The Sage Community – March/April 2018
What do you enjoy most about Sage?
I look forward to the activities we do every day in homeroom at Sage. My favorite project was when we read books, and then I worked with my classmates to act them out together. I got to pretend to be a dog who was very lazy. Our teachers made it a lot of fun! We were able to use different voices for our characters, and I used a silly dog voice. This activity helped us learn more about each other and the story we had read!
What is your favorite event at Sage?
My favorite day at Sage is Field Day! We get to be in groups with other Sage members that are not in our class. We play around and have a lot of fun, and we explore new games. Everything is always a challenge. Every group has a teacher to help them out and teach them the new games.
Why are the teachers at Sage so special?
The teachers at Sage always come up with cool activities, cool projects, and cool places to do the activities! We do our activities in all sorts of spaces, even outside and in the gym. The teachers are fun and enthusiastic, and the activities are challenging and fun and help you learn more about your classmates. Everyone at the Sage school is kind and cares so much about helping you learn!
First grader Ashna J. is in her third year at Sage. Her two older brothers, Rohan (Grade 7) and Milin (Grade 4) also attend Sage. Ashna and her family live in Foxboro, MA.
As a parent, what is most appealing about Sage?
Although my three girls are very different in personality and interests, Sage has remained universally appealing to us. As a small school focused on gifted kids, it allows the teachers to understand each child individually: their strengths and weaknesses. Teachers get to know each and every child, their personalities, and what drives them, whereas at a large school with a large class size, there is no time for a teacher to focus on an individual student, especially when that child may be the brightest kid in the class and appears to not need help in any way. Sage also has a diverse student and parent community which we feel prepares our kids for a global workplace where it is so important to be able to get along with, collaborate with and communicate with anyone.
What does Sage offer/provide for gifted students that other schools do not?
It has been our experience that gifted kids are often not challenged at other schools; this does not help build a strong ethic, because they learn that they can do well without doing much. Similarly, students can develop a reluctance to take on challenging material and not gain the resilience necessary to succeed later when they have no foundation and experience in trying and failing. Sage’s dual focus on academic achievement and social-emotional skills helped my kids deal with typical gifted kid issues, including perfectionism, isolation, confidence, and the need to develop resilience and perseverance through rigor and high expectations.
Is there a specific program that has been particularly impressive to you?
My kids came to Sage in fifth grade and were very far behind in terms of their writing skills. The Sage Humanities Department really helped support and develop their grammar, critical thinking, analysis and communication skills, which are in high demand at the high school and university level, especially at top schools. My oldest, now at Boston University Academy, owes her prowess in this area to Sage’s Middle School Humanities Faculty.
Why are you glad to have your children attending Sage?
Believe it or not, I am most appreciative of the amount of, and high expectations regarding, homework! Unlike in the public schools that they all attended through fourth grade, Sage faculty don’t give “busywork” homework. We have no issue with hours of homework if it’s constructive, challenging, and enables them to build both academic and “soft” skills, like communication or time-management skills. Sage homework prepares the students well. Having a high school junior in our house who is taking challenging BU classes, we all see the benefits of learning to cope with that amount of homework, of learning time-management skills, prioritizing and planning, of completing work to a high standard and learning self-discipline. One of the hardest aspects of being a smart kid, in our opinion, is realizing that not everything is supposed to come easily, and that hard work is not only a necessity if they want to succeed at the higher levels but something they can feel good about being able to do.
Barbi Woolf has two children who currently attend Sage, Claudia ’18 and Vanessa ’21. Her daughter Ashleigh ’15 is currently studying biology, Spanish and neuroscience at Boston University Academy.
Katie Small was first drawn to working at Sage three years ago because of something special she saw in the students when she visited. Today, she feels privileged to be able to come to work every day not only to teach, but to learn from her incredible students.
Katie began at Sage in the Pre-Kindergarten classroom. When Sage developed its Beginners program, Katie jumped at the chance to be part of it. She has always loved working with young children and enjoys finding ways to include her Beginners students into various programs at Sage.
