Balboa High school Home

March 18, 2013

This year Balboa is the "Most Requested" high school in SFUSD with 7.44 applicants for every seat once siblings are removed from the calculation. Balboa had 238 non-sibling Freshman seats available for General Education Fall 2013 for which there were 1772 applicants. 

Highlights of this year's enrollment were posted here on the district web-site


Balboa in the News
At the Bay Area Urban Debate League Season Opener on Saturday October 19th at UC Berkeley, Balboa students made quite a name for themselves and their school.Their performance was amazing with all of their hard work paying off in many ways. See their statistics below and if you get a chance congratulate them on their job well done.
Balboa High School took 2nd place over-all for the Bay Area in the sweepstakes.
Claudia Wu placed 1st for over-all high score in this division.
Brose Johnstone and Justin Chau placed 4th for JV 2-Person Policy Debate.
Claudia Wu and Andy Ruan placed 6th for JV 2-Person Policy Debate.
Novice (this was the first debate tournament ever experienced by our Novice team!)
Lily Tinsley placed 1st for over-all high score in this division.
Lily Tinsley and Shelly Wu placed 2nd for Novice 2-Person Policy Debate.
Devon Faraci and Liana Lau placed 4th for Novice 2-Person Policy Debate.
Cherry Than and Iris Tinsley placed 5th for Novice 2-Person Policy Debate.
Way to go, Balboa!
Thanks to their advisor, Elizabeth Cossick

Serving Up Food Justice at School

Click here to see full article from Teaching Tolerance - Summer 2013

Jessica Ramirez, a senior at Balboa High School in San Francisco, was learning about fats when she realized what she usually ate was not doing her much good. “I learned that the decisions I make about what I consume every day have a great impact on my body,” says Ramirez.


Then last summer, she read Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, which hammered home everything she had learned in health class. “My entire view of the fast-food industry changed. I decided to entirely cut out fast food,” says Ramirez. Now her goal is to get her family to eat more healthily. “I try to accompany my mom to buy groceries, so she will get more fruits and vegetables, and fewer chips and candies.”

Ramirez may not know it, but her food choices have put her at the entry point of the food justice movement. The Brooklyn Food Coalition (BFC), an organization dedicated to creating a just and sustainable food system in Brooklyn, N.Y., defines three key elements of food justice:  (1) everyone has a right to healthy, affordable food; (2) food systems should be sustainable; and (3) food workers have a right to fair working conditions.

Beatriz Beckford, BFC’s director of organizing and policy and former school food organizing and policy coordinator, believes schools are ripe for the introduction of food justice practices. When young people eat vegetables they’ve studied in class or grown in a garden, share that experience at home and then request these vegetables at mealtime, says Beckford, they start to probe food’s role in their world—just as Ramirez has begun to do.

Start in the Classroom

Introducing students to food justice principles begins in the classroom. Take Balboa High School health teacher Chris Pepper. His ninth-grade health curriculum couples nutrition basics with the study of food origins and preparation. He shows Food, Inc., which gets students talking about animal welfare, industrial agriculture and food workers’ rights. His students also research prominent food justice leaders and organizations.

“Teaching about food justice helps make nutrition classes more engaging,” says Pepper. “Learning the story of where our food comes from is really interesting, and it involves some real critical thinking about how our world works,” he adds.

Vicente Manuel, a former student of Pepper’s, has changed his food mindset. “I became aware of the unhealthy foods I was eating,” says Manuel. “Now, instead of buying chips, I get fruit. I stopped buying fast food. I eat healthier cooked meals.” In the true spirit of food justice, Manuel has urged his mother to change her eating habits, too. He says it’s working. She buys more vegetables and fruit and stays away from frozen prepared meals and junk food.


Congratulations to Balboa's Mock Trial Team, Lead Captains Anissa Zaitzu and Ben Sherman, and Ms. Dave!

San Francisco Chronicle - Monday, March 4th, 2013

San Francisco's Balboa High School mock trial team took first place in the city's annual mock trial competition, the first school other than Lowell or School of the Arts to win the competition since 2007.

