9th - 12th Grade
In high school, we encourage students to build on the skills they learned in middle school and give them opportunities to independently connect concepts across content areas and apply those skills outside of school.
We give our students the freedom to delve more deeply into specific areas of interest and the guidance to challenge themselves. Learning is personalized and self-paced.
Our high school focus is to prepare students for living and learning independently, so that when they move on to college and/or the workforce, they do so with a clear sense of purpose.
One of the qualities that sets TSS apart from other schools is the focus on student-driven learning. Students are presented with opportunities that guide their learning on topics that align with their individual interests, and they are given options on ways to demonstrate mastery.
Our specifications for graduation look very different from those of a traditional high school:
Demonstrate Mastery in 21st-Century Skills (Mastered 80% of skills at the HS level). Transcript will show what skills have been mastered.
An advanced credit is earned when students demonstrate that they can apply a mastered skill outside the classroom independently in a real world situation. Students must submit evidence and that credit must be approved.
50 hours of documented community service with a capstone project OR 100 hours of documented community service.
Students must participate in a work-based learning experience such as a paid job, volunteer work, or externship. Work experience may be completed during the school year or over the summer. Students will be eligible for Externships (non-paid) in 11th and/or 12th grade.
Students must also complete a resume before graduation.
Throughout high school, students upload samples of their work, or artifacts, to create a portfolio. A portfolio must contain at least two artifacts from different disciplines that demonstrate mastery of a competency. Spring of their senior year, students present their portfolios to a panel of evaluators who are typically staff or members of the community.
High School students must successfully Complete an Academic Capstone Project. A capstone project is a way for students to demonstrate the culmination of skills and knowledge gained through their academic career by completing a long-term, multi-faceted project. Students should select a topic, project, or problem that resonates with them. The project includes conducting research, developing a portfolio and producing a final product, presentation, and defense.
In addition to TSS's Experience Classes, Math classes, and Electives, students are required to take the following classes:
Required College and Career readiness courses:
- Career Exploration
- Financial Literacy
- Senior Seminar
- Two years of a second language in HS. Language courses offered at TSS include ASL, French, Spanish, Coding, and Music. Students may also take a second language outside school but must provide evidence of their work and progress.
Movement & Mindfulness:
- Two years of Movement & Mindfulness in HS
Graduating from The Sycamore School includes demonstrating mastery of skills in six core competencies:
3. Executive Functioning Skills
4. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
5. Understanding Self & Others
6. Self-Directed Learning
Applied Learning/Capstone Projects
The Sycamore School follows a Mastery-based learning approach to education. One of the core tenets of Mastery-based learning is applying skills to real world problems. In order to demonstrate this skill, our students are asked to create and complete an academic capstone project. The capstone projects range in their focus, medium, and depth of learning. Students pick a topic that they are passionate about and create a project around that passion. It could be putting on a one-person show showcasing their art portfolio, identifying and creating a solution to a need in our community, or taking a deep dive into an independent study of interest. Read more about Capstone projects on our blog.
Life After High School
Every high school senior at The Sycamore School receives personalized support navigating the college application process. Seniors participate in a Senior Seminar where they receive one-on-one support and guidance with their Capstone Project, virtual college tours, and help to manage the college application process. Students also work with the counselor to identify and pursue externship opportunities.
The Sycamore School is a member of the Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC), a national organization of public and private high schools that provides an easy-to-use software platform that will allow students and schools to create and present evidence-based Mastery Transcripts. MTC continually engages in outreach to college admissions officers for feedback and education on the MTC Mastery Transcript. Colleges and Universities are actively reviewing and accepting students who apply using the MTC Mastery Transcript. Read more about The Sycamore School in our official MTC school profile.