“They have the natural curiosity that Sage is able to foster and enhance through the Beginners program,” explains Katie. “Sage’s programs allow students to develop and explore areas of interest while strengthening necessary skills. Teachers are also consistently encouraged to develop and expand on their teaching through professional development. I love the community that Sage has established. I grow as a teacher each year, just as my students continue to grow.”
Katie Small graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Jake Menashi’s lifelong interest in sports brought him to the ESPN cable network where has worked as a production assistant and graphics producer. His current position in the ESPN’s SportsCenter AM Program entails video/television production, graphics creation, and coordinating with show guests. At the intersection of sports and art, his work experience has given him the opportunity to travel to prestigious sporting events and learn about the production behind the camera.
Jake attended Tulane University. During his time there he was involved with WTUL Radio (starting Tulane’s first ever sports radio program), as well as the Tulane Sports Business Association.
Jake graduated from The Sage School in 2007 and Newton South High School in 2011. He attended Tulane University where he earned a B.A. in History and Communications, graduating in 2015.
The Sage Community – January/February 2018
What do you like most about The Sage School?
I love that at The Sage School the teachers take every chance they have to teach others an important life lesson. I also love that they keep giving us challenges to make us better, even if we are already performing at a top level.
How is Sage different from other schools that you attended?
Sage is a different school from others because teachers create a comfortable environment for us to be in, a place where we know we are safe both physically and mentally. Sage challenges us in a way that doesn’t feel pressured at all.
Why are the teachers at Sage so special?
Teachers at Sage are not afraid to have fun with their classes if it’s the right time and place.
What is your favorite activity or event at Sage?
Two events that I LOVE are the Sage Musical and the Junior Play because we take a break from academics while still having fun and learning with our friends!
Fifth grader Isabella C. is in her second year at Sage. She also attends Summer Sage. Isabella lives in Foxboro, MA.
What does Sage offer gifted students that other schools do not?
There are several differentiating factors that make Sage an incredible fit for our children. One of the biggest gifts has been giving our children a peer group in which they belong and can thrive. Another amazing asset is the teachers. They are extremely knowledgeable in the needs of gifted children and are skilled at teaching them how to grow and flourish academically, socially, and emotionally. They have an open-door policy and are in constant communication with us.
What part of Sage impresses you most?
The aspect that has been most impressive, especially coming from another elite, academically rigorous independent school, is that the administration’s priority is meeting the needs of the students. It is not rhetoric here – it is truly how the school operates. The school’s focus is nurturing and stimulating each child in a way that makes sense for him or her. Competition is not a value here, which allows the children to feel comfortable to push themselves beyond the edge of their limits.
Why are you glad to have your children attending Sage?
While parenting a gifted child is a blessing, it also provides a host of anxieties and stresses. We constantly worry if we are providing our children with what they need. Before we visited Sage for the first time, I spoke with a current parent who said she finally felt the weight of the world had been lifted from her shoulders since enrolling her son at Sage. I am so happy to say that I feel the same way. It is incredible to know that we have a support network in our corner.
Corinne lives in Needham, MA. Her son Landon ’24 and daughter Kendall ’27 are in their first year at Sage.
Kayla currently teaches Grade 4 at Sage, as well as third grade math. Having taught her current fourth graders as a Grade 3 homeroom teacher, Kayla has loved looping with this group and the opportunity to carefully observe their academic growth over the last two years.
Kayla began working at Sage first as a short-term substitute and then soon as a long-term sub. She appreciated getting to spend time in all of the different classrooms and work with a large population of the Sage student body. In her current role as one of the Supervised Study teachers, she continues working with Sage students across grade levels.
Kayla has also taught the kindergarten group for Summer Sage the last two years and led the Primes Afterschool Math Club in years past.
