An Innovative K-8 Lab School In the Heart of Silicon Valley

About Synapse School

OVERVIEW
OUR MISSION & PHILOSOPHY
COMMUNITY
HISTORY & SIX SECONDS
HEAD'S BLOG
WE ARE HIRING
After Synapse
OVERVIEW

Synapse School prepares exceptional learners to create lifelong success.

An independent elementary and middle school in Menlo Park, CA, Synapse offers an advanced academic curriculum fully integrated with social emotional learning. The program is carefully designed as a model school to demonstrate the power of blending Six Seconds’ emotional intelligence programs with leading-edge instruction (brain-based, project driven, constructivist learning in school-wide themes).

SYNAPSE IS DYNAMIC, EXPERIENTIAL, AND NURTURING.

A snapshot of Synapse students in their classrooms, no matter what the grade or who the teacher, would capture eyes shining with curiosity and fingers busy manipulating pencils, scissors, papers, clay or whatever else comes within their grasp. Each school year we choose an overarching theme for the curriculum that makes it meaningful and engaging for our students. This theme guides the students as they acquire knowledge and skills and work productively with their peers and mentors. This program envelopes each student in its creative and world-relevant themes, fully engaging their minds in the learning process.

 

headofschool“Spanning the foundational first decade of life, Synapse provides each child with a vigorous academic, social, and creative experience uniquely designed by our staff to inspire each child to use their head, heart, and hands in order to make positive change everywhere, all the time. I hope you will come visit our school in the heart of Silicon Valley to see our community of change makers at work.” Warmly,
Jim Eagen, Head of the School

OUR MISSION & PHILOSOPHY

Our Mission

Synapse School combines social-emotional learning, leading-edge academics, and the practice of innovation to develop gifted learners into the change makers of tomorrow.

mossion

mission2

Innovation joined with actualization

  1. Innovation, creativity, and design-thinking shall be practiced in core academics as well as fine arts and technology
  2. Innovation studios & mentors shall support students in concept exploration, iteration, and the pursuit of projects to completion
  3. Computer Science, an essential new medium for innovation in the digital age, shall be integrated into the curriculum

Outstanding academics that fulfill individual promise

  1. Maximize academic potential through continuous improvement, detailed assessment, and knowing each student as an individual
  2. Utilize a constructivist, integrative, and project-based approach that deeply engages students and has real world relevance
  3. Support the development of core academic skills with deliberate practice, consistent feedback, and focused instruction

mission3

mission4

Change Makers

 
  1. Impact the world in positive and authentic ways
  2. Are robustly prepared for real world challenges that require the integration of academic, creative, and social-emotional domains
  3. Are not defined by numbers or scale: To make a positive change in the life of one person brings positive change to the world

COMMUNITY

 

SNAPSHOT OF SYNAPSE

• Location: Menlo Park
• Enrollment: 220
• Approximate class size: 18; 6:1 teacher/student ratio
• Grade levels: lower school K-4, middle school 5-8
• Accreditation: WASC, NAIS
• School Hours: K- 4 8:15 – 3:15; 5 – 8 8:15 – 3:30
• After hours: 3:15 – 6:00
• Transportation: In an effort to alleviate commute challenges for families, Synapse has partnered with KidzJet to offer morning and afternoon shuttle service to and from Synapse School.
• Tuition: 2015–2016 School Year: $29,800
• Here you will find this year’s school calendar.

HISTORY & SIX SECONDS

 

WHERE WE BEGAN

Synapse was founded in 2008 by Karen Stone McCown, Dr. Anabel Jensen and Gigi Carunungun. This dynamic team is known worldwide for their expertise in educating gifted learners and their pioneering work in the field of emotional intelligence.

Karen Stone McCown founded The Nueva School, an independent school for the gifted, in 1967. Under the leadership of Dr. Anabel Jensen, who served as the Executive Director for fourteen years, Nueva grew into an internationally renowned Blue Ribbon Independent School for the gifted and talented. At Nueva, Karen created the nation’s first emotional intelligence curriculum, Self-Science, a program she and Anabel facilitated for nearly three decades.

After experiencing, first-hand, the benefits of social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum in education, Karen and Anabel were compelled to bring this knowledge to businesses and other schools worldwide. They founded their second venture together in 1997, Six Seconds, and grew it into a worldwide firm delivering programs, assessments and training to enable schools and Fortune 500 companies to fully integrate emotional intelligence.

Karen and Anabel were dedicated to establishing a school that would redefine education: Synapse School. They teamed up with Gigi Carunungan and created a K-8 independent school dedicated to educating change makers of tomorrow by combining leading edge academic instruction with 6 Seconds Self-Science curriculum.

