The following information covers common questions about Sage International and charter schools in general. Please contact us if you have questions regarding these FAQs, information on our website, or any topics we did not cover.
CHARTER SCHOOLS - general information
SAGE INTERNATIONAL - Charter, Mission, Curriculum, International Baccalaureate, French
Will grade-level curriculum offerings and schedules change each year as Sage International develops its 13-year IB curriculum? For example, the delivery of ‘specials’ at the elementary level changed this year. Why?
SAGE INTERNATIONAL - Admission, Funding, Mind the Gap
Sage International is a public charter school authorized by the Idaho Charter Commission. Sage International is not a part of the Boise School District, instead, it reports directly to the Charter Commission. Please click the links below for important information regarding what it means to be a public charter school in Idaho.
Charter schools are intended to expand and enhance public education options in Idaho for students, teachers, families and the community by offering innovative education models that do not otherwise exist in the traditional public school system. In short, charters are designed to be different and to provide clear education choices - a charter should not look, feel, and teach like area traditional public schools.
When the Idaho Legislature enacted Idaho’s charter school laws in 1998, they offered the following reasons for creating public charter schools: (1) To improve student learning; (2) To increase learning opportunities for all students, with special emphasis on expanded learning experiences for students; (3) To include the use of different and innovative teaching methods; (4) To utilize virtual distance learning and on-line learning;
(5) To create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site; (6) To provide parents and students with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system; and (7) To hold the schools established under this chapter accountable for meeting measurable student educational standards.
A ‘charter’ is a document that a school submits to the State (Idaho Charter Commission) seeking ‘authorization’ to become a publicly funded school of choice. The charter document explains exactly what that school will offer - it explains the school’s purpose and mission, size, curriculum, grade levels, growth plan, etc. In other words, it informs families what they are ‘choosing’ when they consider attending that school.
When a charter school is proposed and goes through the authorization process, it must define what it is going to offer that is otherwise not offered by area district schools. If the charter is approved or ‘authorized’, the State gives the founding Board and Executive Director the autonomy and funding to build the best school they can in accordance with the charter. The school’s funding and continued existence are tied to delivering on their charter commitments. If the board and leadership stray from their charter (aka mission drift), the school will lose its funding and will, in all likelihood, close. Because the charter defines the unique opportunities the school offers, families understand the choice they are making by attending that school.
Charter schools in our area exist to offer educational ‘choices’ that differ from what the Boise School District offers to public school students. Charters are not intended to mimic large, traditional school districts and do not have the ‘economies of scale’ (financially or personnel-wise) to offer everything a traditional school district can offer - they are meant to be different.
Comparing the Boise District to Sage International highlights these differences - if you think of the District and Sage International as businesses, the Boise District is Microsoft and Sage International is a new, growing tech startup.
The Boise School District has existed since 1881. The District constructed and paid for many of its schools over 100 years ago and has run a similar number of students and grade levels through certain schools for decades. Currently, the Boise District has 48 schools with over 26,000 students and a full-time staff of 2,600. District schools often cover 10-20 acres and have their own football fields and athletic complexes. District schools must meet State of Idaho curriculum and assessment requirements. The Boise District has robust sports programming and it’s foreign language focus is Spanish. The 48 District schools are a great option for many area families.
In contrast, Sage International first opened in 2010. Over the last seven years, Sage has grown from 218 students in K-7th grades to our current enrollment of 1,020 students in K-12th grades. Sage International must pay market rents for its facilities - this equates approximately 13% of our total revenues each year. Sage International has 90 employees. Sage International is ‘chartered’ to provide the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and French language instruction - while also meeting all State of Idaho curriculum and assessment requirements that traditional schools meet. Sage International is its own ‘school district’, intended to be different and innovative, with a great deal of autonomy within it’s charter parameters - see below for information on Sage International’s charter Mission.
Area families are fortunate to have excellent, very distinct, public education options; traditional Boise District schools are the right fit for some families while Sage International and other area charter schools are the right ‘choice’ for others.
You can find Sage International’s Charter on our web site by clicking the ‘About’ link and then clicking the Our Charter link.
Sage International’s Charter provides the following Mission and Vision Statements:
Mission: Sage International strives to make of her students citizens of the world by employing best practices from data collected on elementary, middle and high school instruction from around the globe. Instruction will be given in a setting under the auspices of the inquiry-based curriculum offered through the school’s participation in the International Baccalaureate Program. Students who complete the program at Sage will graduate as true citizens of the world community, with particularly well-developed skills in languages, analytical problem solving, and cultural understanding.
