Strategic Plan 2020-25

Introduction

from the Head of School, Lorri Hamilton Durbin, and Board Chair, Ann Chen

This Strategic Plan, formally adopted by the Town School Board of Trustees in the fall of 2019 following a two year, community-oriented process, lays out five strategic priorities and a new set of school values: respect, curiosity, belonging, integrity and joy. Over the course of five years, this plan will serve as a roadmap in supporting outstanding educational and academic programming; integrating our school values to shape boys of character and impact; increasing access to a Town education and cultivating an inclusive environment for all community members; initiating new ways to attract and retain excellent faculty and staff; and making athletics and wellness a meaningful part of school life.

We expect Town graduates to be agile learners and thinkers who wholeheartedly embrace life's challenges. We aim to guide their development into leaders who speak up and act with integrity and humility. We seek to help them become compassionate and kind listeners as well as global citizens who are active and engaged with their communities. We will support their evolution into balanced and well-rounded young people who possess confidence and a strong sense of self. As adults, we will model each of these traits in our own actions.

We are energized by the direction the plan sets forth for Town School and hope you enjoy reading about our vision for 2025. We are deeply grateful to the Strategic Planning Committee and the many members of our community who added their perspectives through surveys, focus groups and a community brainstorming day. We expect to make tremendous progress on our strategic priorities throughout the life of the plan, and we recognize that our work in these areas will never be fully done. Now the exciting part begins, and we are glad that you are with us on this journey!

Mission and Values

Mission

At Town School, learning is prized, love of school is essential and boyhood is celebrated.

Respect

We respect ourselves and others.
  • We treat others the way they want to be treated.
  • We practice good listening, compassion and empathy.

Curiosity

We are curious.
  • We ask questions, think critically and solve problems.
  • We seek opportunities to reach our highest potential.

Belonging

We all belong.
  • We embrace and celebrate each of our unique stories and experiences.
  • We seek to ensure that every member of our community feels an equal sense of inclusion.

Integrity

We act with Integrity.
  • We have the courage to do the right thing even when nobody else is watching.
  • We always try our best and when we fail, we try again.

Joy

We are joyful.
  • We make space for play, fun and laughter.
  • We know joy can be found in hard work, risk-taking and perseverance.

Priorities

Strategic Priority #1

Designing Learning Experiences for Tomorrow

Town will build on a vibrant and joyful educational experience by creating more challenges and learning opportunities for every boy across all academic disciplines. Curricula will be designed and differentiated to engage and stretch boys, with coursework allowing for varying paces and providing authentic opportunities for problem-solving and intellectual development. Town will ensure that every boy possesses the skills he needs to thrive and lead as a lifelong learner in the 21st century.

Rationale

The world is changing at a rapid pace with technology innovations and global economies redefining the skills and knowledge necessary for success. In order to thrive in their academic, social and professional lives, children and adolescents today must be strong critical thinkers. They must be nimble and flexible, adept at understanding and collaborating with people across all backgrounds, and adapt their modes of thinking to new and unknown challenges. Our methods of teaching and assessment must evolve in tandem.

Actions

  • Ensure an outstanding educational program that develops a well-rounded portfolio of 21st century competencies in each boy from academic preparedness and artistic abilities to health and fitness.
  • Enhance curricular integration and project-based learning in conjunction with a cohesive curricular scope and sequence across the grades.
  • Develop competency-based student assessments and student reporting systems, including evaluation of content understanding as well as academic, non-cognitive and life skills.
  • Forward a learning environment where scholarly pursuits are celebrated and boys find a rich array of opportunities for engineering thinking and problem-solving, as well as offerings for intellectual endeavors such as mathematics festivals, spelling bees, debate programs and film festivals.
  • Capitalize on the Dolby Theater and use music, dance, theater arts and film programming to further boys' understanding of classroom content and ensure that every boy develops a creative voice, storytelling and communication skills while experiencing the benefits of risk-taking and teamwork.

Strategic Priority #2

Raising Boys of Character and Impact

Town will integrate a new set of school values, which will be known and embodied by adults and students alike, to frame an expanded character education program. We will build an intentional learning journey for grades K-8 to fully realize these values in our community. With a Town School character education, graduates will be equipped to serve as leaders for good.

Rationale

We believe that strong character education is as vital to a child's development as academic preparedness. Town aspires to be known in San Francisco and across secondary schools not just for graduating academicallycapable boys, but also for launching young adults into the world who are known for their kindness, emotional intelligence, integrity and treating others with respect inside and outside of school.

Actions

  • Articulate and design a deliberate, targeted framework for character education at Town.
  • Align and implement a school-wide Social-Emotional Learning program for grades K-8 to support character development and realizing core values.
  • Establish and integrate meaningful K-8 service learning involving local partnerships in order to positively contribute to the Bay Area and strengthen bonds within our community.
  • Build cultural competency curricula to develop global citizens with strong self-awareness who always strive to genuinely understand themselves and others with empathy and compassion.
  • Host guest speakers and performers to serve as role models across a wide spectrum of backgrounds and expertise.