What I enjoy most about working here at Sage is the excitement that the students bring to learning and the opportunities to collaborate with other teachers on projects and lessons. I am inspired by Sage students’ curiosity. Their wonder stretches far beyond their years and their curiosity often influences our lessons. It’s a great feeling to see them exploring their passions through our projects.
Passionate about becoming a teacher, Kayla earned her B.A. in elementary education at High Point University, North Carolina before attending New York University where she studied TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages). After time spent studying abroad in China, Kayla earned her M.A. in TESOL in 2016.
Looking back at her life, Nicole sees her time at The Sage School as an essential part of her development, giving her the safety she needed to grow, explore, and learn from mistakes.
She returned to Sage in the fall of 2017 to speak with upper schoolers about her time at Sage, and the work and research that she is doing now. Much of what Nicole shared with the students resonated with them.
“Being at Sage was awesome- it was the first time in my life that I was able to embrace the nerd. I was able to get excited about my classes and my schoolwork and not have to hide it, or feel embarrassed or uncool. Because let me tell you, in the real world, when you grow up, it turns out being smart is actually very cool!”
After graduating from The Sage School in 2004, Nicole graduated from Walpole High School, and earned her undergraduate degree at Tufts University in 2012. At Tufts, she studied International Relations and Psychology. She then attended Harvard University and earned her master’s degree in Middle East Studies. After graduation, Nicole had an itch to travel. Armed with her degrees in International Relations and Middle East Studies, she moved to Dubai for three years where she worked in the tech and startup industry for two years, and then transitioned to work with the Government of Dubai. There, she worked on Happiness Research, focusing on the experience of employees in the workplace. She looked at questions such as: What makes people satisfied at work, and what makes them leave their jobs? How can we allow people to be more authentic, engaged, and happy at work?
Nicole loved her research so much that she decided she wanted to make a career out of it. She is currently a researcher at the Behavioral Lab at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. She is applying to PhD programs in Organizational Behavior for the fall of 2018. More than ten years later, she states that she is, “still embracing her inner nerd!”
The Sage Community – November/December 2017
Dermot D. has been at Sage since Pre-Kindergarten – ten years! Dermot is involved in Sage Afterschool Programs such as Model UN and Swordfighting. He also plans to be in this year’s musical. Outside of school, he is involved in skiing and is a member of an undefeated lacrosse team.
What is your favorite subject?
My favorite subject is humanities, because I enjoy how it covers a wide range of topics, with English grammar and history all in one. One of my favorite teachers is Dr. Berger (Latin) because he spends so much time out of class preparing great materials for us and makes class interesting and engaging.
What is your favorite memory/experience at Sage?
My favorite event at Sage was last year’s seventh and eighth class trip to Costa Rica. This trip was a great opportunity and experience. We went and helped at an elderly home and at a school where we also had the chance to practice our Spanish-speaking skills. We also got to go into national forests and see all of the wild animals in their natural habitat, such as monkeys, and observe how aggressive they are for food. Another thing we did was zip-lining in the mountains. That was amazing to be able to see the forest from above and go right over a large waterfall!
How does Sage prepare you?
Sage prepares you for secondary school very well, not only with academics but also in helping you with the application process and finding the right school for you. Ms. Tanner, our Secondary School Counselor, helps you with a practice interview, and tips and tricks to do on a tour or an interview. They also have an SSAT course for 7th graders in the spring. This was very helpful.
Eighth grader Dermot D. is in his tenth year at Sage, having attended Sage since Pre-Kindergarten. He lives in Foxboro, MA.
As a parent, what appeals most to you about Sage?
The Sage School provides my children, ages 5 and 7, with a broad range of subjects in academics, as well as helps them to grow emotionally and socially, and to learn critical thinking at a young age. These lessons and structure make The Sage School invaluable for their young eager minds.
What does Sage offer/provide for gifted students that other schools do not?
The curriculum at the school is structured so as to fit the needs of all ages and learning levels. Though my children who attend Sage could not be more different, we find that they benefit in a mutual way from the curriculum that is kept up-to-date. The school pays them much attention to ensure their needs are met.
