General/Structural Questions

What is a band? Why not just have independent grade levels?

We group students by similar developmental levels- so Band 6/7 are together, and so are 8/9, 10/11, and 12th. Each of these bands holds students moving through important stages of adolescence- from the ‘Explorers’ to the ‘Social Animals’ to the ‘Local Apprentices’ and finally to our seniors, the ‘Global Citizens’. The curriculum is then built around the key developmental tasks at each level.

What are your class sizes or student-teacher ratios?

Each class can have up to 17 students and so each band may have up to 34 students. When all 34 students are together, we have up to 4 teachers in the class at once. As students move into ‘skill blocks’ (writing, math, and Spanish), the class is cut in half and one teacher works with up to 17 students. Currently, our student-teacher ratio is just under 7:1.

Why just adolescence, why not start at elementary school level?

As teachers, parents, and people committed to understanding adolescence, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to best serve our students and create a place that truly honors this specific developmental level. We believe it is a vital age for students to grow and develop, and we believe that schools were not designed for the modern adolescent. Our valley has a tremendous set of choices for parents at the elementary level, and we believe Sage offers something unique for those families who are interested in following the path of human development into adulthood.

What makes Sage different?

Sage has rebuilt education from the ground up to honor each stage of adolescence, encourage exploration and freedom, develop knowledge of self, and celebrate the student journey. Our school is designed around humanity, not tests. We acknowledge that adolescence is a critical time of transition between childhood and adulthood and a period of growth that is the foundation for development and learning. Here, 6-12th grade education results in people being richly comfortable with themselves, grounded in the natural world, and meaningfully involved in their communities. We are here to help adolescents become their best selves for their own journey and our collective future. The Sage School creates a thriving environment for students through a challenging, authentic curriculum, centered on human ecology and engaging experiences. The result is young adults who are prepared to help create sustainable and thriving human and ecological communities.

My child has an IEP or a 504, will they be considered for admissions?

The Sage School does not have any teachers specialized in learning needs for students with IEPs or 504s. However, we have students enrolled that have various diagnoses of learning differences or learning disabilities. Our flexible curriculum and unique approach serves many students and families. Talk to Chris during the admission process about your child and how Sage may support their needs. In certain instances, parents have supplemented the Sage curriculum with tutors or services from Lee Pesky or other learning specialists.

Why don’t you offer sports teams or other extra curriculars?

There are many amazing sports and extracurricular options in our valley and, quite simply, we chose not compete against them. Our students have played on nearly every sports team at Wood River after they have dual enrolled, and have participated in music, dance, and theater throughout the valley. Kids have even gone on from a Sage education to pursue these activities in college.

Why do you root your curriculum in Human Ecology rather than the more traditional disciplinary structure?

We see the need to produce students who can make connections and cross disciplines in the future. We see that the ‘silo thinking’ that traditional education relies on does not allow for enough creative and critical thinking to solve complex problems.

How are grades and GPAs accounted for?

The Sage School focuses on narrative feedback for students. We find that is the most effective way to coach students into producing quality products while giving detailed feedback about their directions for growth. However, we know that colleges and scholarships often require GPAs for consideration. As a result, when students move into 10th -12th grade, we have a system that allows each trimester’s feedback to be converted into a GPA for consideration.

Do you follow the state curriculum?

As an independent school, we are not required to follow the state curriculum. Our curriculum is uniquely designed around the developmental needs of adolescents. Students will learn through daily interdisciplinary work, weekly community service, traveling through 5 weeks of field study a year, and engaging in many hands-on, authentic assessments that expose students to a broader set of experiences and content than the traditional content could have them do.


How are admissions decisions made?

Admissions are made based on the best fit between the student and family and The Sage School. Ultimately, we are looking for families who are interested in pursuing the philosophy that undergirds Sage. From within that broad spectrum, we craft a community of students with diverse interests, skills, and backgrounds.

What are you looking for in an applicant?

Admissions are made based on the best fit between the student and family and The Sage School. Ultimately, we are looking for families who are interested in pursuing the philosophy that undergirds Sage. From within that broad spectrum, we craft a community of students with diverse interests, skills, and backgrounds.

Are standardized tests required for admissions?

No. We are interested in gathering the ‘best fit’ families, and that means students may perform at a wide variety of levels on standardized tests. We believe in working with the whole student and acknowledge that standardized tests can give us some information about a student, but the scope is not broad enough to fully help us make admissions decisions.

I missed the deadline, will you still accept applications?

