Monthly Archives: November 2011

Extended Day respects traditions – even when it involves hanging donuts from the ceiling!


Nicky DeCesare is the director of the After School Program and Town School and has the pleasure of experiencing the boys in their most playful moods. She is a master at wrangling their after school energy and loves that so many boys like to come hang out even if their parents do not need them to be there.   When she first took the helm two years ago she caught on right away to the power of the Extended Day traditions.  So, when we asked her to share with us what she loves about her job, she knew just the story to tell.

“This past Halloween, I spent the majority of the afternoon hanging three dozen donuts from the ceiling of our classroom with the amazing Extended Day Team (Dain Vogel ‘98, and Caitlin Bicknell). As I stood high atop the back of a chair, hands covered in donut glaze, struggling to tie an anchor string from the highest point in the room, a fellow faculty member stopped in the doorway to admire our spectacle. After a few minutes of careful observation, he asked the obvious question: “So why do you do this again?”

Great question. There is, of course, the obvious answer: Because it’s fun! There is something about a donut dangling from a string that creates the perfect storm of silly and delicious and puts a smile on the face of every single person who walks into our classroom on Halloween, regardless of age.

But the real answer is more than that.

When I took over the position of Director of After School Programs four years ago, the boys, eager to know how things would be different (and how they would remain the same) without founding director Elaine Blair, started asking questions almost immediately. “Are we still gonna do the donut thing on Halloween?”

I had no idea what they were talking about. I had spent my first two years at Town as an intern teacher in the lower school, and had not been privy to the rituals of the Extended Day Program. Thankfully, I had Stefanie Stoddard, a five year Extended Day veteran teacher, by my side. “What are they talking about?!” I asked her.

“Oh,” she answered. “Every Halloween, we hang donuts from the ceiling and the boys have to try to bite them without using their hands.”

I was baffled. In my mind, the headache I had from running through the logistics of executing such a feat for more than thirty boys over the course of 3 hours (at the end of the day. ON HALLOWEEN.) could certainly not outweigh the benefits. Until I thought a little harder about the true purpose.

We needed to do it because it was a tradition. Like so many traditions, it’s more about the feeling than the actual act itself. Elaine manufactured a little bit of Halloween magic when she first decided to start the tradition of bobbing for donuts in Extended Day, and it’s recreating that magic that fosters a feeling of connection; between the boys and our program, their school, a certain place and time during the year, and each other.  It is, like so many here at Town, a tradition that started long before the arrival of us who continue it, and will hopefully continue on as long as it serves its true purpose, which, for Extended Day, is to create a warm, fun, safe, enriching environment for our boys after-school.

I love that our Upper School boys will come back and visit on Halloween – they help tie donuts to strings, demonstrate the most effective “donut-bobbing” techniques, and tell ridiculous stories of “that time in third grade when we were bobbing for donuts and…” (use your imagination to fill in how that story ends!) It’s something that our boys look forward to every year – they start asking about it in early September, and talk about it all the way through June. While we create our traditions, they shape our identity as a community as much as we do them. I am proud to be part of a community of faculty, administrators, families, and students that strives to create, shape and maintain traditions that act in the best interest of our boys, their growth, their learning, their emotional well-being, and their connection to their school. And sometimes, that can be as simple as donuts.


A sweet love note from a 7th grade mother.


Michael H., currently a 7th grader, has been a part of the Town School community since Kindergarten. His mother, Jocelyn C., reached out and shared her positive experience at Town School. Thank you for your kind words!

“I have immensely enjoyed watching our boys grow up.  I feel so lucky that Michael been able to stay at the same school for the past seven years.  It’s hard to believe how little our boys once were when they arrived for kindergarten.  Now some of them have deep voices and stand taller than their mothers!  It’s been a great experience, from the Build a Bear Workshop field trip to the Midweeklies carpools.  I look forward to the coming months and the project of moving Michael to the next step: the right high school!  Town has been a great place for us.”

A love note from a 4th grader.


Thank you Max D. from 4B for sharing why you love Town School.  If your you or your son would like to submit a love note, please do email us the quote and a photograph.  We are excited to showcase as many as we receive.

“I love Town School because the classrooms are warm and friendly and the teachers understand and are fair, nice and fun to be taught by.  Once you get into the school groove, you want to just get up and go everyday because it is so much fun.  Town School makes learning fun for me.”

Love notes from a few second graders.


It is always fun to hear what the boys themselves love about their school.  Here are what a few 2nd graders in Ms. Cordingly’s class had to say.  Check back during the year for more love notes from the boys.

Roger A.

“I love that we can have fun and play outside”

Anthony  M.

“I like PE at Town School.”

Alesso M.

“I really like reading groups at Town School”

Colin R.

“I love art class because we do fun art projects.”

Andrew L.

” I think I like the library the best”

Brooke Jenkins considers Town School home. Maybe that is why it is the perfect first stop for the boys.


Brooke Jenkins has been a kindergarten teacher at Town School for ten years.  She is the first stop on the boys’ journey through Town School and she is the perfect person to get it all started.   She is kind, friendly, supportive and most of all caring.  The boys love her and of course so do the parents.  When we asked her if she was interested in sharing what it is that she loves about the school, this is what she wrote.

“I love Town School because it is home to me.  After graduating from college, I moved to San Francisco in late August of 2000 and began teaching at Town School that fall. From the minute I walked in the door I knew I would love my first real job. I started in KB with Dana Dacus-Hare who welcomed me with open arms and her signature huge smile on her face. I knew immediately I had met someone special who would be my mentor and friend and help me to become the teacher I am today.

Growing up I struggled in the classroom and learning did not come easy to me.  Because of this, my plan from a young age was to become a kindergarten teacher and make learning fun. I wanted my students to love coming to school. Town School was the perfect place for this.  The school’s energy, the boys’ love of learning and the laughter around school makes it the special place it is and this was the perfect place for me to make my teaching aspirations come true.

Since I moved to San Francisco, Town School has been my constant and that is why I think of it as my home away from home.  I feel comfortable here and look forward to coming to work. The faculty and staff are like family to me. They are supportive, encouraging, caring and funny.  The students keep me on toes, amaze me with their insights and most importantly make me laugh every day.

This is why I love Town School!”

We love B-I-N-G-O at Town School!


Every fall, Town School hosts a BINGO night.  It is a great opportunity for the school community to come together in a friendly, fun and casual atmosphere.  This year, Brooke Perkins Kerry Honey and Ali Reeder chaired the event.  After the event, we asked Brooke what she thought was so special about the night.  Here is what she had to say.

“It was such fun to be part of BINGO night.  The best part is seeing the children and parents having a great time.  Whether they were playing BINGO, helping their children, eating pizza and ice cream or just chatting with friends, fun was in the air!  There were many smiles in the room, especially after the candy was distributed!  Casual school events like this one are so wonderful for everyone to come together with their families and enjoy Town!”