Is there a specific area that is particularly impressive to you about Sage?
The teachers at The Sage School are by far a standard above any school I have had experience with. The patience, compassion, and communication provided to both my wife and me has been very helpful in understanding our children’s experience at Sage and has helped build trust between our family and the school; we know we can rely on our children’s teachers to provide the acute attention to our children’s minds and needs.
Why are you glad to have your children attending Sage?
The Sage community, which includes everyone from teachers to staff, parents to volunteers, and of course students and alumni, who help make the school great, confirm our belief that the school will continue in its legacy as one that is greatly beneficial to families and the community as a whole.
Sean lives in Foxboro, MA. Two of his three children are enrolled at Sage. Jack ’25 has been at Sage for three years. Avery ’27 began Pre-Kindergarten in September. Sean is a member of The Sage School Development Committee.
As the school counselor at Sage, Amy works to create a healthy environment for the student body by supporting their social and emotional well-being. This is done by meeting individually or in small groups with students, through classroom support with teachers, and in connecting with parents.
“What I enjoy most about working here at Sage is the culture of kindness that is fostered and instilled. This can be felt and observed through interactions with students and staff alike. During the all-school meeting on Friday mornings, this is reinforced and feels like a large family gathering where students and staff come to share and express themselves and feel safe doing so.
I am truly inspired by Sage students; the level of enthusiasm they have for learning really moves me, as well as the amount of zest and grit possessed in order to do it; it is truly incredible. They are each so unique in their abilities, avenues of learning, and interests, that there is always something new to be discovered about them.”
Amy Conrardy, LCSW, joined Sage in 2017 as School Counselor. She earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work from Rhode Island College. Amy is passionate about bringing mindfulness interventions into her counseling practice.
Sudarshan is a graduate of The Sage School Class of 2017. He came to Sage in Grade 7. Sudarshan served as Student Council President and was actively involved in Model UN. Outside of school, he currently studies Indian style violin and vocal, as well as Western style violin. He also plays tennis and basketball.
What was your favorite subject at Sage?
My favorite subject was humanities because I learned a lot about current events and how the past has influenced them. Dr. David Berger was my favorite teacher as he was always willing to spend extra with me so I could develop a strong Latin foundation.
What was your favorite event at Sage?
The Middle School trips were my favorite events. I had the unique opportunity to spend a week with friends in another country or state related to your studies.
What do you think is the best thing about Sage?
Sage is great because of the close-knit community. Students have the opportunity to meet everyone at the school. Sage is place where students get to try new things and develop life-changing skills.
Sudarshan attended The Sage School for two years before graduating in 2017. He is currently a freshman at Boston University Academy. Sudarshan lives in Sharon, MA with his family.
The Sage Community – September/October 2017
“Sage is challenging for me and it’s fun. Everyone is enthusiastic about learning, the teachers are encouraging to students, the faculty is kind, and lots more.”
How is Sage different from other schools that you have attended?
It’s more of a challenging school than the rest by far. Learning is more exciting and at Sage they turn learning into a game.
What is your favorite subject and can you share a special project you activity, event that you did/ participated in at Sage?
In science we learned about bees and their life and as they get older they become scavengers and get pollen and nectar for the hive. We had a play and the name of it was the “Stubborn Goats and the Bees” and we learned that many is stronger than one…we also learned about ants, that they have mandibles and that they have a big nest underground and the eggs are very deep so predators can’t take their eggs. We were trying to see how far the ants could move in 5 or 6 seconds..your child will have an opportunity to learn more about science with Dr. Resnick in 1st grade and up!
Second grader Angeliki V. is in her third year at Sage. She lives in Waban, MA with her family; her sister Evangelia is in Pre-Kindergarten. They both attend Summer Sage.
What is different about the program Sage provides for gifted students?
