September 2011 News

Google Groups: A New Way to Communicate at the Boonton Campus!

Since students are always on their computers, Sage Day at Boonton wanted to find a way to integrate classroom learning with their usual habits. Google Groups is an online forum that allows students to communicate with both their teachers and each other, while allowing the teacher to moderate the available content.

We are piloting this method in our Poetry and Philosophy classes that meet twice a week. These classes now have an online meeting place to allow for continued conversations and cover more depth of the disciplines. Teachers Mr. Fletcher & Ms. Voytus post discussion topics of which the students have the option to (and sometimes are required to) respond. This platform puts more more responsibility into the hands of the students – they can choose topics they want to discuss, and can use their free time to think about and generate their responses.

Our goal is to engage students in their most comfortable environment, encouraging continuous learning outside of the 8am to 2:30pm school hours. We aim to make our students life-long learners and help them to embody the heart of 21st century learning.


Exciting Beginnings at Mahwah!

On September 1st, Sage Day at Mahwah welcomed middle school students from 18 communities.  A comprehensive academic program supported within a therapeutic environment ensured a smooth transition into what will be a productive and challenging year for each student.  First month highlights include:

  • Team Building Workshop for students, teachers and clinicians at  Fairview Lake YMCA. Opportunities to problem solve and develop group strategies to accomplish various tasks had students and staff thinking and working together all day.
  • Sage Day Student Council Elections. The role of the student council will be enhanced this year by having officers serve on the Student Dialogue Committee which will be run by Principal John Immerman.
  • Open School Night on September 21st  showcased the Sage Day program. Parent guests visited classrooms and shared time with teachers and clinical faculty.

Faculty in-service and training began in September on new initiatives in middle level education.  Next month we’ll begin work onProblem Based Learning which will be engaging students in researching and writing about real world issues.


Project Based Learning, Engaging Students at Rochelle Park!

One of the most exciting initiatives at Sage Day in Rochelle Park this year will be the implementation of a Project Based Approach to learning. As a proven research based strategy designed to engage students in meaningful and relevant problem solving, the educational staff at Rochelle Park are currently immersed within their departments brainstorming current real-world issues.

What makes Project Based Learning so exciting is that it is primarily student driven and calls upon them to develop a “driving question” toward solving a current real world problem. Some issues that are currently being discussed as potential projects include researching the origins of racism and its transcendence through the pre-colonial era and identifying a community based project that would raise awareness of this ongoing social class issue throughout the past two hundred years. Additionally, within the Science department teachers are discussing a possible inquiry into the investigation and research of gaseous anomalies/pollutants within the atmosphere and potential student driven solutions toward working with community organizations.

Overall, this problem based approach facilitates critical thinking and 21st Century Skills which are vital for effective transitioning to college and the world of work.