Behind the Scenes of Starting A New School
T- 292 days until the first day of classes!
Whew, it’s been a whirlwind week at The Sycamore School! For this Founder/Head of School, I am thankful for coffee, supportive community members and good old fashioned adrenaline to keep me going during this start-up phase for our school.
- I observed an elementary school class at Full Circle Montessori. It was delightful to see students actively engaged in their learning. The room was filled with activity; students walked from one table to another with purpose; some students were chatting while working in a group while others were quietly working on their own. It was amazing to see every student absorbed in learning – focused, active and happy. When I think of a Sycamore School classroom, that’s what I think of – some students working independently and others in pairs or larger groups. Every student is engrossed and taking ownership of their learning.
- I had a working lunch with our newest hire, Lauren, who is an arts integration specialist. She will be my “right hand woman”, helping me with administrative duties, teaching arts electives and planning many of our field studies activities.
- I chatted on the phone with an interested parent. She was most interested in knowing how we engage students who currently don’t like school. (More to come on that in a future blog post, promise.)
- I had coffee with a clinical psychologist who is starting up her practice in Falls Church City and interested in learning more about TSS.
- I met with John from Eco Caters to discuss having them provide catered lunches for TSS. They create fresh meals using ingredients from local organic farms. Eco Caters prepares food for the Capitals, Wizards and other local professional sports teams and have a café in the Kettler Ice Center in Ballston. John also brought up many wonderful ideas around collaboration, including having students visit one of their rooftop gardens to learn about sustainable food, holding cooking classes to teach students how to make tasty nutritious meals and possible internship opportunities for our high school students.
- I was a guest at the Inter-Service Club Council of Arlington luncheon, where I met members of several service clubs including the Arlington Rotary Club, the Lions and Kiwanis Clubs.
- I held a parent info session where I shared a formal presentation on our school and conversed with parents about how to know if The Sycamore School is a good fit for their student.
- I continued planning for our upcoming fundraising event Party with a Purpose, coming up Saturday December 10th. All proceeds from this event will go to need-based student scholarships and financial aid. You can donate to our student scholarship fund anytime, of course!
- I visited Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, VA, a K-8 private school. While they differ from TSS in having a religious focus, they also have several common attributes, such as an individual approach to learning and a nurturing atmosphere that cultivates critical thinking and creativity. I really enjoy visiting other schools and learning from them. It’s also great to meet welcoming heads of school and share information with like minded educators.
- I met with another prospective parent who was very excited to learn more about TSS. It’s so gratifying to meet parents who share and appreciate our vision of education. She spoke about how TSS embodies the type of values she’s looking for in a school with an equal emphasis on academics, social-emotional development and civic engagement. At one point, she commented that the school sounded like a great fit for any student. In my bias opinion, I agree 🙂
This has been a typical week – meeting with prospective parents, visiting other local schools, pursuing fundraising opportunities and planning for our inaugural year. Busy, but worth every minute! Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes adventures as we work towards a great inaugural class in Fall 2017.