Our Global Town

Town School for Boys

Through the Halls of Town School and Beyond

Welcome to the latest edition of Our Global Town, a quarterly newsletter that highlights how our community works with and connects to our greater global and "glocal" community. Town Global Education Committee members Jessica Boualavong, Rachel Hollister, Lizzy Laidlaw, Flora Mugambi-Mutunga, Christine Park, Caitlin Shapiro, Corbett Simons, and Kim Stuart contributed to this newsletter, with additional content provided by Julie Alonso and Chris Ceci-MacGillis.

"Global Education" means much more than culture and social studies. We're proud of the efforts of our faculty to weave this important strand across a wide variety of student experiences while here at Town School. We have recently launched an updated version of our website page titled Global Citizenship, Service Learning & Stewardship, which you can view here.

Town's Global Education Mission Statement

Town School for Boys builds students' inter-cultural competencies and character through academic experiences and global and local partnerships. Beginning with an awareness of multiple perspectives, students develop respect, empathy, and kindness through authentic inquiry and engagement. By fostering non-judgmental curiosity, teachers guide students toward a rich understanding of their own identity within the tapestry of their community, the importance of belonging and including others, and the value of acting as allies and engaged global citizens.

Loans That Change Lives

You might have seen the Shredsters, Net Effect, or 5tress at the Fair or before school, surrounded by students purchasing fun products like bouncy balls and squishy toys. Led by 6th graders, these small businesses were making a profit for a greater good, and the Town community was recently able to further the impact of these sales through the Families program.

Each year 6th grade math students in Lizzy Laidlaw's classes launch small businesses by asking the community to make loans to them. The students use the loans to launch their businesses, then take the proceeds from their product sales to repay their loans to their "investors." They use their profits to make loans to people and small businesses on Kiva.org, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco that uses microfinance to support people all over the world. Because the money is lent to Kiva.org, not donated, it is returned when the loans are repaid. Town School had enough money repaid from the many years of donating to Kiva.org to re-lend over $1000 to Kiva businesses and individuals!

During our April 9 Families meetings, each of Town's 44 School Families were able to make a $25 loan to someone through Kiva.org. Families chose to lend to people such as Arame's Group in rural Senegal who need to buy sugar, oil and rice to run their businesses and Sanoat in Tajikistan who is now fully funded to send her son to medical school. In just 40 minutes, the Town Families program made $1,100 in loans to recipients in 20 different countries!

2019 TSB Families Loans to Kiva.org

Big picture

Service is about helping others. But, service always comes back to you. In the words of Gandhi, "the best way to find your self is to lose yourself in the service of others." - Kent Friel '18

Week of Service March 25 - 29

One of the most exciting and rewarding parts of the school year is our annual Week of Service. During this week, Town demonstrates its commitment to the world outside of school by engaging in service all over the Bay Area.

  • Kindergarteners baked cookies for Town and local first responders and created “Thank You” posters for the Town Community.
  • 1st graders studied water conservation and completed a "Water Walk."
  • 2nd graders visited Glide Memorial to help with lunch service by handing out meal tickets, busing tables, and sweeping the dining room floor.
  • 3rd graders made no-sew blankets for preschool children at Holy Family Day Home and donated items for their food pantry program.
  • 4th graders played a variety of games with the special needs youth of Pomeroy Center.
  • 5th graders visited Sebastopol to work at orchardist Ned Lawton's apple farm.
  • 6th graders provided valuable environmental services by pulling weeds and bagging trash at Heron’s Head Park in San Francisco.
  • 7th graders traveled to Chileno Valley Farm in Petaluma to help pull weeds and mulch. This is Town's 12th year partnering with Chileno Valley!
  • 8th grade participated in three half-days of service in their advisory groups with the same organization throughout the year. This year, the boys worked at Ella Hutch Club House in the Western Addition to help clean and organize their space which is used for after-school programs. Two advisory groups worked at Glide Memorial serving lunches, busing, dishwashing and breaking down recyclable packaging, and another advisory sorted food at the SF-Marin Food Bank.

Please share your feedback here so that we may continually refine this process in our planning phase for next year’s Week of Service, tentatively slated for the week of March 23, 2020.

First Grade Water Walk

Did you know that Americans use 5.7 billion gallons of water per day by toilet flushing? Or that each American family uses about 300 gallons of water per day? The first graders do! Through their study of water access and conservation which culminated in the Water Walk, students gained awareness of the way they use and conserve water in their daily lives.

First graders successfully completed their Water Walk on March 29th with the support of their fifth grade buddies, in conjunction with our Week of Service activities and their class's study of Kenya. Through designing and wearing a water carrier to carry a gallon of water, students developed empathy for those who travel long distances to get water (that is often dirty!). They discussed that this work is usually the job of women and children, which reduces their ability to stay in school and receive the education they deserve. Through this walk, students raised $1,885.25 to support Charity: Water, an organization which helps build wells in communities who have limited access to clean water.

