MTS Book Fair & Parenting Book Recommendations

The MTS Book Fair has kicked off! The School Library is currently set up as a bookstore today, Tuesday, November 14 until 5:00 pm and tomorrow, Wednesday, November 15 from 12:00-5:00pm.

Book Passage has supplied us with many wonderful reads. We have something for everyone in the family! You may pay by cash, check or charge. 15% of the proceeds come back to the school. The students' wish lists are available in the library. If you can't stop by, you may shop at your local Book Passage and mention MTS through this week. It's a great time to start your holiday shopping. 

Parenting books recommended by the Head of School, Andrew Davis: 

- Susan Cain: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

- Michael Thompson: Raising Cain and Best Friend/Worst Enemies

- Lythcott-Haims: How to Raise an Adult

- Chip Wood: Yardsticks

- Ana Homayoun: That Crumpled Paper was Due Last Week and Social Media Wellness

- Leonard Sax: Boys Adrift and Girls on the Edge

- Carl Pickhardt: Why Good Kids Act Cruel


Happy Reading! 


Big Hit – Fall Concert

Our recent Fall Concert highlighted works from the first trimester enrichment classes.  Those in attendance were treated to an outstanding show that included dance and vocal performances as well as a slideshow of visual art works. 

The evening ended with an original production titled "Unplug and Connect."  The scene study elective chose popular songs that spoke to the students.  Using the lyrics as texts, the class ordered the works to create a moving piece of dramatic interpretation.

Watch a few clips from the evening in this video.

Heads of School For the Day

Friday, three students – Drake, Natalie, and Nicole – took over as Head of School for the day.  After they greeted all of the homerooms they took over running the school.

Natalie and Nicole inspected our STEM lab, making sure that our 3D was working.  With Trisha's help, they walked away with key chains they had printed.



One of Drake's tasks as Head for the Day was to take photos that communicate the advantages of going to school at MTS.  Here is what shot.

MTS Grade 5 Boys Soccer Team Championship Winners!

MTS Grade 5 Boys Soccer Team recently won all three of their games in the Mill Valley Soccer Rec League Jamboree Playoffs to qualify to be in the championship game of their draw against a Tiburon team this past Saturday, November 4. 

The MTS Team won 3-1 to be overall winner of their draw for a second year in a row. Great overall teamwork was the key strength of the team. 

Jen Bennet of MTS volunteered again this year as Head Coach for the team, and she has been doing a great job leading the team and helping all of the players improve over the season, play well together, and integrate the few non MTS players well on the team. Matt Estes was Assistant Coach and provided soccer knowledge, strategy, and motivation. It was their second year coaching together.  

Congratulations, Team!

Help Where You Can

Refuge at MTS for Fire Evacuees

We've all been impacted by the fires in Sonoma County, and our hearts go out to those who have been especially effected by the tragedy. MTS is thankful to have Taro and Momo, who safely evacuated Santa Rosa, here with us and attending school until they can go back to their home. While their house didn't burn down, they are without power and lost their neighborhood public school.

A Conversation About Social Media Wellness

The second talk presented by the MTS Parent Education Speaker Series "Bringing It Home" in the 2017-18 school year will be Ana Homayoun, A Conversation About Social Media Wellness: How to Help Children and Adults Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World.

When: Thursday, October 19
Time: 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Location: Summit Hall on campus
LinkTo RSVP and learn more about Ana Homayoun  

This talk is open to MTS parents and the greater community. 

Grandparents and Special Friends Tea - Building With Kindness

Andrew Davis's welcome speech at the Grandparent and Special Friends Tea discusses the importance of Building With Kindness. 

Welcome grandparents and special friends. Thank you for joining us on this beautiful Friday for this wonderful celebration. My name is Andrew Davis, and I am proud to be the Head of School here at Mount Tamalpais School.

We love grandparents and special friends. Throughout their lives I LOVED my grandparents. Why?

Last year I told you that my boys, Harrison and Huck, would say they love their grandparents because of...presents! Harrison has moved on from "wee-ows" (fire trucks) to art sets, and Huck is now a big fan of "Ex-A-Waiters" (excavators and construction equipment in general).  

Regardless, they always want to see what the grandparents might have brought them. Indeed, I too loved the toys my grandparents gave me.


Yes, that is me, your Head of School, your knight in shining armor, your bear slayer, proudly wearing a grandparent present.  I would posit, though, that we love our grandparents and special friends for more than just presents.

This year’s theme here at Mount Tamalpais School is “Build with Kindness.” There is a strong connection between grandparents and special friends and building with kindness.  We love these people because they build us up with kindness. They are not just kind, but they are kind in the most important ways, the small ways.

Enough of me in my long underwear.


This is my mother’s father, Robert Brooke Pietsch, Poppy to me. Yes, that is me. Yes, I peaked in cuteness at two years old. And yes, that is a bottle of RAID ant spray next to the corn we were going to eat and the cocktail Poppy was drinking. Things were different back then.

What my family may remember is the big kind thing Poppy did, introduce our family to coastal Maine, the place my parents now call home, and where I spent many magical childhood summers.

What I remember the most about Poppy, though, was a small act of kindness.


I grew up playing goalie for ice hockey teams in Northern Virginia. One summer I went to sleep-away hockey camp at Exeter, a boarding school in New Hampshire. I became uncharacteristically homesick. Poppy heard from my parents and chose to come down to Exeter to see me and take me out to dinner.


