At San Francisco Day School, we recognize our students grow and mature at different rates, and their brains are no different. To ensure the success of all students, we help each one discover their unique strengths and challenges and create their own academic, social, and emotional identity. Because they discover who they are and how they best learn, they spend their SF Day years seizing every opportunity they can. This keen self-knowledge also leads them to choose a high school where they will thrive and a college, career, and life that is suited to their individual strengths and passions. Our teachers respect and nurture the individual needs of each student, utilizing a number of valuable resources to ensure our children learn in an educational environment that supports all learners.
- Student Advisories
- Buddy Program
- Homework Cafe
- High School Counseling
- Student Counseling
- Learning Specialists
“Bonding” is a word frequently used by students to describe the advisory experience at SF Day, which indicates the climate of respect, trust, and support which the advisory setting provides. Students meet in advisories four times a week, for twenty minutes each day. In sixth through eighth grade, groups of seven to twelve students meet with an advisor, who is a member of the teaching team for that grade. Advisory is a safe time and place for students to formulate academic and personal goals, discuss issues, and form relationships with their peers. Through these interactions, the advisor is able to form an overall picture of each advisee’s academic strengths and weaknesses, extracurricular activities, hobbies, and personal qualities. By virtue of having these insights and daily interactions, the advisor acts as a liaison between the student, the rest of the school, and the family.
The Buddy Program links students in different grade levels and provides each student with a younger or older "buddy." Buddy classes meet throughout the year during the weekly afternoon assembly period. On any given buddy day, you may see a kindergartner working with an eighth grader on an art project or reading a book together. Other buddy day activities include math games, team building games, service projects, and banners for graduation. The buddy system is one way to strengthen ties across grade levels to build a stronger school community and a lasting connection for our children. Our students often remember their buddy fondly, whether younger or older. In fifth grade, students write a letter to their former kindergarten-eighth grade buddies to wish them luck in their first year of college.
Grade 4: Tuesday and Wednesday, 3:15-5:00 p.m.
Grades 5-7: Tuesday-Thursday, 3:45-5:00 p.m.
Homework Cafe provides designated academic support to students recommended by a grade-level teaching team in grades 4-7. Students have a quiet space to work, a healthy snack, and an adult dedicated to supporting them with their studies during after-school hours.
San Francisco Day School offers a comprehensive high school counseling program beginning in the springtime before eighth grade. Betsy Brody, our Director of High School Counseling, hosts group and individual meetings to open an ongoing dialogue, share interests and future goals, and prepare for the high school admissions process.
During eighth grade, students attend a high school counseling class to review the various steps involved in the application process, talk about visit expectations, and share experiences and reflections.
Each year, we encourage our students to take ownership of the high school admissions process as a journey of self-discovery. Learning to understand themselves is vital not only to a successful high school search but also as part of an important transition into young adulthood.
Intent on nurturing and supporting the emotional health of each child, San Francisco Day School employs counselors to support our students and families. Our counselors are experienced in working with children grades K-8, and they understand the breadth of developmental, cognitive, social-emotional, and behavioral needs. A collaborative approach involving students, teachers, and families is the cornerstone of the counselors’ work. The counselors attend grade-level coffees to share information on social and emotional development and have offered parent education events around topics such as substance use, transition to high school, and friendship issues. The counselors are qualified and experienced in addressing issues around crisis intervention, protective services, and critical medical and family situations.
Our learning specialists partner with classroom teachers to support curriculum that optimizes learning for all students at SF Day. Our specialists also provide expertise and guidance to help teachers develop effective strategies, and act as liaisons between the school, tutors or outside specialists, and parents/guardians, as needed.
Testing and Evaluations
Informal and formal assessment are administered by classroom teachers and, when appropriate, by learning specialists. Standardized tests provide information on individual student achievement and help us to discover overall trends and patterns that we can use in evaluating the effectiveness of our curriculum. Screenings provide individual benchmarks for children’s growth and progress.
The following screenings and tests are administered yearly:
- Kindergarten screening measures readiness for beginning reading, writing, and spelling instruction.
- Kindergarten speech and language screening is an assessment conducted by a consultant to the school for all kindergartners (and new first and second graders) in the areas of speech and expressive and receptive language.
- First grade screening measures progress in beginning reading and written language skills.
- Educational Records Bureau Standardized Tests (ERBs) are mandated for all third through eighth graders by the California Association of Independent Schools. Results provide helpful information to the School and to parents concerning student progress—individually, as a class, and in comparison with students in other public and independent schools across the country.
- SSAT, the Secondary School Admission Test, taken in the spring of seventh grade and again in the fall of eighth grade, is part of the high school admissions process.