The first graders' work is not done! With librarian Julie Alonso, they have produced a video that documents their learning and offers some water conservation tips for us all. They are proud to share these water saving facts and tips with you!


World Through Art

On May 8, 2019, Town families and guest celebrated “The World Through Art,” showcasing student work from this school year as they learned about artists, works, and techniques from over 10 different countries.

The night’s journey started in the lobby with live Andean music, followed by hands-on creations of sand art, origami, and percussion instrument design. The art department and students wove a global story from Japanese Koinobori - carp streamers (kindergarten), Yayoi Kusama-inspired lantern installation (1st grade), San Francisco-inspired ceramic Victorian houses (2nd grade), embroidered African masks (3rd grade), Mexican alebrije sculptures (4th grade), clay Egyptian reliefs (5th grade), endangered animals mural (6th grade), silkscreen portraits of change-makers (7th & 8th grade), and woodworking and coding projects.

It was a lovely evening thanks to the hard work of Leslie Terry, Susan Turner, Vanessa Jasso, Eric Wild, Bill Bocheff, and our many parent volunteers.

Outdoor Education Connects Students to the World

It is a common occurrence to see students and teachers wearing their hiking boots around Town in the weeks leading up to an Outdoor Education trip. "Boot Days" give future hikers and campers a chance to test out their foot gear in order to avoid painful blisters later.

The Upper School Outdoor Education Program is a hallmark of Town School. This program takes students to overnight trips across the Bay Area as an extension of Town's STEM and Advisory curricula. Grades 5, 6, and 7 have completed their trips this year, sometimes braving adverse weather, curious raccoons, and homesickness, but always returning home with valuable lessons learned.

"Whenever I’m in nature I always feel more and more connected to our community." - 5th grader

The purpose of the Outdoor Education Program is twofold: students gain valuable life skills while understanding the greater world as scientists. Led by Chris Ceci-MacGillis, the program strives to instill students with a sense of place, connection, autonomy, competence, and reflection. Our students learn about climates all around the globe, and experiencing our local ecosystems enables them to see how we interact with and impact the environment through a "glocal" lens.
When asked, students easily acknowledged what they learned on these trips. For their outdoor education trip, 5th grade students visited the Marin Headlands, learning about marine ecology over three days. Evan Collins '22 remembered the hikes most from his trip, including a "fact walk" which students completed by themselves, and a night hike where they viewed bioluminescent plankton. Theo DiLullo '22 appreciated visiting the Marin Headlands, "a place I have never really visited before."

Sixth grade students traveled to the Santa Cruz mountains and the Monterey Bay to learn about the watershed ecology while hiking and kayaking in Elkorn Slough. Of their four-day trip, Connor McKeeman '21 appreciated that the trip "exposes [us] to nature - which is a good thing. It shows you what else there is besides playing video games." John Hollister '21 said, " It made me feel small to see all the big redwoods. I felt calm even though I felt small. I realized I really do not want to pollute the world because nature is so fascinating and we should do our best to keep the earth clean so others can continue to see nature and experience what I did. The world needs to work together to make this happen."

Rock climbing is the "pinnacle" of the 7th grade Pinnacles National Park trip. Students studied the geology and ecology of that area, a habitat for the endangered California Condor, while rock climbing, some for the first time. Gavin Zeitz '20 completed his first rock climb on the trip and said, "It felt good to get to the top." DJ Cooper '20 said the trip helped him develop "the attitude to try new things."

Eighth graders will be leaving for their Yosemite backpacking trip very soon. This culminating trip involves three nights in Yosemite's backcountry, where students will carry their own food, water, and shelter. Like other outdoor trips, the Yosemite trip will be sure to challenge and inspire our students, while providing them with long-lasting memories.

Global Links and Resources

Intl. Teaching & Professional Development Opportunities

This is a living document of international teaching and professional development opportunities that are available for all teachers. When applicable, application deadlines and additional costs are noted.

Measuring progress towards the Global Goals

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are targets for global development adopted in September 2015, set to be achieved by 2030. Data across all available indicators from the Our World in Data database track progress towards these goals.

Better World Ed

Incredible storytellers create empathy challenges alongside organizations and communities in order to help youth practice empathy, global understanding, and social change while learning math and literacy.

Building Cultural Competency

To effectively develop cultural competency, this school provides opportunities for students to think deeply about the intersections of identity, culture, equity, and inclusion.

Town School for Boys

As an all boys’ school, Town provides a rich, challenging and rigorous educational experience that addresses the distinctive energy levels and developmental styles of boys. Town values being a diverse community that nurtures integrity, sensitivity and respect in its boys, and prepares them to become productive and contributing members of an ever-changing world.