Our Global Town

Town School for Boys

Through the Halls of Town School and Beyond

Welcome to 2016-17 school year. We are excited for the journey ahead. We hope you enjoy reading about some of the curriculum and programming connected to our global education goals.

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.

Antika Singh Redesigns 7th Grade History Course

Seventh grade history tackles the theme of power by considering the ways in which citizens or groups can become agents of change in the face of institutional oppression. Global revolutions and power struggles are the focal point as we begin the year discussing the Haitian Revolution, the struggle to implement fair and permanent government thereafter, and Haiti’s long history of race relations with the Dominican Republic. We continue this practice of considering the historical colonization, revolution, and present-day experience for several regions throughout the world, including South Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. Students identify overarching themes such as religion, race, and gender inequality in historical events and apply them to modern day social issues.

2016 Global/Glocal Experiential Education Pilot Program

Last year, we piloted two new service-learning trips for seventh graders to Chilamate, Costa Rica (see blog) and to the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona alongside our long-standing Pinnacles trip. Through these experiences, the boys were able to further develop their global competence. When students returned from this trip, they had an opportunity to further their knowledge by participating in literary circles with books that corresponded to the trip location.

Arizona: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Costa Rica: Monkeys are Made of Chocolate by Jack Ewing

Pinnacles: The Call of the Wild by Jack London

These trips were impactful and successful. Town School believes that by increasing student's global competence we help our school become a more inclusive environment. We are exploring cost-effective options that could support these trips in the future.

Library Creates a Collection of Social Justice Books for Kids

During opening meetings in August, Lower School teachers had the opportunity to pour over stacks and stacks of excellent, well-reviewed, well-regarded picture books covering important topics such as LGBTQ+ families, gender differences, stories from all over the world, biographies of change-makers, and social justice. We believe these books will help our boys develop their global mindset. Please stop by the library to visit this curated section and check them out.
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New Americans Project

During the Spring of 2016, the seventh grade read the graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, a semi-autobiographical account of Mr. Yang's growing up in the Bay Area as the son of first generation, Chinese-American parents. The class used the book as a jumping-off point to look more closely at the immigrant experience. The project, known as the "New American Project," was driven by two essential questions: Why do people immigrate to the United States? and How do people navigate being a part of two cultural worlds? Each student was matched with someone who had personally immigrated to the US and then interviewed them using questions brainstormed in class. The students recorded the interview and created a transcript. Students then brainstormed ideas about how to most effectively tell the story of the immigrant they interviewed. Final projects included fictionalized creative stories, board games, Prezi's, Google Presentations, and hand-drawn comics. Finally, students reflected on what they learned as a result of the project. The teachers conducted polls to measure student thinking around immigration to see if attitudes changed. Here are some of the results:

Before the project, 30% of students "Strongly disagreed" with the statement: "US immigration policy has been fair to all groups entering the US."

After the project, 90% "Strongly disagreed."

Before the project, 30% of students "Strongly agreed" with the statement: "Having a variety of cultures and languages in America benefits everyone."

After the project, 60% "Strongly agreed"

Before the project, 0% of students "Strongly agreed" with the statement "Immigration has helped the United States."

After the project, 50% "Strongly agreed"

3rd Grade Goes Glocal as They Study California

In third grade the boys are studying California history starting with the study of native Californians. Boys learn about how the First People of California used the natural resources of the land through their study of the Coastal Miwok people and discovered how they used the resources of the coast in their daily lives. The class has a scheduled visit to the Coastal Miwok cultural exhibit in Point Reyes which illustrates how the people of this area lived off the land many years ago. They will learn about early tools and technology from a Paleotechnologist, Tamara Wilder, who talks about the ingenuity and skill of the native people of California.

Kim Stuart, Town's Director of Library Services, attended a workshop this summer where she learned from experts in the field all about the Miwok people and specifically their tradition and technology. She shared her expertise with the class, showed the boys tools she made and facts she learned. Check out her presentation here.

Boys are encouraged to consider the similarities of their lives with that of a Miwok boy as they reflect on their own experiences as a Town student. This unit helps to broaden the experiences of the boys and gives them an awareness of Native Americans and their lives. It also helps challenge stereotypes and assumptions boys have about Native Americans.

Cobb School Mentoring Elective

In this Elective 7th and 8th graders walk 4 blocks to a nearby public school, Dr. William COBB School (or COBB school). The boys pair up with their Kindergarten buddies at COBB and read together for 20 minutes. After the boys read, they often have the opportunity to play outside with their buddies or lead them in organized games such as parachute games, tag, soccer and basketball. The boys work with the same buddy or buddies for the entire semester and some choose to stay in this elective for the entire year. The COBB kids often cheer when we get there, and some of our Town boys say that going to COBB is the highlight of their week.

This elective was started years ago by students in the Elective "Challenge 20-20". "Challenge 20-20" was an initiative started by NAIS in which they paired up schools from different countries to work on one of the 20 most pressing issues that need to be solved in the next 20 years. That year, our boys chose to focus on "Education for All" and were paired with a school in Pakistan. From the experience, the main action item chosen by our students was to start an elective in which 7th and 8th graders could be mentors for students at a local public school. The first reading buddies were the students that came up with the idea, and the elective has remained ever since.

Global Breakfast Club

As part of the global initiative, faculty are invited every 4-6 weeks to gather before school and chat about global education. The first Global Breakfast Club was on October 4th. Faculty had the opportunity to talk about global hopes and dreams, current projects in their classrooms, and share some resources. These conversations are meant to expand our thinking about what it means for our students to be globally competent and to create even more momentum in regards to our global initiative.
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Global Links and Resources

Global Citizen

Interested in growing professionally? Sign up for this global newsletter or check out their webpage for ideas around global news and education.

Online Global Education Conference

A free week-long online event bringing together educators and innovators from around the world, will be held Sunday, November 13 - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 (November 17th in some time zones). Reach out to Kristen Goggin for help navigating.

Google Expeditions with Google Cardboard

Do you have a google cardboard or similar device. Go on a virtual field trip with google expeditions.

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.