Middle School Newsletter


SAGE Center Mission

As the heart of the gifted community, the mission of the SAGE Center is to ensure all students, as members of a global society, foster their uniqueness, develop their potential, and embrace their true belonging through learning experiences distinguished by:

*Courageous exploration and discovery of passions in a flexible and innovative environment

*Support systems for students, staff, and community

*Ownership and self-regulation in a student-driven culture

Program Goals

  • To provide curricula that focuses on more elaborate, complex, and in-depth study of major ideas, key concepts and themes that integrate knowledge within and across disciplines and encourages the use of higher-level thinking skills.

  • To provide curricula that sets high standards and that demands rigorous expectations for student work and performance demonstration.

  • To provide instruction that allows for the development and application of productive thinking skills and enables students to re-conceptualize existing knowledge and/or generate new understandings that deal with real-life problems and issues.

  • To provide instruction that is flexibly paced and matched to the student’s ability, pre- assessment data, learning style, interest, and motivation.

  • To provide opportunities for students to develop leadership and group interaction skills that allows student-centered discussion and Socratic questioning.

  • To require project based learning of gifted students that represents application, analysis, and synthesis of knowledge.

  • To encourage an environment that fosters a positive attitude toward creative challenges, investigative activity, and knowledge creation.

High School Enrollment

Eighth grade students have recently received enrollment information and advice from the gifted resource specialists at each of NKC’s four high schools during their day at SAGE. They will also hear a presentation about the IB program at Northtown.

The SAGE high school resource specialists will then return in Feb. to meet with students and their IQ teacher in small groups to work on creating their individual four year plans. If you have questions about the high school enrollment process, please contact your student’s SAGE teacher.

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Spelling Bee

Congratulations to our own Jamie Comer who is the spelling Bee champion at Eastgate 6th grade center. He will compete next at the Jackson-Clay County Semifinal spelling bee on February 16th. Good luck Jamie!

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7th and 8th Grade Field Experience

7th and 8th grade students attended a field experience at Weber Inc. They had the opportunity to see how a business is run and how science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics are incorporated within different jobs in the company.

SAGE Alumni

Alumni @NKC_SAGE visited the Innovation Center, took a student led tour, and held a Q&A session with our 7th and 8th grade students.
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First Lego League

Congratulation to the SAGE FLL team, Professor Finessor, who took 1st place out of 38 teams in the regional competition, and then, went on to win the teamwork award out of 46 teams in the championships.

What We Are Learning Now

Forensic Science

Students will work a simulated crime scene and use tools a real forensic scientist would use. They will work weekly on labs designed to help them understand the career of forensic science. Students will study such subjects as fingerprinting, bone identification, blood and fluid identification, blood splatter, ballistics, and much more.
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Students will work in a lab setting to learn about plant growth and management. The labs will promote growing plants in ideal conditions and learning about the structure of plants to find this ideal condition. Students will also design their own plant experiments.
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Stock Market Challenge 1.0

Students will be introduced to the basic concepts of the stock market. While working with a team to invest a virtual $100, 000, students will use real-world data to make informed investments. Students will acquire a basic financial vocabulary and develop personal financial literacy.
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Stock Market Challenge 2.0

Students will take their knowledge and skills of the stock market to the next level. Students will go deeper into aspects of investing with topics such as mutual funds and bonds. Students will have the opportunity to work with a team to invest a virtual $100, 000 and compete against students from schools in the region.

Kitchen Chemistry

Students will look at cooking from a scientific basis. Students will conduct an edible experiment and look at the science behind how it all works. Not only will chemical principles be examined, but also biochemical, biological, microbiological, and maybe even a little physics.

Advanced/Intro Graphic Design

Intro Graphic Design students will learn the basics of graphic design, Adobe Illustrator, and PhotoShop. The advanced course is only for students who have completed the regular graphic design class. In this class, students will develop their own Personal Learning Plan to continue to develop their skills using Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop to create more advanced level projects.

Character Animation

Students will learn about the history of animation and how it has evolved over time. They will also learn about the principles of character design and digital animation, using Adobe PhotoShop and Character Animator, to create their own animated works.
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Architectural Design

Students will learn about the design and layouts of buildings, along with the structural and visual components of buildings and structures. Students will explore design processes, career opportunities in architecture, and solve architectural design problems. Students will also use architectural tools such as paper, pencil, and design software to create their own products.

SAGE Startup

Students will have the opportunity to become an entrepreneur by working together to design a business and use the Fab Lab to create and market products for that business. Students will also adopt a global cause and will support their cause with the proceeds from their business.

