I will never forget the day I found Acton Academy. I was putting my son Matthew down for a nap. My heart was heavy over how we would educate our school aged children – Sara, Simon, and Emma. We had homeschooled for several years as well as tried other local school options. My heart was never fully content with any of the available options. Equipped with my iPhone and google, I searched “how do you start your own school.” Acton Academy popped up and it was love at first site. Everything about Acton Academy resonated with me in a very powerful way – this was my dream school. Immediately I inquired for more information to start a school. Everything about their program revolutionized the status quo and it gave me hope in a better educational model for our children. There are five philosophies of Acton Academy that inspired me to start this journey.
1. Acton Eagles (the soaring Eagle is the school mascot) go beyond the textbook to study topics based on real-world issues, such as discussing science through exploring water quality in our community or applying math skills by starting a business and calculating profit and expenses or writing a menu or persuasive marketing piece to sell the produce from the school garden. Project-based classwork is more demanding than traditional book-based instruction, where students may just memorize facts from a single source and regurgitate on a test. Instead, students master principles covered in traditional courses but learning them in more meaningful ways. Student work is presented to audiences beyond the teacher, including parents, and community groups.
2. Acton Eagles reach across traditional disciplines and explore their relationships. History, science, literature, and art are interwoven and studied together through theme based projects called quests. Students are not bogged down with homework or excessive testing. Students show progress and mastery by the work they produce and points earned and tracked with the official Acton Academy points tracking software. Students earn badges as they master topics which is tangible evidence of work completed.
3. Acton Eagles learn the skills of collaborating, managing emotions, and resolving conflicts in groups. The Acton student body is governed by a contract, a set of guidelines, they all agree to and develop collectively. Students are incentivized by earning badges and eagle bucks (school currency) again correlating back to the real world.
4. Acton Academy teaching staff, called guides, use the Socratic method starting in the second grade. Guides do not answer questions which encourages students to become problem solvers and self-taught. Younger eagles are coached and guided through the learning process preparing them for the Socratic learning style in the upper grades. Guides provide special attention to nurturing a student’s interests and self-confidence. Because Acton Academy uses 21st Century learning tools such as Khan Academy, No Red Ink, and other online applications students work at their own pace and will not be left behind or stuck doing work they have already mastered.
5. Acton Academy Eagles will be inspired to launch a heroes’ journey to find a calling that will change the world. Acton Academy believes in building character and virtue which seem to be lost concepts in many public arenas.
Reinventing education is not easy but the payoff is huge! If you are ready to join a community of likeminded parents and students, we encourage you to explore our web site and setup a personal meeting.
Anna & Chris Biad
Sara, Simon, Emma, Matthew, & Zachary