Free Online Learning:

lynda_logo-460x232Many local libraries, including San Francisco Public Library, now offer FREE access – even from home or work – to the high quality online learning platform called

Make sure you have a SFPL online account with a pin setup using your library card information.

SFPL-logoAt you can complete the step-by-step tutorials using your computer. The offerings are pretty extensive and include:

Video Production
Web Development
3D + Animation


Here Comes Haiku


This year were excited to announce that Synergy’s Middle School has moved to Haiku Learning – a Learning Management System (LMS). Haiku replaces Google Classroom that was first used last school year.

Haiku is a more robust LMS that allows for more teacher customization and better student interaction. Parents can also be connected separately to their students’ account.

Here’s our portal:

Students will continue to use Google Apps to create and share their work in History, Language Arts, Science and Spanish classes.

Questions? Please e-mail Russ Curtis, Synergy’s Director of Technology:

See Haiku How-to-Videos:

Haiku Learning for Students

Haiku Learning for Parents Haiku for Parents

Haiku Learning for Teachers

Synergy Summer Tech Camp Continues To Grow


Minecraft class at Synergy Summer Tech Camp 2015.

The second year of Synergy’s Summer Tech Camp continued to grow with new offerings and additional weeks. More than 85 students engaged in tech classes over six weeks that included Robotics, Tinkering, Minecraft, Coding, Video Production and Photoshop Art.

Classes were taught by current Synergy middle school teachers, Kristi Coale and Nisrene Kazimi.  Ian Sicurella, a Synergy alumni and Bard College student, was also a key instructor. Tech teacher assistants included Synergy alumni Dylan Weir, David Stull and Bryan LeBlanc.

The Tech Camp included students from the 10-14 age group. All classes met in upstairs classrooms and during breaks and lunchtime students were integrated into the regular summer program. Some current Synergy students took classes. A higher number of the enrolled students came from other private and public schools in the surrounding community.

More information on Tech Camp 2015

Read the Synergy Times story: The Founding of Tech Camp


There’s a new “Classroom” at Synergy School

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 9.19.18 PMThis school year we’re excited to roll out a new way to connect students and teachers: Say hello to Google’s Classroom.

This portal allows middle school teachers to post homework assignments and announce tests and other class deadlines in one place for each class. Math, History, Language Arts, Spanish, and Science each have a digital classroom set up to make it easier for students (and parents) to keep track of class work.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 9.22.15 PMFor now, if you’re a parent, you’ll need to have your student’s e-mail and password to help keep up with your child’s work. Each of our 68 middle school students has a new e-mail using the domain They will need to log on through this e-mail online via From there they will see all their classes and be able to download homework documents and turn in completed work.

Google Classroom is part of the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) that Synergy teachers & staff have been using for several years. This new edition is also a free add on to GAFE.

FYI: K-12 Google Apps for Education users do not see ads when they use Google Search and are signed in to their Apps for Education accounts. More info:

If you have any questions check in with our Middle School teachers or contact Russ Curtis:

Technovation Hack Days for girls

Tech-logoTechnovation Hack Days for girls. The event is Wednesday, February 12 and Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 3:30 – 6:00 pm.

These two afternoons will be devoted to learning how to use MIT App Inventor – the program that is used to build the apps for Technovation Challenge. Participants will work as a large group to build a drawing app and then in small groups to build “Mole Masher,” an app version of the carnival game where you use a mallet to hit moles that pop up. Girls may even have time to start working on creating their own apps.

IHS is located at 150 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.

Register to participate in one or both Hack Days at International High School

New List: Best Apps for Teaching & Learning 2013

AASL_BestApp 2013The American Association of School Librarians is out with a new list of their favorite iOS and Android apps for education:

“The apps recognized as Best Apps for Teaching & Learning are of exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning as embodied in the AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. The apps foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration and are user friendly to encourage a community of learners to explore and discover.”

See the full list:

Tech tip: Convert Text into an MP3 audio file

Do you need to convert large text files into audio files? Here’s a helpful tech support video from Urban High School that walks you through converting digital text in to a MP3 file. You can then listen to this file on your computer or iOS device.

There’s also Text to Speech in the Safari Browser: Using a Mac computer. Open up Safari and you can highlight text and have your Mac read a web page text to you. Instructions

If you’re a Google Chrome user you’ll need to add Speakit! through the Google Chrome Store.