Nearly a decade after opening its doors, The Sage School has earned a major feather in its academic cap.

The Hailey private school received full accreditation from the Northwest Association of Independent Schools last Friday, wrapping up a nine-year process—and, for Head of School Harry Weekes, validating Sage’s unique curriculum.

“I am thrilled at the third-party acknowledgement of the hard work that the school has been engaging in since we opened our doors,” Weekes said in a statement. “It feels like a wonderful confirmation of all that the school has achieved in a short time.”

That process began in 2010, when Assistant Head of School Chris McAvoy filed for the school to become a “subscriber school” in its first year. From there, the process included years of surveys, financial audits, a safety review of the school’s off-site Field Studies program, a 200-plus page report by staff and a four-day campus visit.

It’s meant to take a while—eight years, to be exact, the association says. And, it’s ongoing, repeating in eight-year cycles. The goal: to help each school “clarify and enact its own vision, mission and values to grow and develop,” according to the NWAIS website.

Will full status, The Sage School joins the Sun Valley Community School among the four fully accredited independent schools in Idaho.

Accreditation also allows students to transfer credits more easily, and serves as a stamp of approval in the college process, Weekes said—“a short-hand to determine that we are meeting agreed-upon national standards.”

Sage School students have landed at more than 70 colleges and universities nationwide; this, McAvoy said, will make the process easier going forward.

“It will continue to open doors for our students, despite the fact that our students are already demonstrating success in some of the best colleges of the country,” he said.

The next step? Moving to a new campus on Quigley Farm. That will happen in stages, as fundraising allows, Weekes said.

“It has been an amazing journey,” he said. “We look forward to our next decade, building a home out in Quigley Farms, and continuing to do the good work of serving adolescents in our valley.”

Email the writer: mdee@mtexpress.com

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