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Would your child love it here?

“True learning – learning that is permanent and useful, that leads to intelligent action and further learning – can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner.”
— John Holt, American author and educator

Focusing on learning design versus covering a fixed curriculum empowers children to explore and accelerates learning faster than you can imagine: 

We ask questions…
not tell answers. (Why?)

We ask questions…
not tell answers. (Why?)

Asking great questions is more powerful than telling answers.

Interesting questions, when pursued by a curious mind willing to take risks and persevere through challenge, leads to exploration, discoveries, and advances. Knowing who you are and what you’re passionate about will more likely lead to a happy and successful life. 

We have real-world Quests… 
not busy work. (Why?)

We have real-world Quests… 
not busy work. (Why?)

How do you deliver hands-on, real world skills, in a way that motivates Heroes?

The answer: Quests.

Start with a series of individual and team based real-world challenges. Tie them together with a compelling narrative, where you feel as if the fate of the world rests in your hands. As you compete individually or in a team, you must conquer one challenge to move forward to the next, ending with a high stakes public exhibition that’s led 100% by you and your fellow students. Now you have a compelling Quest.

We guide Socratically…
not lecture. (Why?)

We guide Socratically…
not lecture. (Why?)

The “Most Likely To Be Asked” question about Acton Academy is centered on "Why Guides?"

Teaching and educating are not the same thing. A Guide’s role is to ignite the imagination, instill a love of learning, and provide processes to help young learners figure out how to overcome challenges on their own. 

"Socratic" means you're not given the answer. Guides discuss perseverance, grit, working in your “challenge zone”, and strategies for problem solving, getting unstuck, and handling frustration. Then Guides step out of the way as you figure out how to solve problems on your own and with each other, progressing at your own pace through a collection of game based adaptive math programs. With this approach, it's not uncommon to progress multiple grade levels each year. More importantly, you'll learn the valuable lifelong lesson of “learning how to learn”. 

Guides ask questions, tell stories, and equip learners with problem solving strategies. (Guides never lecture)
Guides listen to you, finds what interests you, and provides you opportunities to further explore your interests. 
Guides act as role models.
Guides speak only with respect, encouragement, and truth.

Guide’s use only Growth Mindset language.

Learn how Guides support your child's growing spirits in this post on the Blog for Acton Parents.

We have mixed-age studios…
not classrooms. (Why?)

We have mixed-age studios…
not classrooms. (Why?)

Everyone benefits when children of different ages mix.

You won’t see rows of desks organized around a teacher’s blackboard, because the most meaningful learning happens peer to peer.  You also won’t see children separated by age. At Acton, like in the real world, you'll learn how to work together in mixed-aged community.

From the book, The One World Schoolhouse

“There is nothing natural about segregating kids by age. That isn’t how families work; isn’t what the world looks like; and it runs counter to the way that kids have learned and socialized for most of human history. Even the Mickey Mouse Club included kids of different ages, and as anyone who’s ever spent time around children can tell you, both younger and older kids benefit when different ages mix. The older ones take responsibility for the younger ones. The younger ones look up to and emulate the older ones. Everyone seems to act more mature. Both younger and older rise to the occasion. Take away this mix of ages and everybody loses something. Younger kids lose heroes and idols and mentors. Perhaps even more damagingly, older kids are deprived of a chance to be leaders, to exercise responsibility, and are thereby infantilized.”

We have student governance…
not rules. (Why?)

We have student governance…
not rules. (Why?)

Children care about solutions they come up with.

We believe our young people deserve to be given the freedom to come up with their own solutions. At Acton Academy, you'll collaborate and negotiate with your classmates on how the studio should be governed. As issues in the studio inevitably arise, you'll work together to figure out solutions.

For adults, our natural instinct is to want order and it can be difficult to resist offering input when witnessing children struggle with a problem. Yet young people are far more resilient, adaptable, and capable than we adults often realize.

“I can’t count the number of times I’ve been tempted to step in and help solve an issue the young learners were having, only to step back and moments later watch them come up with a solution on their own.  A solution they cared about and took ownership of, all while experiencing the invaluable lessons of self-governance.” - Scott Taylor, owner Acton Academy Brighton

We have badges, portfolios, and public exhibitions…
not grades. (Why?)

We have badges, portfolios, and public exhibitions…
not grades. (Why?)

In a mastery-based approach – designed to encourage a growth mindset – assigning grades is just not relevant or helpful. 

Letter Grades attempt to serve two purposes: to provide motivation and to track progress. 

For motivation, self-set goals, peer accountability and group celebrations are more powerful motivators than teacher assigned grades. Quality of work is measured by peer critique plus comparison to previous work and world class examples.  We have found that these real world yardsticks deliver rigor and excellence far better than an assessment given by an adult educator.
 
