8 things we never do (never have, never will) that are normal practices at most schools.

Middle School Studio

Culture is everything at Acton, so it's important that we grow very slowly with a nucleus of children who have already been immersed in the culture of Acton Academy Lakewood, through our Elementary Studio. We plan to open our Middle School in the Fall of 2023, and High School in the Fall of 2026.

The Middle School Studio at Acton Lakewood is for students ages 11-14 who have already proven that they can work independently.

Leveraging the philosophical framework of the Hero's Journey to increasingly see themselves as heroes in the story of how they bring their unique gifts to the world, these young
people will work on difficult real-world problems and learn to write and think more deeply.

Building on their elementary work, they continue collaborating, building their character and building friendships with their studio-mates who will challenge and support them through peer review of their work.

This Studio ultimately advances the systems of the Elementary Studio to bring middle
school-aged young people to a deeper understanding of their character, while they explore their natural talents and gifts to discover who they are and where they are headed.

Our Middle School students take control of their learning

Engage deeply

Work on difficult real-world Quests. Learn to calculate, write and think more deeply.

Have fun

Students develop a positive self-identity surrounded by friends who will support them.

Find a calling

Learners explore their gifts and passions through apprenticeships which provide opportunity to develop real world skills.

Working hard. Having fun. Preparing to change the world.

21st Century Learning

  • The latest in educational technology for self-paced mastery of reading, writing and math skills.
  • Deep Socratic discussions about heroes, history and self-governance to hone critical thinking skills and the ability to powerfully think, write and speak.
  • Hands-on project based Quests to master the tools and skills needed to solve problems in the real world.
  • Written promises and covenants that form a tightly bound community of individuals learning to form authentic friendships and honestly resolve interpersonal problems.


Each summer, our Middle School students obtain an apprenticeship. They experiment with entrepreneurs, scientists and community leaders, honing their most precious gifts and talents until they find a “calling” in life.

A Learner-Driven Community

  • Students create and sign a Contract of Promises describing how each individual will act and the consequences for violating community norms.
  • Mentor teams encourage younger and older students to listen, affirm, set goals and hold each other accountable.
  • “Learn to Be” badges that celebrate character and completing leadership challenges.

Measuring Mastery

Young heroes celebrate the mastery of tools, skills and character by earning badges, assembling portfolios and taking part in public exhibitions.

  • Parents use badges to track academic progress in Core Skills like reading, writing, math, spelling and character development in "Learn to Be" Badges.
  • Electronic and hard copy Portfolios capture rough drafts, photos, video and other creative work.
  • Public exhibitions at the end of most Quests allow young heroes to present work to experts, customers or the public for a real world test.