Where We Are Going
The Sage School is envisioned as an active partner in maintaining and embodying what we love about this valley and why we live here. Achieving our goals is about appreciating our children, and genuinely recognizing that how they grow up and how they are educated will determine the fate of the world. Achieving our goals is also about bringing this energy and spirit to a community wanting to create the future it desires.
In building a school, there is an on-going interplay between a bigger vision, and day-to-day reality; between where we want to go, and where we are. Part of our work is to remind ourselves of, and articulate, where we are headed. This allows us to do several things: 1. To ensure that we are currently building the systems to support our future desires, 2. To refine and clarify our vision, and 3. To identify potential resources, partnerships, people, and programs with similar ideas. We are excited about the progress we have made, and see our current programs and projects as a solid foundation for our bigger goals.
Building The Sage School is about designing our programs as best we can, while staying focused on our mission and our vision. Designing what we want will require that we stay flexible to learn as we go, and that we are responsive to opportunities as they arise. One magical element of highly functioning systems is emergence…. Emergence is the distinctive property of systems. It is the characteristic of groups in relationship that develop from those very relationships. No one individual or entity can manifest emergent characteristics, as they are the requirement of working together. The best one can do is plan the partnerships well by striving to understand the characteristics of an area, selecting partners who are already functioning, and then give them the space and resources to organize in the strongest possible manner. Dedicating our vision toward education and collaboration sows the seeds for emergence, creating something beyond the limits of our initial dreams.
The Future – A Systems Approach
The Sage School is conceived as a model of a thriving community that is at once wholly new and simultaneously familiar. This is a school and a community transformed.
In our vision of the future, The Sage School creates and becomes part of an environment that manifests the elements of its vision- a space dedicated to educating our students as essential participants in the world. The school moves from simply talking about what can be done, to demonstrating it. The school is a living model of positive change.
In our vision of the future, the community is an active and engaged partner- from individuals sharing expertise, to organizations collaborating on projects, this is a place designed to foster interaction and integration.
Our Strategic Initiatives
Schools are notoriously underfunded, with annual and long-term goals competing against one another, and financial realities pulling against philosophical ideals. The bottom line often prevents increased financial aid, improved compensation packages, and expanded programs. Schools are challenged with student and staff retention, providing broadly accessible education, and creating a distinct signature in their communities.
Beyond the academic structure of the school, The Sage School is working in five areas as integral parts of its business model:
Broad AccessThe goal of The Sage School is to make this education broadly available. Providing support for all families that need financial aid is critical to The Sage School’s mission and enrollment management.
Field Studies ProgramThe Field Studies program is unique. To build this to its fullest expression will require support for everything from the quality of food purchased, to the safety of the vehicles used, to the experiences themselves (e.g., the senior trip to Ecuador, having all students take a Wilderness Medicine course, providing access to events like the Writers’ Conference, et al.).
Social EnterpriseThe various social enterprise programs provide three opportunities for the school: Developing programs that meet the school’s educational mission; fostering community partnerships; and generating revenue. The school is working in four areas of social enterprise:
- Greenhouses and Food Production,
- A Science Kitchen and Food Laboratory,
- Design Studio Space.
Campus Design and SustainabilityThe Sage School is creating a campus that integrates the latest in ecological design: buildings and grounds that are at once efficient and also designed to maximize learning and productivity. The buildings and grounds will support the school’s programmatic needs, which are also designed to be multifunctional- not only in their use, but both as educational and also as revenue generating elements.
To advance this goal, the Campus Organization Group (COG) has been investigating the feasibility of building the future Sage School to Living Building Challenge standards, which are the most stringent sustainable building certification requirements to date—even beyond LEED Platinum. The COG is a committee made up of volunteers from the board, the faculty, and parents and other building and design experts from our school’s community. In November 2017, the COG began reviewing qualifications received from selected architectural firms with sustainable building and campus design experience and expects to select one to begin the master planning and designing process for our ultimate permanent home in Quigley Farms.
Would you like to participate in this collaborative effort? We’d love your input. Links to each of the firms that we received qualifications from are below. Electronic and hard copies of their submissions are available for review upon request from the Office Manager.
Faculty Compensation PackageAttracting and keeping the highest quality staff possible is paramount to an excellent school. The goal of this initiative is to develop an overall compensation package that attracts and retains exceptional faculty, that supports the growth and development of the school, and that reflects the school’s philosophies and values.
The Sage School is concerned with being a vibrant and contributing member of the community. Our future will be as much about the development of the school itself as it will be about more fully integrating the school into the surrounding community.