That's So SA

That's So SA

Connected Community

Human beings learn best within the safety and support of authentic relationships, which is why we pay attention to the whole person.

This creates a warm, accepting school culture of connection that empowers our students to ask questions and try new things. Balancing social emotional development with academic rigor while also giving teens many opportunities to to stretch themselves supports their development of self-awareness and self-knowledge.

Giving students a full, well-rounded view of themselves through experimentation and exploration beyond the classroom—through social and class-building activities, and a robust co-curricular program—is the best way to develop confidence and competency.

Community Meeting

Each Wednesday after lunch, our entire school community joins together for the student-run Community Meeting. It’s the temporal center of our week, and it often feels like the emotional heart, as well. The air in the gym almost palpably hums with the power of 400 people in the thrall of a shared experience, feeling similar feelings, reflecting in different ways, creating a powerful bond.

Although each Community Meeting has its own flavor and spirit, there are certain things we can count on each time we gather. We always begin with either a Moment of Reflection or Gratitude—something offered up by anyone in the community who feels so moved. These are then followed by two to three Senior Speeches: a culminating speech (required to graduate) given by every senior. The suggested theme is broad and our students interpret it in any manner they wish. Speeches have taken the form of lists, an original song, a multi-media powerpoint presentation, and much more. 

After these, we are often treated to musical numbers, monologues and scenes, short stories and poems, presentations, and announcements. Every week is different and, except for the required senior speeches, participation is purely voluntary.

At nearly every meeting, we laugh, we cry, we listen, we give standing ovations, and we learn together. Most importantly, we share generously with one another: our thoughts and wisdom, our talent, our laughter and our smiles, our tears. We are all part of the whole.

At-A-Glance

That's So SA Blog

List of 1 news stories.

  • Working From Home

    Last week, we thought it would be fun to get a few snapshots into the “work from home” spaces where our staffulty are spending their days. We figured we’d get a few photos, but as always, our teachers and administrative staff went beyond expectations, and we received a wonderful cache of images of classrooms/offices/workspaces infused with ingenuity, personality, and the can-do spirit of SA. From neatly organized tables to makeshift outdoor standing desks with a view, our staffulty are making it work while working at home. 

    STEM teacher Dan Karbousky has a new desk with an SA pedigree: “I am really proud of the little homemade standing desk that I am using at my home. It was a group effort piecing it together. Travis Fierce helped me find the wood stand that my laptop is on. He also cut the 4x4's that it is standing on to make it the right height. The STEM department helped me pick out the iPad, annotation pencil, and software programs that I use to draw notes on for the students to see at home just like it is a classroom whiteboard. Finally, Changa helped with figuring out the cables and adapters to make my TV a second monitor so I can see the students in gallery mode on Zoom while I work on the computer. If that's not teamwork I don't know what is!”

    Jamie and Kerry are, of course, working from home together, leading to some challenges. Of course, they have engineered ingenious solutions. Jamie says, “This is my MES (Mobile Educating System), v1. Because Kerry and I are teaching in the same house, it's designed to be used standing or sitting, and to be easily transportable if I have to move from the kitchen elsewhere. I threw it together out of plywood as a mockup, but then things jumped into high gear and I had to throw it into action. It has a drawer for pens and pencils and snacks with a slide-out shelf for iPhone storage, plenty of room for book/dry erase board/teaching material storage, and space for my laptop on the top, or on the bottom shelf. Nothing fancy, but it's been working for me as I work from the kitchen table.”

    No matter where they are working, our staffulty members have been supported by the SA tech team: Director of Technology Sean Freese, HelpDesk maestro Changa Imara, and A/V Technician David Mahlaku. From recommending wifi boosters to hosting large virtual meetings, the tech team has been invaluable during this time, just as they are when we are all on campus. 
    Changa says, “helping Sonoma Academy's staff get online and connected for remote working has been truly galvanizing for me. Every day of this stay at home order, I think, ‘what can I do to make sure our school is getting the support it needs?’ The staff have been so eager to learn how to make this new dynamic work. It's been inspiring.”

    Whether they are working from a tidy vintage mid-century desk, a breezy front porch, a creatively repurposed garage, or a busy kitchen table (perhaps surrounded by their own distance learning kids), our staffulty and community members are making the most of their new surroundings and utilizing their signature creativity and grace under pressure. Take a tour of our offices and see if you can guess whose is whose! 



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2500 Farmers Lane 
Santa Rosa, CA 95404 
(707) 545-1770 
inbox@sonomaacademy.org
 

Sonoma Academy Is...

...is the only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On our beautiful campus nestled at the base of Taylor Mountain in Southeastern Santa Rosa, our students are able to explore their interests and passions in a rigorous and inspiring environment that develops a lifelong love of learning and prepares them for college and beyond.

Sonoma Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.