Sycamore School's Jennifer Williams (Head of Early Childhood), Glenna Lykens (Head of Lower School), and Katie Baker (Interim Co-Head of Middle School) list their favorites books for children and adults. Need to know what are the best biographies, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and picture books? They tell us.
At Sycamore, we moved to our Distance Learning Plan with 1st through 8th Grade on November 19. Mayor Joe Hogsett and Dr. Virginia Caine held a press conference to communicate Marion County decisions about restrictions to try to mitigate the current surge in prevalence and positivity rates of COVID-19. Although we have not experienced this at Sycamore, the number of infections in school children has also risen significantly. Dr. Caine has issued Public Health Order #35, effective as of November 16, 2020. In the order, all Marion County K-12 schools must transition to total virtual learning no later than November 30. We have prepared well for this moment, and I believe it will be much smoother and stronger than it was last spring. We plan to continue to have Preschool, PreKindergarten, and Kindergarten in school in person. The order does not prohibit in-person learning at those ages, and we believe it is extremely difficult and disruptive to try to have effective distance learning with very young children. We will offer Quest for only these classes and only after school, not before school.
Sycamore School has learned two of their eighth-grade students, Nate Liang and Emily Hackwelder, have been named national award recipients of the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship for the class of 2025 from the Institute for Educational Advancement (IEA). They are two of only 28 national winners of a four-year high school scholarship for gifted learners to attend an optimally matched high school program.
“Teachers were my heroes through the whole process. It was obviously a tough situation that everyone was thrown into unexpectedly, but the teachers were great about soliciting feedback and making changes as needed until they found methods that worked.”
For the mom of two Sycamore students, Sumi Maun was confronted with the challenges that many families were faced with in mid-March when schools closed their buildings and went to a distance learning model for the rest of the school year: suddenly, the kids were at home, doing their school work, while the parents were also working from home and having to figure out where everyone will do their work, how they will get fed, take breaks, and not feel like it was all too much.
“Distance learning is really a complete reconfiguration of how you teach, but not necessarily what you teach. While it is different, in no way does it have to be lesser than. Going through something like this together is something we'll never forget, and the kids' resilience, positivity, and perspectives will stay with me forever.”
In the past couple of weeks, we have highlighted a few of our Early Childhood and Lower School teachers. Today, we talk one of our Middle School teachers, Beth Simpson, who teaches Language Arts, about how she was able to incorporate group discussions of books, one-on-one time, and teach the writing of allegories from afar.
After learning she was selected to present at the upcoming Purdue University eLearning teacher training, we talked to Sycamore 3rd grade teacher Tiffany Stahl to ask her to talk about elements of teaching via distance learning, and how she changed parts of her daily interactions to better serve students and families.