Every Friday afternoon, students engage in either an activity that has taken on the name ‘Creativity Workshop’ or an independent study of their own design. The Creativity Workshop concept was developed to provide an opportunity for students to explore and cultivate their creative interests or to learn and develop other skills in areas that the traditional curriculum doesn’t seem to satisfy. It was modeled after Google’s 20% Time. The workshops are designed by teachers and may be different each trimester but generally cover artistic or skill-based themes such as visual arts (e.g., drawing, painting, sculpting, photography, beading); music, dance or other physical arts (e.g., Glee Club, Swing Dance, martial arts, etc); culinary arts or skill-based activities like bike maintenance or simple construction projects.
Friday afternoons can also be used by students to actively pursue topics of their own interest. The philosophy behind the Independent Study program is simply to allow students time and support to cultivate their own passion in a topic. Students have the ability to design their own project, so long as they can demonstrate a solid course of study and meet a set of benchmarks and expectations. At the end of the trimester, Independent Study students are expected to present the results of their work back to our larger community.
For both the Independent Study and Creativity Workshops, support is offered by tapping into a growing network of local talent and human resources. For example, an Independent Study student may be paired with a local jeweler to learn basic metalsmithing techniques, while another may work as an intern at a local business that they’re interested in. Recent examples include students that are learning about service dog training, developing various inventions, or pursuing focused studies in academic topics like chemistry.
With both the Creativity Workshop and Independent Study options, The Sage School seeks to provide a place where students are accountable for the time yet at the same time have the freedom to try new things, explore interest areas, create, and take charge of their own experience.