Applications are due by March 1st of each year, with admissions decisions made by early April. After the admission deadline passes, applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis as spaces allow. Midyear admissions are also possible, as space allows. If a class is full, The Sage School will placeaccepted applicants into a wait pool. Students will be admitted from the wait pool as space allows and in the order committee determines the best fits for the school. If you missed the deadline, please call the school to see if space is available.

Life After Sage

Do all Sage graduates go to college?

After graduation, Sage School alumni enter a world of possibilities, and our curriculum intentionally exposes students to a wealth and diversity of fulfilling and productive ways of life. The overwhelming majority of Sage School students have consistently sought and gained admission to colleges and universities throughout the country, and our graduates are attending all types of schools–private and public, large and small, liberal arts and specialized. Sage School students have been accepted to over 100 four-year colleges and universities in all geographic regions of the country, as well as Canada, Asia, and Europe.

Do you have college counseling for students to help them get into schools?

Students will have distinct and meaningful experiences, skills, and outlooks that will be attractive to a wide variety of schools. Most important of all, students will enter their post-secondary education with an attitude of empowerment and ownership over their learning and educational journey. In their senior year, they work one on one with our college counselor to find the best fit for their skills and interests.

What does math look like for the school? Will my child be ready for college math or engineering?

A student’s effort and skills in Math class can be clearly seen in our transcript, as demonstrated by the number of courses that a student completes in their time with us. Many selective colleges and universities expect that students will have at least finished pre-Calculus, and more often expect to see pre-Calculus finished by the end of 11th grade. However, this is not at all to discourage those who work at a slower pace in math. The variety of colleges and universities available to our students is vast, and the emphasis they place on an accelerated math progression also varies widely. Finishing pre Calculus in 11th grade at The Sage School does allow for a number of exciting possibilities. One is an introduction to Calculus facilitated by our math faculty, which prepares students for entry-level Calculus at the college level. Another is a course on Statistics, which is invaluable to all students, especially those looking to enter fields in the Sciences or Social Sciences. Students also have the possibility of an independent project or internship using applied math, which would allow students to use their skills in a more individualized context. In short, our curriculum is flexible enough to adapt to a range of student interests. Our teachers will get to know and challenge each child as they progress so that they may be ready for many potential futures.


Why do you have Flexible Tuition?

The Sage School is committed to making the school as open to as many families as we reasonably can. That means, on our end, we have sought to keep tuition low, we have sought to keep overhead low, and we have worked to develop a significant portion of our budget towards accessibility. Flexible Tuition fits more with the philosophy of the school. It allows us to serve people of various means and for those people to pay what is reasonable for their specific financial bracket. It doesn’t create a set of people who receive ‘aid’ who are pitted against those who don’t. Instead, it creates a community where everyone contributes an amount that fits within their means.

How do I apply for Flexible Tuition?

There is a simple application available on this page:

The form is due by March 1 of each application year and must be filled out entirely and submitted by that date. If you apply to the school after that date, you can still apply via the same form, but it may be more challenging for the school to meet more needs beyond the March timeframe. There is also a calculator on the same webpage to give you a rough idea of what your tuition may be for the year. This, we find, is a helpful tool to give you a range of possible tuitions so you can begin to see what is realistic, although the range is no guarantee of an actual award amount.

Are there merit scholarships?

All Flexible Tuition is based on family need and capacity to pay. No merit scholarships are offered at The Sage School.

If I cannot pay any tuition, is that possible? Does everyone pay less than full

Every family pays some tuition at The Sage School. A full 50% of our student body is paying less than the top tuition range, as we believe in the importance of creating a student body with diverse backgrounds and experiences. There are often more needs than we can reasonably meet but we do our best to ‘top off as many cups’ as we can. However, some applicants demonstrate a capacity to pay the maximum tuition range we offer. We do not, as a result, guarantee support to every applicant.

How is the information from my application handled?

Every year, the Tuition Committee (made up of the Head of School, the Head of Admissions, and other staff members) will review all of the applications and seek to balance the demands of all of the families with the capacity of the school to meet those needs.

Will the tuition I pay remain the same every year?

No. Families must update their financial information every year (unless they are not applying for Flexible Tuition). Family situations change every year, as does the school’s economic profile. Every year, a new calculation will be created for each family.

How will I be notified of my tuition?

The school will send each family a letter in April or May notifying them of their tuition for the coming year.

Are there other costs that I should budget for?

This tuition is all-inclusive. All students participate in field studies and travel programs at no additional fee. We have Chromebooks available for student use, and student texts are typically included. There may be a rare instance of a small fee for an activity, but in general, the tuition covers your child’s expenses.


Phone: 208.788.0120
Email: info@thesageschool.org


1810 Quigley Farm Rd.
Hailey, Idaho 83333

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