WHAT AGES DO YOU SERVE?
We serve children age 5 or 6 to 14, typically identified as grades Kindergarten through eighth grade, with plans to have a high school as our students continue with Acton. Our Elementary and Middle school will open in August 2016, with the start of our High School program dependent upon demand in 2018.
WILL CHILDREN BE GROUPED INTO GRADES?
We believe that children learn best when working with children younger and older than themselves rather than split up into groups based solely on age. In addition to individualized curriculum, all ages of students work together in groups. We anticipate our elementary and middle school groups to max out at 40 learners, but in our current space, these groups will be smaller.
HOW LONG IS ACTON ACADEMY IN SESSION EACH YEAR?
We operate on a ten-month calendar, typically in 5-6 week bursts of project focus with 1-2 week breaks throughout the year. If your family wants to travel during the year, or take opportunities to pursue rich experiences during the school year, don’t worry, our flexible program allows families to travel and explore together during the year, without sacrificing any learning or progress.
IS ACTON ACADEMY A REGGIO EMILIA SCHOOL?
We respect and incorporate some philosophies of the Reggio Emilia approach, specifically the learner driven approach, but we are not a Reggio school. Based on our research and direct observation of elementary and middle schools across the country, we believe that early childhood pedagogies (like Montessori and Waldorf) are truly best suited to an early childhood approach and begin to lose their significance and purity when applied to older children. If you are interested in a Reggio-Inspired preschool program, please check out Our PlayHouse Preschool.
HOW DO ACTON STUDENTS COMPARE ON STANDARDIZED TESTS?
While we generally dislike standardized tests, all students will take the Stanford Achievement Test Series once each year to benchmark their progress comparable to other schools, and ensure achievement of the academic progress and readiness we are seeking. Students who have been at Acton Academy in Austin through elementary school (and are now in middle school there) are on average 5.7 grade levels above age in reading and 5.6 grade levels above age in math.
THE STATISTIC ABOVE COULD BE MISLEADING. WHAT IF THOSE CHILDREN WERE NATURALLY THAT GIFTED WHEN THEY ARRIVED AT ACTON? WHAT ABOUT CHANGES IN STUDENTS PERFORMANCE FROM TESTING AT ENTRY TO TESTING AT A FUTURE TIME?
Acton has seen countless examples of children progressing 2 to 3 grade levels in reading and math during their initial 11 months attendance. There are many other examples of students personally closing a deficiency of 3 to 5 grade levels in subjects without any direct instruction. Sometimes a student’s fervor is stifled in traditional environments. Their flame has been blown out. Acton allows those students to come alive and reconnect with their passions, which naturally promotes growth and progress.
IS ACTON A RELIGIOUS SCHOOL?
While we expose children to the importance of mindfulness, ethical principles, and the significance of religion in history and the development of society we are not a religious school. We value and respect each individual’s beliefs.
DOES ACTON SERVE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN?
We are not trained or staffed to serve children with serious learning disabilities, special needs, or who need specialized attention, but in some cases may be able to serve young heroes with dyslexia if they receive special training. We treat each and every situation individually, so if you are interested in Acton and believe it is a great fit for your family, please inquire and we will personally asses your unique situation and the fit of your young learner.
WHO WAS LORD ACTON?
Lord John Emerich Edward Dahlberg Acton (1834-1902) was a Victorian scholar. Described as “the magistrate of history,” Lord Acton was one of the great personalities of the nineteenth century and is universally considered to be one of the most learned Englishmen of his time. He made the history of liberty his life’s work. He saw liberty not as a license, but as the freedom to do what was right.
I SEE THAT THERE ARE ACTON ACADEMIES IN AUSTIN AND OTHER CITIES. IS ACTON PART OF A CHAIN OR A FRANCHISE?
We are not a franchise or chain. Acton Durham is an independent school, part of an affiliate network that finds it’s inspiration and receives mentorship from the founding Acton Academy in Austin, Texas. Our network of affiliates are passionate about revolutionizing education, pursing best practices, and have agreed to protect a learner driven environment, inspire children to start a hero’s journey, and discover a calling that will change the world. Each affiliate follows their own methods in keeping with these commitments, therefore all Acton Academies are not the same, but vary based on the leadership at each school and community they serve.