Like many Silicon Valley start-ups, Synapse School began in a Palo Alto garage before finding a larger space to accommodate steady growth. In just six short years, Synapse has grown from 8 to 190 students in mixed-age classes spanning K-8th grade.

Since its inception in 1997, one of the core goals has been integrating research-based social-emotional learning methods into schools. Just as Six Seconds equips adult leaders with the awareness and skills to become more effective, the organization is committed to developing the change leaders of tomorrows young people with the skills and mindset to shape the future, and the wisdom to make it one worth creating. So, in 2008, Synapse School was created as a thriving, rigorous, innovative model of education.

HEAD'S BLOG

A Note About Today: Synapse Values

Parents, Many of you contacted me today to express your

Thoughts As We Begin the Year

Every day, we change. This is true for all of

No Disrespect

“I was just watching students shoot baskets at lunch recess.

Spring Fling Auction Video

Joy/Science of Happiness

It’s Groundhog Day and it appears spring is in the

Thanksgiving message from the Head

Friends, As I prepare to head to New York for

UNDERSTANDING YOUR CHILD

From time to time, I refer parents to “Understanding Your

QUALITY TIME

Columnist Frank Bruni wrote a beautiful piece on quality time

WE ARE HIRING

WORKING AT SYNAPSE

Synapse School seeks dynamic educators who thrive in a collaborative community, work to stay at the forefront of their field, have a genuine love for children and a commitment to excellence. We consistently innovate to find the most thoughtful ways to reach every learner on our campus, to help them grow as people and scholars. Expectations are high for our staff as well as our students. We look for people who will bring a diversity of experiences to our collegial environment and soar when given the freedom to do what is best for students.

Positions available for 2016-17:

Middle School Science Specialist 

Middle School Math Specialist

Lower School Associate Teacher

After Synapse

Synapse graduates are are poised to be change makers in high school, and beyond. Working with the guidance of our Head of School, their Middle School advisors and our High School Search Consultant, eighth graders reflect on their learning style, articulate their priorities and passions and narrow their search to a set of “right fit” schools. Synapse graduates attend a wide range of high schools throughout the Bay Area. To date, Synapse graduates have been admitted to the following high schools:

Independent, Private and Charter Schools:

• The Nueva School
• Woodside Priory
• Lick Wilmerding High School
• Kehillah Jewish High School
• Drew School
• St. Ignatius
• St. Francis High School
• Stanford Online High School
• Mercy High School
• Junipero Serra High School
• Design Tech
• Summit High School
• Mid-Peninsula High School

ADMISSIONS

“Deciding on a private school program is a major family decision”

Our Admissions Team is here to help during the exploration and decision-making process. Let us know how we can help you.

Our non-discrimination policy can be found here.

Contact Admissions Apply Now

 

ADMISSIONS OVERVIEW
ADMISSIONS DATES
PARENT INFORMATION NIGHT
APPLICATION PROCESS
ADMISSIONS OVERVIEW

A NOTE FROM OUR DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS

 

Dear Families,

By discovering Synapse School, you have chosen an opportunity to provide your children with an inspiring, emotionally intelligent, rigorous educational environment that is truly unique in the Bay Area. I am delighted to introduce you to this exciting exploration.

As you attend a Parent Information Night, tour our classrooms, and share your child’s special qualities, interests, and challenges in the application process, please generate a list of five essential elements you are seeking in a school, and check them off. Ask probing questions, look beneath the surface, challenge your assumptions, and ours.

Synapse students are respected as individuals already in the process of finding their passions, developing their talents, and refining the skills that will help them become exceptional human beings who understand themselves, support their families and friends, and contribute to a better world. And parents, as integral members of the team, are encouraged to participate in many ways as we build the Synapse community together.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards,

Marsha Rideout
Director of Admissions

CONTACT

Marsha Rideout
Director of Admissions
Admissions Direct line: 650-468-2204
Front Desk: 650-294-4570
Admissions@synapseschool.org

Dana Story
Associate Director of Admissions
dana.story@synapseschool.org

Lena Chane
Director of Outreach and Special Projects
lena.chane@synapseschool.org

APPLICATION TO SYNAPSE SCHOOL

Deciding on a private school program is a major family decision. Thus, we make every effort to share our mission, vision, and curriculum in the pre-enrollment process (see the application process). Given that we offer a unique program integrating rigorous academics with social-emotional learning, we want the families who join our community to be fully informed and eager to participate. We are accepting applications for mixed-age classes in the elementary and middle school levels.

FINANCES

TUITION

Tuition For The 2016-2017 School Year is $29,800 if paid on a one-time annual basis. Payment plans can be arranged.