Poppy comforted me. He took my mind off of home and got me ready to go back to hockey camp.

While I never knew my mother’s mom, Poppy’s wife, I did have a wonderful relationship with my dad’s mom, Harriet Davis, Grammy.


Grammy embodied kindness. This is particularly impressive as she had raised four boys. If anything might take all the kindness out of you, that might do it.

While she did big kind things for me, such as helping to pay for my education, I remember so many of the the small acts of kindness. When I was 8, I was shipped off to spend a week with my Grammy and Grampy while my parents moved houses.

Grammy was a lover of all things sweet.


During that week Grammy taught me how to make her trademark dessert, a homemade peanut butter cup. While I don’t recall the exact recipe, I know it involved lots of sugar, peanut butter, and chocolate, even more butter. I also recall how kind it was to spend a week entertaining me.

Finally, Grampy, my father’s father.


The big kind thing was that he taught me to ski. We skied together on this first trip and every spring until he was no longer able to ski. Very kind, indeed.

Again, though, I am so grateful for the small kind things he did for me.

I loved playing baseball.


I was not good at baseball.


See. Not good at baseball


Bad, in fact.


Really bad. Remember, these are the photos that my parents actually chose to keep. Really bad!

Despite my lack of skill, I loved baseball. When no one else wanted to go to Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of fame with me, Grampy took me.

It was a long day of driving together from their home outside of Syracuse. I am guessing that he was bored out of his mind as I talked and talked the entire drive about baseball and baseball cards. I am certain, though, that he was being kind.

Remembering my grandparents, I see that the small acts of kindness really add up. They built me up with kindness. I miss them and thank them for that.

Scrolling through old family albums to pull this together, I saw that it is not just grandparents and special friends who build us with small acts of kindness.


My parents did the same thing. Yes, that is my dad, not me. Yes, further evidence that the apple does not fall far from the tree.


My dad, an incredibly hard-working lawyer, would get me out of bed at 4:30 on Saturday morning to have me at Tucker Road Ice Rink for a 5:20 ice slot. While it sounds cruel to wake a child at 4:30, it was an act of kindness. It was so kind of him to sacrifice his sleep so I could learn to play hockey.

In case you were wondering, I was way better at hockey than baseball. Not great.  But way better.

My mom did a very small, slightly dishonest, but important act of kindness for me. As I headed off to summer camp, she filled out the paperwork saying that I was allergic to tuna fish, so that I would have something else to eat on Tuna Tuesdays--tuna (mayo, really) remains a lifelong aversion.

Andrew, age 8 at summer camp. 

Andrew, age 8 at summer camp. 

Just as I was wrapping this up, having selected all the photos I needed to prove that grandparents and special friends are so special because they build with kindness, I found this.


That is me, the bible-holding monk at the 6th grade medieval festival. No, Nancy Tracy was not my teacher – Mrs. Magner was – but we too got dressed up for class.

I was new to my school in 5th grade.  While I briefly started “cool,” everyone soon discovered that I was a nerd. A big nerd. Can’t you tell? Bible-holding monk?!

The knight with the sword (way cooler, right?!) is Mike Shaheen. He chose to be kind to me. It was his small acts that built me up. He invited me to his birthday. He picked me to be on his flag football team. Not a first or second round pick (remember the baseball photos?), but never last.

Mike Shaheen built with kindness.

Mike Shaheen reminds us all that we do not have to wait until we are parents or grandparents to Build With Kindness. You can build with kindness in 6th grade, like Mike did.  You can build with kindness in 1st grade. You can build with kindness today.

Alas, today is not Mike Shaheen Tea. No, we are gathered here today to celebrate our grandparents and special friends.  While doing this, I would like to make sure that we all thank our grandparents and special friends.  That we thank these people for building with kindness.

Thank you.

Bringing It Home: Best Friends/Worst Enemies

MTS Parent Education Speaker Series "Bringing It Home" in the 2017-18 school year kicks off with a talk by Michael Thompson, Best Friends/Worst Enemies: Friendship Development, Popularity, and Social Cruelty in Childhood.

When: Tuesday, September 26
Time: 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Location: Summit Hall on campus
Link: To RSVP and learn more about Michael Thompson.  

This talk is open to MTS parents and the greater community. 

First Day of School!

We are very excited to have the students back at school. There is so much energy on campus, and the students are already diving into projects. This year, while we continue to focus on developing knowledge and goodness, we will have an added emphasis of building a culture of kindness. The entire school will assemble with faculty and staff later today to join together and look forward to our common goals in the 2017-18 school year. Welcome back everyone!

The Faculty Are Back

While our students are enjoying the waning days of summer, the MTS faculty and staff are back at school.  Here are a few highlights of our work this week:

  • Training in Toolbox, one of the social emotional learning programs that we are doing K-3.

  • Teacher check-ins with our lower school literacy coach guiding us as we implement the Readers and Writers Workshop programs.

  • Responsive Classroom and Advisory faculty planning times.

  • CPR training.

  • A team-building scavenger hunt around Tiburon.

  • A failed viewing of the eclipse.

While we are enjoying the time to prepare our classrooms and programs, we are all eager to welcome students and families back to school next year!