Online Handbook

  • Welcome Letter

    Welcome to a brand new year at Sycamore Academy! I am excited to welcome you to the 2018-2019 school year! We are looking forward to a productive partnership with you to ensure that your children achieve their highest potential.

    The Sycamore Academy staff is thrilled to share another year of learning and to make this year even better than the last! We are delighted to count you as a part of a community of people who value learning and are passionate about education. We know that a strong partnership with you will make a great difference in your child’s education. The responsibility for your child’s success is shared by us, and we want you to know that we are here to help your students do the very best. Our goal is to make home schooling time as easy and flexible as possible.

    Sycamore Academy is here to bring you outstanding service, encouragement, fascinating courses, and up-to-date information. It is our hope that you will want to continue your homeschooling adventure with us in the years ahead. The Sycamore Academy staff feels privileged to be a part of your child’s education. We are anxious to know your views, opinions, and suggestions. We believe deeply in listening to your concerns. It is our desire to continue to make Sycamore Academy better. Your feedback is used to change and develop our personal service to you. Our entire staff is devoted to providing you with exceptional service and to keeping you inspired to do an outstanding job with your students.

    We thank you for your support and look forward to providing you with support and encouragement through this school year and for years to come.

    Warm Regards,

    Lori Nicholas
    Sycamore Academy Administrator

    Telephone

    You can reach our direct office line at 817-645-0895 during our office hours (weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) The voice mail service allows you to leave a message for us any time of the day or night.

    Email

    You can also reach us via email at info@sycamoreacademy.com. Once you are enrolled, you will be able to email an advisor directly.

    Sycamore Academy History

    Sycamore Academy was started in 1981 with a mission to help those who wanted an alternate option to traditional education. We were the first school and catalog in the nation (even the world) designed primarily for homeschoolers. Our name was taken from the story of Zaccheaus and you know why he was in that tree….

    Sycamore Academy was also among the first companies to have a website which we started in 1995. If you typed in homeschool on a search engine, there were only two entries and we were one of them. Online education has taken the world by storm, but again, we were among the first schools to offer it!

    Sycamore Academy Online began in 1999 and has met with great success. We have students enrolled from all over the world in the online academy as well as in the textbook-based homeschool program. Even some private K-8 schools will enroll their high school age students in our program.

    Sycamore Academy is fully accredited by SACSCASI (AdvancEd’s Southwest Accreditation Commission). which is one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the United States. All academy staff members are highly qualified in their teaching areas.

    We remain committed to achieving our goals of continuously improving our excellent service, updating our curriculum to meet state standards, providing an exceptional alternative to a classroom environment, and finding innovative ways to help our students succeed.

  • Sycamore Academy expects that registered students will log in at least four days a week and maintain regular communication with their teachers. To maintain an acceptable level of progress it is expected that:

    • Students will work between 25 and 30 hours per week

    • Students will submit an average of 4 assignments per day, at least 4 days a week, totaling 16 assignments submitted on average per week

    • More than the minimum work should be completed in order to achieve success • Assignments should be submitted on or before due dates

    • Regular communication occurs between the student and the teacher by whatever means agreed upon

    • The student has access to a reliable computer and internet connection. Problems of this kind will not be accepted as reasonable excuses for absences or lack of work submission

    • The student notifies Sycamore Academy of any expected absences. Such absences may only include • funeral • religious observance • court appearance • family emergency (illness, injury, death of immediate family member) • pre-arranged family vacation

    It is imperative that the student maintain active involvement with the learning process. Attendance is measured by the number of submitted assignments. One day of attendance is marked with every four assignments submitted. It is not important which days the student uses to work on, only that proper attendance is maintained. This allows the student flexibility to work on the days which suit them most. However, it should be noted that merely meeting the minimum level of assignment submissions does not necessarily ensure that students will make adequate progress in individual courses. Students must take note of individual course requirements and be sure to complete all requirements on time.

    In addition, maintaining open and regular communication with the teacher(s) and faculty of Sycamore Academy is imperative. This means that a student will respond in a timely manner to any email, text message or phone call from any Sycamore Academy faculty and staff. Due to the fact that coursework is always available to the student, the student has great flexibility as to when to complete work and therefore unexcused absences should not occur.