We initially brought our boys, now in sixth and eighth grade, to Sage in the hopes of finding appropriate peers and instruction. Happily, we found both, as well as an environment which takes the whole child into account. Sage teaches my kids how to be thoughtful thinkers, focusing not only on the academics but on how to use their gifts and knowledge to better the community and the world.
Why are you glad to have your child attending Sage?
One of my primary intentions as a parent is to teach my children to advocate for themselves. Sage supports this objective. Students in Grades 3-5 are coached through a process of goal setting and self-reflection. By the time they get to Grade 6, students are encouraged to lead the discussion during their parent-teacher conferences, encouraging a sense of responsibility for their own progress and success.
Are there specific elements of Sage’s programs that are particularly impressive to you?
The Sage curriculum ensures topics and areas of study are reinforced across subjects. I love the Sage approach to humanities where students explore literature and geography that supports their history studies. Additionally all students in a division cover the same topics, although in age/grade appropriate ways. When my boys, two grades apart, find themselves studying the same historical time period, it makes for many interesting conversations!
Rachel lives in West Bridgewater, MA. She has two sons Jude and Miles who have attended Sage for 5 years. Rachel is a former SPA Co-chair and a current member of the Board of Trustees.
“My students inspire me everyday with their natural spirit of wonder and curiosity that they bring to the classroom!”
Lance Sun teaches Spanish to Sage’s youngest students in Kindergarten – Grade 4. He is also Coordinator of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, a role designed to ensure that Sage remains a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning community.
“As the K-4 Spanish teacher at Sage, I provide my language learners the autonomy, competence, and relatedness they need to speak up and be heard in the global community. In my role as Coordinator of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, I equip the Sage community with a lens to better understand the system of power, privilege, and oppression, and the quiet confidence to step up against injustices.
What I enjoy most about working here at Sage is our commitment to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all members of our community.”
Lance is a native speaker of Cantonese and English, conversational in Mandarin, has been learning Castilian-Spanish since he was in 7th grade and is also known to dabble with Norwegian in his free time. He is passionate about all matters related to diversity, inclusion and equity in education, gamification and human motivation as well as coffee cultures around the world.
Lance Sun earned a B.A. from Middlebury College, an M.S. in Instructional Technology from New York Institute of Technology, and is an aspiring candidate of the M.A. in TESOL/Dual Language program at the University of Rhode Island. This is his second year at The Sage School.
In 2017, Danielle returned to Sage to deliver the first-ever alumni address to the graduating class. Below are excerpts from her speech.
“As gifted and talented individuals, we can often have a very negative relationship with failure and taking risks. Our identities have become entwined with our abilities, and when we feel our abilities being threatened, it affects our personal identity as well…Sage made it easy for me to be so involved in the arts because, although I was not the most talented person to ever grace this stage, my efforts were met with unfailing support and compassion. The learning environment in and out of the classroom at Sage allowed me to gain confidence and skills in the subjects I was most excited about.”
After graduating from The Sage School in 2007, Danielle Shulkin continued her secondary studies at Emma Willard School (Troy, NY). She went on to attend The College of William & Mary (Williamsburg, VA), where she completed her degree in English Language and Literature, with a minor in Linguistics. During her time there, Danielle helped provide opportunities for enrichment to academically talented youth by working with The College William & Mary Center for Gifted Education and running a free, residential summer camp for low-income, high-ability, middle schoolers. More recently Danielle was chosen to be a part of the selective New York City Teaching Fellows program with an emphasis on Special Education. As such, she currently teaches English at East Side Middle School in New York, New York and is completing her M.Ed. at St. John’s University. Her educational interests include international development through education, twice-exceptional learners, and the intersections of education, poverty, and other social issues. Professionally, she is proud of a recent classroom activity engaging students around the school to prison pipeline; she was inspired by her secondary school’s commitment to fostering global citizens, as well as by a unit on poverty she experienced herself as a student in her 8th grade humanities class here at Sage!