For tracking, grades represent gaps at a given snapshot in time and reinforces a fixed mindset. In a mastery approach, a student stays on a topic until he or she understands it. Topics are either “mastered” or “not mastered yet”. Tracking this way reinforces a growth mindset and assigning letter grades is no longer a relevant way to measure progress.

We encourage family time and hobbies after school...
not homework. (Why?)

We encourage family time and hobbies after school...
not homework. (Why?)

At Acton, life if the big homework assignment.

There is no (need for) assigned homework.
 

School is one important piece of the learning experience in your child's life. But there is much to discover when you have time and space to explore, play with friends, compete in sports, write a book, memorize a song, join a club, play games, be alone, master an artistic discipline or dabble in a variety of activities. You're of course welcome to choose to continue your work at home. Clearly a lot of reading is going on within Acton homes. These are wonderful things when chosen freely. We honor and embrace the fact that your family life is rich and full. 

When the question about homework arises from prospective parents, their main concern is that without homework, how will children learn time management? One of the life skills our students practice everyday is managing their own core skills work time in order to reach their goals. Part of this is considering cost/benefit tradeoffs and learning how small decisions impact progress towards goals. Time management becomes a habit through this daily discipline.

Learn more how students learn to set goals and manage their time in this post on the Blog for Acton Parents.

We value creative & unique thinking…
not rote memorization. (Why?)

We value creative & unique thinking…
not rote memorization. (Why?)

In the 21st Century, curiosity, character and mindset are ten times more important than memorized facts.

In an age of Google, it makes little sense to build a curriculum around recalling correct answers. Instead you'll focus on real world challenges that matter to you. And you'll engage in Socratic-style discussions that invite you to form new ideas instead of simply recalling answer. We believe that solving difficult problems and making tough choices leads to better life-long decision making.

We have personalized mastery learning…
not teaching based on the "common denominator". (Why?)

We have personalized mastery learning…
not teaching based on the "common denominator". (Why?)

People learn at different rates.

"Some people seem to catch onto things in quick bursts of intuition; others grunt and grind their way toward comprehension. Quicker isn’t necessarily smarter and slower definitely isn’t dumber. Further, catching on quickly isn’t the same as understanding thoroughly. So the pace of learning is a question of style, not relative intelligence. The tortoise may very well end up with more knowledge – more useful, lasting knowledge – than the hare.

“Moreover, a student who is slow at learning arithmetic may be off the charts when it comes to the abstract creativity needed in higher mathematics. The point is that whether there are ten or twenty or fifty kids in a class, there will be disparities in their grasp of a topic at any given time. Even a one-to-one ratio is not ideal if the teacher feels forced to march the student along at a state-mandated pace, regardless of how well the concepts are understood. When that arbitrary “snapshot” moment comes along – when it’s time to wrap up the module, give the exam, and move on – there will still likely be some students who haven’t quite figured things out. They could probably figure things out eventually – but that’s exactly the problem. The standard classroom model doesn’t really allow for eventual understanding. The class – whatever the size – has moved on…

“Lessons should be paced to the individual student’s needs, not some arbitrary calendar; and that basic concepts need to be deeply understood if students are to succeed at mastering more advanced ones.

Excerpt from his book The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined
By Sal Khan, creator of KhanAcademy.org,

WE TURN LEARNING UPSIDE DOWN (Why?)

WE TURN LEARNING UPSIDE DOWN (Why?)

Our biggest point of separation is the upside-down power structure that pushes decision making to the children.

When adults serve as authority figures, much potential learning is lost. However when children are given room to struggle, to figure things out on their own, and have support from mentors, peers, and guides who know them well and holds them accountable, they learn far more than we can imagine.

Would your child love it here?

“True learning – learning that is permanent and useful, that leads to intelligent action and further learning – can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner.”
— John Holt, American author and educator

Adapting to children's interests versus marching along to an inflexible curriculum enables children to explore and accelerates learning faster than you can imagine: 

Hands-on Projects… 
not busy work. (Why?)

Hands-on Projects… 
not busy work. (Why?)

How do you deliver hands-on, real world skills, in a way that motivates young Heroes?

The answer: Quest-based Projects.

Start with a series of individual and team based real-world challenges. Tie them together with a compelling narrative, where you feel as if the fate of the world rests in your hands. As you compete individually or in a team, you must conquer one challenge to move forward to the next, ending with a high stakes public exhibition that’s led 100% by you and your fellow students. Now you have a compelling Quest.

Socratic Guiding…
not lecturing. (Why?)

Socratic Guiding…
not lecturing. (Why?)

The “Most Likely To Be Asked” question about Acton Academy is centered on "Why Guides?"

