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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 school.  Simultaneously, our remote learners were logging on to start their first day. Each was exciting and eventful in their own unique way.  But we…

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 virtual model this past spring and as we’ve been preparing to resume class in-person next week.  Every summer at this time, staff wish for an…

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 learning model. Throughout high school, TSS students are continuously presented with opportunities to guide their learning to topics and areas of interest while developing the…

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 school for the foreseeable future.  Newly enrolled families will be invited for an in-person tour of the school in August. School meetings and community workshops will continue…

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 school for a couple of days, and virtual the rest of the week. It’s a difficult choice for many reasons – and a large one…

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 the same level of support remotely, recognizing that: Many of our parents work full time, so they have limited ability to monitor and check in…

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 we would need to shut down our school facility and support our students remotely sooner, rather than later.  On Thursday morning, I explained the…

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 physical education program is called Movement & Mindfulness. While families begin to adjust to virtual schooling, our school counselor and Director of Student Services, Yvette…

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 be closed until April 14th. This means that we’ll be supporting student learning remotely for the three weeks up until spring break. This is a…

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 for that label and, to be honest, parents like the recognition themselves.  We must have done all the right things if our child is identified…

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. We want to instill some life skills in our kids, but they’re not internalizing them. Nagging puts us in charge of tasks our kids should…

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 their peers complete and turn assignments in on time, so why is it so hard for your child?  Late, lost or forgotten homework can be…

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 to only 17 percent of boys report being bullied.  A recent AP article reports girls are 3 times as likely to experience cyber or text…

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 some doubt and worry that it mightnot go as well as hoped. First day excitement and nervousness is very normal. Some students get excited by…

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 and read a few young adult books, which were really good.  Below are several lists of recommended books. Some are for parents, others are for…

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 increasing number of phrases used to describe today’s parents in a pretty unflattering light. We hear that seemingly well-meaning parents are actually doing harm to…

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 Sycamore School. I saw a critical need to respond to the stress and pressure being placed on students at increasingly younger ages. As Gorelick writes,…

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). Our daughter transferred in November, and it’s one of the best decisions we’ve made. She went from having terrible school anxiety and refusal, to happily skipping…

“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 at the walls of the school? Founder and Head of School Karyn Ewart discusses these topics and why she started The Sycamore School on the…

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 start at a younger age and many children are significantly compromised by its affects. There is an increased prevalence of school avoidance, school refusal and…

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? With back-to-school upon us, is your child upset about going back? Here are five signs your child’s school is not a good fit: School avoidance:…

Get Off Your Screens, There’s So Much Summer To Do!

My Wish for Students this Summer Over the summer, I’d like our students to explore, inquire and enjoy. Many parents are already struggling with managing their child’s screen time, and frustrated with kids who don’t know what else to do. Here are some ideas of activities that might engage tweens and teens (and adults!) From…

In Defense of Failure

We don’t want perfectionists, we want risk-takers who will fail and learn from their mistakes. I want our students to make mistakes and [gasp, shudder,] even fail. Making mistakes is a great way to learn. Learning is disorganized, perhaps messy, and not linear. And yet, mainstream education presents curriculum in a manner and sequence that…

You are not SOL at The Sycamore School, Reprise

Last year, when our school was being developed, we blogged about the SOLs. Now that we are are open and our students are thriving, and we have practical experience in authentic assessment, we felt the subject deserved another post.  The Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) are the Virginia public school’s standardized testing program that sets…

Creating a Culture of Kindness

Hearts are breaking in communities all over our nation in the aftermath of yet another devastating school shooting. How do we keep our children safe?  How do we change our culture?  I contend that if parents, teachers and leaders would teach and model kindness, empathy and perhaps even courage, we would make significant progress in…

Problem-Based Learning Summer Camp

Problem-based learning is exemplified at our Rube Goldberg Machine Summer Camp. A Rube Goldberg machine is a simple machine comprised of common items that perform a simple task in a deliberately complicated manner.  Rube Goldberg machines include many aspects of physics, energy, and energy transfer, all working together in a chain reaction. The machine is named…

You’re not SOL at The Sycamore School

It’s SOL testing season, a time where teachers are stressed out and kids are wishing school was done for the year. What are SOLs? SOLs are the Virginia Standards of Learning. They describe the commonwealth’s expectations for student learning and achievement in grades K-12 in English, mathematics, science, history/social science, technology, the fine arts, foreign…

Even the open house is hands-on!

“I learned more in two hours than I do all day at school!”* *Incoming TSS student Students and their families are invited to participate in our hands-on open house on June 14th from 6pm-8pm. The Sycamore School is an experiential, problem-based learning secondary school with no homework for our middle schoolers! Explore The Sycamore School’s…

Even the open house is hands-on!

“I learned more in two hours than I do all day at school!”* *Incoming TSS student Students and their families are invited to participate in our hands-on open house on June 14th from 6pm-8pm. The Sycamore School is an experiential, problem-based learning secondary school with no homework for our middle schoolers! Explore The Sycamore School’s…

Stress and Teenage Suicide

We’ve lost another Northern Virginia teenager to suicide. We shouldn’t be surprised. Northern Virginia high schools have turned into the Bermuda Triangle of stress: high achieving students + high achieving parents + high achieving school system = teens who are overloaded, over-scheduled, stressed out, sleep deprived, overly focused on grades and pushed to their limits.…

How to create an island of calm in a sea of chaos

The world of a parent can feel unrelentingly fast paced, chaotic and stressful, with no indication that it will ever slow down…at least not until all our kids are grown. There is an increasing need for us as parents to set the pace and create an environment at home that can help buffer our children…

The Flip-Side Of Academic Acceleration: Why I Started The Sycamore School

          Stressed out, overwhelmed, anxious. Sound familiar? I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about your kids! As families prepare to take a much needed spring break next week, now is a good time to talk about why our kids are more burnt out than some corporate executives, and how parents can…

For kids to thrive, school should be a good fit

Is your school a good fit? As a parent, one of our biggest concerns can be making sure our children are thriving in their current school setting. When our children struggle and are unhappy at school, it creates considerable stress for the student and the whole family. Often it is this stress that leads parents…

Becoming A Founding Family at The Sycamore School

What does it mean to be a Founding Family? The Sycamore School is currently recruiting Founding Families to join our school for the 2017/18 school year.  While we understand that it takes a certain leap of faith to place your child a new school, our first families are not choosing The Sycamore School on a…

The Sycamore School Will Open in the Fall, 2017

Check back soon for updates!