Remote Learning

Remote Learning

Remote Learning Part II

December 15, 2020

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 in-person and it has gone incredibly well. We certainly had our share of adjustments but overall the fall in-person instruction was quite successful. I think being able to offer in-person learning had significant positive effects on our students’ mental health. It also gave us an opportunity to onboard new students, establish rapport, and get our students comfortable with our routines and approach to learning.  Read more about our first week of in-person instruction on our blog “First Week of In-Person and Remote Learning.” An essential feature of our reopening plan was having a planned switch to remote learning from November 30th-January 18th. We anticipated that COVID rates would be high, it would be the height of flu season, and that…

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In-Person Learning

First Week of In-Person and Remote Learning

September 4, 2020

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 all started this school year together as a community. It was an exciting, busy and eventful week. We were reminded that while proper planning and preparation are important, maintaining a positive and open mind is equally important. We have put in the months of planning and now we need to execute our plans being mindful of the current environment. Flexibility is our mantra for the year.  Masks Not a big deal. Despite all the worry and anticipation around wearing masks, all the students wore their masks and didn’t complain. They seemed happy. Over the course…

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In-person Learning

Opening Day In-Person Countdown!

August 24, 2020

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 extra planning week to get just *one* more task done. Even though our core team works all summer preparing for the upcoming school year, it never feels as if we have enough time. There is always more we want to do to prepare for the upcoming school year.  This year is no different. While there are still those little items on our to-do list that we are scrambling to finish, the hard work is done.  We are ready.  There is always excitement in the air the last week before school starts. This year the excitement…

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Fall Back to School Plans

Fall School Planning

July 10, 2020

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 is the uncertainty. How long will this last? Are you equipped to manage your kids on your own at home? What if you send them to school and they get sick? What if they start the year at school but then it shuts down again? The lack of certainty is maddening…and can be frightening.  At The Sycamore School, we are planning for every contingency. While we can’t offer certainty about how the pandemic will play out in our community this fall, we can offer our families the peace of mind that we are capable and…

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students and teachers using remote learning at the Sycamore School

Remote Learning – Tips and Lessons Learned

May 1, 2020

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 on their students while they’re working from home.  Many of our students struggle with executive functioning skills, so we had to figure out how to get them into a routine that worked for them and their family;  Once it became apparent distance learning was not a short-term endeavor, we divided up our students between our staff. Each staff member was the point person for a small cohort of 10 students, checking in with them daily and helping them create and maintain a daily schedule. While this was a good starting point, it wasn’t always enough.…

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classroom

First Week of Remote Learning at TSS

March 20, 2020

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 situation to our students and crafted a letter to parents.  That Thursday afternoon, I held a staff meeting to flesh out the details of our remote learning. All week, staff had been bouncing around ideas. Our challenge? How to continue the same level of personalized educational support and guidance remotely. Fortunately, all of our students had laptops and were accustomed to doing the bulk of their work on a computer; and we were already on a google classroom platform, so we spent the next two days teaching students how to navigate google chat and hangout. …

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Virtual Schooling Resources: Movement and Mindfulness for Kids

March 17, 2020

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 Mitchell, compiled the following list of ideas to help kids stay active and peaceful (we think this will work for the grown-ups, too!) MOVEMENT IDEAS Walking Basketball Jumping on a trampoline Gymnastics Baseball (with family) Yoga poses Tossing a ball Walking a dog Dancing (anywhere, anytime) Martial arts Soccer Jogging Stationary bicycle Hiking and/or nature walk Wii sports MEDITATION APPS Calm (meditation) Stop, Breathe, Think (meditation app) Insight Timer (meditation) TEEN WELLNESS WEBSITE  Change to Chill, Change to Chill is a free, award-winning, mental well-being resource offered by a subdivision of Allina Health. Our interactive…

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Coronavirus Response and Updates

March 12, 2020

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 fluid situation, so we can adjust based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and the US Department of State. All after school clubs and TSS events are cancelled through April 14th. Please note, we will continue to review applications for the 2020-21 school year during this period.

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