Sage Admission FAQ - The Sage School gifted education in Massachusetts The Sage School Sage Admission FAQ - The Sage School | Inspiring Bright Minds

Sage Admission FAQ

Q. What is the profile of a good candidate for Sage?

A.  There are many qualities or definition of a child who is a good candidate for Sage.  Above all else, we find the following to be key descriptors:

  • A student with a full-scale IQ within the accepted gifted range.
  • A student who has demonstrated consistent, exceptional academic performance in his/her current school yet continues to seek more challenge or interest in advanced studies.
  • A student who enjoys working collaboratively with others and exploring new ideas.
  • For youngers applicants, strong curiosity, enthusiasm for learning, ability to grasp concepts quickly or work above grade level, and a child who can engage positively with their peers and teachers.  Classroom readiness is key.  This includes the ability to separate from parents, to use the bathroom independently, to communicate effectively, and be able to follow teacher instruction.
  • A student who is well-rounded and defined not just by academic capabilities but extra-curricular interests as well.  Many of our students play competitive level sports or are accomplished musicians, artists, and performers (sometimes both!).

All candidates must be able to attend to a traditional classroom setting and work independently without the support of classroom aides.  Without question, we are looking for kind, empathetic, creative students who are willing to work hard and love to learn.

Q. How do I apply?
A. The most important step in the process is to complete an application and submit it along with the registration fee. Until we have a completed application, we find it difficult to help families evaluate the fit of Sage for their children.

Q. How will my child be evaluated?
A. We evaluate each child individually. It all starts with the application.  In addition, IQ tests scores are reviewed in tandem with teacher evaluations and a student’s most recent report cards.  Each applicant also joins us for a Student Visit Day – a valuable opportunity for the student to experience what it would be like to be a student at Sage and for our teachers to know the child beyond just testing and report cards.  For us, the most important evaluative measure is to see a child engaged here at Sage and how they present in the classrooms.  We aren’t looking for ‘all the correct answers’ or raised hands every minute.  Our teachers are looking to see a child’s interest or ‘spark’ while they visit.  After 25 years of teaching gifted students, we are able to discern a good fit even amongst the most quiet of applicants.

Q. Do I need to submit a complete application before I visit the school?
A. It is our practice to have a completed application with the corresponding application fee prior to scheduling students for a visit.

Q. What are the entry points?
A. We accept students into all grade levels.

Q. When does the application process begin, and if I missed the application deadline, do I have to wait until next year to apply?
A. We engage in “rolling admissions.” This process allows students to enroll at Sage anytime during the year. We understand that identification of giftedness can occur throughout a school year. There are also many families who relocate mid-year to our area.

Q. What are the application deadlines?
A. Rolling Admissions for Immediate Enrollment – There are no application deadlines. We are dedicated to working with your family to make a smooth transition.

Standard Enrollment for the Next School Year – We follow New England’s admission calendar, which uses the March 10 notification date. Therefore, the application must be submitted by January 15, with all subsequent materials completed by the third week of February.

If you have missed that window, we will review your application materials when they are submitted and respond to you in approximately three weeks.

Q. How are admission decisions made?
A. The review process for candidates involves an analysis of IQ score with special attention to not only intellectual capacity but also processing speed. This tells us whether the child will be comfortable tackling our rigorous curriculum. Equally important is the social visit of the child. Through this process, we are able to determine whether his/her potential classmates are a good match. We want our students to be challenged appropriately while being comfortable with social interactions at school.

Q. When do we hear about the status of our application?
A. Application processing is based on the time of year you apply. Once all paperwork, visits, and interviews have been completed, we seek to adhere to these general guidelines:

Rolling Enrollment for Immediate Admission: Response time within two weeks.

Standard Next Year Enrollment: Notification dictated by New England’s Association of Independent Schools is March 10. Completed paperwork submitted prior to February 15 will be processed by this date. Paperwork submitted after that date will be processed in approximately three weeks.

Q. What does it mean if my child is placed on a “wait list”?
A. There are many reasons why a child may be placed on a wait list. The most common is that the class is full. We will only waitlist a student who is a match for Sage’s program and will keep parents up-to-date on any changes that impact that status.

Q. Does Sage allow for “grade-skipping”?

A.  We are often asked this question and the answer is no.  Sage was founded on the premise of offering advanced academics to children without the sacrifice of same-aged peers.  It has been common practice in other schools to allow gifted students to ‘skip’ a grade in order to accommodate their academic needs.  At Sage, we believe the social and emotional development and experience is just as important as the academic exposure.  Our classrooms are teaching at least two grade levels ahead of a traditional school.  For example, our second grade is working at a third and fourth grade level academically. However, the students are all in the same typically-developing age range. Our program offers the challenges gifted students are ready for, yet is balanced by the social/emotional allowances they need. Both our reading and math curriculums are designed to support any exceptionally advanced students that may perform well above their peers in any grade level.

Q. What is the school’s commitment to diversity?
A. If you have visited Sage while school is in session, you will have noticed that our population is incredibly diverse in terms of ethnicity, socioeconomic background, religion, nation of origin, and even languages spoken. This diversity happens naturally since our students come from more than 55 communities.

