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Elevating SJH: Frequently Asked Questions

Elevating St. Joseph's Hall

Children’s Day School is currently in a capital campaign to modernize St. Joseph’s Hall (333 Dolores), our lower school building, to make it accessible and welcoming for our entire community.

Why is "Elevating St. Joseph Hall" happening now?

CDS is fortunate to have such a generous space and inspiring campus for our lower school. But, as an older building built in 1925, St. Joseph’s Hall requires updating to make sure it is fully compliant with both current and future building regulations.

Specifically, the city of San Francisco requires a dedicated egress (means of exit) for occupants on the second floor, and an elevator and ramp are required to make the building and play area fully accessible for those with disabilities or impaired mobility. Given the extent of this work, CDS is taking the opportunity to make voluntary seismic improvements that will increase safety.

What improvements will we see?

A new, clearly identifiable reception area will be created, as well as a space for sick children and family meetings. There will be a new interior staircase, a six-floor elevator, and ramps to make St. Joseph’s Hall fully accessible. Having a proper front entrance with gate access will improve security and provide a more welcoming entrance.

When the construction is complete, St. Joseph’s Hall will be ADA-accessible and will feature a beautiful new lobby, much-needed office space for the Learning Specialist, and a small conference room for meetings and sick children. Additional voluntary seismic upgrades will ensure that the building is as safe as possible.

When will the work happen and how will this impact our summers?

We’re working closely with our partners Jensen Architects and Plant Construction on a phased approach to minimize disruption to the school schedule and activities. Foundation work was completed in summer 2017; the elevator and lobby work is planned for summer 2018. The school will be on summer break from May 25 through September 10, 2018.

The 2018-2019 school year will start later in September 2018 and extend later into June 2019 than the previous year to offset the longer summer break. Family conferences will take place on Monday, September 10, 2018. The first day of school will be Tuesday, September 11. The school year will end on Friday, June 14, 2019. The number of instructional days will increase next year; CDS will have 168 student days in the 2018-2019 school year. We project a shorter 2019 summer although dates have not yet been finalized.

The school deeply appreciates parents’ flexibility with the extended 2018 summer to allow for these upgrades to St. Joseph’s Hall. When the 2018 summer construction is complete, current and future Children’s Day School students, teachers, and families will benefit from this project. St. Joseph’s Hall will be ADA-accessible with a new elevator and ramps, and will feature a welcoming school entrance with enhanced security, a student-centered lobby, improvements to the hallways and exiting, and seismic improvements for future sustainability.

What will happen to summer camp?

Summer camp will still be offered. For students in first through fourth grades, we will hold summer camp just a few blocks away at Millennium School, located at 245 Valencia Street, across the street from San Francisco Friends School. The site has five classrooms, a library, an innovation lab, and a full-size gymnasium with an attached rec room. CDS will offer summer camps there from June 18 to August 17.

CDS has identified three outside vendors to partner with during the week of August 20-24. Camp Edmo will be running a week of camp in the Presidio. Wheel Kids is offering their Adventure Riding Camp for independent riders entering grades 1-8. And our friends at Tree Frog Treks will help our campers build leadership and critical thinking skills through adventuring in nature with peers and instructors.

We also have added two additional weeks of preschool camp, which was originally scheduled to end on August 10 but will now conclude on August 24.

What is CDS’ campus master plan?

"Elevating St. Joseph’s Hall" is part of the school’s existing campus master plan, which maps out facility improvements for the next 10-15 years. The permit for our temporary preschool bungalows will expire in 2024, and CDS has plans to replace them with a permanent building for our youngest students. There are also long-term plans under consideration to potentially build a gymnasium and reimagine the outdoor space at 333 Dolores Street to maximize environmental learning and opportunities for play. Future work in subsequent summers also will need to be done to St. Joseph’s Hall, including replacing the clay-tiled roof and adding additional seismic strengthening to the east end of the building.

What classrooms will be impacted by construction?

The First Grade Owl classroom, which will become the new reception / front desk area, will move into the TK classroom in St. Joseph’s Hall. The TK program will move to the library space on the first floor of the 16th Street building until it moves to the future Early Childhood building (to be constructed by 2024). For the 2018-2019 school year, CDS will resurrect the mobile library program that it successfully utilized from 2010 to 2012, when 601 was under construction and classroom space was short.  By means of the mobile library, CDS’ librarian, Elsa Townsend, will bring a rolling cart of grade-appropriate books to each class in the lower school classrooms and read to students regularly. Additionally, many of the lower school library books will be added to classroom libraries so that they are consistently available to the children. Notably, library time for lower school students will not be reduced with the mobile library program. The administration is working on a plan to determine the best home for the library for the 2019-2020 school year and beyond. Assistant Lower School Director Lindsay Hershenhorn will be leading a task force with teachers to envision what an ideal space and program would look like for the school library, and they will be visiting other school libraries in the area as part of this process.

Several classrooms at each floor on the west end of the building will be reconfigured by the elevator construction, seismic shear wall additions, and electrical upgrades.


What work has been done to St. Joseph’s Hall, and how will the building perform in the event of an earthquake?

CDS works with Tipping Structural Engineers, a reputable structural engineering firm, to strengthen the Lower School building each time the school does work in it. During the summers of 2010 and 2017, CDS enhanced the seismic strength of St. Joseph’s Hall with foundation work, thereby improving the performance level of the building in the event of an earthquake. The current building will be stable during a code-level earthquake, and occupants should be able to safely exit the structure. However, there could be some damage to the building.

With "Elevating St. Joseph’s Hall," CDS is voluntarily electing to improve the seismic safety of its Lower School campus and seeking to meet a higher level of seismic performance. Shear walls will be added to the west wing of St. Joseph’s Hall in summer 2018. With future phases of work, CDS will seek to increase the seismic safety of the building and thus limit damage to it during a seismic event.

