The Sycamore School logo

The Sycamore School

Grades Gr. 9 TO Gr. 12 — London, ON (MAP)

The Sycamore School:

Pages in this report:

  • Grades
    Gr. 9 — Gr. 12
  • Gender
  • Class Size
    5 — 8 students
  • Tuition
  • Language of instruction
  • Associations
  • Enrolment
    30 day students
  • Curriculum
    Liberal Arts

School address

  • 615 Wellington Street, London, Ontario, N6A 3R6 (MAP)
  • Busing not available

Our Perspective

How we see The Sycamore School

The Sycamore School doesn’t look like a typical school—it occupies a house in downtown London—and, in fact, it isn’t a typical school, which is why families turn here. The students arrive having demonstrated their skills and academic abilities, yet, for a range of reasons, aren’t reaching their potentials in a more traditional learning environment. Instruction is cooperative, allowing students to take responsibility for their learning in consort with their instructors. One of the goals is to motivate learners, and to help them find their own unique paths to success. The ideal student is one who will thrive within a very close-knit, student-oriented setting, and who is capable of operating at the top of his or her peer group. 

School's Perspective

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How The Sycamore School sees itself

The school administration answered our questions

Who are you, as a school?

"The Sycamore School offers personalized, alternative education for today’s learners who must be capable of independent, flexible thinking. The school's unique approach aims to educate students who are able to meet the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma and yet experience struggles along their path. Courses are offered within a multidisciplinary framework enabling positive, collaborative, learning experiences that are guided by caring teachers."

  • All assignments are guided during the class; homework is limited to reading or viewing assignments.
  • Students are immersed in one course/semester, 8-10 semesters/year.
  • Class size is always less than 10 students.
  • Choose in-person or online, live-streamed classes & 2 online credit grad requirement onsite.
  • Live-streaming means that absences do not mean missing out on course concepts.
  • Families can choose vacations that enable students to sign in remotely
  • Support videos, information and assignments are posted online and accessible any time.
  • Assessment & Evaluation strategies can be tailored to student learning styles.
  • Guidance enables students to choose courses that fit their life plan but allow for changes.
  • Choices within courses, including compulsories, that honour student interests.

What do you do differently and uniquely well?

"Our students work best in the small community atmosphere that they have chosen to guide their path to high school graduation. Students are supported by their teachers and other staff who adapt the learning opportunity to reflect student learning preferences, ambitions and life goals."

To your knowledge, why do families choose your school over others?

"Our students and their families have chosen The Sycamore School for the low student: teacher ratio that is, on average 1:6. Our micro school population ensures a less stressful environment for students and a more co-operative and inclusive atmosphere for those who wish to focus on completing their high school education."

What aspect of your school is underappreciated?

"Since The Sycamore School has worked hard to avoid the traditional school-like setting, students and their parents learn to appreciate the home like surroundings; homeschooling parents refer to TSS as the homeschool away from home. We are proud of that difference."

What might families find surprising about your school?

"Students and their families often comment on the atmosphere of caring that they feel in the entire school population … students and staff. There is an easy integration among students and staff of differing grades, ages, genders and cultures that creates a community of learners. Completing assignments at school with teacher assistance enables families to participate more fully in after school activities."

School Facilities

Photo-tour of facilities

Arts facilities



Insider Perspectives

How people from the school’s community see The Sycamore School

Video reviews of The Sycamore School

Alum, Logan O'Donnell-Caplin (2021)

Watch our alum interview with Logan O'Donnell-Caplin to learn about the unique experience of attending The Sycamore School.

School leadership

Top-down influence on the school’s direction and tone

Message from school leadership

Cora M. McNamara, Principal & Co-Founder
M. Ed

Learning in the 21st Century requires that schools change with the times. Bodies of knowledge do not stagnate and education must not continue to do so. At the turn of the 20th Century, John Dewey believed that "the teacher should only provide background information and have the students work together in groups on the concept. This should start conversation and discussion, and give rise to valuable collaboration. Although the written exam would continue to play an important role, particularly presentations, projects and other evaluation techniques are used to keep track of the progress."

The London School pedagogy considers these notions and takes them forward into the 21st Century where all that exists as knowledge is available to everyone who knows how to access it in the online forum, how to evaluate the credibility of the information and how to interpret its meaning. Students no longer must prove their worth by spouting the wisdom of the ages but rather by developing the discernment required to use knowledge to its best advantage; how to apply it to everyday life and how to evaluate the impact of certain knowledge and actions from the appropriate historical perspective. We do not want future generations to repeat past mistakes but we do want them to understand how their choices and actions will shape their future. What our students need to know remains to be seen. It is our job to ensure that they have the confidence and skills to recognize the value and application of knowledge as presented to them through a variety of personal and school experiences.

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: The Sycamore School

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