Vision: To equip students with the ability to think across disciplines and international boundaries, inspiring them to live extraordinary lives.
As discussed above, charter schools are meant to offer choices that don't otherwise exist in area traditional public school system. The Boise District does not offer the IB curriculum in any of its schools and focusses it’s foreign language instruction on Spanish. The Idaho Charter Commission ‘chartered’ Sage International to be different than area district schools by providing an IB curriculum coupled with a focus on French language instruction. Sage International must accomplish and deliver these core ‘charter’ directives before looking to further expand curriculum and/or language offerings.
We understand the value of Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic and other language offerings. We continually look for creative, cost-effective opportunities to offer more French instruction and ways to offer additional languages. IB also offers on-line Spanish and Mandarin instruction at the DP level. According to the IBO, “Online courses are developed under the IB’s rigorous quality assurance standards, cover the same course content and prepare students for the same assessments as a traditional face-to-face IB Diploma Program course.” We are committed to pursuing these opportunities.
Sage International selected a French language focus for many reasons, as detailed in our Charter Document. Here are a few quick highlights: French is spoken by more than two dozen countries on five continents; French is the most popular second language worldwide; for english speakers, French is the easiest language to learn and makes learning Spanish easier; and half of Africa speaks French. Again, please refer to our charter (or conduct your own research) for more information regarding the value of French language instruction. Merci.
4-Day Week for Students (Mon-Thurs): Students attend Sage International Monday-Thursday each week. When our students are at home on Fridays, our teachers are at work collaborating, discussing students, conducting research, preparing for the next week, and innovating. We refer to these as our ‘Professional Development Fridays’ and believe that providing our educators with a student-free day each week when they can grow and learn is one of the key elements that makes Sage International unique and great.
K-12th School with 13-year IB Curriculum Scope and Sequence: As discussed throughout these FAQs, providing students with a carefully coordinated and structured K-12th curriculum scope and sequence makes Sage International unique. Transitions between elementary, middle and high school are seamless for our students - we don’t have ‘get up to speed’ or ‘getting to know each other’ time with these transitions. We know our students and they know us and our IB culture.
Culture - Social/Emotional - IB Attributes: Sage International’s culture is centered on the IB's 10 Learner Attributes. The learner attributes provide a long-term vision of education. They are a set of ideals that can inspire, motivate and focus the work of schools and teachers, uniting them in a common purpose.
Students begin learning the attributes in Kindergarten and expand their knowledge and depth of understanding of each attribute throughout their 13-year career at Sage International. Through use of the IB attributes, Sage International fosters a culture of respect, individuality, and inquiry and helps students grow into responsible members of local, national and global communities.
Assessment For Learning v. Traditional Grading: As an IB school, Sage International utilizes the IBO’s 7-point assessment scale - this scale is used at the 2,000+ IB schools around the globe - Sage does not issue traditional A-F or 4.0 scale grades. Sage tracks student learning using an ”Assessment for Learning” model (AFL). AFL is designed to continually challenge students and to give a wider range of feedback to students on their performance. If you have questions or need more information, please attend one of the parent information nights on the IB program and/or assessments and refer to the following resources:
Unified K-12th Parkcenter Campus: Our phased, multi-year growth and facilities plan is now complete and our entire K-12th school will be located together at our recenlty completed Parkcenter Campus. Having our entire team together will provide many great opportunities for collaboration and for our educators to form strong relationships with all of our students, K-12th, regardless of the grade level(s) they teach.
IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) Candidate School: Sage International is in the second year of its Candidate Phase for obtaining IB World School authoriztion for the MYP - 6th to 10th grades. This year, as part of the MYP authorization process, Sage will offer offer its MYP curriculum with IBO oversight. Ms. Newstadt is Sage International's MYP Coordinator
IB Career-Related Programme (CP) School: Sage Internaitonal is an authorized IB World School for the CP - 11th and 12th grades. IB developed the CP for students who wish to engage in career-related learning while gaining transferable and lifelong skills in applied knowledge, critical thinking, communication, and cross-cultural engagement. The CP provides 11th and 12th graders with an IB curriculum option that complements the DP. We are very excited to offer this dynamic curriculum this year. Mr. Falconer is our CP Coordinator and he is assisted by Mr. Elkin, our CP Student Liaison.
