Share your Synergy memories – an anecdote, an experience, a funny story, or how Synergy has shaped your life.
Sitting in the Star Room listening to Carolyn read a story to the class, I could tell immediately that Synergy was different from other schools. The kids were all seated on the carpet, with a few sprinkled in the back on chairs, attentively listening and responding when she asked questions. As with all 5 & 6 year olds they couldn’t sit still for long and some would stand up and roam around. One boy in particular was causing a bit of distraction and Carolyn made a hand gesture towards the door. He walked over, touched the doorknob and came back. The energy in the room was calm and engaged in a way I had never seen with this age group before; there was something truly special happening here.
The sense of community is palpable when you walk the halls or visit a Synergy classroom. The Agreement System creates a foundation that everyone operates from and has been invaluable for us even outside of the walls of school. Over the past four years that we have been lucky enough to be part of this community there are numerous moments where we have truly appreciated the unique qualities that make Synergy the place for us.
From helping Pam in the Kindergarten art class, to the Global Village project in the Sun Room which sparked a whole new world of interest for Zev in both learning Portuguese and a desire to visit the Amazon Rainforest, we have been appreciative of the way the curriculum and environment is crafted to nurture and build each student’s creativity and curiosity.
Being part of this community is more than just coming to school every day, each of us also contributes and gives back through All School Clean Up, participation on committees or the school Board of Trustees. Collaborating with the Tech Committee, teachers and administrators to help develop a vision for the technology program gave us an even better understanding of the thoughtfulness and expertise that every member brings to this community. As a Cooperative, Synergy brings in the collective voices of the teachers, administration, students and families to create an inclusive program and community.
And we love the Synergy traditions that connect us throughout the year — the welcoming back ceremony on the first day of school creates a space to celebrate the beginning of the year and welcome new students, the Family Holiday Sing-along which provides a moment to express gratitude and joy together, and the Spring Concert where the students get a chance to shine on stage.
When there are difficult days, we can always rely on Rita, Tanya, Jesse or the other Synergy staff members to help problem solve challenges the kids are facing. The teachers have a collaborative openness that we really appreciate and a willingness to listen that makes us feel cared for and supported. Or even just an encouraging word and friendly smile from the front office on harried mornings can make all the difference. Finding Synergy has been a true gift for our family that we are grateful for every day.
Matthew Runeare, Kai Haley, Zev – Class of 2024 and Viviana – Class of 2027
When we first told Sophia she would be changing schools and coming to second grade at Synergy she was understandably apprehensive. After a couple of weeks with Ebony and Annie in the Rainbow Room she said, “I didn’t know it could be this way!” She noticed that the same concepts were being taught, but with more creativity and fun. We sought out a school that would nurture, and not squash, Sophia’s joy of learning. Synergy has delivered this beautifully.
At first glance, we thought it was a bit humorous that the slogan on Synergy t-shirts is “Keeping a Safe Space” as it seemed like a bit of a basic thing to be a bragging point. We have come to realize that keeping safe space is not simple and that Synergy does an amazing job of this. The safety that is created and actively maintained is the foundation that enables learning and development to flourish. I hear from parents at other schools about the “mean girl” culture and bullying that their kids confront. When I ask Sophia about this, she tells me, “That kind of thing rarely happens at Synergy because whenever it starts teachers address it quickly and it just doesn’t go anywhere.”
Teachers pay attention and really care about students at Synergy. They nurture interests and help students push past limitations. Sophia entered middle school math with the idea that math was a weak subject for her. Dan accepted her dislike of math, but helped her to identify her skills despite this. Through his engaging, accessible, supportive teaching, Sophia has quietly stopped saying she dislikes the subject and her outstanding growth in this area suggests she might even like it (but please don’t make her admit this).
We love the rich opportunities provided by programs like farm school, music, drama and art. This year the wonderful right of passage work with eighth graders at farm school really helped them feel their strength and connection to each other.
As we move through this eighth grade year, we are so grateful for the love and learning that Synergy has provided for our family. Sophia values kindness and community. She has learned how to study and learn in an organized, determined and joyful way. She is well prepared for challenges that lie ahead, but we wish we could stay at Synergy! This is why we give.
Margo, Lynne and Sophia Philpott Levi, Class of 2020
Like many of you, San Francisco welcomed us into its arms 20+ years ago and we were swept away by its beauty, friendliness, and diverse culture. It had a certain spark. It was and continues to be a place where we could be ourselves and enjoy a rich life among different types of people not afraid to challenge the status quo in hopes of changing the world for the better.
When it came time to find a school for our son, Dylan, we knew we wanted a school that had this spark; something different than the rigid, traditional educational system in which we grew up. We toured dozens of schools and when we heard this exchange between middle school girls and a boy during our tour at Synergy School, we knew we’d found it.
“You’re weird,” snapped the girls with typical middle school sass.