Sycamore High School: The Cutting Edge of Education
Photography by Wes Battoclette
One of the most diverse schools in Ohio, Sycamore High School is dedicated to empowering students on the foundations of respect, responsibility and opportunity. The four-year college preparatory school offers 34 student organizations, 24 athletic options and 223 courses including six global languages. The recent renovations are a testament to how the school’s educators continuously improve students’ learning circumstances.
“We want learning to look different than it did when we were students,” says Doug Mader, principal of Sycamore High School. “Just as importantly, we strive to create a high school that students will feel good about and be proud of.”
The first update is apparent upon arrival – security is a priority with the lobby’s new locking mechanisms and the school’s resource officer prominently placed. Inside is a new media center/library, transformed into a collaborative workspace. Equipped with interactive classrooms, professionally designed group work areas and even a smoothie bar, it is far from the typical high school library.
“No longer will students be asked to keep their voices down or not share their energy and ideas in the library,” says Mader. “Our belief is that students respond to the respect given to them by trusting their maturity in a creative work space.”
Another new feature is being introduced into one classroom: FitDesks. Teachers can bring their students into the room to read or work on laptops while pedaling on the exercise bikes, which have armrests and a desk platform. Additionally, 25 classrooms are outfitted with two stand-up desks for students who would appreciate a break from being seated most of the day.
“We know students need to be active in their learning,” says Mader. “We will gather evidence on the effectiveness of active learning and anticipate positive results.”
A combined spirit store and bookstore was added in the school’s common area and Mader says they want everyone to feel the pride and spirit of Sycamore High School. He explains the desire to be a focal point of the community: one that serves multiple cities and townships. Their partnership with Operation Give Back is one avenue of helping local underprivileged families. The high school will hold several drives throughout the year and students provide after-school tutoring at the Operation Give Back activity center.
These initiatives are part of the commitment to building meaningful relationships with students. “Our educators are empowered to create learning communities they’re passionate about, find ways to fuel that passion and navigate students on their post-secondary path,” says Mader.
He explains how Sycamore High School is innovative in their education of this generation. “While being on the cutting edge, nationally ranked and continuing to improve in every ranking system, we haven’t lost focus on building relationships with students,” says Mader. “We believe everyone within our Sycamore family feels the respect given for our diverse population and every student has the opportunity to feel safe and accepted in our community.”
Sycamore High School is located at 7400 Cornell Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242. You can reach them at 513.686.1770 or visit their website at www.sycamoreschools.org.