Our Global Town

Town School for Boys

Through the Halls of Town School and Beyond

Take a moment to enjoy the final stories from the 2016-17 school year. It has been an exciting year filled with global lessons K-8 for our boys. We look forward to capturing various global education opportunities this summer for our faculty in Peru and Tanzania.

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.

First Graders Study Water

In early March the first grade launched a PBL project with the driving question, "How can we, as a Town School community, conserve water?" The boys researched this question by interviewing adults at home and collected data to calculate their weekly water usage. In addition, a representative from the San Francisco Water Department came into school to talk about ways to reduce their "water footprints." During this project, first grade was also learning about the country Kenya. The boys looked at the similarities California and Kenya share when faced with a drought and also explored the issue of access to clean water in rural parts of Kenya. The project ended with a "Water Walk" where first and fifth graders partner together to design water carriers and experience first hand the challenges of having to carry water over a distance.

In STEM class, we learned about the water cycle and it's connection to rain. For our engineering component, students investigated current water filtration systems, like the LifeStraw, Brita Filter, and One Day Response emergency water cleaning powder. They used this information to assess materials to create our own emergency water filtering system out of plastic bottles. Students found that certain combinations of cotton balls, activated charcoal, and sand produced the clearest water.

First Grade Water PBL 2017

Fifth Graders Study India

To wrap up our year-long study of Early Humans and Ancient Civilizations, the 5th grade has been exploring Ancient India with the guiding question of "What has our world inherited from this civilization?" Our study has included a look at India's diverse geography; an exploration of the artifacts that have been uncovered from India's earliest civilization in Mohenjodaro; and a look at the two main religions born out of Ancient India, Hinduism and Buddhism. In addition to these four main topics, we have heard from two guest speakers: Ms. Oppenheim's older brother who has studied and traveled extensively in India, and Kavita Khanna, mother of Aditya, who came in to present about her own knowledge about and practice of Hinduism today.

One overarching theme students have continually noticed is the way in which India is diverse in every sense, yet functions harmoniously as a society. Being "Indian" can mean many different things, depending on language, religion, geography and much more, and these many ways of being Indian are all accepted within the larger Indian subcontinent. Students have made contemporary connections to the United States in terms of our own diversity, and have concluded that India could in many ways be a strong model for what diversity in the United States could and should look like.

Sixth Graders Study Medieval Japan

To wrap up the year, the 6th graders explored the samurai society of medieval Japan. They used primary and secondary sources to research the role of the samurai in the military society of ancient Japan and the influence samurai values have on us today.
The boys practiced their persuasion skills in the classroom competition, Medieval World’s Got Talent, where they were tasked with defending who they think was the greatest warrior: the samurai, the knight, or the ninja. They will conclude the unit through a kendo demo and field trip to Japan Town next week.
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Changemakers in Second Grade

For the past few months in second grade, we have been working hard to become the changemakers we have learned about in Social Studies. By emulating the works of Martin Luther King Jr, Harvey Milk, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and many others, we began working on real world problems to solve in our own San Francisco community. Both grade sections chose topics near to their hearts. 2A chose women’s rights, and 2B chose pollution. Both classes researched the problems and created podcasts to educate the community about how to begin to solve these issues.

Just last week, we had the chance to volunteer our time at Glide, serving and preparing food for those in need in our community. We learned about philanthropy and how it combines giving time, talents, and treasure to help the common good. The students were fully engaged in giving back, and worked hard to serve those in need!

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Eighth Graders Take Action

Eighth graders recently completed their inquiry projects which challenged them to uncover and take action on an issue that impacts their community or a community they care about. Two eighth graders took their project further by creating a commitment to action in San Francisco beyond the confines of the project.

Tyler Plants '17 researched veterinary access for dogs living with homeless San Franciscans. Tyler discovered that local organizations SF SPCA and Veterinary Street Outreach Services (VetSOS) provide affordable and/or free veterinary services for dogs living in poverty. He also found that the dogs who live with homeless people are often in good health, are well taken care of, and provide invaluable companionship to the people with whom they live. Tyler decided to support VetSOS with a dog supply drive at Town, and many generous families donated supplies. He delivered those supplies to the mobile VetSOS clinic on May 16th. He also donated his own $50! If you are interested in supporting VetSOS further, they always take pet supplies and welcome volunteers who visit this site.

Ren Zanze '17 investigated the factors in basketball that most effectively break down socioeconomic barriers. He did extensive qualitative research by interviewing 15 people involved in basketball, including the heads of youth recreational programs throughout the city. He discovered that team basketball brings people together mainly because of its common goal aspect. He decided to put his findings into action and apply them to pickup basketball; he asked Town students to sign up for pickup basketball games that he'll lead throughout the city in order to bring different communities in SF together. So far, he has about 10 students who have signed up and is still interested in recruiting more.

Eighth Grade Privilege: Unpacking your Knapsack

As part of their study of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, eighth graders recently read and discussed Peggy McIntosh's article "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack." Literate Writer teachers first analyzed their own privileges, modeling the honest introspection required when considering one's place in society. Students then examined the differences in race, gender, and class among characters in Lee's novel, and ultimately offered personal interpretations of their own experiences with privilege.

In preparation for conversations and experiences consistent with being in high school, students were further engaged in a one hour walk of privilege exercise. The goal of the activity was to increase students' understanding by giving them an non-confrontational way to discuss privilege and promote reflection.

Virtual Expeditions

On May 5th, Google Expeditions came to Town! Google Expeditions is Google's new virtual reality program for teachers and students. It allows students to go on virtual field trips to over 600 locations around the world. Students in both the Lower and Upper School were able to try out this brand new application and it was a huge hit with all the grade levels who gave it a try. A few highlights included viewing a Gold Rush town in California, viewing sharks up close under water, exploring our national parks, and traveling to Kenya and Ancient Egypt.

Global Summer Programming for Faculty

EJ Drevno (third grade head teacher) will be traveling to Peru with long-time Town partner organization, the World Leadership School. During Global Educator Intensive: Exploring Purpose in the Peruvian Andes, she will connect with Peru’s culture and people as they explore the following question: “How can we explore and articulate our own purpose to better help students find theirs?” During this traveling seminar in Peru’s Andes, she will experience curriculum around finding purpose and work with other participants to build purpose-based curriculum to bring back to participating schools. In order to inform the work, EJ will interview community leaders of purpose, work with NGOs, live with a homestay family, hike in the Andes, and experience Machu Picchu.

Meghan Janson (third grade head teacher) and Lizzy Laidlaw (fourth grade head teacher) will be working at the Rift Valley Children’s Village (RVCV). The Rift Valley Children’s Village in Tanzania provides a permanent and loving home for 97 orphaned and at-risk children. The Tanzanian Children’s Fund was founded by India Howell who began working with the local government in 2007 to “manage the local primary school with the goal of improving educational outcomes and ensuring that local students have a solid foundation for secondary school.” During their time at the Rift Valley Children’s Village, these talented teachers will be working Monday through Saturday each week. As volunteers, they will be actively involved in the lives of the children. Lizzy and Meghan will spend their days teaching English in the local school, working alongside teachers, and planning activities and events for the children.

We are grateful to the funds made available through the Moghadam Family to enable these global education experiences for our faculty and staff.

Global Links and Resources

Journey's In Film

Transport students beyond borders and boundaries through age appropriate films and discussion guides.

Empowering Students in 60 Lessons

Book by Fernando M. Reimers

The Global Education Guidebook

Long time friend and global partner of Town School, Jennifer Klein, publishes her first book.

Kiva Friends and Family Lending Team

Join the fun! We have $22,000 in lending as a school to date.

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.