Frequently Asked Questions

How qualified are the teachers and staff at Acton Academy Lakewood?

At Acton, we call them Guides (instead of teachers), because the role is different from a Traditional Teacher in that everything they do is a baby step to young people doing it themselves. Thoughtful people are attracted to Acton to apply for a Guide position, because of Acton's well-known role in pioneering innovation in education.

Our Head of School/Elementary Guide has a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership. Our Spark (pre-K-Kinder) Guide has an Associate's in Early Childhood Education.

Most importantly, Guides at Acton Lakewood have intense onboarding and ongoing participation in Acton Academy's Guide Certification program. These challenges and discussions are superlative, like the strongest parts of education classes in grad school. This keeps our Guides equipped and always growing.

Through the application process, parents get acquainted not only with Acton Lakewood Founders/Co-owners but also with their child's Guide.

What is included in the Acton curriculum?

Our learning design is a synergistic combination of Socratic discussions, custom-paced core skills (reading, writing, math), goal-setting and reflection, physical development, and multi-disciplinary projects that hit science, social studies, and the arts. History is anchored in the classical volumes, The Story of the World with Socratic discussions.

How closely knit is the community? Will my child and I fit in?

Our families are diverse in many ways but knit closely together by the strong belief that asking their children to squeeze into a traditional box is the opposite of preparing them for the bumps in life's road. At the same time, new families report feeling welcomed with open arms and quickly making new friends.

Formally, families see each other at exhibitions of learning seven times a year, at parent night three times a year, and at three "Morning With Moms" or "Morning With Dads" events. Informally, they go to birthday parties, dinners, and events. After school, parents often hang out outside together for an hour or two, and learners often go home with each other after school.

If your family enrolls at Acton Lakewood and you have basic social skills, you and your children will fit in here.

What activities does Acton Lakewood offer?

Our school day is packed with a wide variety of activities during school hours, leaving after school with plenty of time for play, whether that is through our after-school program, at home, or out with friends. Many learners also enjoy "big team" sports through the Y or travel teams.

Will my child be properly prepared to continue their education when they graduate?

Absolutely. Acton grads transition to their next adventure well, because they have built a toolbelt of strong character, life skills, and strong academics. They are equipped for the bumps in life's road, armed with a deep knowledge of their unique gifts and how to use them to serve, and thrive.

Is the campus safe and secure?

Outside doors stay locked and our space is exclusive to our use. All staff must pass an extensive background check.

How is Acton Academy Lakewood affiliated with Acton Academy?

Acton Academy Lakewood is part of the network of over 200 learner-driven schools around the world. Schools that are part of the Acton Affiliate Network share the same beliefs, philosophy, promises, and learner-driven model. Having said that, every Acton has a unique flavor and implementation, heavily influenced by its founders and local context. We encourage families to keep this in mind when reading reviews and visiting so they can find the Acton Academy that is the right fit for their family. Schedule a tour to visit our campus in person and meet the co-founders/owners of Acton Academy Lakewood.

What ages/grades do you serve at Acton Academy Lakewood?

We serve ages 4-11 (preschool-6th grade) in two multi-age spaces:

  • Spark Studio: ages 4-6 (preschool-K)
  • Elementary Studio: ages 6-11 (1st-6th)

We believe that each person has a gift that can change the world in a profound way and that the mindset it takes to be ready to find that calling is formed during childhood, before age 12. These years are precious!

How long is Acton Academy in session each year?

We operate on an eleven-month calendar, but our flexible program allows families to travel together during the year, without sacrificing any learning.

Acton Academy Lakewood Academic Calendar.
Does Acton Academy Lakewood serve special needs children?

While we believe that many minor learning disabilities are commonly misdiagnosed, we recognize that Acton is not the right environment for children with learning disabilities. We specialize in independence and are always working toward removing the adult as the person of focus. While Guides have a one-on-one relationship with each child, providing prolonged and focused one-on-one assistance, tutoring or coaching from an adult is not part of our model.

Students with ADHD or mild dyslexia have shown themselves able to thrive at Acton with appropriate support at home. It should be noted that, especially at younger ages, the Acton environment can prove triggering or overwhelming for students on the autism spectrum or for highly sensitive children.

Is Acton Academy Lakewood a Montessori school?

We respect and incorporate Maria Montessori’s philosophy, but we are not a Montessori school. In addition to Montessori methods, we use the latest interactive technologies, hands on projects and the Socratic Method for discussions.

What do you mean by “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 satisfying and fulfilled life. Our mission is to prepare your child for his or her special journey.

What is an “independent learner”?

Someone who is empowered to research questions, follow instructions, solve problems—admit that they don’t know something and figure out a solution when they hit a roadblock without asking an adult for help — participate in discussions, and strive for mastery.

What do you mean by “every child can change the world?”

We believe each of our students will find out what they love and have a gift to do. They will use this gift to serve others and fulfill a need in the world that they care about deeply. This may be by becoming a shoe-shiner who tells stories and makes people's day just by doing his job with love and vigor; it may be by becoming a coach who sees the light in a child's eyes and guides her to pursue a dream; it may be by becoming a father or mother who leads a family on a Hero's Journey; it may be becoming an entrepreneur or business leader guided by compassion and integrity; or it may be by becoming an artist or writer who brings beauty to people's lives.

Will children be grouped together by grades?

