This Long Range Plan for 2020-2025 defines and significantly deepens Town’s commitment to excellence, grounded in our mission and values, all in service of our students.
Mission and Principles
The Town School is committed to elementary co-education, serving students in Nursery through Eighth grade. As we embrace high academic and ethical standards for each student, we are guided by our school motto, “let there be joy in learning.”
Town’s program balances the traditional and the innovative, emphasizing excellence in academics and a thorough exposure to the arts and physical education. We teach children to think creatively, read critically, and reason logically, stressing the value of both individual learning and collaboration. We are committed to diversity, teaching students to be inclusive and to respect themselves and others.
Students leave Town as well-rounded, articulate, resilient, and morally responsible individuals. They are prepared to meet the challenges of a demanding secondary education and continue on the path of lifelong learning.
Our Principles of Education
With the goal of every Town student realizing their potential as learners, citizens, and leaders, we aim for every student to regularly experience, across the program:
- Active, hands-on learning
- Critical, creative, and computational thinking
- Reflection, questioning, and discernment
- Productive struggle
- Choice, autonomy, and play
- Development of voice and self-advocacy
- Self-awareness, as a learner and community member
- Collaborative, equitable, and inclusive learning environments that foster multiple perspectives and an anti-racist consciousness
- All culminating in the joyful process of learning
Our Opportunity, Our Mandate
Town is at a pivotal moment, enriched with the capacity, resources, self-knowledge, and vision necessary to make our excellent school even better. Our program and faculty are exemplary; our shared values are clear in word and action; our facilities are intentionally designed to support learning; our finances are well-managed and benefit from a healthy endowment; and recently-launched initiatives around professional development and service learning continue to distinguish us. Always being strategic, we are compelled to move forward, by our own commitment to continual reflection and refinement, along with external pressures, including a changing market for independent schools and financial realities for our families.
Town now is well-positioned to build on over a century of success in educating children to become scholars, citizens, and leaders. We have an imperative to empower students with the skills, knowledge, values, and confidence to shape their own future, and to adapt and contribute to an increasingly changing and challenging world. Leveraging the core strengths of our Nursery through Eighth grade, co-educational model, we will continue to design our program around the specific academic and social-emotional needs of children ages three to fourteen, as we move our program forward combining the best educational research and the deep expertise of our committed, accomplished faculty. We will continue to base our educational approach on Town’s mission and core educational values of curiosity, risk-taking, healthy struggle, independence, and collaboration to fulfill our most important goal: provide the challenge and personal support necessary to prepare our students to continue to thrive in a diverse range of excellent high schools, and to fully embrace their own agency as leaders in a rapidly changing world. This Plan is our map for charting this critically important path.
Our Strategic Framework
Teaching Excellence, Learning Excellence, Community Connections, Sustaining our School
Goal: Town faculty will consistently pursue and exemplify excellence across the Nursery through Eighth grade program.
To promote consistent and successful teaching practices, Town will:
- Ground all aspects of program design in the school’s Principles of Education so that our teaching and curriculum are clearly aligned within and across grade levels and our learning objectives are clearly understood and appreciated by existing and prospective families.
- Nurture innovation and forward-looking pedagogy in the classroom through continuous professional development, curricular review, and faculty evaluation.
- Broaden and deepen our efforts to diversify our faculty and to align expectations for excellence and continued learning around diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism.
- Reimagine our learning spaces, educational tools, and technology in service of our evolving teaching and curricular goals.
- Achieve the full potential of our World Languages program by examining which languages we offer and when they are most effectively introduced in the N-8 scope.
Goal: Town students will be engaged, independent, and joyful learners, who embrace challenge and collaboration, and who go on to excel in high school and beyond.
To enable our students to reach their full potential, in and beyond our classrooms, Town will:
- Establish and articulate the range of learners whom Town can serve.
- Evaluate student support and training structures, so that our faculty are best prepared to serve these varied learning styles with individualized attention and effectively respond to learning or enrichment needs.
- Embed and uphold Town’s mission and values across the program: Self, Others, and Surroundings; our Statement on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity; and our Sustainability focus.
- Amplify our commitment to cultivating multiple perspectives, equity of voice, and anti-racist consciousnesses and actions.
- Advance rich connections between educational technology and curriculum to enhance learning, while empowering students with skills and principles of productive, thoughtful use of tech tools and good digital citizenship.
- Sustain our focus on the whole child by deepening our commitment to health and wellness.