Administrative Leadership is responsible for studying Sage International, innovations in education, changes to the IB curriculum, Idaho’s education landscape (funding, testing requirements, etc.), seeking input from staff, parents, and students and using this expertise to develop proposed innovations or changes to Sage International. The Board and Administration also conduct an annual Parent Survey of our community where we seek input feedback on all aspects of our school and provide an opportunity to recommend changes moving; the information we gather through our Parent Surveys is critical to this process. For example, Parent Survey input led directly to expanding our charter to include high school.
For large scale innovations or changes that warrant Board consideration, Sage International utilizes the following process. The Administration will present the Proposal at a Board meeting using the Proposal Outline template below. The Board and Administration will discuss the Proposal, including identifying any remaining questions the Board may have. The Administration will respond to the questions/information requests and present these findings at the following Board meeting. At this meeting, the Board will vote on the Proposal.
Please note that the Board and Administration aim to follow the above-outlined process. There are occasions where time constraints require quicker decisions and votes; there are also occasions where Proposals may be discussed and considered over several Board meetings prior to a vote.
Administration uses the following format when bringing proposals to the Board:
As of the start of the 2016/17 school year, the Board is not currently considering any significant, new innovations or proposals. Please review the Board meeting minutes and agendas to learn if any new proposals are considered during the school year.
As discussed above, Sage International is not part of any school district. Sage International is authorized by the Idaho Charter School Commission as an Independent Local Education Agency or LEA, in essence, an independent school district. Sage International is recognized as District #475 by the Idaho State Department of Education. Our boundaries and primary student population match those of the Boise School District. This is an important distinction between Sage and a traditional public school. Sage has a great deal of autonomy to implement improvements and programs that our Board and administration determine are in the best interest of our students.
Our Board and Administration govern and manage Sage International as three highly integrated schools - an elementary, middle and high school. We work to create a consistent culture and, as discussed above, a carefully designed scope and sequence for our K-12th IB curriculum. Beginning this year, Sage’s three schools will operate at a unified K through 12th grade campus on Parkcenter Boulevard.
This year, Sage International has a 460-student Elementary School (K-5th), a 282-student Middle School (6th-8th), and a 278-student High School (9th-12th). Our total student population is 1,020 students.
Sage International’s Board of Directors has authorized Sage International to ”build out” to a maximum of 1,055 students next year. The Idaho Charter Commission has authorized Sage to grow to a maximum of 1,200 K-12th grade students. Our Administrative team is focused on a final growth model at the 1,055 student level currently authorized by the Sage Board. We do not have any growth plans beyond this for the Parkcenter school.
There are academic, culture, community, and financial benefits to having a ”Unified K-12th Campus.” Having our our entire staff, administration, and student population together at a single location facilitates the transition of students between schools (elementary, middle and high), allows for constant collaboration throughout our entire staff, strengthens student-teacher relationships, increases CAS mentoring and service opportunities for DP students, and reduces duplicate staffing, services, IT, phones, etc. - every dollar we save on these items is additional money we can spend educating our students. Finally, having a Unified Campus will help our leadership ensure our K-12th curriculum scope and sequence is being effectively delivered throughout our schools and that our ‘Sage culture’ (social and emotional learning) is consistently infused throughout your student’s career with Sage International. Our team can only grow stronger by being together with each other and all of our students every day.
Our Kindergarten and First Grade students will be located in a separate building. Second through Twelfth Grades will be in the large building with students moving from one end to the other as they increase grade levels.
Students are admitted to Sage International via the process established in Idaho’s Charter School Laws. All Idaho charter schools follow this same ‘lottery-based’ admission process required by these laws. Sage International typically conducts it’s lottery in mid-to-late February. Each year, the Idaho State Department of Education conducts Sage International’s lottery to ensure it is conducted correctly and fairly.
For details on this lottery process (the date of Sage International’s lottery, sibling preferences, how to apply for the lottery, etc.) and application materials please go to the Admissions section of our web page.
No. Sage International School is a tuition-free public school of choice.
Mind the Gap (MTG) is Sage International’s annual direct-ask fundraising campaign. Donations are tax deductible and tax advantages of your donations are outlined on the Support Sage web page where you can learn more about how MTG helps ‘keep the roof over our heads’ and about other ways you can support Sage International.