Sycamore Leaf

April 3, 2020

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Distance Learning Update

Good afternoon Sycamore Families,

Wednesday’s decision for schools to continue in distance learning for the remainder of the year weighs heavily on all of us. The importance of social distancing is unquestioned, but the loss we feel in doing so is great. The events of the last three weeks have necessitated dramatic change and growth, as a result. We move forward in a new phase of distance learning. Teachers, parents and students are equipped with a variety of shared tools, methods, strengths and abilities we’ve built over the past month. Additional instructional materials will be needed for the weeks ahead. Many materials will be provided digitally. Many teachers are also sending curricular workbooks and packets in an effort to provide hands-on materials while reducing the need to make copies at home.

In order to maintain a safe environment and preserve social distancing, we will provide these materials in a carefully managed way. On Monday or Tuesday, April 13 and 14, families may come to school to pick up student materials. We encourage parents to drive to school and remain in their vehicle as they make their way along the white curb on the north side of 8th Street. When a vehicle reaches the area at the end of the ramp to the MPR entrance, their students’ materials will be brought to a table near the vehicle so the adult can exit the car, pick up the materials, then allow the next vehicle to pull up. The process of waiting in vehicles should provide social distancing for our families and community members using the sidewalk. Though the schedule has been created to minimize lines, we do ask that drivers turn off vehicles rather than idling while waiting. A second option is available for adults who prefer to walk. In this case, we ask that adults enter near the school office and walk west down the hall toward the MPR while appropriate physical distance from others. Near the MPR, a single staff member will assemble materials for the family and place them on a table where the adult may pick them up as they exit to the west. As much as we would like to see them, students should not come on campus for this exchange. Please know, we will not be gathering materials from classrooms or the school office. Please contact Mrs. Stanger to make arrangements for other needs.

Designated pick-up times are based on students’ last names. If your family includes more than one last name, or if you are not able to come during your assigned time, choose a time that works best for you. Please review the following to determine if your teacher is providing materials and when you should come for pick-up.

Adults may choose to come on either Mon., April 13 or Tues., April 14

8:30 AM-10:00 AM ----------Last Name A-D

10:00 AM-11:30 AM --------Last Name E-J

11:30 AM-1:00 PM ----------Last Name K-Q

1:00 PM-2:30 PM ------------Last Name R-Z

2:30 PM-4:00 PM ------------A time open to all

  • All primary teachers, grades K-3, will have materials for their families to pick up.
  • Room 15 and upper grade rooms 3, 4, 17 and 18 have math materials for pick up.
  • The rest of the upper grade materials will be shared digitally.
  • Contact your child's teacher if you have any additional questions.

This is a good time to speak to the fact that the activities and methods of each classroom vary. Teachers are consciously building their plan for continued learning around their knowledge of students and the routines, strategies and skills their students currently hold. As parents take a more predominant role supporting their children with learning at home, it is challenging for teachers to provide methods that align with adult's preferences, too. Please keep the lines of communication open so problems can be solved as they arise. Teachers are committed to selecting the methods that seem to be working effectively for students. Throughout, we practice assuming the best of intentions and staying flexible as we refine what we're doing.

Add something beautiful to your days...Art and Music!

We are thrilled to share our first of weekly art and music lessons for at home learning. Mary Town and Mason Hensley have prepared lessons for your students to access at home. These lessons can be accessed online and will continue each week. The following links will get you started:

Mason's music lessons include options for varied grade levels, and there is a single sheet of enrichment links. I highly recommend checking out the John Williams performance!

Here's the link:

Mary's art lesson is being delivered through Nearpod and FlipGrid. This single link will take you to the start of the lesson. Students of all ages will use the same lesson. Simply use this link:

The lesson code is: ATMUX


Planning for Special Traditions--The All School Yearbook

We continue to look for ways that our school traditions can be continued, despite our distance from one another. The all-school yearbook may look different this year, but we are committed to making sure we collect and preserve the many memories of this school year...even our time of distance learning.

Plan now to get a copy for your family. Yearbooks are being sold for $15 each. You may continue to purchase them until Tuesday, April 21.

You can purchase the yearbook online.

Step 1: Visit

Step 2: Enter Sycamore's school code 164860 then click "go to your school account login"

Step 3: Click on the link below Sycamore

Step 4: Login if returning or register as a "new user"

Step 5: Buy the yearbook!

If you have any questions, or you would like to volunteer to help with the yearbook, email Lydia Hernandez at

Online Orders for SCRIP

Sycamore continues to have Scrip and we've created a way to get it to you. Please fill out this form and you'll be contacted about your preferred way of getting the scrip to you. Keep in mind, a percentage of each purchase raises funds for our school.

Here's the link to the form:

Publishing House Update

If your child is a Publishing House author this year, look for an email sent on 3/27. It includes information regarding our adjustment to a digital version of our Publishing House books. If your child is an author and you did not receive the email, please contact Mrs. Stanger.

Spring Break Next Week

Spring Break is next week. From April 4-12, we will step back from school and take a much needed break. I know both parents and staff have been working intensely to put new routines in place...many are stretched thin as employees, family members and educators-all at the same time. Please enjoy your break and allow staff to do the same. We look forward to coming back together to continue distance learning on April 13th.

An update on Zoom

In this time of physical separation, video conference options provide a way for business associates, families and children to come together. You may have been following recent news on Zoom and a concerns that others could "zoom bomb" or enter a zoom meeting where they were not expected. Our Superintendent provided a warning about this possibility in a recent family update. The makers of Zoom have responded to this concern by making their default setting the most protective option. Though Zoom is not being used by all staff, we have adopted practices to ensure a Zoom meeting includes only invited students. I am sharing relevant recommendations here, since several parents report using Zoom at home.

1) Zoom invitations should only be shared directly with our contacts, never in a public way (such as on Facebook).

2) The host should utilize the Waiting Room feature so that each person can be individually allowed to “enter” or refused entrance by the host. Meetings may also be Password Protected.

After-School Enrichment - a partial update

After-School Enrichment (ASE) classes were scheduled to meet weekly through April, but the school dismissal interrupted that plan. We have been working with our ASE teachers to determine which of the classes can continue in an online model and which cannot. In the next few days, families enrolled in ASE will receive an email with detail about the plan for ASE classes and refunds, where necessary.