At Acton Academy Merrimack Valley, children learn in a collaborative studio of multi-age learners. Our flexible approach challenges each student with their own differentiated learning plan and inspires them through real-world projects and experiences. Our Learner Driven Community puts children at the center of their learning, allowing them to create and maintain personal goals and relational covenants, as they Learn to Learn, Learn to Do, and Learn to Be.
Learn to Know
Core Academic Skills
Master the foundations of reading, writing, and math
Self-paced mastery of math with cutting-edge personalized technology and peer mentoring.
Learn to Do
Quests and Projects
Hands-on projects to master the skills needed to solve real-world problems
Instead of memorizing the periodic table ......
You are an ER doctor in a 6-week simulation.You learn the processes, tools, decision trees and facts to triage patients.
On the final-day Exhibtion, parents come with prepared "diseases." You can order an MRI, an X-ray, etc., paying for each. The winner of the simulation is the ER doc who saves the most lives (correct diagnoses) for the lowest cost.
Learn to Learn
Think and speak clearly to develop wisdom and judgment
Instead of memorization to cram for the test ...
... You are Harry Truman.
- Do you drop the bomb?
- Reflect on this video of Hiroshima after nuclear force. Does this change your mind?
- Reflect on this photo and personal account of a Japanese POW camp. Does this change your mind?
- Which ethical approach is more important to you: a values approach — "We do not kill people" — or a utilitarian approach — "Fewest total lives lost"?
Learn to Be
Develop habits and character traits that make an abundant, fulfilling life
Instead of schools designed to minimize behavior problems ...
... Young people learn to lead by doing so, with Servant Leader Badges celebrating the most important milestones, like:
- Leading a conflict resolution discussion
- Developing a mentor relationship with a personal hero
- Completing deliberate practice of a skill you want to develop
- Mentoring a team from a younger studio
- Leading a team in accomplishing a big goal
- Mastering a productivity skill like the urgent-important matrix
The Hero's Journey
Learning at Acton Academy Merrimack Valley is an invitation to a Hero's Journey. We believe that each of us has a special calling in life, and a series of trials and tests that must be faced with integrity and purpose, in order to live a life of meaning. Our mission is to prepare everyone for his or her special journey.
One of the great experiences of life is the feeling of learning something challenging and worthwhile. Real growth is hard work – just like developing a muscle. It's often even harder for parents than it is for children. It's not easy, but few meaningful things are.
For those up for the challenge, some of the outcomes we've observed are:
Young people who love their school Students who can't wait for summer break to be over, who can't wait to arrive at their school every morning.
Families feeling more unity and purpose Families discover the joy of learning is a shared journey. As one parent described: "Acton Academy has transformed our family, inspiring each of us to find a calling and discover a Hero's Journey."
Mastery of core academic skills While only a small portion of the day is spent on Core Skills, and there is zero "teaching to the test," over the 9 years of Acton's history we've seen an average of 2.5 grade levels per year growth on the IOWA standardized test.
Self-management and leadership The result parents likely appreciate most is seeing their children take ownership of their learning. Meeting an Acton student speaks for itself: they look you in the eye, ask powerful questions, are curious about the world around them, and have plans they're passionate about.