Strategic Priority #3

Cementing a Community of Belonging

Town will dedicate new resources and attention to expanding and nurturing an inclusive, equitable community. Broadened financial resources will ensure that more boys can join the Town community and that all students have access to the same educational, extra-curricular and social experiences and feel a deep sense of belonging. Faculty and staff will help students from all backgrounds see themselves and their experiences represented in all curriculum and program areas. We aim to expand our reach in the Bay Area through a variety of community partnerships.

Rationale

The life story and experiences of every boy and family in our school enrich the learning environment for the entire community. Every individual brings diversity and we embrace differences woven across and within the grades: racial/ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, geographic, family structure, work and life experiences. Everyone at Town benefits from a more diverse, inclusive and equitable community.

Actions

  • Expand access to Town through a more substantial Tuition Assistance Program.
  • Reframe marketing and communications to appeal to a wider audience of prospective applicant families.
  • Develop parent education programming to deepen understanding and partnership around three key topics: cultural competency, cognitive science and raising boys of character.
  • Embed programs to develop cultural competencies and active global citizenship within character education curricula and faculty professional development.
  • Establish partnerships with Bay Area organizations to share resources, broaden Town's reach in the community and activate meaningful and varied learning opportunities for students, faculty and parents.
  • Develop a systematic approach to measuring progress.

Strategic Priority #4

Investing in Our Faculty and Staff

Town will become a leader in meeting the needs of a talented and diverse workforce. We aim to provide faculty and staff with benefit options that offer support wherever they are in their careers, whether they are emerging professionals or nearing retirement. We will continue to celebrate community and strive for sustainability through robust faculty engagement and appreciation. Professional development will align with parent education programs to support thoughtful partnership.

Rationale

We know that the biggest determining factor in academic success is teacher quality. In order to ensure that we can continue to attract talented employees from other parts of the country and provide our existing faculty and staff stability and support, it is vital that faculty salaries and benefits keep up with the high cost of living in the Bay Area. Our offerings must be commensurate with or exceed those of our local peers.

Actions

  • Increase compensation and widen incentives to address the differing needs of faculty and staff at all stages of their careers.
  • Develop a portfolio of options to address faculty housing needs so Town can recruit and retain faculty across the course of their careers.
  • Strengthen faculty engagement and connection through wellness initiatives and appreciation efforts.
  • Attract faculty and staff of all backgrounds and develop a strong pipeline of leadership opportunities within the school.
  • Bolster professional growth and advancement with more intentional emphasis on three key areas: curricular design, cultural competency and character and social-emotional learning.

Strategic Priority #5

Bringing Our Best in Athletics and Wellness

Town will expand and enhance athletic and physical education programming to incorporate nutrition, wellness, self-care and healthy decision-making. Our program will support and connect more closely to character development across the general curriculum, and we aim to nurture athletic potential in students of all skills and abilities. Boys will learn how to apply Town values to sportsmanship, competition and school spirit as well as develop a strong sense of self in arenas outside of the classroom. We strive to broaden our teaching in athletics and wellness in order to help boys learn essential life lessons.

Rationale

Compelling research highlights the importance of balance and wellness for achievement and well-being. While Town has a long tradition of excellence in athletics, our community desires a more holistic program that blends athletics and physical education with health and wellness education.

Actions

  • Directly link physical and wellness education with character development work so that boys learn how to apply Town values to sportsmanship, competition and school spirit.
  • Ensure appropriate resources to build upon our current athletic programs, including physical education scope and sequence, strong coaching staff and diversified programming.
  • Develop age-appropriate lessons devoted to nutrition, wellness, self-care, healthy decision-making and overcoming setbacks.
  • Celebrate all athletes while also developing a full range of competencies from artistic expression to athletic fitness.
  • Optimize facilities to support diversified athletic programming and to connect with and support the broader San Francisco community

Portrait of a Graduate

Town graduates embody our core values and serve as leaders for good.

Town graduates respect themselves and others. They are self-aware, compassionate listeners and doers. Their actions reflect healthy decision-making skills and they seek to understand others' points of view in order to enrich their own perspectives.

Town graduates approach the world with deep curiosity. They seek to ask questions about the world, find problems and look for solutions. They are dynamic learners with nimble problem solving skills and a growth mindset that will prepare them to take on challenges in their academics, creative endeavors, athletics and life.

Town graduates have a strong sense of self and a deep desire to genuinely understand the stories and perspectives of those around them. They know that belonging doesn't mean just fitting in; it means being welcomed for who they are. Because they possess strong cultural awareness, they are active in their communities in order to thoughtfully engage with others and contribute their unique voices.

Town graduates act with integrity. They value honesty and strive to constantly apply strong morals to their own lives. They are global citizens who speak up and help others. Embodying resiliency and perseverance, they try their best and when they fail, they try again. They understand this takes courage.

Town graduates are joyful. They find joy in hard work and have learned to be bold and take risks in the context of a safe environment. They are well-rounded and celebrate the variety of interests in others. They enjoy the camaraderie found in good friendships and the fulfillment that comes from being a contributing member of a larger community.

Strategic Plan by the Numbers

1 community worked collaboratively to map the future of our school
2 years of data collection, idea generation and community outreach
58 parents, alumni, faculty and staff put on their thinking caps at a full-day strategic planning workshop
65 interviews were conducted by committee members with internal and external experts
236 families and 75 employees completed online surveys to provide feedback and suggest ideas