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.


That's So SA Blog

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  • Eight Days of Exploration: Intersession 2020

    Although the number of students on campus over the past two weeks has been smaller than it is during the regular semester, our school has been anything but quiet. The sounds of Intersession are everywhere: the buzz of saws cutting into wood for sculpture projects, the hum of a robot prototype, the harmony of two singers composing a song together in the Recording Studio, the sizzle of falafel frying in the Teaching Kitchen. Whether they are creating sculptures that harmonize with nature, doing burpees and deadlifts in the weight room, learning the basics of video game design riding camels in Morocco, or walking in Shakespeare's footsteps in England, the students participating in Intersession courses are reveling in the thrill of the new. 
    Intersession is an eight-day period between the fall and spring semester designed to give students opportunities for exploration, risk-taking, world travel, community engagement, and leadership. During this unique interlude, students have the space and support to dig deeply into a subject they are already interested in or to investigate a new area of possible interest as they expand their knowledge in an experiential way. Intersession courses are designed to be fun and engaging, encouraging students to experiment and explore in a way that cannot be accomplished during the normal school day. 
    Our on-campus classes this year range from the athletic to the artistic and everything in between: Set Design, Ceramics, Robotics, Music Composition, Performance, & Recording, Fast Film, Bicycles & Bicycling, Cooking Around the World in 8 Days, Humans of the Bay Area, Inner & Outer Adventure, Art in 8 Days, Sculpture, Screenprinting, Sewing 101, Video Game Design, CrossFit, Dance Choreography, and Out & About in the Bay Area . Each course is decidedly “real world” in the sense that the learning or experiences take place in real-world environments and teach real-world skills.
    Don't let the "on-campus" name fool you; many Intersession courses venture out into the world. In Humans of the Bay Area, students learn the basics of interviewing and documentary photography as they talk with a cross section of the people who make up Northern California their home. In Inner and Outer Adventure, they are getting to know themselves and pushing their limits: surfing, climbing, meditating, improvising, kayaking, and more.  
    Meanwhile, students off-site are having once-in-a-lifetime experiences in all corners of the globe.  Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, our Passport Program allows every Sonoma Academy student the chance to embark upon a trip like this during their time here. In Morocco, Brandon and Laila are leading a group immersed in the study of colonization’s effects on North African culture. In Costa Rica, Colin and Nancy’s students are studying intricate ecosystems and the social implications of eco-travel. Jen and Danielle are leading students through the history of the performing arts in London. In Death Valley, Marco and Amber led a group of seniors through a deeply meaningful Wilderness Quest. More Intersession trips will head out during Spring Break to study a wide range of topics: mythology in Norway; language, history, and culture in China; art and history in Japan; the intersection of sports and gender in the United Kingdom.
    This exploration isn’t limited to students; Intersession offers our staffulty opportunities to teach new subjects and to pair up with partners from other disciplines. For example, Humanities teachers Kerry and Jamie are spending these two weeks far away from their typical wheelhouse: Kerry is working with the CrossFit and Dance Choreography groups, and Jamie is in the art studio teaching Screenprinting with Hillary. French teacher Florence is using the language of stitches in Sewing 101, and Director of Technology Sean Freese is using his background in theater to work with students on set design. 
    Intersession is a time devoted to one of our deepest values: students must be given opportunities to explore and to take risks in order to grow and thrive. No matter which Intersession course they choose, our students are challenged, and by the end of the course, they will be changed in some way. We embrace and celebrate this process of challenge, experimentation, and accomplishment, not just during Intersession but all year long. 
    For a glimpse into this year's Intersession, watch this short video!
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2500 Farmers Lane 
Santa Rosa, CA 95404 
(707) 545-1770

Sonoma Academy 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.