Ms. Catherine Salvin of Downtown High School is our Teacher of the Month

IMG_8125826 Valencia is honored to announce Ms. Catherine Salvin of Downtown High School as our teacher of the month! Her innovative teaching methods, which combine classroom learning with wilderness treks chock full of hands-on instruction, made her an outstanding candidate for the award. She is a creative educator with a strong commitment to her students, especially the educationally disadvantaged, which has rightfully earned her respect from her colleagues and pupils.

Ms. Salvin is most well known for her instrumental work with the Wilderness Arts and Literary Collaborative, a teacher initiated non-profit organization that “promotes academic achievement and ecological stewardship by creating a diverse community of urban scholars and activists at two San Francisco high schools” (from She has been working with WALC since its inception at Downtown High School, where she has taken her students on numerous outdoor excursions that have challenged them both physically and mentally. She has led classes through Henry Cowell State Park, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Donner Pass, where students learned environmental science, leadership skills, and community building through overnight camping trips.

These memorable and educational field trips have left lasting impressions on her students, such as three-semester WALC veteran Naila, who writes: “Ms. Salvin is a very fun, creative, adventurous, and most of all unique teacher. I have never had a teacher like her.” Naila goes on to say that Ms. Salvin has acted as a mentor, a role model who has “made a difference.” Another WALC student recalls that Ms. Salvin broke her bad study habits and encouraged her to try her hardest, not just in school, but also in life. This student writes that “Ms. Salvin is always here to help us whenever we need her. She works so hard to get us through high school and gives us all the life lessons we need to become young adults.”  Ms. Salvin’s colleagues have recognized her contributions as well, especially her ability to inspire at-risk students to succeed in and out of the classroom. The daily sacrifices that Ms. Salvin makes to prepare her students for the future is a powerful asset for San Francisco teens, and through this award we hope to show that her hard work is valued and appreciated. Thank you Ms. Catherine Salvin!

Read about our Teacher of the Month program.