Reviewed by Claire
Web site: www.townschool.com
School tours: by appointment – 415-921-3747
Location: 2750 Jackson Street
Total Enrollment: Approx. 400
Start time: 8:30 a.m.
Kindergarten size: 2 classes of 24 boys
Library: Huge and lovely with over 24,000 volumes
Tuition: Grades K-5: $23,710.00 (plus laptop fee for grade 5); Grades 6-8: $24,650.00
You should consider this school if you're looking for a place with: a challenging and rigorous education supplemented by a focus on fine arts, a single-sex environment, a community which emphasizes and communicates the values of responsibility and respect, a high teacher to student ratio(1:11)
Playground: Another land-locked city school but they’ve done a lot with what they have. The play space and play structure are on the roof and they have a nice indoor gym.
After-school program: Extended Day until 6:00pm also offer an “Enrichment Activities Program” providing interest-specific classes after school.
Language: Latin and Spanish
Financial Aid: Tuition Assistance is awarded based on need (calculated through SSS and adjusted for SF cost of living.) Tuition Assistance and Admission are considered separately.
We began in the Head’s office. I was late and so stood outside the room and had a hard time hearing what was happening. My bad. A parent docent led the tour and several other parents were along to answer questions and shepherd us along. We visited both Kindergarten classes. The teachers wear an amplification microphone that projects their voice around the room. It was explained that these were tools to help auditory learners. The boys in Room A were sitting in a circle and taking turns saying good morning. The boys were focused and delighted as they practiced politely saying hello to their neighbor and then turning so the next boy could have his chance. Room B was transitioning from one task to the next and the boys were having a bumpy time getting from place to place. The teacher was patient and clearly not rattled by a lot of energy in the room.
We saw an empty first grade classroom. The class was spacious, bright and cheerful with lots of art and children’s work up on the walls. I noticed there were many posters here (and around the entire school) emphasizing being a good citizen, being respectful, etc.
They use the Chicago Math system and talked about the concept of “Spiral Learning” which aims to strengthen students' understanding of basic concepts by revisiting the concepts periodically with different contexts and with increasing sophistication throughout the curriculum.
We briefly met the Coach in a spacious indoor gym. The docent showed us the outside play area – there are upper and lower Astroturfed “fields” on the rooftop. It’s a great solution for a city building. There is a play structure for the younger boys. The sports program has an emphasis on character building and every boy who wants to play on a team has the opportunity. The Coach’s motto is “A team for every boy. A league for every team.” There is daily PE along with two recesses.
We visited the large, bright, lovely art studio. The artwork the boys produce is all over the school and clearly a well-deserved source of pride.
All upper school boys have their own personal laptop (a cost in addition to tuition.) Upper school has a focus on media literacy and character education. We visited an upper school science class and peeked in a few other classrooms. Again there was a lot of wonderful student art on the walls along with examples of work. The docent pointed out a math activity using sports statistics and talked about how great the teachers were at engaging boys utilizing their interests.
We met the lower school head who explained that the boys are divided into “Family” Groups which include one boy from each grade along with a teacher. Together they work to do community service types of activities. The groups stay together throughout their years at Town.
Claire’s Impressions: The facility is top-notch and there is no doubt that the education they deliver is excellent. The boys and teachers looked happy and focused as they went about their day. The docent didn’t talk much about the single-sex aspect of the school but the literature they gave me a bit more information. A letter from the head explained that their teaching is differentiated as much as possible to meet boys’ learning needs. On the tour I saw a consideration for boys’ needs for movement and engaging their high activity level. I heard talk of “competitive spirit” and quite a lot about sports. All good things but I walked away feeling that the definition of “boy” was slightly narrow and very traditional.