Physical education

Health & Wellness is designed to inform, challenge, and support students in their ethical and personal decision making. Students grapple with complex health and moral issues and gain the skills and resources necessary to make informed and responsible choices for themselves. Ninth graders receive mentorship from seniors who have been trained to be Health & Wellness Teaching Assistants.

The curriculum addresses mental health, belonging, stress management, sleep, nutrition, drugs and alcohol, conflict resolution, friendship, questions of identity, digital citizenship, communication skills, gender roles and gender fluidity, and body image. The curriculum is developed as a spiral, so that students touch on content repeatedly throughout their time at SA, but at different levels based on their age/development.


Additionally, our PE program will be incorporated into the Health & Wellness curriculum, and be broadened to include cultivation of lifelong healthy habits, such as exercise, nutrition, mindfulness, and other elements of physical wellbeing.


In the new schedule, all 9th & 10th graders will have either a Health & Wellness or a PE class period twice per week for both semesters. In order to ensure that all students access the curriculum, we will no longer exempt students from PE for independent study or for playing on an athletic team. Focus of the class will shift depending on what semester they are in. 11th & 12th grade students will continue to receive the Health & Wellness curriculum in a workshop model, which also allows them to focus on the college journey/process at key points in those years. They will also have access to active Exploratory courses like Basketball or Indoor Soccer.


The new schedule allows for Health & Wellness or PE to be scheduled in one of the A-E blocks, rather than all students having Health & Wellness or PE scheduled at the same time. 

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The purpose of Exploratory is to allow our students an opportunity to try new things, discover interests and talents, deepen passions, and have fun in a stress-free environment. Exploratories are also an opportunity for our teachers to highlight their own personal interests and passions, as well as to learn or try something new themselves.

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Exploratory courses will meet once per week for the whole semester, have no homework, and grades are not incorporated into their GPA, so students can pursue interests or discover new ones without worrying about their transcripts. These courses are about showing up, trying something new, taking a risk, discovering a passion, or learning a new skill. 

The new schedule allows for Exploratory to be scheduled as one of the A-E blocks, rather than all students having Exploratory scheduled at the same time. Most students will continue to choose two Exploratory classes (one day per week) per semester. Additionally, PE will no longer be housed in the Exploratory program (see above for more about PE). 


Our college counseling program reflects our values of academic and personal growth and evolution as our counselors guide students through a four-year curriculum of self-discovery and project planning. This curriculum includes course planning, college research, application tools, and personal statement preparation. Students meet individually and in groups with their college counselor several times in increasing frequency as they approach the completion of their applications. Students receive both class-time college counseling hours as well as personal one-on-one meetings with College Counselors. Families also receive information and education sessions with the College Counselors at various times throughout the four years at SA.


In the first semester of 12th grade, students will have a dedicated College Counseling class period one time per week and an additional College Counseling office hours meeting time (or time to work on college research and applications) one time per week. In the second semester (during the third quarter) of 11th grade, students will have a dedicated College Counseling class period one time per week, as well as individual college meeting time in the fourth quarter. As with Exploratory & Health & Wellness/PE, these class and office hours times may be scheduled as any one of the A-E blocks.

All students receive College Counselor advising at course scheduling times. Counselors also provide annual College Counseling information sessions for 9th and 10th grade parents/guardians. In 11th and 12th grade, parents/guardians receive multiple information sessions with the College Counselors


During the Covid pandemic, we launched our student-centered Impact program, where students led and participated in projects that impact communities, from the hyper-local Sonoma Academy community to the broader global community. We have been inspired by the hard work, intention, and leadership shown by our students and continue to find the time working side-by-side with them inspiring and meaningful.


As we continue to refine this program, it has become clear that we need more flexible time blocks to allow students along the entire leadership/followership spectrum to grow and learn—from incubating budding ideas to leading the charge to joining the cause. Impact will now be woven through all areas of our program with increasing levels of formality: at lunch, students can start something new at any time of the year and call their peers to action; during Exploratory, students with a solid plan can use a dedicated time in the schedule to work collaboratively with others; and during academic electives, teachers can work collaboratively with students to study communities in a formal setting.