 

 

FINANCIAL AID

As you are considering your options for private schools, we understand that availability of financial assistance may be part of your consideration. Synapse offers partial scholarships; however, these small financial aid packages will likely be below the NAIS determination of need. Any requests for financial assistance will go through SSS by NAIS. Learn more and apply HERE. When signing up you will be asked for Synapse's school code which is 192429.

Financial assistance applications are due February 6, 2017 for the 2017-2018 school year.

ADMISSIONS DATES

ADMISSIONS DATES

  • Prospective Student Applications Due: January 19, 2017
  • Financial Assistance Applications Due: February 6, 2017
  • Supplemental Forms Due: February 10, 2017
  • Decisions Mailed: March 15, 2017
  • Admissions Decisions Emailed: March 16, 2017 12:00pm
  • Accepted Student Enrollment Contracts & Deposits Due: March 23, 2017 10:00am

UPCOMING PARENT INFORMATION NIGHTS (PINs)

  • Wednesday, October 5, 2017 - 7:00-9:00pm
  • Wednesday, November 2, 2017 - 7:00-9:00pm
  • Wednesday, November 30, 2017 - 7:00-9:00pm
  • Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - 7:00-9:00pm

TOURS

Sign-ups for parent tours will be set up after you have attended a Parent Information Night.

Register for a Parent Information Night through Ravenna

 

PARENT INFORMATION NIGHT

A Parent Information Night (PIN) is the required first step in the admissions process. PINs are designed to guide parents in deciding whether the Synapse School philosophy and program are a fit for their child and family. During this interactive evening, Synapse leadership and faculty will present its Vision and Mission, and provide both general information and examples of the Synapse constructivist curriculum model. Current Synapse parents will also share their family's experiences. We welcome parents and other interested adults to attend the PIN.

Once you have attended a Parent Information Night (PIN), you are invited to join an optional Synapse School Tour. After an application has been submitted, prospective students will have the opportunity to visit Synapse for either a Kindergarten Playgroup or a Shadow Visit.

Upcoming Parent Information Nights

  • Wednesday, October 5, 2017 - 7:00-9:00pm
  • Wednesday, November 2, 2017 - 7:00-9:00pm
  • Wednesday, November 30, 2017 - 7:00-9:00pm
  • Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - 7:00-9:00pm

Click the button below to create a Ravenna log-In through which you can explore the Synapse admissions process and register for a PIN. The process only takes a couple of minutes. You'll be asked to create a student profile with basic information about your applicant. Once your basic information has been entered, you'll be prompted to start exploring schools. Select Synapse School, click on Upcoming Events and pick the date of the Parent Information Night you would like to attend.

 

Register now through Ravenna

APPLICATION PROCESS

Application Process

1. Attend a Parent Information Night (PIN)

Please register for a PIN through Ravenna here
A Parent Information Night (PIN) is the required first step in the admissions process. PINs are designed to guide parents in deciding whether the Synapse School philosophy and program are a fit for their child and family. During this interactive evening, Synapse leadership and faculty will present its Vision and Mission, and provide both general information and examples of the Synapse constructivist curriculum model. Current Synapse parents will also share their family's experiences. We welcome parents and other interested adults to attend the PIN. For more information and dates, visit the Parent Information Night page.

2. Sign up for an optional Synapse School Tour

Once you have attended a Parent Information Night (PIN), you are invited to join an optional Synapse School Tour. This is an excellent opportunity to see our classes in action, meet our wonderful teachers and visit with Leadership. At the end of the PIN, School Tour sign-ups will be available. In addition, you will receive a registration code to sign up for tours through Ravenna.

3. Submit an Synapse School Application through Ravenna By January 21, 2017

In Ravenna, complete the Synapse School Application form and submit it with the $90 application fee. We recommend that you submit your application early in the admissions season to activate the next steps of the admissions process. To begin your application process and see more details in Ravenna, click here.

In Ravenna, you will be required to submit the following with your application.

  • Family photo
  • $90 application fee
  • Teacher Recommendation form
  • IQ assessment and any additional assessments due February 10, 2017
  • Transcripts from the current and last school year (1st grade through Middle School applicants)* due February 10, 2017

4. Parent Interview

Marsha Rideout, Director of Admissions, will meet with both parents to clarify any questions parents may have and to review the philosophy and program of Synapse School. Most importantly, it is an opportunity for parents to share about their child. The interview is designed to help all parties assess the family fit. The Admissions office will contact you to schedule your Parent Interview after you have attended a Parent Information Night and submitted your application and fee. Please have your child's teacher submit their recommendation before the Parent Interview. Parent Interviews start in October.