Teaching and educating are not the same thing. A Guide’s role is to ignite the imagination, instill a love of learning, and provide processes to help young learners figure out how to overcome challenges on their own. 

"Socratic" means you're not given the answer. Guides discuss perseverance, grit, working in your “challenge zone”, and strategies for problem solving, getting unstuck, and handling frustration. Then Guides step out of the way as you figure out how to solve problems on your own and with each other, progressing at your own pace through a collection of game based adaptive math programs. With this approach, it's not uncommon to progress multiple grade levels each year. More importantly, you'll learn the valuable lifelong lesson of “learning how to learn”. 

Guides ask questions, tell stories, and equip learners with problem solving strategies. (Guides never lecture)
Guides listen to you, finds what interests you, and provides you opportunities to further explore your interests. 
Guides act as role models.
Guides speak only with respect, encouragement, and truth.

Guide’s use only Growth Mindset language.

Learn how Guides support your child's growing spirits in this post on the Blog for Acton Parents.

Mixed-age studio…
not classrooms. (Why?)

Mixed-age studio…
not classrooms. (Why?)

Leadership grows when ages mix.

You won’t see rows of desks organized around a teacher’s blackboard, because the most meaningful learning happens peer to peer.  You also won’t see children separated by age. At Acton, like in the real world, you'll learn how to work together in mixed-aged community.

From the book, The One World Schoolhouse

“There is nothing natural about segregating kids by age. That isn’t how families work; isn’t what the world looks like; and it runs counter to the way that kids have learned and socialized for most of human history. Even the Mickey Mouse Club included kids of different ages, and as anyone who’s ever spent time around children can tell you, both younger and older kids benefit when different ages mix. The older ones take responsibility for the younger ones. The younger ones look up to and emulate the older ones. Everyone seems to act more mature. Both younger and older rise to the occasion. Take away this mix of ages and everybody loses something. Younger kids lose heroes and idols and mentors. Perhaps even more damagingly, older kids are deprived of a chance to be leaders.”

Student governance…
not rules. (Why?)

Student governance…
not rules. (Why?)

Children care about solutions they come up with.

We believe young people deserve to be given the freedom to come up with their own solutions. Children at Acton collaborate and negotiate with each other on how the studio should be governed. As issues in the studio inevitably arise, they work together to come up with solutions.

For adults, our natural instinct is to want order and it can be difficult to resist offering input when witnessing children struggle with a problem. Yet young people are far more resilient, adaptable, and capable than we adults often realize.

“I can’t count the number of times I’ve been tempted to step in and help solve an issue the young learners were having, only to step back and moments later watch them come up with a solution on their own.  A solution they cared about and took ownership of, all while experiencing the invaluable lessons of self-governance.” - Scott Taylor, owner Acton Academy Brighton

Badges, portfolios, & public exhibitions…
not grades. (Why?)

Badges, portfolios, & public exhibitions…
not grades. (Why?)

In a mastery approach that's designed to encourage a growth mindset, assigning grades is just not relevant... or helpful. 

Letter Grades attempt to serve two purposes: to provide motivation and to track progress. 

For motivation, self-set goals, peer accountability and group celebrations are better motivators than teacher assigned grades. Quality of work is measured by peer critique plus comparison to previous work and world class examples.  We have found that these real world yardsticks deliver rigor and excellence far better than an assessment given by an adult educator.
 
For tracking, grades represent gaps at a given snapshot in time and reinforces a fixed mindset. In a mastery approach, a student stays on a topic until he or she understands it. Topics are either “mastered” or “not mastered yet”. Tracking this way reinforces a growth mindset. Assigning letter grades is no longer a relevant way to measure progress.

Family time & hobbies after school...
nothomework. (Why?)

Family time & hobbies after school...
nothomework. (Why?)

Life if the big homework assignment.

There is no (need for) assigned homework.
 

School is one important piece of the learning experience in your child's life. But there is much to discover when you have time and space to explore, play with friends, compete in sports, write a book, memorize a song, join a club, play games, be alone, master an artistic discipline or dabble in a variety of activities. You're of course welcome to choose to continue your work at home. Clearly a lot of reading is going on within Acton homes. These are wonderful things when chosen freely. We honor and embrace the fact that your family life is rich and full. 

When the question about homework arises from prospective parents, their main concern is that without homework, how will children learn time management? One of the life skills our students practice everyday is managing their own core skills work time in order to reach their goals. Part of this is considering cost/benefit tradeoffs and learning how small decisions impact progress towards goals. Time management becomes a habit through this daily discipline.

Learn more how students learn to set goals and manage their time in this post on the Blog for Acton Parents.

