Philosophy & Approach

Understand Our Philosophy, Approach & Curriculum

Our Philosophy

The Sage School is built on a philosophy that students are naturally inquisitive, curious, caring, thoughtful, and engaged people, and that our job is to maintain, uncover, remember, and grow their curiosity by creating educational experiences that meet the students where they are while preparing them for the future.

A colleague once said, “Your schedule is your mission.” It is the goal of The Sage School to embody its mission.Community Action is incorporated into our weekly schedule, field studies punctuate the year, the focus of our core projects is human ecology (ecological and humanitarian issues), and we actively ask, “what is the best way for teenagers to learn?”

The Sage School aims to ‘close the gap’ between students and their learning experiences. Students at Sage are engaged in important and meaningful work, work that matters not only for individual development, but for community and planet.

Our Approach

Traditional education does not adequately provide today’s adolescents with the experiences they need in order to thrive as adults. In fact, schooling has changed little from the industrial era through the age of information, even though both our society and our understanding of adolescence have been revolutionized.

The Sage School combines modern brain science with an understanding of the developmental tasks of adolescence to create a more personally meaningful and rich educational experience. Our curriculum focuses on Human Ecology and we value social, emotional, ecological, and interpersonal intelligence.

The Sage Approach Is:


In this active and social environment, students are significant and appreciated members of a community. Each is safe to explore their emerging identity and to express individuality. By experiencing the strength of their own voices within a social and academic context, the students develop a sense of self, a sense of place, and a sense of meaning that is integral to their education. This awareness of self, place, and community manifests in the students’ eagerness to identify their passions and take responsibility for their individual and community lives.


While engaging in meaningful work, students are exploring who they are in relation to their peers and community, and are developing social awareness and social intelligence. Sage students are part of an intimate collective of learners and teachers, and engage with professionals through community action, mentorships, and visiting experts. Our curriculum extends beyond the classroom to incorporate the cultural, human, and natural resources of the Wood River Valley and surrounding areas.


We integrate core academic skills and content into real world experience. These experiences yield important journeys and products, which serve as authentic, real world “tests.” From using individual family histories to construct and perform the story of America as a theater production, to creating and curating a professional photography exhibit around adolescence and identity construction, to growing and selling food while studying the origins of agriculture, the Sage student is immersed in active learning. The rewards of active learning inspire students to take on responsibilities with pride and enthusiasm.