Our mission is to serve gifted children. There are many definitions of giftedness, and we employ a flexible approach in identifying the students who will be most successful at Sage. However, the following information may guide both admissions and parents in determining whether or not our school is an appropriate placement for a particular child.
What is the definition of giftedness at Sage?
Sage most closely follows the Renzulli concept of giftedness: “The interaction among three basic clusters of human traits—these clusters being above-average general abilities, high levels of task commitment, and high levels of creativity. Gifted and talented children are those possessing or capable of developing this composite set of traits and applying them to any potentially valuable area of human performance” (Renzulli, Joseph S. “What Makes Giftedness? Reexamining a Definition.” Phi Delta Kappan. 60 (November 1978): 180-184, 261. Reprint. Moravia, NY: Chronicle Guidance (1979) 1-6). More specifically at Sage, we consider the interaction of the following factors: Academic potential as measured by standardized IQ testing, willingness to complete a broad variety of work and ability to commit to a particular task or endeavor, imaginative ability, and perhaps most importantly, curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. Individual students vary in strength within these factors.
Why is IQ testing so important? Experience demonstrates that for success at Sage, students must have a basic aptitude level. While testing is imperfect and not the only measure we use, it does provide a valuable indication of potential.
Along with IQ testing, we consider a child’s ability to make broad connections between ideas, concepts, and facts as a measure of above-average general abilities. Imaginative abilities or creativity are evident in answers to questions, discussion, the arts, general problem solving, and most other aspects of school life.
Renzulli notes the importance of “nonintellective” or motivational factors as important to the definition of giftedness, and these factors are critical to success at Sage (Renzulli 2). For us, these nonintellective factors include Renzulli’s idea of task commitment and curiosity.
Achievement is often a measure of productivity and the ability to complete work. Students must be able to demonstrate their learning through papers, problems, labs, dances, paintings, etc. We do not expect students to know how to do these things as much as we expect them to be willing participants in the process. We will teach them how.
Curiosity and a passion for learning are perhaps the most important qualities we consider in our definition of giftedness. Sage faculty have described this in many ways: The sparkle, the glimmer, or the burn, qualities we observe in our most successful students.