Creative & unique thinking…
not rote memorization. (Why?)

Creative & unique thinking…
not rote memorization. (Why?)

In the 21st Century, curiosity, character and mindset are ten times more important than memorized facts.

In an age of Google, it makes little sense to build a curriculum around recalling correct answers. Instead you'll focus on real world challenges that matter to you. And you'll engage in Socratic-style discussions that invite you to form new ideas instead of simply recalling answer. We believe that solving difficult problems and making tough choices leads to better life-long decision making.

Personalized mastery learning…
not teaching based on the "common denominator". (Why?)

Personalized mastery learning…
not teaching based on the "common denominator". (Why?)

People learn at different rates.

"Some people seem to catch onto things in quick bursts of intuition; others grunt and grind their way toward comprehension. Quicker isn’t necessarily smarter and slower definitely isn’t dumber. Further, catching on quickly isn’t the same as understanding thoroughly. So the pace of learning is a question of style, not relative intelligence. The tortoise may very well end up with more knowledge – more useful, lasting knowledge – than the hare.

“Moreover, a student who is slow at learning arithmetic may be off the charts when it comes to the abstract creativity needed in higher mathematics. The point is that whether there are ten or twenty or fifty kids in a class, there will be disparities in their grasp of a topic at any given time. Even a one-to-one ratio is not ideal if the teacher feels forced to march the student along at a state-mandated pace, regardless of how well the concepts are understood. When that arbitrary “snapshot” moment comes along – when it’s time to wrap up the module, give the exam, and move on – there will still likely be some students who haven’t quite figured things out. They could probably figure things out eventually – but that’s exactly the problem. The standard classroom model doesn’t really allow for eventual understanding. The class – whatever the size – has moved on…

“Lessons should be paced to the individual student’s needs, not some arbitrary calendar; and that basic concepts need to be deeply understood if students are to succeed at mastering more advanced ones.

Excerpt from his book The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined
By Sal Khan, creator of KhanAcademy.org,

LEARNING TURNED UPSIDE DOWN (Why?)

LEARNING TURNED UPSIDE DOWN (Why?)

Our biggest point of separation is the decision making ability offered to the children.

When adults serve as authority figures, much potential learning is lost. However when children are given room to figure things out on their own, and have support from mentors, peers, and guides who know them well and holds them accountable, they learn far more than we can imagine.

While it's not uncommon for children to progress multiple grade levels each year in academics,

Find out what matters even more in this post on the Blog for Acton Parents.

A vibrant learning environment

The Acton method is a simple one – though not an easy one.  We provide engaging challenges along with processes for thinking critically, working with others and solving problems. Through this experience of practicing daily how to make good decisions, students learn how to learn.

Projects

Discover what you love, build character, develop leadership, and learn real-world skills through hands-on team projects.

Mixed-age

Find great joy in learning, in a mixed age tight-knit community that upholds the highest standards of excellence.

Personalized

Build a deep foundational understanding in math, reading & writing
– without gaps –
and move forward without waiting for classmates.

"Both younger and older kids benefit when different ages mix. The older one's take responsibility for the younger ones. The younger ones look up to and emulate the older ones. Everyone seems to act more mature. Both younger and older rise to the occasion."

- Sal Khan, Founder of KhanAcademy.org

Our goal is to ask questions, tell stories, and inspire you with a love of learning. The teacher acts as a Game-maker: to paint an exciting quest and invite you to play. One of our most important tasks is to offer real-world challenges that you find meaningful. We don’t provide answers, we simply ask questions and offer choices, then step back and let you and your peers do the rest.

“At the Acton Academy, kids teach themselves and each other, as they respond to a series of challenges offered by adult 'guides'.”
— FORBES

Our Promises

Through Socratic guiding and engaging learning experiences, your child will:

“The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn.”
— John Lubbock

In the 21st century, the riskiest path is the one that everyone else is on...

Acton Academy Brighton is a private micro-school opening soon in the Brighton area. For our inaugural year starting this Sept 2020, we’ll be accepting 10 founding students, K-3rd. We will add additional grade levels and students each year so students can grow with the school. These lucky students will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build their school from the ground up. With limited spots available, request and then fill out our short online application to hold your child's spot. This is your chance to be on the leading edge of education. Start your hero’s journey. Change the world.

Begin your family's adventure!

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Oops! Something went wrong. Please fill in all required fields. If the form is not working, please email me directly at scottktay@gmail.com. Thank you, Scott

74 Top Lessons Learned
Written by an Acton Student.
100% unedited.

Your questions are always welcomed! Please feel free to call, text or email us,
Scott & Cally Taylor, Acton Academy Brighton
586-337-9300 or scottktay@gmail.com
We look forward to connecting with you and your family.