News & Media

Playground Celebration in Lower Pacific Heights

On a day that was forecast to be gray and gloomy, William L. Cobb Elementary School last Saturday was warm, bright, and buzzing with activities as people celebrated the opening of the schoolyard on the weekends for community use.

Walking through, one could feel the energy coming from all of the different sports activities around the yard. San Francisco Youth Soccer and Super Soccer Stars were commanding the concrete field as they led kids through soccer exercises. The Boys and Girls Club brought their A-game with a soccer obstacle course for the youth to challenge their kicking skills. SF Tots dominated the court by filling the space with cute kid-size basketballs and hoops so that everyone could enjoy watching their kids try to play like the Curry and Thompson of the Warriors. Ten feet away from the basketball court was a fashion display with SF Ballet, who brought costumes from their private closet for the kids to see.

Soccer with Super Soccer Stars

It was also great to see different neighborhood groups come out and support the opening of Cobb Elementary’s schoolyard. The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco came out with necklace making materials as well as different summer opportunities that they offer to the community. Our Children Our Families Coalition tabled and shared with participants their efforts to serve children and families in San Francisco. Friends of Alta Plaza Park also held a table with a gardening activity next to the Presidio Branch Library, both of which were very welcoming and open to the people who attended the event. Day One Baby not only provided the kids with slime to play with, but also added an extra prize to the event raffle. The Culinary Dude added even more raffle prizes with a free youth cooking lesson, as well as nut-free food options to the participants of our event. The SF Police Department Northern Station and the SF Fire Department Station 38 also supported the program at the event, showing off their squad car and the fire engine to the people whose communities they serve.

The excitement of the event came to a head at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and speaking program, featuring the powerful messages of both Supervisor Mark Ferrell and Principal Chad Slife. Supervisor Ferrell and Principal Slife both agreed that it is important for the school and its surrounding community to have a positive and strong connection to each other. Everyone at this event, from the people playing pickup games on the basketball court to the children using the playing structure, was friendly to each other and celebrated the space that is now available to the entire community.

Ribbon cutting ceremony

The schoolyard at Cobb Elementary School is open to the public on weekends between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. The schoolyard will be opened by the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department and cleaned by the San Francisco Department of Public Works. For any questions or specific information about the Shared Schoolyard Project, please contact Chris Sally at chris@sfsharedschoolyard.org.

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Rainy Day Can't Dampen Spirits in Portola

Neighbors and families braved the rain to join the Shared Schoolyard Project on Saturday, May 7, to play and celebrate the opening of the schoolyard at E.R. Taylor Elementary School for public use on weekends. Portola kids enjoyed a climbing wall, the soccer field, and stomp rockets - among other fun activities - while parents browsed a diverse collection of neighborhood organizations and services.

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Partners providing information and activities included the Portola Branch Library, Portola Family Connections, and the Palega Recreation center, all of which are deeply involved in the local Portola community. In addition, Camp EDMO returned for another Shared Schoolyard Project kickoff event with their fun and educational stomp rockets, Mission YMCA provided bubbles for kids to play with, and Safe Routes to School and the Bicycle Coalition encouraged families to walk and ride to school. Children were able to climb and explore a fire truck from the local station, and take home their own seeds thanks to Education Outside.

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The yard at E.R. Taylor Elementary School is open to the public on weekends from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm in order to provide children and families a safe and clean place to gather. The schoolyard will be opened by the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department and cleaned by the San Francisco Department of Public Works. For any questions or specific information about the Shared Schoolyard Project, please contact Chris Sally at chris@sfsharedschoolyard.org.

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Parkside Neighbors Celebrate New Playground

Smiles were abundant at Dianne Feinstein Elementary School on Saturday, April 30th, as neighbors and friends gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the schoolyard as a community playground on the weekends. The exciting activities provided by our various event partners had everyone buzzing -- parents cheered on their kids as soccer goals were scored left and right, children rolled up their sleeves for some arts and crafts, and neighbors got a chance to learn about the history of San Francisco's western neighborhoods.

Soccer with SF Youth Soccer

A large number of community partners participated at the event, including the SF Fire Department, Parkside Branch Library, Western Neighborhoods Project, Education Outside, Little Artistas, GLO, San Francisco Youth Soccer, San Francisco Bike Coalition, and SF Tots.

Shared Schoolyard Executive Director Michael Carr, Supervisor Katy Tang, Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, and School Board Vice President Shamann Walton, all expressed their support for the Shared Schoolyard Project before participating in a ribbon cutting ceremony so large, the camera couldn't capture all the participants.

Ribbon cutting ceremony

The schoolyard at Dianne Feinstein Elementary School is open to the public on weekends between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. The schoolyard will be opened by the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department and cleaned by the San Francisco Department of Public Works. For any questions or specific information about the Shared Schoolyard Project, please contact Chris Sally at chris@sfsharedschoolyard.org. 

