project leader
Sarah G
Summer Ave.
(The Heights)
latest update rss
Thank you!

the project

Shelby County has the highest dropout rate in Tennessee, and our school system is still struggling with far-reaching after effects of segregated education, and failed attempts at real integration. How do we even begin to address the need of our children? Research gives hope: academic achievement, relationship stability, and even health in adolescents and young adults is linked more strongly to the social and emotional skills developed from age to 3 and 7 than almost every other factor! These emotional and social skills empower young children, especially those from difficult backgrounds, to overcome the adversity and stress in their lives so they can succeed. At The Sycamore School, we believe that all children deserve to learn these skills, so we have a commitment to a school community that reflects the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of our neighborhoods.

The proven and most natural ways for young children to develop these skills is through play-based, hands-on learning activities. Through play, young children practice real-life scenarios and problem-solve with each other in ways that prepare them for real-life. Additionally, children connect  and internalize knowledge they’ve discovered through their own explorations far more than when they read it on a screen or in a textbook. We believe children can have time to be children: play, explore, pretend, and be learning all the while.


the steps

-Recruit 16 students and families for our kindergarten class. We are dedicated to a school community that reflects our neighborhood’s ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. (May)

-Interview, hire, and train a passionate, experienced, and licensed teacher (May-June)

-Research and purchase or develop curriculum that focuses on executive function development and play-based learning (June)

-Buy materials and set up classroom space (June-July)

-Welcome our new families! (first day of school August 8th)


why we're doing it

The Sycamore School wants to give the children in our neighborhood a better start. We know that higher expectations for academics is not enough to give them a solid footing. This is why our team of teachers, parents, and neighbors wants to bring this kind of research-based, whole-child, community-centered education to our children. We want to enable parents to nurture their children's academic, social, and emotional development. We want to honor children’s natural ways of learning. We want to show Memphis how successful play can be!


Disbursed budget (as of 7/20/16): 

RAISED = $3,825.00
less ioby Platform Fee  $35.00
less ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $175.46
less Payment Processing Fee (3%) $105.28

$1000 will be spent on curriculum, another $1,000 for startup resources (printing, website, etc). Another $500 will contribute our classroom furniture and supplies, and anything over that will become a part of our scholarship fund!


Original budget:

$1000 will be spent on curriculum, another $1,000 for startup resources (printing, website, etc). Another $500 will contribute our classroom furniture and supplies, and anything over that will become a part of our scholarship fund!

SUBTOTAL = $3,000
ioby Platform Fee $35
Donation Processing Fee of 3%  $90



Thank you!

We are overwhelmed by everyone's generousity towards our project and the vision we have for education in our neighborhood. You all have encouraged and motivated us so much by your giving and we hope to continue to have you as partners in the work we do. Thank you!

10 x 100 Challenge!

Hey folks! Thanks to all the generous friends who have supported us this far in our campaign. We're beginning a challenge today to help us finish strong these last couple weeks of our fundraising. Our goal is to see 100 people join our team by giving $10 or more and then sharing the challenge with thier friends and family. Give $10 now and help us spread the word!


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • S Michelle F.
  • Anonymous
  • Luttrells
  • The Roberts'
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Jesse & Megan Powell
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • JJA
  • Erin & Jared
  • Danielle S.
  • The Thompsons
  • Anonymous
  • Hioki Family
  • Kathryn Lozada
  • Allison R.
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • RGP
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous