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Exploring Executive Functioning Skills & Parent Tips

Executive functioning skills are all the skills needed to engage in goal-directed behavior, such as planning a vacation or organizing a birthday party. We use them every day, throughout the...
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Parent Blog: How Being Able to Trust The Sycamore School Is The Best Thing

This blog is a part of a series where parents of The Sycamore School’s students share their experiences on what it’s like to be a part of the TSS community...
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Parent Blog: How TSS Changed My Life (and My Daughter’s)

This blog is a part of a series where parents of The Sycamore School’s students share their experiences on what it’s like to be a part of the TSS community...
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Parent Blog: How The Sycamore School Helped to Transform My Daughter

This blog is a part of a series where parents of The Sycamore School’s students share their experiences on what it’s like to be a part of the TSS community...
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A Love Letter to Teachers

Teachers and healthcare workers are the unsung heroes of this pandemic. We keep dumping more and more on them and then expect them to keep going, undaunted. Perhaps it’s time...
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Parent Blog: How The Sycamore School is Helping us Navigate the Middle School Years

This blog is a part of a series where parents of The Sycamore School’s students share their experiences on what it’s like to be a part of the TSS community...
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Pandemic Learning Loss

Educators across the country are noticing that students have lost many of the skills they acquired before the pandemic. In some cases, our younger students never developed the skills we...
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5 Signs Your Kid’s School Isn’t A Good Fit: Pandemic Edition

*This is an updated version of 5 Signs Your Kid’s School Isn’t A Good Fit, originally published in August 2018. As we continue to navigate education in the wake of...
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Communities in Crisis: The Pandemic, School Refusal, and Mental Health Struggles – What We’re Not Talking About

We are in a mental health crisis.  The pandemic is once again disrupting our daily lives, and we have a significant number of children, tweens, and teens who are not...
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What Do We Want Our Children to Get Out of School?

What do parents want their children to learn in school?  To learn specific academic content? To be an independent learner? To be compliant (e.g., follow directions and rules)? To successfully navigate peer and...
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TSS Teacher Credentialing and Skills

The Sycamore School (TSS) has a unique approach to learning. We utilize a mastery-based approach to meet students where they are, address any gaps in skills, and move them forward...
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High School Psych Experience

At The Sycamore School, each cohort has a different experience class. This transdisciplinary class weaves together language arts, science, history, and math under a common theme. This year, our high...
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Return to In-Person Learning: How You Can Help Your Child

This fall, parents around the country took a deep breath and cautiously, worriedly, and maybe even gleefully sent their children back to school for a return to in-person learning. As...
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Why Your Student Needs a Progressive No Grades High School

What if a high school has no grades? No Advanced Placement (AP) classes. No International Baccalaureate (IB) program. To most parents in Northern Virginia, this is profoundly unsettling information. They...
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TSS Earns Cognia Accreditation

“Is your school accredited?” Since opening The Sycamore School, that has been one of the most common questions. Answering that seemingly simple question was not easy and required some explanation....
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Summer Break Update

Summer: a time for barbecues, swimming pools, and some much-needed R&R. The weather outside may be slowing everyone down, but here at The Sycamore School (TSS), we’ve hit the ground...
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Let’s Take A Walk Experience

How do I fit into my community? How does my community affect my identity? What about my environment shapes my point of view? These are the questions we pondered this...
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Tips to Avoid Summer Brain Drain

I recently was asked to give a talk for the FAA on School’s Out: Tips on How to Avoid Summer Brain Drain. Parents wanted to know how they should be...
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The New Normal

Are you excited about the prospect of a more relaxed and carefree summer? Or does the thought of parenting and navigating this new world fill you with anxiety? Maybe it’s...
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A Unique Approach to Math

At The Sycamore School, we take a different approach to math instruction.  As an independent private school, we are unencumbered by arbitrary year-end standardized tests. Students are free to follow...
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Why Grading Erodes our Students’ Love of Learning

Our education system is getting derailed, and as parents, we are unwittingly becoming part of the problem. Somehow, we have lost what education and school are all about: learning.  We...
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Ecosystems Experience

Ecosystems Experience Blog - by Jon McKenney  At The Sycamore School, instead of separate core classes, students engage in transdisciplinary experiences each semester that weave together content from english, science,...
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Remote Learning Part II

Over the summer, we created a comprehensive COVID reopening plan which offered our students the choice of full time in-person or remote instruction. The vast majority of our students chose...
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A Beginner’s Mind

At The Sycamore School, we regularly participate in professional development training. They cover a wide range of topics over the course of a year from familiarizing staff with our on-line...
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First Week of In-Person and Remote Learning

Back to School 2020 has necessitated months of creativity and planning.  The hard work paid off when our in-person learners walked through the door Monday for their first day of...
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Opening Day In-Person Countdown!

