More Information

  • Sycamore High School’s Synnovation Lab is an innovative approach to secondary instruction utilizing personalized and project-based learning to guide the learning process. Utilizing the Flex Blended model, this school aims to provide Sycamore students a truly modern, self-paced, engaging and authentic learning experience housed inside the outstanding Sycamore High School.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Parent Submitted Questions

    1. What exactly is the mode of teaching in a Synnovation lab?
      1. It depends on the course!  As of now:
        1. Math-->Flipped Classroom.  The math teachers made videos of their lectures so students can access that information anywhere and anytime and pause, rewind and review as needed.  Then the students have practice problems to prepare for quizzes (called formatives) and eventually tests.  In that sense, this is very similar to a traditional classroom but the focus is on the student getting personalized attention about their specific questions and the help that they specifically need.
        2. Science-->Blended Classroom.  The science teachers have a self-paced curriculum on Schoology in conjunction with labs and activities so that the students can move as quickly through the curriculum as they need, but also get the lab experience necessary.
        3. Social Studies-->There are a variety of experiences in Social Studies, from a self-paced curriculum on Schoology that ends in a summative assessment (project), project-based learning, and student-choice projects. 
        4. English-->The students focus on reading and writing standards, which involve periodic conferencing, multiple revisions of papers, student-led small groups, and daily reading time in the lab.
      2. Is it an online version where kids are provided with materials and they go to the teachers for clarification?
        1. Many resources are available in Schoology or directions are given through Schoology (similar to Blackboard or Google Classroom) but part of the ownership of learning is the student asking questions (just like they would in class) but having access to multiple teachers at all times to answer their specific question when it comes up.
      3. Is there a scheduled class session for every lesson?  Or else, how does the teaching methodology work?
        1. Some classes have breakout sessions and labs that give a small group environment for lessons, discussions, and labs.
    2. Do kids have assigned homework with tentative dates or else how is it ensured that the kids understand the subject?
      1. There is no nightly homework. However, there are times when a student may need to do work at home.
      2. The courses all have suggested pacing (on average about 2 weeks per unit)
      3. We have a number of formative assessments (quizzes, discussions, etc) to track student understanding before the final assessment in a unit.
    3. How do kids in Accelerated programs take classes? Do they go out or do they have to handle Math and English on their own?
      1. We have many Honors and Accelerated classes in the Synnovation Lab.
      2. If we do not offer a class in the Lab, students would leave to attend that class in the traditional learning environment.
    4. Is there assistance for Science labs in the Synnovation labs?
      1. We have access to our own Science Lab and the Science teachers lead the students in the Labs that are necessary (use chemicals, tools, etc).
      2. There are other teachers who assist in Labs due to the variety of labs needed between the various courses and levels.
    5. Are the PBL projects group based or individually chosen?
      1. Both!  It should be an individual interest, but many students find like-minded students to work on a project together.
      2. We are scaffolding this process and giving more structures to our newer students so that they choose from more structured and vetted ideas until they learn the Design Thinking Process.  However, if a new student has an idea they are passionate about and an understanding of how to approach that idea, we want them to do that!
    6. What is the support given to ACT and SAT preparations?
      1. ACT/SAT-->Those skills are supported by the curriculum, just as with all courses at Sycamore High School.  We do encourage more choice reading and layers of writing across the curriculum, which we believe will increase these scores.
      2. Electives-->We offer a number of electives in the Lab, but those not offered in the Lab are accessed by students just like other students
    7. Is the Synnovation Lab concept accepted for college admissions? Are there other schools that follow this model? 
      1. The Synnovation Lab and Sycamore High School are part of the Mastery Transcript Consortium
      2. Our students receive grades and transcripts identical to the rest of the students at Sycamore High School.
      3. There are parts of our program that are mirrored in schools around the country and a number of schools have come to learn how we operate, but the Synnovation Lab is unique to the needs of our community. It demands rigorous educational outcomes and a personalized learning environment that includes meaningful learning opportunities.
    8. Finally, if a child chooses not to continue after selection, he is allowed to go to the traditional setting for the Freshman year.
      1. We will extend invites to accepted students, but it is the family's choice to accept the invitation.
      2. Once in the Lab, students remain in the Lab and do not need to reapply
      3. At times, it becomes apparent that the Synnovation Lab is not the appropriate learning environment, they can transition to the traditional learning environment at the end of the year.