Goal: Town will expand and deepen mission-centered learning partnerships within the school, New York City, and the greater community.
To advance aspirational leadership, civic understanding, and ethical values, Town will:
- Extend the recently established Seventh and Eighth grade service learning program to create developmentally creative opportunities for our younger grades.
- Cultivate relationships with a diverse and inclusive range of local businesses and academic institutions to further students’ access to outside expertise and to use the city as an extension of the school’s classroom.
- Pursue the expansion of co-curricular offerings and service opportunities through community relationships.
- Evolve our sustainability studies and outreach, and deepen our collective understanding of and commitment to responsible stewardship of our planet.
Sustaining Our School
Goal: Town will design a plan for a more financially sustainable future while focusing on outreach, affordability, and accessibility for a diverse group of prospective families.
To foster the sustainability of and increase access to its N-8 co-educational program, Town will:
- Design ways to most effectively highlight how the school’s N-8, co-educational model, unique programs, and high school placement process result in our alumni/ae’s success in high school and beyond.
- Expand awareness of Town’s program and family support structures to engage and enroll more students from all parts of New York City.
- Prioritize the growth and strength of our endowment as a critical element of financial support.
- Commit necessary resources to provide salaries, benefits, and professional development opportunities that will attract and retain excellent employees.
- Establish additional sources of revenue to reduce the school’s dependency on tuition as a primary budget lever.
- Expand financial aid and explore other tuition models to make a Town education accessible to more students.
- Celebrate our culture of philanthropy and strengthen understanding and buy-in across all constituencies to inspire more consistent and extensive investment in Town.
Moving Forward, Together
This Long Range Plan defines and significantly deepens Town’s commitment to excellence, grounded in our mission and values, all in service of our students. We ask that you join us, envisioning our great school becoming even better with:
- A teaching philosophy all constituents understand, articulate, and experience every day: Town’s educational approach even more clearly defined, practiced, and communicated.
- Faculty as lifelong learners, continuing to hone their craft through a program of on-site and outside professional development throughout their career.
- A national reputation as a lab for teacher learning and exceptional professional development.
- Students who are fully served across the program, reaching their outstanding potential as learners and community members.
- A clearly-stated and consistently-lived commitment to equity, inclusion, and anti-racism, resulting in strengthened voices, wider perspectives, and empowerment across all constituencies.
- An expansive and creative reimagining of where, how, and when learning takes place, with a specific emphasis on civic engagement and city-wide partnerships.
- Strong enrollment reflecting the diverse make-up and locations of our city.
- A financially secure foundation to ensure our mission-centered goals come to life, and that current and future students may benefit from the power of a Nursery through Eighth grade, co-educational, student-centered, joyful education.
Long-Range Planning Steering Committee Members, 2019-2020
- Yuko Abe, Nursery 4 Co-Head Teacher
- Douglas Brophy, Head of School, Parent (2025), Committee Chair
- Jamie Brown, Parent (2022, 2024)
- Troy Clair, Alumnus (1995)
- Johnny Cook, Upper School Science Teacher
- Peter Evans, Trustee, Parent (2020, 2022)
- Rene Florville, Trustee, Parent (2024)
- Freda Gimpel, Chief Financial Officer
- Chelsea Koenig, Nursery-Kindergarten - Lower School Dance Teacher, Performing Arts Coordinator
- Emily Kreiner, First Grade Co-Head Teacher, Parent (2026, 2029)
- Zainab Miller, Parents' Association President (2019-20), Parent (2025)
- Grant Olds, Director of Technology
- Steven Rachmuth, Coordinator of After-School Programs, Alumnus (2006)
- Valerie Russo, Board Chair, Parent (2020, 2022)
- Janie Vance, Academic Dean, Parent (2022)
2019-20 Town Board of Trustees
- Douglas Brophy
- Frank Chan
- Jieun Choe
- Ava Collins
- Leon Dean
- Peter Evans, Treasurer
- Rene Florville
- Heather Greer
- Marni Gutkin
- Andrew Hofer
- Alison Hunter
- Javaid Khan
- Karyn Kornfeld, Vice Chair
- Dana Ladden
- Phineas Lambert
- Sally Klingenstein Martell
- Paula McGlarry, Secretary
- Lisa Morse
- Iloire Nye
- Jamieson Odell
- Jacqui Pelzer
- Valerie Russo, Chair
- Jeffrey Stafford
- Lizzie Tisch