Q. Is there a Family/Parents Association? How are families involved?
A. The Sage Parents Association, SPA, plays an active role in the life of the school. Its members play a critical role in community building and organizing social and enrichment events for students and adults. We strongly encourage all members of our community to become involved to the extent that their schedules allow.

Q. What additional programs do you offer?
A. Sage offers a variety of academic and enrichment programs during the year. Afterschool programs, like Model UN and chess, help students engage with like-minded peers on different “playing fields.” Intramural activities, such as cross country, are offered based on student interest.

Summer Sage is a robust program that allows gifted children (from all schools) to deeply engage in a wide range of topics with activities that stimulate creativity and innovation.

Q. Do you offer transportation?
A. We coordinate a bus service from Dedham , Needham and Newton. We are interested in expanding this service to other areas as the need arises.

Q. What is the tuition for 2016-2017?
A. The tuition and fees are outlined in this area of the website.

Q. Does Sage offer financial aid?
A. We have a very limited amount of financial aid available, which is awarded based on the need of the student. Most financial aid is allocated during the March/April admission process.

Q. Do you have a sibling discount?
A. Currently Sage does not have a discount for multiple children. The board reviews this idea annually.

Q. If I have questions about financial aid, with whom should I speak?
A. Although we have a committee that oversees the allocation of financial aid, all inquiries should be directed to Nancy Farrell, Director of Business and Finance.

Q. Is financial aid granted at all age levels?
A. Financial aid can be awarded to any student in grades K through eight, but not those enrolled in the pre-kindergarten program.

Q. How and when do I complete financial aid forms?
A. If you are applying for the next school year, it is very important to have your financial aid forms completed by February 15. At that time, we allocate a majority of the available financial aid, making subsequent awards more competitive.

Q. If we receive financial aid in the first year, do we receive aid in the subsequent years?
A. All financial aid requests are reviewed annually and may change based upon the family’s current financial position.

Q. How are calculations derived?
A. Calculations are made based on information we receive from an independent evaluation of the family’s financial position.

Q. If parents are divorced or separated, who must submit financial aid forms?
A. Both parents, regardless of their marital status, are required to complete the financial aid documentation.

Q. When will I be notified about my request for financial aid?
A. In most instances, you will be notified regarding admission and financial aid at the same time. If you are moving through the rolling admissions process, we may notify you of admission before we have completed the calculation for financial aid.

Q. Does Sage help with secondary school placement?

A. One of our signature programs is our Secondary School Placement Program. We have outstanding, personal relationships with many secondary schools in New England. We leverage these relationships, along with our ability to help you strategically position your child, to gain admission into schools that are a good academic and social fit.

Q. How many spaces are available in each division/grade?
A. The number of spaces available at any given time fluctuates greatly. We are happy to provide specific information to you if you call our Admission Office.

Q. Which communities do students come from?
A. Our children come from more than primarily 55 communities from Massachusetts and Rhode Island. However, we continue to draw students from around New England. Click here to see a comprehensive list.

Q. How much homework is given per night?
A. As with many questions, the answer is that it depends on the grade level of the student. The teachers set maximum time limits on assignments for students because we find that they will become so engaged that they work to the exclusion of participating in other activities. With that said, we also recognize that our students have such high expectations for their own performance that they will not stop working until the assignment is “perfect.” Together, teachers and parents will work together to find the right balance for the child.

Q. When do students begin to take language courses? What are the choices?
A. Currently, we offer Spanish classes beginning in Kindergarten. Upon entering Middle School, all Sage students begin their formal study of Latin in addition to Spanish.

Q. What clubs are offered?
A. Model UN, Math Counts, Scrabble and chess are on-going afterschool activities. Other clubs and activities are offered based on students’ interest. Click here for more information about our afterschool programs.

Q. Are sports offered?
A. During the school day, we offer a full complement of physical education and creative movement classes. During the afterschool program, children can participate in programs like cross country or a sports club with our partners at the Hockomock YMCA of Foxboro.

Q. Is there a lunch program?
A. For busy parents, we offer a selection of healthy lunch choices through an outside vendor, currently Cosi. We also have Pizza Fridays. We do believe that parents provide the best meals for their children, and most students bring a lunch from home.

Q. Can you put me in touch with a current Sage parent?
A. Absolutely. As a regular part of the admission process, you will meet many current parents. We are happy to provide you with contact information of other Sage families so you can continue the conversation.

Q. What does my child do when he / she comes for a Student Visit Day?
A. The purpose of the visit is to ensure that your child is a good fit for Sage and that Sage is a good fit for your child. During the visit, the teachers will engage in a number of activities that help us understand your child’s learning styles, areas of passion, and general math and reading levels. In addition, your child will spend time with age-similar peers. This allows for your child to determine if there is a level of comfort with our current students. Prospective students tell us that the day is “very fun!”

Q. Can I visit classes?
A. We encourage parents to visit Sage while school is in session. That way, visitors will be able to experience actual lessons to assess the level of fit for the student. Should additional time be desired, we are happy to set up a return visit. Student Visit Days are separate from parent visits to the classroom.