The panel of scorers, which included Superior Court Judge Braden Woods and Hastings Law Professor Eumi Lee, unanimously selected Balboa's team as the clear winner, according to Wesley Spowhn, of the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, whose attorneys coached the Balboa students.

The winning team of 25 students was commended for their pretrial argument on Miranda rights, cross examinations and witness performances.

The students have been practicing weekly since September, memorizing witness lines and attorney arguments, said the team's adviser, English teacher Minauti Davé.

"They were ecstatic," Davé said. "It's unfathomable how they did this with their heavy load of schoolwork and their extracurricular activities."

The competition finals took place in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the Northern California Federal Courthouse, with the winner announced Thursday night.

The Balboa team will represent the city at the state championship in Riverside later this month.

- Jill Tucker

E-mail: Twitter: @SFCityInsider

Read more:

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Excelsior Action Group & Local Youth Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior

    Local Economic Development Organization Spearheads Pedestrian Level Lighting Program 

(San Francisco – February 21, 2013) 

On Saturday, February 16, 2013, the Excelsior Action Group (EAG) executed a grassroots safety program with the help of over a dozen local youth in San Francisco’s Excelsior neighborhood.  Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior is a pedestrian level lighting campaign that enlists youth as safety liaisons to distribute free energy efficient lighting to small businesses to brighten their storefront windows at night.  Generously funded by PG&E, the program addresses the neighborhood’s dire need for pedestrian level lighting to increase safety and foot traffic on Mission Street after dark.

Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior was developed in response to a call from merchants and residents alike for better lighting and improved safety along the Excelsior’s commercial corridor.  In EAG’s recent community needs assessment, merchants shared common anecdotes of increased break-ins and defacement of their storefronts during the night.  Residents living, working, and shopping on the corridor cited that their sense of security on Mission Street dramatically decreases after dark.  EAG’s Public Safety Planning Group took these findings as a call to action, working with PG&E to develop the Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior program.

Fifteen neighborhood youth from Balboa High School and San Francisco State University volunteered with EAG staff to distribute energy efficient light bulbs to 193 small businesses along Mission Street.  Their message was simple: leave a light on at night to improve pedestrian safety after dark.  When asked why the program was important, SFSU student Rosson Pan remarked, “Increased lighting will encourage more people to feel safe and to shop on Mission Street after dark, which will increase safety even further.  It’s a cycle that will help to improve the local economy!”   

Small business owners were warmly receptive to the program and pleased to see local youth volunteering in the community.  “We recognize that a free light bulb is only a temporary solution,” explained Commercial Corridor Manager Nicole Agbayani, “But it also sparks a neighborhood-wide conversation about a much needed project to permanently install pedestrian level lighting here in the Excelsior.  Merchants recognize the positive impact more lighting has on their businesses.  Youth recognize that more lighting engenders a safer community, and that they can be the impetus for that transformation.”

Bernardo Cortes, Customer Relationship Manager at PG&E, the program’s primary funder, said, “PG&E is proud to work with the Excelsior Action Group to promote safety along the Excelsior commercial corridor.  We will continue to collaborate with EAG to provide local businesses with energy-efficient measures to help them save money and improve public safety.”  EAG is grateful for all of the support it received in bringing this program to fruition, particularly from PG&E, Whole Foods, Balboa High School’s PULSE program, and SFSU Professor Brigitte Davila.

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About the Excelsior Action Group

The Excelsior Action Group (EAG) is an economic and community development organization serving the Commercial Corridor of Mission Street in San Francisco's diverse Excelsior District.  EAG engages merchants, residents, neighborhood organizations, and city agencies in its efforts to revitalize the commercial corridor through free merchant technical assistance, beautification, greening, and community building activities.  Through its actions, EAG seeks to achieve community strength and cohesion centered around a vibrant and active commercial corridor in the Excelsior.  For more information about EAG, please visit our website at