    If a student anticipates an absence for any reason as noted above, Sycamore Academy may be contacted at 817-645-0895. The Academy reserves the right to request proper documentation for any absences longer than three days. In the case of excused absences, the student and faculty of Sycamore Academy will work together in order to bring the student up to date with missing work. When anticipating longer absences, such as with planned family vacations, notifying Sycamore Academy well in advance will allow the faculty and student to work out a plan to help the student maintain good progress despite the interruption and without overburdening the student.

    Truancy

    Truancy occurs when a student intentionally absences him/herself from school without proper authorization. All students are required to attend school under law, unless legally withdrawn. Absences are allowed for the reasons noted in the Attendance section. All other absences will be regarded as unexcused. Absences are tracked through the online system as per the Attendance Policy. It is essential that Sycamore Academy be notified of all excuses for absences.

    In order to avoid truancy the student must:

    • Log on to the system at least four times each week and submit a minimum of 16 assignments each week

    • Maintain regular and open communication with Sycamore Academy faculty and staff • Complete coursework on time

    • Notify Sycamore Academy of any anticipated absences In order to ensure that the student does not face truancy problems, the parent must:

    • Ensure that the student logs on to the system at least four times each week and submits a minimum of 16 assignments each week

    • Understand that the student will be dropped from Sycamore Academy and the parent/guardian will be responsible for enrolling the student in the local school district

    • Regularly check the student’s progress by logging on to the system and viewing progress reports

    • Report anticipated absences to Sycamore Academy in a timely manner Student

    Maternity Leave

    In the event that a student becomes pregnant, Sycamore Academy will work together with the student to formulate a plan suited to her unique situation. Modifications may be made to the regular study plans which will aid the student to achieve success. It is important that the student and her family work closely with Sycamore Academy in order to aid the student to make adequate progress despite the challenges involved.

  • The purpose of this agreement is to provide a mutual understanding of the goals and responsibilities of Sycamore Academy Online by defining the academy/parent/student relationship.

    Sycamore Academy Agrees:

    1. To help parents fulfill their God-given responsibility to educate their children.

    2. To accept students at their current skill level.

    3. To prescribe a suitable course of study.

    4. To supply the Ignitia curriculum needed for the courses.

    5. To support parents with quality technical, administrative, and academic assistance.

    6. To evaluate, grade/review, record and report student achievement in a timely manner by a credentialed teacher.

    7. To issue a diploma upon successful completion of all Sycamore Academy graduation requirements and send transcripts as requested.

    8. To send out a monthly report of the student’s grade and class completion, so the parent can be aware of the student’s progress.

    The Parent Or Supervisor Agrees:

    1. To communicate with the school at all times.

    2. To know and abide by the home schooling laws of their country, province, state and local county. Go to www.hslda.com for a brief description of state laws and the corresponding website and email address of the home schooling associations.

    3. To become familiar with the online program.

    4. To pay the tuition in full or make arrangements for installments.

    5. To view the student demo and be responsible for organizing the initial setup.

    6. To guide and motivate the student to complete the assigned work on a daily basis.

    7. To supervise the student in such a way that maximum learning and achievement may take place. And to make sure the student is working on assignments instead of surfing the internet,“Instant Messaging” or playing games.

    8. To help keep the communication lines open by corresponding with Sycamore Academy when your student is struggling or frustrated.

    9. To encourage the student to observe online etiquette and behavior.

    10. To look at the student’s computer to be sure work is being done on a regular basis.

    The Student Agrees:

    1. While on the internet to not give their name, home/internet address or telephone to anyone. Any such event must be reported immediately to Sycamore Academy.

    2. To not share his/her work or answers with any other student in any way.

    3. To show courtesy and respect in all communications with online staff.

    Pertinent Information For Online Parents

    1. Each student must have an official hard copy enrollment form on file in our office. The online form will not suffice. A hard copy enrollment form is included with this packet. No transcript will be issued unless our files are complete.

