History & Accreditation

Our History

Most schools were not designed to feed teenagers’ neurological hunger for meaningful social, intellectual, creative, emotional, and physical experiences. In fact, most schools remove students from the very experiences that could best support this hunger: direct contact with experts, within community, and in nature.
The Sage School reflects an ancient evolutionary truth: Our brains are built by the experiences we have, and the quality and type of those experiences matters. We learn from people, from stories, and from doing. We are creators, designers, and meaning-makers.

Adolescence provides a unique opportunity in human development. It is a sensitive period of massive brain growth, a time when we develop our identities, when our autonomy matures, and when we practice the reflective problem solving and advanced social skills required to function fully in the adult community.
Adolescence is at once a distinct stage and also the beginning of our adult lives. Teenagers seek meaningful work that connects them with their community, that develops their sense of place, and, ultimately, that helps them understand who they are.

This is why we created The Sage School.

The Founding

The Sage School began as an idea; the outgrowth of two careers in teaching, and the product of experience, observation, reflection, and conversation surrounding adolescents. Harry Weekes and Chris McAvoy spent the better part of a decade examining and working to guide students to know themselves, engage their local community, and enrich their global understanding. As a result, Chris and Harry sought to construct a new system: A school designed around teenagers to honor adolescence as a central and critical window in human development.
Founded in the late spring of 2009, The Sage School opened with 16 students in grades 8 through 12 in September of that year. Since then, the school has grown to serve students across grades 6 through 12.


The Sage School is a fully accredited member of the Northwest Association of Independent Schools. NWAIS is dedicated to guiding our ongoing improvement and advancing independent school education.

NWAIS accreditation provides many benefits:

  • Accreditation provides school leadership with an independent, non-governmental validation that the school they oversee is effectively delivering a quality educational experience to its students
  • Accreditation strengthens and sustains schools, making schools worthy of public confidence while minimizing the scope of external control
  • Accreditation assesses whether or not schools have adequate resources, staffing, leadership, and structures in place to allow for continual improvement
  • Accreditation validates and improves schools through connection with colleagues, and through the peer review process
  • Accreditation encourages collegiality and dialogue that allows schools to learn from each other’s expertise and to share best practices
  • Accreditation eases the transition for students moving from one accredited school to another