5. Kindergarten Playgroup or Shadow Visit (1st Grade - Middle School)

For our Kindergarten applicants, Synapse offers a Kindergarten Playgroup. Students will enjoy some fun with shapes, numbers, a story with an activity, and a game. The group size is about 10 children total and does not involve one-on-one or formal testing. The more relaxed the children are, the better! While your child is engaged with our kindergarten teachers and Synapse staff members, parents are invited to stay and join a Q & A over coffee with members of our Admissions and Outreach team and current parents. Kindergarten Playgroups start in January.

For our 1st Grade - Middle School applicants, Synapse offers Shadow Visits to experience Synapse School. It is an opportunity for your child to get a taste of Synapse by accompanying a current student throughout the visit and engaging in classes and activities. Shadow Visits start in December. Lower school (1st-4th grade) applicants will shadow in their current grade for a half day. Middle School (5th-8th grade) applicants will shadow for a full day.

The Admissions office will contact you to schedule the Kindergarten Playgroup or Shadow Visit after you have attended a Parent Information Night and submitted your application and fee.

6. Shadow Visit (1st through Middle School)

Once you have submitted your preliminary application and fee, our Admissions office will contact you to schedule a shadow visit for your child.

7. One-On-One Student-Teacher Meeting

The one-on-one student-teacher meeting is an opportunity for Synapse teachers to better get to know your child. The one-on-one meetings are scheduled after the Parent Interview and Kindergarten Playgroup/Shadow Visit have taken place. For the Lower School (Kindergarten-4th grade) applicants, the Admissions office or a Synapse teacher will contact you to schedule a time. Middle School (5th-8th grade) applicants have their one-on-one meeting during the Shadow Visit.

Apply Now

Need Help? Feel free to contact us at Admissions@synapseschool.org for assistance in the application process.

Email customercare@ravennasolutions.com for questions about Ravenna.

Synapse School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

 

Philanthropy at Synapse School: Give Yourself

As an independent school, Synapse relies on our community of generous supporters, donors, and volunteers to enable us to provide our children with an inspiring, emotionally intelligent, vigorous learning environment. Philanthropic gifts to the school are essential to sustaining the excellent program that our children benefit from every day. We ask every family to make philanthropic gifts to Synapse School each year in an amount that is appropriate for their family. Feel free to contact Kate Thome (katherine.thome@synapseschool.org), Associate Director of Development, with questions or suggestions.

Annual Fund

By design, tuition does not cover the full cost to educate a child at Synapse. The Annual Fund is the bridge across tuition and the rising cost of operations, the need to provide meaningful financial aid, and from the expense of our unique programming. The Annual Fund campaign is held in the fall of each year. Annual Fund dollars are unrestricted gifts; they are given and spent in the current fiscal year. Each year, we ask every family to make a gift to the Annual Fund and anticipate 100% of community members will participate. The success of the Annual Fund is a testament to a collective belief in the Synapse Vision. We are very proud of achieving 100% participation in 2015-16. In the past few years, Annual Fund donations have been allocated to financial aid, faculty development, and STEAM lab equipment.

 

Fundraising Events/Benefits

Each year, Synapse School hosts a social event for parents and staff where we invite donations through an auction, raffle, or “fund-a-need.” Examples include financial aid projects and faculty wellness funds. The 2016 Hot Havana Nights party was a great evening dedicated to supporting our phenomenal teachers. Though participation and attendance are not required, we are grateful for those who support these efforts and events. These events are meant to be fun, community-building for all attendees.

 

Capital Campaign

We initiate Capital Campaigns to raise money to support larger projects such as updating and expanding school facilities, creating endowments for scholarships, and other long-term, strategic goals. These campaigns are special gifts and are only launched when the Board and leadership have decided on a compelling reason to ask for additional, special investments beyond the Annual Fund. Usually, these gifts can be paid over 2-5 years.

Volunteering

Synapse relies on volunteer support from families in any way that families find meaningful. There are a variety of ways to volunteer from serving as a room parent, field trip chaperone, and fundraising to helping with Halloween festivities and our annual Interactive Lab. Volunteers are coordinated by SynC, Synapse’s parent association. Volunteering is encouraged and is a wonderful way of engaging with our school.