Digital Communication

Students will learn a variety of digital communication skills, including filming and editing skills, storyboarding and scripting, special effects techniques, and on camera presentation skills. They will create short films, news stories, personal narrations and commercials using digital film cameras, green screen technology, and Adobe editing software.

Advanced Digital Communication

Students will create their own short films and documentaries, on the topics of their choice, as well as learn to pitch story ideas. They will develop an original idea for a reality show or a documentary; research their topics; then script, film, and edit their final products using digital film cameras, green screen technology, and Adobe editing software.

Future Cities

Students will work together to research the real-world challenges facing the cities of tomorrow. They will use design software to virtually create their own ideal community that provides solutions to today’s problems. Their team designs will be submitted to a national competition where their skills as city planners and managers will be measured.


Students will be using the Epilog Laser Cutter/Etcher, along with Adobe Illustrator, to design and create multiple projects. Some projects may include: a wooden notebook cover, tile coasters, a wooden puzzle, an acrylic charm, and/or repurposed glass jars.

Special Effects

Students will learn how to edit and add effects to film. You will learn how to edit film speed, add transitions and lighting effects, add special effects to make people look like holograms, add light sabers, and much more using Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. Filming will be done outside of SAGE time or students will use videos supplied by the teacher.

Textile Studio and Advanced

Students will learn to sew by hand and machine. They will utilize sewing skills to create unique designs using repurposed and new textiles. Advanced students (7th and 8th grade only) will be using a Personal Learning Plan to further develop and refine their textile skills.

Bio Medical Engineering

Students will extend their understanding of the various systems of the human body, apply their knowledge to construct prosthetics using various tools in the FabLab, and develop various tools necessary to improve various functions of the human body.
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Gifted Symposium

Here is an upcoming date to keep in mind. We will be holding our district's GAM Family Day on Saturday, April 6th at Union Station in Kansas City. Please mark this date on your calendar. Attending GAM Family Day is a great opportunity to connect with teachers, parents and students in our district. On GAM family day, parents and students are provided with great learning opportunities. For this year's family day, we have partnered with Science City to allow students admission at a reduced rate as part of their GAM Family Day entry fee. Students will enjoy Science City with gifted teachers, while parents attend the Gifted Symposium with the following speakers:


Sheila Bonner-parent and teacher of gifted

Topic: "Parenting a Gifted Child" resources and ways to communicate with the classroom teacher?

Dixie Youngers - Vice President School Board

MSBA Delegate, City Council Rep-Gladstone, Community Education, Executive Committee, Marketing Advisory Council, PTA Council and SAGE

Topic: Advocacy for gifted children

Dr. Sherri Fy-Wendt

Dr. Sherri Fry Wendt, PHD is a psychologist in Kansas City, MO. She specializes in gifted children psychology

Topic: unique mental health needs of the gifted child and will discuss perfectionism, anxiety, and depression as they pertain to the gifted population.

Dr. Rita Barger

Dr. Barger has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction: Mathematics Education, University of Missouri-Columbia; an M.S. in Education: Gifted Education,. She is currently at the University of Missouri- Kansas City as an Associate Professor in the Division of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies


To continue to be innovative and above the curve we are using a badging system with our Middle School curriculum.

How do badges benefit SAGE students?
In addition to motivating students to develop specific skills and competencies, both individually and collectively, badges offer the following benefits to students:

  • Enhance CANVAS assignments by providing evidence of a completed task and knowledge gained through the completion of that task and or assessment.
  • Focus learning on specific goals, which can lead to improved quality of work as students revise and resubmit their work through an open badging system.
  • Provide a supportive environment in which students’ learning emphasizes and encourages an action-oriented understanding of course objectives.
  • Foster deeper learning of course material, as the badges are content driven, specific to the course goals and content.
  • Creates a positive environment and holds kids accountable to a professional standard in behavior.
  • Create practical ways for students to learn in the classroom and to share what they have learned in our SAGE progress reports.
  • Add an element of fun to the classroom in a gamification type of platform.

Middle School SAGE Team

Shon Adamson

Robotics and Forensic Science



Melissa Duffett

Kitchen Chemistry


Jennifer Koch

Graphic Design & Photography



Cassandra Shaffer

Fab Lab & Arduino Programming and Coding



Lara Owsley

Broadcasting & Future Cities



Cassie Fogel

Robotics & Forensic Science



Wendy Rust

Biomedical Engineering and Textile Studio



Melissa Torres

SAGE Start Up & Interior Design