It’s one week before we open our doors (literally) for the new school year at The Sycamore School!  It’s been a wild ride since we had to switch to a...
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Capstone Project

The Sycamore School was founded on the fundamental belief that learning can be engaging, enjoyable and personal.  We encourage students to be active participants in their education through our student-driven...
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COVID-19 Update

TSS plans to resume in-person learning 5 days a week this fall. As part of our return to school plan, no visitors (to include parents) will be allowed into the...
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Fall School Planning

Public schools in our area are asking parents to make a choice for fall: keep your child/ren home for 100% virtual, or choose a hybrid model where they are in...
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Remote Learning – Tips and Lessons Learned

Shifting to distance learning has been an adjustment for students, staff, and parents. At The Sycamore School, we offer individualized instruction, so our unique challenge was determining how to offer...
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First Week of Remote Learning at TSS

The week of March 9th felt like a month.  At the beginning of the week, the coronavirus still seemed at arms length. By Wednesday evening it became clear to me that...
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Virtual Schooling Resources: Movement and Mindfulness for Kids

Tips and Resources to Keep Kids and Families Active and Calm During the Coronavirus Outbreak (and always!) Are your kids going crazy in the house? At the Sycamore School, our...
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Coronavirus Response and Updates

The Sycamore School Announces Changes In Response To Coronavirus After much deliberation, we have decided to move to distance learning and instructional support starting Monday, March 16th.  The TSS facility will...
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Are Gifted and Talented Programs Dumbing Down Our Students?

More and more frequently, parents of young students are pushing for their child to be identified as “gifted and talented”.  Parents might think they are benefitting their children by advocating...
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Does Nagging Work for You?

At some point, every parent has nagged their child. It is just in our nature as parents.  We nag because we are frustrated and don’t know what else to do....
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Uncovering and Addressing Executive Functioning Struggles In Students

Late, Lost or Missing Homework? Uncovering and Addressing Executive Functioning Struggles In Students Another week and another missing assignment in the grade book for your student.  It seems like all...
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Culture of Kindness

We have all heard the term “Mean Girl.” According to a  recent school study, nearly 1 in 4 girls reported being bullied during the year. This is in sharp contrast...
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Back to School Jitters? Or a Bigger Issue?

On the first day of school it’s hard to tell who is more nervous, parents or students. You all want the school year to be a success, but there is...
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Summer Reading Picks

One of the things I love about summer is that I’m able to read a lot. I lean toward mysteries and modern fiction. This summer, I branched out a little...
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How to stop over-parenting and let your kids tough it out

Instead of being a snowplow parent, give your kid a shovel and show them how to use it. Helicopter parent, snowplow, lawn mower, bull dozing, blackhawk, tiger mom…there are an...
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Average isn’t a four letter word

A recent Washington Post article, by Jacque Gorelick, There is no room for average students these days. Here’s why that worries me.” highlights many of the reasons that I started The...
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We switched schools mid-year. Maybe you should too.

Guest Post by Current TSS Parent If your 5-10th grade student isn’t thriving at their current school and you are considering other options, I highly recommend The Sycamore School (TSS)....
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“Finding a Love of Learning”

A Conversation with Karyn Ewart, Ph.D. on Radio Hotline with Dennis Price Why can't school be fun and engaging? When did school become all about worksheets? Why does learning stop...
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Rising Anxiety in Youth

Educators and clinicians across northern Virginia are seeing a significant increase in the number of youth who are experiencing some level of anxiety. We’re also seeing the onset of anxiety...
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5 Signs Your Kid’s School Isn’t A Good Fit  

Summer is a good time to reflect on your child’s school and think about whether it’s a good fit.  Did your child seem happy at school? Have friends? Enjoy learning?...
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