to sign-up, visit the eScrip website or fill out a new or returning participant form and return it to Urban. Urban's eScrip Group ID is 139593720.

Auction Items Needed

Please consider participating in Urban's annual auction by donating and helping secure items to include in the Online Auction. Every item donated will help Urban raise more funds to support our Financial Aid Program. For your convenience, you can download and print item donation forms online here. If you have any questions, please contact Marisa Breall ('06) via email or 415 593 9538 or visit Urban's auction web site here.


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