The Bay School Blog

The Bay School of San Francisco

Touring Europe in a Rock Band

Now that summer is here, many of our staffulty members take a break from teaching to explore their other passions for a couple of months. Often times it’s these other passions and experiences that make our staffulty so talented and excited about what they teach!

Colin Williams, a humanities teacher and Bay’s music teacher, is off to Europe to tour the continent in a rock band. Awesome, right?! Here’s what he says:

“I’m touring Europe with a rock band this summer. We’re going to play Purple Haze and Proud Mary on a cello backed by guitar, drums, and yours truly on bass. If you’re in Germany, Italy or Spain this summer, check us out at We’ll follow up the tour with concerts in Ventura, California, and Brookings, Oregon.”

You heard the man! If you are abroad this summer, check out their tour dates and take some time to jam to some seriously good music.


Intersession: Jump into a Cinematic Production!

In this intersession course, students are learning the art of filmmaking through live action and animation. They get to develop the story and choose which style of film they wish to create.

Yesterday, they shot the scenes from the script they created on location in Bolinas. During the shoot, actors got firsthand experience with acting and being on a set, while crew members learned what it’s like to be on a film team.

Today, students will  edit and animate the footage into a cohesive film back at the Bay Mac lab. This Friday, they will hold a screening of the final product at the Disney Family Museum Theater.


Check out this year’s thriller: Cereal Killer!! 



The Bay School of San Francisco 

Intersession: Adventures in Astronomy and Astrophotography


It’s Intersession week here at The Bay School of San Francisco and our students are out of the classroom for five full days of experiential learning, developing new skills and passions that they will be able to take with them for the rest of their lives! We will keep you up to date with all of the week’s Intersession happenings…

Intersession: Adventures in Astronomy and Astrophotography

Right now students are at Tuolumne Observatory waiting for the sun to go down so they can learn about both the night sky and about observing basics. These students are learning to use special software to turn raw astronomical photos into stunning pictures of things light-years away from home. Here are a few photos from Sunday night’s observations.

Leadership at Bay: Student Interview Committee

At Bay, we ask students to use their voices to make positive changes within their communities. Many of our academic courses—such as Research in the Community, Climate Change, Artist as Activist to name a few—and projects within classes explicitly ask students to use what they have learned to develop awareness, change behaviors, or even change laws. Bay’s student leadership groups are also similarly focused: they desire to make a difference in the lives of the Bay community.  One such leadership group, now in its fourth year, is the Student Interview Committee (SIC).SIC Quote_Katie


Like many things at Bay, the Student Interview Committee grew out of a need and a passion. Dean of Faculty Lise Shelton wanted to make sure that students were involved in the interview process for the hiring of new teachers. At the time, students had been randomly selected to interview teaching candidates. Lise wanted a consistent group of students on whom she could count and who had the training to become effective interviewers. She began working with several student volunteers, among whom was Luke Gruenert ’13. Luke really felt he found his voice in leadership through interviewing and suggested that Bay formalize the process and training to create a new student leadership group, now known as the SIC.


SIC Blog Pic
Senior SIC Members                      Returning SIC Members                         New SIC Members 


SIC Quote_WillWe are excited to welcome our newest group of selected SIC members to the team! Each February interested students submit an application and interview with Lise and current SIC members. SIC applicants must also receive a vote of confidence from the staffulty as they are entrusted to serve not only as interviewers but also as representatives of Bay. Newly selected SIC member Will D. ’18 explained why he chose to apply for the SIC: “I am ready to represent the voice of the community at Bay and become a leader in the community. I have interacted with enough people in my time here that I think I can represent a broad set of perspectives and bring that to the decisions around prospective candidates. SIC is unique to Bay and not many others schools trust their students enough to take on this big of a responsibility… it’s an opportunity that should be taken advantage of.”