Meet the Synapse Team

The teachers do an incredible job of implementing innovative projects
for the whole class while paying individual attention to each child.” – Synapse Parent
LEADERSHIP
ADMISSIONS TEAM
LOWER SCHOOL TEACHERS
MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHERS
SPECIALISTS
STAFF
LEADERSHIP

JIM EAGEN

HEAD OF SCHOOL

LIZ DAVIS

ASSISTANT HEAD OF SCHOOL

FEDERICO CHIALVO

DIRECTOR OF MATHEMATICS

NATALIE EINHORN

DIRECTOR OF PERFORMING ARTS

NOA MENDELEVITCH

DIRECTOR OF INNOVATION

STEPHANIE SETO

DIRECTOR OF STEAM

KATIE MORGAN

DIRECTOR OF HUMANITIES AND LITERACY

MARSHA RIDEOUT

DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS

JEAN GOULD

DIRECTOR OF SEL

ADMISSIONS TEAM

DANA STORY

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS

MARSHA RIDEOUT

DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS

LENA CHANE

DIRECTOR OF OUTREACH & SPECIAL PROJECTS

LOWER SCHOOL TEACHERS

SHERRY ZHANG

LEVEL III ASSOCIATE TEACHER

MARISA PARK

LEVEL III ASSOCIATE TEACHER

MICHELLE MORIKAWA

LEVEL II LEAD TEACHER

AMY PEREDO

LEVEL I ASSOCIATE TEACHER

ALICE JESSUP

LEVEL II LEAD TEACHER

MELISSA GUERTIN

LEVEL II ASSOCIATE TEACHER

ANJALI PATHAK

LEVEL II ASSOCIATE TEACHER

JENNIFER BOURQUE

LEVEL III LEAD TEACHER

DEVIN MACRAE

LEVEL II ASSOCIATE TEACHER

KAREN GREGG

LEVEL I LEAD TEACHER

HOLLY RISK

LEVEL III LEAD TEACHER

KEIKO SATO-PERRY

LEVEL I ASSOCIATE TEACHER

HANNAH GALLAGHER

LEVEL III ASSOCIATE TEACHER

SARAH CARR-BERRY

LEVEL I LEAD TEACHER

PAIGE CAREY

LEVEL III LEAD TEACHER

YVONNE KUNSTENAAR

LEVEL II LEAD TEACHER

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHERS

SARAI GOULD

COMPUTER SCIENCE SPECIALIST, 5/6 ADVISOR

ISHA JAIN

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER, 5/6 ADVISORY

DANIELLE OLIVER

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER: 7/8 ADVISOR, SPANISH TEACHER

JOHN GREGORY

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER: 7/8 ADVISOR, HUMANITIES TEACHER

ANNE CHANG

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER: SCIENCE/STEAM TEACHER

BRIAN BICKNELL

COORDINATOR OF STUDENT EXPERIENCE; MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER: 7/8 ADVISOR, SCIENCE/STEAM TEACHER

BRIAN LUCETT

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER: 5/6 ADVISOR, HUMANITIES TEACHER

EBEN LAPIER

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER: 7/8 ADVISORY, MATH TEACHER

SPECIALISTS

KATE THOME

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF ADVANCEMENT

MACARENA SOSNIK

ART ASSOCIATE TEACHER

ANDREW HALL

PERFORMING ARTS ASSOCIATE TEACHER

TRINA CURRIER

COORDINATOR OF TEACHER MENTOR PROGRAM

SARAI GOULD

COMPUTER SCIENCE SPECIALIST, 5/6 ADVISOR

TODD ARMSTRONG

SEL SPECIALIST

BRITNEI MERCKLE

ART SPECIALIST AND AFTER-CARE INNOVATION STUDIOS

ADNAN IFTEKHAR

TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION SPECIALIST

DANA KUPER

LEARNING SPECIALIST

PEGGY MCLEAN

LOWER SCHOOL MATH SPECIALIST

NICOLE STONE

AFTER CARE SUPERVISOR

STAFF

NICOLE STONE

AFTER CARE SUPERVISOR

STEPHANIE RAMIREZ

RECEPTIONIST

JOANNE MULL

RECEPTIONIST

MARIA CHRISTABEL FUENTES

CUSTODIAN & CAFE WORKER

HILIARY CUTSINGER

TRANSPORTATION AND BUSINESS MANAGER

 

Contact Us

GENERAL INFORMATION

Synapse School

3375 Edison Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Phone: (650) 294-4570

Fax: (650) 294-4579

ADMISSIONS INQUIRIES 

Marsha Rideout

Director of Admissions

Direct Line: 650-468-2204

admissions@synapseschool.org

PRESS & GENERAL INQUIRIES

Lena Chane

Director of Outreach & Special Projects

Lena.Chane@synapseschool.org

Contact Us To schedule a visit

First Name*

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Are you a a visiting parent, a school administrator, or a representative from another type of organization?*

What is the intended purpose of your visit?*

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