    2. Be sure to read the school policies.

    3. The parent should look at the work the student has done each day to make sure the student was actually working. Be sure your student tells you if he has changed his password.

    4. The parent should make sure the student is keeping up with the assignment dates.

    5. The students have 12 months to finish the program without penalty. After that time, there will be a $100 re-enrollment fee. Any unfinished units will be assessed a charge of $34 each for the student to continue working for an additional six months.

    6. Plagiarism (the copying of papers or projects off the Internet or from a book) is not tolerated. At the third offense, the student is subject to expulsion with no refund of tuition.

    7. Wikipedia is not allowed to be used as a reference since it is not an authoritative source. 8. Students may not advance to the next unit until all assignments in the previous unit are complete.

    Additional Information

    1. Sycamore Academy is accredited by AdvancEd. Any school that your student would be transferring to must accept our credits if they are accredited by any of the other regional accrediting agencies.

    2. We must have an email address for both you and your student in the event that we need to communicate with you.

    3. Online education works best for self-motivated, independent learners. Parents are responsible for monitoring student work. Check daily in the student’s computer for completion of lessons, quizzes, tests, and projects.

    4. Your student will usually receive a response from Sycamore Academy within two to three days. However, it can take up to a week. If more than two weeks have passed (unless vacation time has been involved), please contact us.

    5. All assigned lessons, projects, quizzes and tests must be completed for credit. Zeros will not be given.

    6. Any student who plagiarizes an essay or research paper must redo the assignment for the highest possible grade of C. The overall grade for the class will also be dropped one letter. Three papers copied may result in expulsion from the program. Please see our policy on plagiarism.

    7. Any student who is found to be cheating will be required to begin the class over and pay for each unit that needs to be redone. The second offense will result in expulsion from the program. No credit will be given and no tuition will be refunded. Please see our policy on cheating.

    8. Be sure your student understands that the material must be studied and reviewed BEFORE answering questions in a lesson. It is not possible to answer the questions before reading the subject presentation. The online teachers are available to answer questions and offer help, but cannot explain every problem/ question when the material has already been presented to the student within the lesson or subject presentation.

    9. Also, be sure the student has studied thoroughly before taking a quiz or test.

    10. There are internet links throughout the program in every subject. Sycamore Academy has not reviewed these sites and the content may not necessarily agree with our philosophy.

    11. Ten hours of community service per year are required for high school students to graduate. Your student may fulfill these as a volunteer at a school, hospital or any local non-profit organization. Please be sure to have a waiver signed by the organization so you or Sycamore Academy will not be held responsible for loss or injury. Information is enclosed.

  • The Distance Learning Concept Applied To The Online Academy

    The Online Academy combines the convenience and flexibility of Internet education with the Switched-On Schoolhouse interactive multi-media enhanced curriculum. With the Online Academy students can work at their own pace from almost any location in the world at any time of day using only a computer with access to the Internet. A student living in Spain can complete his work on a laptop, have it graded by a credentialed teacher in New York, and accredited by Sycamore Academy in Texas!

    How The School Works

    The Online Academy is made up of students, teachers and school administrators. As in any school, students complete schoolwork, teachers supervise students and check student work and an administrator keeps the school running smoothly. Teachers who have either a Master’s Degree or a credential in that subject, grade student work, essays or projects, and answer students’ questions.

    Student Advisor

    Frequent communication between the student and Sycamore Academy is important. To facilitate said communication, each student is assigned a Student Advisor who will support the student academically and personally. As soon as the student is registered, the Student Advisor is assigned to them. The Student Advisor will help the student with all needs during their time with Sycamore Academy through frequent emails, phone calls, texts, and other communication. The Student Advisor will not only encourage and advise the student, but will keep them updated on deadlines, events, and other requirements.

    In addition, the Student Advisor with guide the student with regard to credit needs and career interests, helping them with resources and information about colleges, universities and other institutions of advanced learning. Our goal is for the student to feel comfortable with their student advisor so that the student will feel free to approach the Student Advisor for help and encouragement in the case of lack of motivation, stress, or other issues which may cause the student emotional trouble.