Sage Reflections

Field Notes of an Adolescent Anthropologist

This blog is being set up as a space for reflections at the intersection of the art & science of teaching and parenting adolescents. It is designed to be a reflective space- where we consider what we see in the classroom, in the news, and in our daily interactions with students on their adolescent journey. It will be written and curated by the founders of The Sage School, with other guest voices chiming in. It is designed to help all of us ask the vital questions of how we can, together, develop and raise healthy adults- educated, involved, engaged, and aware individuals ready to face their future- as well as to reflect on the challenges we have along the way. We will be submitting short(ish) reflections on a weekly basis. They are designed to be shared individually or as a package. The writings, like the spirit of The Sage School itself, are designed to be a thoughtful and reflective consideration of the journey, while also acknowledging that we should remain playful on the path itself.

“The adolescent is reaching for autonomy, and reaching isn’t a completed action.”
Robert Sylwester

“The teenage brain is still changing so much, we have to think about what kinds of experiences we want that growing brain to have.”
Barbara Strauch

“The way we teach depends on the way we think people know”
Parker Palmer

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We The Faculty…

  The Sage School started as an idea- a discussion. It was a conversation between colleagues about how we can do better by our adolescents, and better by the future of our planet. One of the things that Harry and I didn’t include as part of the original discussion was...READ MORE

Turns out, it’s all of it.

We have an informal ‘tradition’ here at Sage. For the past few years, recent graduates return to campus during their winter breaks. They visit with teachers, re-join a wellness game, and talk with our seniors (often, their former band-mates) about life on the ‘other side’ of Sage School. Participating in...READ MORE

Sage School: Be Interesting

One of the joys of this time of year is the trickling of Alumni through the Sage School doors. They come singly or they come in small groups. They come unannounced or they request permission to join the senior circle. Either way, they return and bring us ‘stories from the...READ MORE

How to Change the World: A two-step process backed by science

There have been two articles that I recently read about primary prevention and social norms that have intrigued me. They are about distinct topics- sexual violence and spanking- and yet, combined they can teach us much about building a better future. They can lead us down the following path:  ...READ MORE


It always comes down to a tiger entering the room. In response to my own question of “What are we trying to reproduce?” I ask the kids, in this case the 6/7 students who are just starting to explore genetics, “What would I do if a tiger came in the...READ MORE

Gaining Voice

When I was a kid, growing up in the traditional education system, I simply didn’t have a voice. I didn’t speak up in class. I was rarely asked my opinion. I did have a few teachers- one in 3rd- 5th grade who helped construct that sense of worth I needed...READ MORE

Growth Mindset: Math Approach

One of the major principles that we work with in and strive towards with our students and faculty is to help everyone develop and maintain a growth mindset. This principle is outlined by Author and Psychologist Daniel Seigel in many of his writings, but most notably in The Whole-Brain Child,...READ MORE

The Language of Sage

Lately, I have been interested in “ways of knowing”- exploring how different people see the world. A connecting theme in all accounts, whether the stories are about Polynesian wayfinders, or Siberian trappers, or members of a particular political party, is language; not only as a central cultural thread, but also...READ MORE


It seems that it is a fairly consistent trend that when we sit down with Ryan Redman and Noah Koski for our weekly mindfulness practice with the Flourish Foundation, we find an amazing array of crossovers. Whether they are talking about concepts that connect with the academic content of our...READ MORE

Teaching as Craft

One of the joys of working at The Sage School is having an eye towards how to progress the craft of teaching. Teaching is not a static practice and, as such, we as educators at The Sage School are constantly attempting to hone our craft and looking to grow our...READ MORE

“Experimental Education”

Two events converged this past week- our annual Open House and a discussion on vaping given by our regional health department. In one instance, the event was positive- the Open House was about showcasing the various elements of the school and all that we do. In the other case, I...READ MORE

Towards The Mountains…

I have been taking a parenting class, along with a group of others, with Carrie Thomas Scott, focusing on Simplicity Parenting. We have spent a considerable amount of time in this class thinking about how (or whether) we honor our teens and tweens- and with the natural connection to the...READ MORE

Student Voices

This week had a few events come to pass which coalesced around the theme of student voices. It started last Friday at our creativity workshop presentations, which were especially impressive. Watching Molly Kucher put together a 12 foot long “poster presentation” on the history of Nike sports advertising while Angus...READ MORE

Community and Connection

We just got back from our Winter Ecology Field Study at Camp Perkins, up near Stanley, ID. The goals of this field study are wide ranging. Groups of students learn snow science, avalanche safety, winter adaptation of animals, and winter tracking of animals, among other skills. The objectives of the...READ MORE

The Real World- Part II

Reading Harry’s piece last week on the lies we tell our kids about the real world has really stuck with me. I keep coming back to it as I pass through my week. There is something powerfully haunting about the narratives we tell our children and how they linger- how...READ MORE

‘The Real World’ And Other Lies We Tell Our Kids

There is something about the weather that is bugging me. It is neither the six feet of snow we received in February nor global reports of wonky weather, although it is more closely linked to the latter. What has been bothering me is the separation between weather and climate and...READ MORE

Challenging Assumptions

Recently, I had the chance to spend eight days living on a boat. I grew up in Idaho and saw Jaws way too young to be comfortable on the ocean, so when our captain, my father-in-law, told the crew, my family, to watch a series of safety and preparation videos,...READ MORE

When Safety is Dangerous…

If you were to ask a set of parents why they chose one school over another (in this valley or beyond), the lists of rational reasons would probably start flying. One school is better at this thing that is important, the academics are better, the math program, etc etc. However,...READ MORE