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The Atlantic Highlights the Shared Schoolyard Project

On April 29, The Atlantic published an article detailing the success of "mixed use" projects like the Shared Schoolyard Project in cities across the United States. The article, "Playgrounds for All," explores how Supervisor Mark Farrell revamped the Shared Schoolyard Project, and the success San Francisco has had in building community engagement with schoolyards.

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"An active schoolyard is a safe schoolyard," Farrell says in the article. It continues, "Weekend users seem to feel a sense of stewardship, picking up granola bar wrappers, broken pencils, and other school-day detritus. The feeling is mutual."

Despite budget shortfalls at the state level, the article asserts, "successful joint-use programs for the schoolyards of San Francisco and New York, however, show that our public entities may be better off doubling down, increasing and diversifying use of their facilities."

Supporters can read more here, and see the success of the Shared Schoolyard Project for themselves at any of our schoolyard kickoff events.

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Beautiful Day in the Bayview

Whether they were checking out the display of stylish cars, enjoying delicious ribs, or going on a horseback ride, neighbors and friends had a great time under the sun this past Saturday at Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School. The YMCA and Fo Fifteen Car Club joined the Shared Schoolyard Project to put on the event, celebrating the opening of the schoolyard for the public to use -- rain or shine, every Saturday and Sunday. As the crowds of smiling faces gathered to show their community spirit, sounds of music and laughter filled the air.

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This event wouldn’t have been possible without the community partners who provided exciting activities. Horseback rides were provided by the Oakland Black Cowboys Association, and a car show was put on by the Fo Fifteen Car Club. Y Bike provided bicycle rides for kids in attendance, while the Bicycle Coalition and Safe Routes to School offered a "bike build" indoors. Plus, the "Roving Ranger" offered nature education, the Exploratorium helped kids build scribble-bots, the Bayview Branch Library made buttons, and much more!

The highlight of the afternoon was the midday ribbon cutting ceremony with Supervisor Mark Farrell, Principal Emmanuel Stewart, community leaders, and neighborhood families. Later in the afternoon, attendees were treated to a car show as members of the Fo Fifteen Car Club received prizes.

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The yard at Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School is open to the public on weekends from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm in order to provide children and families a safe and clean place to gather. The schoolyard will be opened by the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department and cleaned by the San Francisco Department of Public Works. For any questions or specific information about the Shared Schoolyard Project, please contact Chris Sally at chris@sfsharedschoolyard.org.

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Fun in the Rain at Schoolyard Opening in Glen Park

Community spirit shined through the rain in Glen Park last Saturday as neighbors and friends celebrated the reopening of the Fairmount Elementary schoolyard for the public to use on weekends. The yard will be open rain or shine every Saturday and Sunday, and this event proved that rain can’t keep friends families and neighbors away from weekend schoolyard fun!

The yard was filled with activities provided by a wonderful group of community partners. The Bernal Heights and Glen Park Neighborhoods History Projects brought a “ghost shack” and historical images to explore the history of the area surrounding the school. Little Artistas provided glitter paint and chalk paint to bring out kids’ inner artistas. The Stonestown YMCA had a necklace making activity, while the Boys and Girls Club Excelsior Clubhouse brought out a carnival game. Children lined up their goal kicks with Super Soccer Stars, while blast-offs could be heard from baking soda rockets provided by Camp EDMO.

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The highlight of the afternoon was a ribbon cutting ceremony with Fairmount Principal Luis Rodriguez and Supervisor Mark Farrell. Families went home from this event a little wet from the rain, but with wide smiles and  full stomachs thanks to sandwiches from Roxie’s Food Center and a delicious bake sale organized by the Fairmount PTA. 

The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project has plenty more events in store for the coming months. Our next event will be Saturday, April 16 at George Washington Carver Elementary School in the Bayview.

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The yard at Fairmount Elementary School is open to the public on weekends from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm in order to provide children and families a safe and clean place to gather. The schoolyard will be opened by the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department and cleaned by the San Francisco Department of Public Works. For any questions or specific information about the Shared Schoolyard Project, please contact Chris Sally at chris@sfsharedschoolyard.org.

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Russian Hill Celebrates Schoolyard Opening at Yick Wo

Lombard Street was not the biggest attraction in Russian Hill on Saturday, March 19 as families and neighbors gathered for an exciting event at Yick Wo Elementary School. This event combined the school’s annual carnival with the Shared Schoolyard Project’s playground opening celebration for a harmonious joint event filled with games, books, and laughter.

