AltSchool Hub

San Francisco Homeless Project and Two Inspiring AltSchool Students

Posted by The AltSchool Team

Jun 29, 2016 11:02:50 AM


This week we’re witnessing an unprecedented collaboration of over 70 local news organizations coming together to highlight homelessness in the Bay Area. Starting today, you’ll see the topic take center stage, with everyone from KQED to the San Francisco Chronicle tackling the problem and discussing options.

AltSchool is proud to share some incredible work around homelessness by two Fort Mason middle school students. Inspired by the people and places they encounter within their own communities every day, Ethan and Gio began a many-months journey -- one that took them from the classroom, to a field-trip at Marc Roth’s The Learning Shelter program, and ultimately to a TEDx stage where they shared their vision for a “tiny home” prototype.


Ethan and Gio were so personally affected by the plight of homeless individuals around them, they chose the problem of homelessness in the city of San Francisco as the focus for their culminating “changemaker” project.

One day after school I was driving with my mother,” Ethan shared. “We went past a parking lot near 16th Street and the 101 and I noticed that there were a large number of tents under the bridge… about 30 tents in all.”

Something clicked, as he realized that unlike his family, those people wouldn’t have warm beds to sleep in that night. Gio had had similar experiences living in San Francisco and shared a passion to impact homelessness in a meaningful way. As they considered the idea, they came across a powerful interview with Ronald Davis, a Chicago man who reportedly died homeless in 2014.

“You lose all your humanity shaking a cup begging,” Davis said. “At the end of the day when people go home, and everybody get on the metro train and then I just feel so bad that I can’t be going home too.” His story hit home for Ethan and Gio. Ronald Davis’ story fueled their belief that society has a responsibility to provide basic needs, safety and job opportunities to every one of its people. It shaped the kind of changemaker they wanted to become, not just as students, but as human beings.

So, they teamed up and soon discovered work by Gregory Kloehn, an artist who builds mini homeless houses in Oakland. With the guidance of their teachers, they spent many months learning, interviewing, debating, and finally developing a unique split-level tiny home on wheels that can provide security and private living space. They unveiled their 3D-printed prototypes and shared more about their project on the TEDx Youth stage last month, which we invite you to view in full here.


We applaud Ethan and Gio. They embody what we are trying to teach at AltSchool: to practice empathy, identify passions, develop their voice, have accountability, and positively impact the lives of people in their community.

Read about the SF Homeless Project campaign, featuring more AltSchool middle school students, in today’s San Francisco Chronicle piece: "We can learn from kids and the empathy they have for San Francisco's homeless."

Changemakers: At AltSchool Fort Mason, the middle school class embarked on a year-long study of systems and were beginning a unit on “changemakers”; someone who can influence the evolution of today’s systems for a better future. Students were challenged to identify a system in need of change, research the problem, interview experts, and propose solutions by way of “Shark Tank” pitches, then create prototypes and work toward changing that system in a tangible way. The lesson combines interdisciplinary project-based learning, incorporating core subjects like math, social studies and writing, along with social-emotional skills like public speaking, teamwork, empathy, and more.

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Topics: School, Learning in the Community, Middle School, Community

Teacher Spotlight: Lorie Delizo

Posted by The AltSchool Team

Jun 18, 2014 3:04:00 PM

207U-KIPP-201405-SanFrancisco-01-1254-1We are honored to welcome Lorie to the AltSchool community. Lorie will be teaching at the middle school level next year.

Getting to Know Lorie

Lorie was born and raised in San Francisco. She returned to her hometown to teach after studying biology and completing an M.Ed./Credential program at the University of California in San Diego. Upon moving back, Lorie started her teaching career at KIPP Bayview Academy in the Bayview/Hunters Point district, where she taught mainly eighth grade science. For eight years, Lorie and a team of teacher leaders worked together and with the community to help make KIPP Bayview Academy a California Distinguished School. With almost a decade of science teaching experience and her first cohort of eighth graders about to graduate from college, Lorie is excited to start the next phase of her career as part of the AltSchool team.

A Chat with Lorie

What inspired you to teach?

As a student activist in college, I learned a ton about social justice, inequality, and identity, in addition to being a biology major. By the end of college, I knew that I wanted to do something that would truly have a positive impact on youth of color and their communities, but also involve my background in science. I also knew that I didn’t feel right pursuing medical school or biotech jobs like many of my peers. I came across a teacher education program at UCSD and immediately had a gut feeling that teaching was meant for me. As soon as I got to interact with students, I knew I had made the right decision to become involved in the field of education.

How would one of your students describe you?

My students often describe me as someone who has really high expectations for them, but who also cares a lot about them and believes in them. I also love laughing with students both in and out of the classroom. I’m known for being weird and funny, but always ready to get back to business after a silly moment.

What is a favorite lesson you delivered? 

I love lessons or projects that involve kids building or creating something that is original and completely student-driven. One thing I truly enjoy doing every year is having students build Egg Crash Cars or Mouse Trap Cars after learning about forces and Newton’s Laws. To see students collaborate, apply scientific concepts that they have learned, and do something hands-on to solve a problem is always exciting. The best part is coming together as a class to test out what they’ve designed and built.

What are some of the projects you're interested in creating at AltSchool?

While I am constantly thinking and rethinking about all of the amazing things I want to do at AltSchool, right now I am interested in tying together core concepts in science with some of the pressing environmental issues that society faces today. For instance, I would love to teach atomic structure and chemistry basics in order to have students learn about how society turns Earth’s finite natural resources into synthetic materials. We could then look at some of the problems this causes and engineer possible creative solutions.

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Topics: Meet the Team, Middle School

Middle School Coming to Fort Mason

Posted by The AltSchool Team

Apr 10, 2014 4:13:53 PM

Fort-Mason-060We are excited to announce that AltSchool has expanded to include middle school (grades 6-8) at our Fort Mason location.

Fort Mason is an incredible neighborhood for a middle school. The school is central to many drama, music, and arts offerings at the Fort Mason Center. It is also close to lots of areas for outdoor play and athletics - including the Marina Green and the Moscone Rec Center.

At AltSchool, our students benefit from:

  • a positive, hands-on learning environment that encourages discovery and imagination,

  • frequent educational experiences in our city’s art and science institutions,

  • mentorship from accomplished scientists, engineers, and creators, and

  • expert teachers who understand the needs and challenges of middle school scholars.

STEMGirls2The location at 3741 Buchanan St will also house three other classrooms for K-1 and upper elementary students.

AltSchool Fort Mason will be our second middle school classroom. The other middle school is co-located with our headquarters at 1245 Folsom St. and is currently at capacity.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Fort Mason middle school, families are encouraged to fill out our brief, no-cost application as soon as possible to get priority.

And, of course, please spread the word to other families!

(Fort Mason photo credit: Landscape Architecture Daily)

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Topics: Middle School