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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  • Honor at SA

    It’s not unusual for a school to have an Honor Code. Many independent high schools ask their students to formally commit to acting with integrity in the classroom or on the athletic field, and most schools word this in similar ways. Sometimes, this is a statement that is written on exams or essays; sometimes, it’s an oath recited as a group.

    Of course, at Sonoma Academy, we like to do things a little differently. When we decided to develop our Honor Code in 2014, we knew that community would be at its heart. Rather than handing down commandments from the administrative corridor, we wanted to collaborate with students and staffulty to create a guide that would capture the spirit and values of our school. We didn’t want a rote list of specific rules and infractions; we wanted a compass that would help to provide illustrations of what it really means to “do the right thing.”

    Sophie Zagerman '14 and Maya Pace '14, along with Honor Deans Darren Duarte (now Dean of Student Life) and Drew Gloger, led the effort to create the Code. Focusing on vivid examples that captured the culture and values of the SA community, the team collected ideas from members the student body, staffulty, and administration. Then, an SA student—who wished to remain anonymous—created artwork to accompany the selected examples in a simple, forthright style. Today, posters of the Honor Code adorn many classrooms, hallways, and offices throughout our campus. They serve as a visual reminder of the decisions, large and small, that we all make daily to act as responsible, ethical members of our community.
    Even with such a handy guide, ethical lapses do occasionally occur. It is the role of the Judicial Honor Council (JHC) to help students, staffulty, and families resolve certain disciplinary issues in a fair, just, and collaborative way. Comprised of five elected student Honor Representatives, two Honor Deans, the Dean of Student Life, and two other staffulty representatives, the JHC interviews students about Honor Code infractions and recommends appropriate consequences for infractions. The proceedings are confidential, and the goal of the JHC is to help students learn from their mistakes in a constructive fashion. Like the Honor Code, the JHC is rooted in community and dedicated to fostering respect, integrity, and care for others. 
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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, Sonoma Academy 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.