The Sycamore School Offers Mastery-Based Learning, Personalized Education, and Self-Discovery
To provide a dynamic, nurturing and personalized education that inspires a passion for learning, self-discovery and connection to the community.
To cultivate engaged, independent lifelong learners who can think critically and apply their knowledge to real-world experiences to achieve personal success and contribute positively to their community.
Mastery-based learning is the practice of spending as little or much time as needed to demonstrate proficiency in a particular skill or knowledge area. This translates to self-paced learning; students move forward based on their ability to demonstrate they know something, not on a predetermined amount of time allocated to the particular subject matter. Traditional school settings are structured around rigid time allocations and fixed student groups based primarily by age. Current best practices for secondary education suggest that these traditional models are not effective in teaching students of varying abilities and skills, because a teacher is forced to primarily teach to the middle ground with little ability to accelerate or slow the pace for individual students.
The Sycamore School incorporates best practices by offering:
- A small and safe learning community
- Differentiated instruction - we identify students’ individual learning strengths, needs, and interests and adapt lessons to match them
- Experiential “hands on” learning activities paired with reflection exercises
- A combination of individualized, paired and group learning opportunities
- Integrated curriculum - connecting concepts across content areas and to the real world
- Developmentally appropriate learning activities
- Positive adult & student relationships that are cultivated through student-teacher collaboration
- A focus on positive social & emotional development
- A true partnership with parents to keep them informed of student progress
- Respect - The Sycamore School is committed to promoting tolerance, kindness and acceptance of diverse beliefs, backgrounds and lifestyles; we emphasize empathy in our community to cultivate kindness, generosity and a forgiving spirit.
- Diversity - Having a diverse educational community enriches experiences for all our learners. We embrace a variety of learners with varied strengths and struggles; we support ethnic, religious, cultural, political, economic and sexual diversity and we are a community that celebrates our differences.
- Flexibility – We encourage our staff and students to engage in creative problem solving and to keep an open mind, welcoming new opportunities and ways of learning.
- Creativity – We emphasize using your imagination to generate original ideas and think outside the box.
- Resiliency – We encourage our students to take risks, push through obstacles and not be afraid to make mistakes.
- Intellectual curiosity- We want our students engaged in the learning process, so we encourage asking questions, having a voice and active investigation in learning.
- Personal Responsibility – Students need to be invested in their learning, initiate engagement in the learning process and own their behavior, decisions and actions.
- Mindfulness – We cultivate self-awareness so that students can be more present in their learning.
- Connection with the community - We think it’s important that students learn how to positively interact with others and develop an increased awareness and involvement in their local, state, national and global community; by helping others, we learn more about ourselves. Giving students opportunities to help others empowers them to be of service.
- Safe and Nurturing Environment - Students need to feel safe in order to take academic and social risks; they need to be supported in recognizing their strengths in order to achieve their potential.