How much money must be raised to complete the project?

The estimated cost of renovating St. Joseph's Hall is $4.5 million. The project will be funded with cash raised during the "Elevating St. Joseph's Hall" capital campaign (projected to be $2 million); the remainder will be funded via building reserves and financing. To date, $1.92 million has been raised from 111 CDS families, trustees, alumni parents, grandparents, and friends (see elevator image). CDS will need to raise an additional $80,000 from philanthropic sources to begin the seismic and accessibility upgrades in summer 2018.

To help complete the campaign by May, we invite CDS parents, alumni, alumni parents, friends, foundations, and corporations to support the "Elevating St. Joseph's Hall" project. We ask families to consider giving in a meaningful way depending on their own financial situation. Based on National Association of Independent Schools data, we expect that 90 percent of gifts will come from trustees, parents, and grandparents.

What role does philanthropy play at CDS?

CDS, like most non-profit schools, relies on philanthropic donations to fund classroom programs, support sliding scale tuition, and enable campus upgrades. Our commitment to socioeconomic diversity means that tuition does not entirely fund the full cost of educating a child, and fundraising is essential to keep CDS and its programs and community strong. CDS relies on individuals within the school’s community—current parents, alumni families, grandparents, friends, faculty, and staff—to support the Annual Fund, sliding scale spring benefit auction, and capital expenses.

Why should I give to the capital campaign, and how will my gift make a difference?

At the heart of this campus is St. Joseph’s Hall, home to our lower school classrooms, environmental kitchen, and art room. CDS aspires to be inclusive of all, and it is important that the school can be easily accessed by people with disabilities, by grandparents, and by those with injuries. This project will transform our much-loved building constructed in 1925 into a 21st century facility for current and future CDS students. The addition of an elevator, ramps, and other ADA-required accommodations to St. Joseph’s Hall, as well as voluntary seismic upgrades, will ensure that the building is as safe as possible.

Gifts of all sizes will make an impact. Our success depends on the generosity, participation, and commitment of our entire community, and we hope that every family will stretch to make this vision a reality. No one family can do this alone, but together we will reach our goal. All of us have benefited from the generosity of the families who funded the purchase and renovation of St. Joseph’s Hall and 601 Dolores. We now have an opportunity to shape the future of CDS as CDS shapes the future of our children.

To learn how you can join the effort, please contact Jeanna Yoo, Director of Advancement, at 415-861-5432 x323 or email, or co-chairs Michelle Schoen (Mia ’21 & Kira ’23) at and Tina Syer (Nathan ’22 and Zach ’25) at

What is the difference between the Annual Fund and "Elevating St. Joseph’s Hall"?

While the Annual Fund occurs on a yearly basis and supports operating needs of CDS for the current school year – teacher salaries, programs, and supplies – a capital campaign such as "Elevating St. Joseph’s Hall" provides a one-time dramatic improvement to our campus.

Each year, the Annual Fund bridges the gap between tuition and the actual cost of educating our students, which is $2,500 per student. The Annual Fund funds a portion of operating expenses with tax-deductible dollars, allowing each family to participate according to its individual capacity, and it keeps tuition levels competitive with other schools and achievable.

During a capital campaign, annual giving is vitally important to the life of the school, and we encourage parents to continue to support the Annual Fund as they have done in the past, enabling CDS to maintain its excellent programs and services.

How do I make a gift to "Elevating St. Joseph’s Hall"?

Campaign gifts can be payable as pledges over multiple years (up to 3 years). Over $1.9 million has been raised thus far, representing gifts of all sizes. The one thing they all shared in common was that they represented a stretch gift for each family. As with the Annual Fund, your family participation is key. Here are the different ways in which you can give:

Cash/Credit Card/Check
Use your credit card to make a gift any time on our secure website at the "How to Give" page under the “Support” tab. We also accept cash, personal checks, cashier’s checks, or money orders made payable to Children’s Day School.

Children’s Day School welcomes your gift through a pledge — a formal statement of your intention to make a gift to our school. With a pledge, you may complete your gift by making regular payments over time, allowing you to give more generously than you originally may have considered. What is more, each payment on your pledge is eligible for an income-tax charitable deduction. You can also make a pledge at any time on our secure website at the "How to Give" page under the “Support” tab.

Matching Gift
An easy way to make the most of your gift by doubling or even tripling your donation is to find out if your company has a matching-gift program. Such programs typically match all or a percentage of employee contributions to charitable organizations, making your employer a partner in your personal philanthropy. Many employers in the Bay Area will match their employees' gifts to non-profit schools like CDS. Please contact your HR department for eligibility requirements and a matching gift form. Here are some companies that have made matching gifts:

  • Apple
  • BlackRock
  • Clif Bar
  • Dell
  • Gap
  • Genentech
  • Google
  • Levi Strauss & Co.
  • PG&E
  • SalesForce
  • Visa
  • Wells Fargo
  • Yahoo
  • Zynga

Donor Advised Funds
A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a type of giving program that allows you to combine the most favorable tax benefits with the flexibility to easily support Children’s Day School. An increasingly popular charitable vehicle, DAFs are an excellent way to both simplify your charitable giving and facilitate your strategic philanthropic goals. If you already benefit from donor-advised funds, please make checks payable to Children’s Day School.

If you have held your securities for more than one year, you may find that your gift will provide a twofold tax benefit, creating an income-tax deduction as well as helping avoid the capital-gains tax that would have been due on their sale. To learn more about the benefits of making a stock gift, please click here!

Wire Transfers
Contact information for ACH and domestic wire transfers of funds into the Children’s Day School money market account with US Bank is below. For international wire transfers, please contact Jeanna Yoo at