We believe that children learn best when working with those younger and older than themselves. At Acton Lakewood, our spaces are for preschool-Kinder and 1st-6th. The transition for 6-year-olds is gradual and individualized instead of only determining readiness by age.

Why a learner-driven classroom?

At Acton Academy Lakewood we believe in encouraging students to take responsibility for their own behavior and hold those around them to a high standard. Often, we call this “learning to be” and “learning to do.” When something isn’t working, systems are in place for students to work together to solve the problem instead of immediately assuming an adult will solve it for them. This creates a sense of independence and confidence that will serve them well in all areas of life.

Is Acton Academy Lakewood accredited?

Yes. The Texas Education Agency recognizes two private school accreditation organizations - TEPSAC and IALDS. We are accredited through the IALDS.

How do you use technology in the classroom without students having too much screen time?

At Acton Academy, we believe in the power of balance. Starting in Elementary (around age 6.5), we use the incredible, custom-paced eLearning tools now available to provide the rigor needed for learning math, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar in about 90 minutes each day, while freeing up the rest of the day for engaging, project-based learning. The two are highly complementary. Our Spark studio (ages 4-6) does not include eLearning tools.

Why do you focus on teaching the "American Experiment"?

We believe in liberty, justice, and the ideals of the American revolution as the cornerstones of civilization. In addition to experiential learning, we will study the American documents and the true meaning behind them, as we also examine other cultures and forms of government.

Is Acton a religious school?

While we expose learners to mindful spirituality and the historical importance of Christianity to the development of Western Civilization, we are a non-sectarian learning environment and do not promote any one religion.

Who was Lord Acton?

Lord John Emerich Edward Dahlberg Acton (1834-1902) was a Victorian scholar of Freedom who saw liberty not as a license, but as the freedom to do what was right. He was suspicious of power for the sake of power, which led to his most famous quote: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." At the Acton Academy, we celebrate his defense of economic, political, and religious freedom.

What is your tuition?

Tuition is $11,803 (paid in 11 monthly installments of $1,073) + a one-time enrollment fee of $500.

Discounts: 5% if you pay in full upon enrollment, 5% for the second child, 50% of the one-time enrollment fee for the second child.

Tuition is prorated for families who enroll after the start of the academic year.

When is your enrollment period? Do you have a waitlist?

Our year-round school schedule enables us to consider applications submitted at any time of the year. Our "rolling" enrollment process means once accepted, your learner can start at the beginning of any 6-week Session scheduled throughout the year. On our Academic Calendar, you can see that the start of every session is the first school day after each break.

Check out our simple, 3-Part process for more on how to apply and/or get on the waitlist.

What is the transition like for children who go from this model back to a traditional format?

The students and families who have moved from schools with our format back to a traditional one have reported a relatively seamless transition.

Young people at Acton learn problem-solving skills, respect for their peers, the how & why of rule formulation, perseverance, resilience, and empathy. This is in addition to honing their skills of focusing, listening, personal organization, setting their own goals, and management of their own time — all of which are a recipe for a good transition into any new environment.

What is Mastery Learning?

Mastery Learning is ensuring that a student has a complete understanding of a concept before they move on. An incomplete understanding early on can have devastating results later, especially in math. Using the latest adaptive learning tools for core skills, our young learners progress at their own pace as they master each concept, moving quickly through topics they grasp easily and spending more time on those they find challenging. Children who comprehend a concept quickly can move on or deepen their understanding by helping those who are struggling. No one is just a learner, everyone is also a mentor, motivating each other to take ownership of their education.

Have you ever required masks or social distancing?

No. Seeing one another's entire face is a high priority for us, both socially and educationally. We also put a high priority on children being together in person, so we have never engaged in social distancing.

Read more about our philosophy regarding these topics here:
What happens after my child ages out of this Acton? Will Acton Academy Lakewood help my child get into the next school of their choice?

Character-wise, by age 12 Acton Lakewood learners have the foundation to go anywhere, because they have developed the proper mindset.

They have demonstrated that they can:

  1. Work independently in a focused way
  2. Receive and give feedback
  3. Treat others with respect
  4. Take extreme ownership of themselves in any situation
  5. Learn the ropes of any group or organization and find a way to shine
  6. Bring their unique gifts to new situations.
  7. Discern victim mindsets and choose to have a mindset of responsibility instead
  8. Be gracious to others when they make mistakes
  9. Go through life with a tough-minded AND warm-hearted attitude
  10. Make choices according to their healthy lifestyle of mind and body
  11. See the world through a lens of deep respect for economic, political, and religious freedoms.
  12. Cherish the arts, wonders of the physical world, and the beauty of people in their life.

Academically, Acton learners are well-equipped to transition to any school.

Yes, Acton Lakewood will help your child get into competitive schools. The process is similar to applying to colleges. Our “Next School Journey” badge guides learners to prepare to apply/audition to their top three schools, whether those choices are other Actons that go through high school or traditional schools. We are aware of the use of standardized testing (like the ISEE) and will ensure our learners are well-prepared for any exam taken as part of their next school application process.

As we grow and have about a dozen graduates each year, we look forward to offering a full middle school and high school (Launchpad) at Acton Academy Lakewood.

What are school hours? Do you have an extended day option for families that need a later pickup time?

M-F 8:00 am - 3:00 pm.

We are strongly considering adding a flexible after-school option until 5:30 pm, starting Fall 2024, or sooner.

If having an extended day option is important to your family, please let us know by dropping a line here.

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