After a training that consists of how to read a resume, how to develop effective interview questions, and conduct an interview with an adult, SIC members in teams of 3-4 interview all prospective teaching and administrative candidates. Over the years, we have heard candidates say how much they learned about Bay’s culture and the importance of student voice through their interview with the SIC; many have also said that the SIC members were the toughest interviewers they had at Bay!

SIC Quote_Alex

Students who have served on the SIC have brought not only a love of Bay but a desire to make a positive impact on future generations of Bay students. They have also found the experience valuable as they go into the world of college and job interviews. We are so lucky to have such a dedicated group of students representing Bay.

Here’s what a few of the current SIC members have to say about their experience:

Senior Alex E., co-coordinator of the SIC: “I joined the SIC because I wanted to have a leadership role that would have a lasting impact well beyond my time here since Bay has had such a big impact on my life. It’s been so much fun! I have learned how to speak better in public, how to speak to adults better, how to act more mature, how to handle myself in awkward situations and how to be more articulate. Also, having the ability to sit back and interview someone is much less stressful than being interviewed, so I have been able to take what I’ve learned and apply it to when I am being interviewed. I know what to say and how to present myself in a way that will get their attention.”

Senior, Yasmin E., co-coordinator of the SIC: “What I have really enjoyed about being on the SIC is that I get to have a say in what goes on in the Bay community, but [in the background]. We interview teachers and get to have a perspective on what could and could not work, and it gives us great interviewing experience.”

Junior, Katie P.: “One of my favorite things about SIC is when I have actually had a teacher that I have interviewed, and they are great! It’s a really good feeling to know I have had an impact on this decision that was made and it’s really benefiting me and other students. We bring the student voice to really important decisions and it’s fun getting to know the different teachers.”

Searching for a New Planet

When a parent asks their children they learned in school that day, it is not common that the response is, “We are working to discover a new planet.” What?!?

That is exactly what the students in science teacher David Friedlander-Holm’s Astronomy and Stellar Astrophysics class are doing each day with the resources that have been shared with Bay by the Tuolumne Skies Observatory. Thanks to the generosity of the Bengier family (Blake ‘15),  who built the observatory in 2007, Bay has an exclusive partnership that allows our students to remotely and robotically operate the telescopes at the observatory and so view the skies at any time.

Known for his bow ties and booming voice, David brings a giddy enthusiasm and love of all things outer-space to the classroom, so it’s no wonder why a planet search is part of his curriculum. Although David hasn’t been able to take his students out to the observatory as much has DSC_0017he would have liked this year due to the El Niño conditions, he has been able to focus more on teaching the basics of how to operate the telescopes remotely and robotically. His goal is for the students to operate this extraordinary piece of equipment without his supervision, to be completely self-reliant in its operation. “The students are learning things at 14 and 16 [years old] that I learned my first year out of college. So they will be GOING to college as experts,” and are clearly on the path to becoming astronomers.

Now back to this whole finding a planet thing…

bay2016-91 (3)David, who used to manage the astronomy lab at the American University in Washington D.C. (and who still hopes be an astronaut one day), says, “The mid-term goal for this class is to find an extrasolar planet. This telescope has the ability to do it so our students have the ability to find a planet…which would be SO COOL!”  With a greater focus on astronomy than astrophysics for this particular project, David is honing the students’ skills of how to refine their observation techniques so they know where and how to look for a new planet. And although they haven’t found their planet just yet, they are capturing some spectacular images of dense star fields, ring nebulae, horsehead nebulae, crab nebulae, Jupiter, Earth’s Moon, and much more.

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Beyond searching for a new planet, David hopes to start a summer program in 2017. “In late August [2017], there will be a total solar eclipse across the entire United States, from Oregon to South Carolina,  and astronomy will be big in the news. It would be great to have Bay students, as well as some 7th- and 8th- graders, out at the observatory for 3 or 5 weeks learning all about astronomy and witnessing this historical event!” David’s excitement for the cosmos is contagious and we look forward to reporting back once our students have discovered Planet Bay!


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