Activities were abundant at this latest Shared Schoolyard festival. Children and families could be seen playing ring toss or other carnival games provided by the parents of Yick Wo Elementary. Super Soccer Stars helped students line up their kick with soccer challenges. Stomp rockets whizzed through the air, as Camp EDMO taught kids about science. This event was also a book lover’s dream with story time by Tandem, a book-related prize wheel by the North Beach Public Library, and a large book exchange by the parents of Yick Wo.

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Participants were also treated to a ribbon cutting ceremony with Supervisor Mark Farrell and Principal Stephanie Young, while a lucky winner went home with four tickets to the California Academy of Sciences.

The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project has plenty more events in store for the coming months. Our next event will be Saturday, April 9 at Fairmount Elementary School in Glen Park.

The yard at Yick Wo Elementary School is open to the public on weekends from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm in order to provide children and families a safe and clean place to gather. The schoolyard will be opened by the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department and cleaned by the San Francisco Department of Public Works. For any questions or specific information about the Shared Schoolyard Project, please contact Chris Sally at chris@sfsharedschoolyard.org.

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Fun and Dance at West Portal Elementary Kick-off Celebration

Fan Dance by CPAP

Beautiful weather smiled on San Francisco as parents, children, neighbors and community leaders gathered together for a joyous day of play, dance, art and laughter at West Portal Elementary School. The Shared Schoolyard event celebrated the grand reopening of West Portal Elementary School’s yard for the public to use on weekends -- much to the delight of the neighborhood, with over 200 people in attendance.

The highlight of the afternoon was a captivating fan dance by the award-winning Chinese Performing Arts Program. This dance was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony with Supervisors Mark Farrell and Norman Yee, School Board Commissioner Jill Wynns, and a number of excited schoolchildren. 

This event could not have been successful without the participation of numerous community organizations that provided activities for neighborhood families. The Stonestown Family YMCA provided soccer, Little Artistas helped create a beautiful chalk art mosaic on the ground, the Peek-a-Boo Factory transformed children into superheroes or fairies through face-painting, the West Portal Library made unique pins out of old magazines, and the local fire station brought a fire engine for the kids to explore.

The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project has plenty more events in store for the coming months. Our next event will be Saturday, March 19 at Yick Wo Elementary School in Russian Hill.

The yard at West Portal Elementary School is open to the public on weekends from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm in order to provide children and families a safe and clean place to gather. The schoolyard will be opened by the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department and cleaned by the San Francisco Department of Public Works. For any questions or specific information about the Shared Schoolyard Project, please contact Chris Sally at chris@sfsharedschoolyard.org.

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Excelsior Community Celebrates Playground Opening at Monroe Elementary

IMG_9140.JPGMonroe Elementary School was abuzz with activity on Saturday, January 30 as teachers, parents, students and neighbors celebrated the grand reopening of the school playground on weekends. The gathering, which was the San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project’s third in the Excelsior, served as a community event that provided educational and neighborhood-building opportunities.  

Over 200 attendees scattered the yard to partake in activities ranging from necklace making with the Public Library to bike riding with Y-Bike. Event goers also had the opportunity to learn about local parks from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, explore a local fire truck, play with balloons from the Mission YMCA, and learn about community projects from the Excelsior Collaborative.  

Participants were also treated to a ribbon cutting ceremony with District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell, who has spearheaded the Shared Schoolyard Project since its start, in addition to Principal Benjamin Salas and SFPD Captain Joseph McFadden.

The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project has a full schedule of schoolyard openings in 2016. Its next event will take place at West Portal Elementary School from 11 am to 1 pm

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Rain Fails to Dampen Spirits at Junipero Serra Elementary Opening


12493645_437366739791350_7368474878624322401_o-2.jpgResidents of Bernal Heights gave no thought to the persistent rain as they participated in the grand reopening of the Junipero Serra Elementary schoolyard on January 16. Despite the gloomy forecast, roughly 100 neighbors, teachers, parents, and students gathered on the school’s playground, which is open on weekends thanks to the work of the San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project.

Joining the crowd of families were various community partners such as the Mission YMCA, SF Public Library, face painter Joan Helgeson, Little Artistas, the Junipero Serra PTA, and the SF Fire Department. Attendees were also treated to tacos and horchata from the popular El Taquero.    

The highlight of the ceremony was a speech by project leader and District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell, who shared his motivations behind the start of the project and explained the benefits of having a safe, fun place for neighborhood families to gather on weekends. He was joined in praising the program by District 9 Supervisor David Campos, School Board President Matt Haney, and Campos’ Chief of Staff Hillary Ronen. 

The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project plans to celebrate 11 more openings by the end of June 2016. The next kick-off event will take place on January 30th at Monroe Elementary School in the Excelsior.

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Mayor Edwin M. Lee Supervisor Mark Farrell SF Parks Alliance SFUSD SF 311 SFPD SF DPW SF Recreation and Parks