A Student’s Perspective
“Acton Academy is a school where there is independent learning,
which is all about you being responsible for your own learning.
The first thing to know is that there are no teachers.
Instead there are “guides” who are meant to help you in Socratic ways,
not shape the way you do things.
A word that is commonly used at Acton is Socratic.
When helping people, it is basically not immediately telling them the answer,
and in discussions it is following the Socratic method,
or asking questions with no right or wrong answer.
Make things a matter of opinion like “What motivates a hero?” or
“When does a hero submit to authority?”
Another thing we believe at Acton is that everybody is on a hero’s journey.
A hero’s journey is basically our way of saying that every single person
will change the world in a meaningful way.
During discussions we have some guidelines called the discussion rules of engagement.
They are: be on time and prepared, do not repeat points already made,
provide evidence and reasoning, link to previous comments using “I agree”
or “I disagree,” listen with an open mind and consider new evidence,
be concise, and focus and do not distract.
We also have a contract to guide us along our hero’s journey.
The contract is basically our set of rules for how we will get things done.
If somebody breaks the contract in a small way then they may be asked for an eagle buck.
Eaglebucks are an accountability system
that helps us hold up our standards ourselves.
You must have a witness (and a reason) when you decide to ask for an eaglebuck.
Now, what happens when students don’t like something
and they think that the whole group should discuss it?
Well, once a week there is a town meeting.
A town meeting generally lasts 30 minutes but the way things come up is interesting.
You will fill out a town meeting slip and then the slips are brought before the group.
The person who wrote the slip is responsible for displaying the problem
and usually offering a few solutions.
Town meeting discussions may end in a vote or
the vote may be adjourned until the next town meeting.
Core skills is also a major part of our day.
Core skills can include reading, math, writing, and/or spelling.
Core skills may include helpful collaboration, such as helping someone with math.
Writers workshop and project time are other important parts of our day.
Writer’s workshop enables us to focus on critiquing helpfully,
using conversations, and just having fun writing.
Project time is a time where you work on teamwork,
focus, planning, and just plain having fun!
A few projects from the past are: rockets, detectives,
entrepreneurship (aka e-ship), and many more fun projects.
Also, ever heard of STAR tests?
Well, if you haven’t, then they’re basically your “ticket” to the next grade.
Acton doesn’t have them, but you must complete a badge system
and the independent learner binder to go to middle school.
Well, this was fun.
Now go support an Acton!”
– Ian W.H., student at the Acton Academy in Austin TX