The program is rigorous and both accelerated and enriched in a manner specifically differentiated for gifted learners. A main focus of the program is learning to develop personal responsibility and find a balance between independence and reliance upon adults for guidance and limits.
The Middle School curriculum is designed to meet the special needs of gifted and talented adolescents as they develop their increasing ability for complex thought. In a more typical middle school environment with a broader mission, curriculum and academic requirements may not be sufficiently challenging to provide for intellectual growth and the development of effective study skills and habits. Sycamore’s Middle School curriculum is designed to give students a solid foundation for further study and enables them to function as autonomous learners. At Sycamore, subjects do not exist as completely separate entities, but overlap and interrelate as the student begins to make greater sense of the larger world. In addition to laying the foundation for future learning, the curriculum develops students’ abilities to think critically, evaluate, communicate effectively, reason, solve problems, and value the diverse viewpoints, heritages, and experiences of others.
Students receive daily instruction in history, language arts, mathematics, and science. Math classes are grouped across grade levels according to students’ level of skill and concept development. All students are expected to complete a year of high school algebra. Advanced students have the opportunity to take Geometry and Algebra II. Special classes meet between one to three periods per week and include art, computer technology, physical education, and Spanish. Students may choose to participate in instrumental music and/or choir. Sycamore Middle School students may participate in many after school activities, including a full range of sports, drama, and various academic competitions.
Service projects, speakers, trips, and other enrichment opportunities enhance the educational program. Middle School students take overnight trips to Indiana Dunes National Park, the Florida Keys, Culver Academies, and Washington D.C., as well as day trips to various sites within the state of Indiana.