Drop Off: 8:45am - 9:00am NOTE: Our day always starts PROMPTLY at 9:00am with our 15-minute Morning Launch. If a learner is late, they must wait until Morning Launch is over to join the rest of the Studio.
Pick Up: 3:00 - 3:15pm
A Day in the Life...: Here's a short video that will help you get an even better idea of what a "Day in the Life" looks like for the typical Acton Academy learner.
Assuming you already completed the Application Process and were invited to enroll, because we have rolling enrollment, your learner would be able to start at the beginning of any new Session (rather than waiting until the start of a new school year)!
Here are the potential start dates along with upcoming Enrollment Deadlines:
Start Date: September 3rd (Session 1)
Enrollment Deadline: August 16st
Two times a week, lengthier, more in-depth Socratic conversations will be used to investigate history (also known as "Civilization" to our students). In addition to integrated Quests that will provide students plenty of chances to explore the arts and other extracurricular interests, we will also have blocks of time designated for physical development and art two times per week.
In order to give our students more time to pursue personal interests, hobbies, and passions outside of the Studio, we also have a "no homework" policy.
We are probably not (and never will be) a good fit for your family if you're seeking for a program with a sizable, lengthy in-school sports program, language-immersion program, or band/orchestra program.
In our first years, we are intentionally keeping enrollment low. This year, we're looking to limit enrollment to ~12 Learners (Sparks Studio) and ~16 Learners (Discovery Studio). Eventually, we will grow to up to 36 learners and 2 Guides per Studio, which works out to roughly 18 learners per Guide.
Acton Academy Folsom follows an 10 month calendar (September through June) that allows for students to have extended breaks throughout the year and maintains their interest and retention across 7 (5-6 week long) sessions. Here’s a link to our 2023-2024 School Calendar as an example.
We have a one-time $200 Enrollment Fee to secure your spot. Standard Tuition is $5,900/year billed over 10 months.
Availability: We have a few spots available, as we’ve limited spots this year, they are filling up quickly. We make enrollment decisions primarily based on philosophical fit, cultural fit and learner readiness. Gender and age may also impact our decisions, as maintaining a diverse and balanced community is an important aspect of the learning environment we are building.
Waiting Pool (aka Waiting List): If, after completing the audition process, if we all agree that AAF would be a great fit for your family, if we do not yet have a spot available for your learner, we’ll place them in our Waiting Pool. When a spot does come available, and we’ll notify you of the opening and invite you to enroll.
If you have a learner less than 5 years old that you would like to add to the Waiting Pool, simply complete the Online Interest Form portion of the audition process and we can delay the Informal Interview portion until your learner is a little older.
To enroll at Acton Academy Folsom, you need to complete a discovery call, submit an online family questionnaire, an application form and attend an interview with our admission team.
TEACHERS Socratic Guides:
It is important to understand that in a learner-driven environment like Acton, there is no direct instruction from Guides. Here's a great excerpt from the original Acton campus' blog on that topic if you want more insight.
GRADES Badges that demonstrate Mastery:
Rather than grades, because we utilized the latest, game-based learning platforms, you'll be able to see, real-time, what specific skills your learner is currently working on or has mastered, along with their progress towards completing their Badge Plan.
HOMEWORK Time to nurture relationships, hobbies, interests and passions:
There is no homework allowed here. We'd prefer that our students have free time to unwind, refuel, spend time with their families, or devote more time to other interests or passions. It would obviously be up to your learner if they want to work on projects outside of the Studio.
Our learning environment at Acton Academy Folsom is learner-driven. The Guides (also known as teachers in a more traditional environment) won't act as a bottleneck to keep everyone on the same state-mandated learning track and timeframe, which means your child will be free to pursue skill development at their own pace.
Along with having the chance to coach (and be mentored by) a diverse set of learners, your child will also have the freedom to achieve mastery at whatever pace makes the most sense (with your support and encouragement as parents, of course). WARNING: For some parents who desire to see a smooth, even growth of achievement, this may cause anxiety.
Our learning design, also known as our curriculum, is divided up into a number of badges.
A student can "level up" to the next Studio once they have earned all levels of all Badges.
With the same end goal in mind—earning every Badge in the Studio Badge Plan so they may move on to the next Studio—learners are free to speed through the Studio Badge Plan at any pace and in whatever method they see fit.
Many parents then question what happens when a learner choose to focus on one subject that they really love (like instance Reading) at the expense of other areas (like Math) after knowing more about how our learning system is designed. As an Acton parent, you will undoubtedly have some anxiety in this regard because deep, transformative learning rarely progresses smoothly across all domains at the same rate.
Having said that, there are a few features of our strategy that motivate students to (in time) opt for a more varied skill set:
Gamification of Curriculum
- Moving along the Journey Map requires work in all Core Skills subject areas.
-Learners have a running squad that helps keep them accountable for progress towards learning goals and commitments. Learners cannot "level up" to the next Studio without having completed badge requirements in all areas of study.
- Often, the motivation for acquiring new skills can come from the desire to tackle learning challenges presented in the project-based learning experiences we call Quests.
- Our young Heroes learn to love challenges. They are equipped with frameworks like the Growth Mindset or Servant-Leader that are encouraged/reinforced to help learners face and work through the discomfort they may feel when trying to master a new skill that they might otherwise avoid.
- It's certainly your prerogative as a parent to set guardrails and boundaries that help motivate your learner to focus on areas they may be avoiding and we fully support you in this!
What makes Acton Academy Folsom unique is our emphasis on self-directed learning. In creating a community of self-directed learners, these are some of the things we “look-for” before inviting young learners to join our community. These are essential prerequisites that indicate our learning environment may be a good fit for your child.
SPARK (ages 5-7)
DISCOVERY (ages 7-11)
ADVENTURE (ages 11-15)
This is a common query among parents, particularly when thinking about a less conventional strategy like Acton. The quick response is nothing.
Here's the lengthy response:
First and foremost, it is your right and duty as a parent to choose the best way to support your learner. This may entail setting limits or providing rewards for reaching (or failing to reach) learning objectives. It could resemble tutoring after school or extracurricular activities. Once more, we accept your choices as a parent and invite you to establish any social agreements you see fit with your student outside of the Studio.
With Spark Learners (ages 5-7): We offer a badge program packed with tasks that will prepare students for success in the Discovery Studio. Leadership, communication, safety, writing, reading, and math are among the badge plan categories. At the end of the day, we're also searching for the capacity to read simple Challenges independently and concentrate on a straightforward task for at least 30 minutes; normally, this happens around the time someone becomes 7 years old, though it can happen earlier.
With Discovery Learners (ages 7-11) When they start using the most recent game-based learning systems like Khan Academy, Beast Academy, Nessy, etc., state-mandated math and language arts benchmarks barely even come into play. These tools are made to assist users identify the abilities they have mastered and those they still need to work on. They are also created with state standards in mind because they serve such a large number of students in the public school system. The ability to "map" where they are to a normal "grade level" is thus rather straightforward.
At our academy, we don't do this; there isn't much of a focus on grade level to age matching.
1) What are your learning objectives?
2) Are you challenging yourself?
3. Are you moving closer to your objectives?
When viewed through this perspective, being "behind" in the AAF indicates that you aren't on track with your personal goals and consequently must put in more effort or seek out further assistance (if a learning handicap is present, for example).
Think of a Studio as the classroom of a one-room school house. We like to think of it as a learning "habitat" for learners of multiple ages and skill levels where they can work for focused period of individual flow or purposeful collaboration.
As of now, we have two studio:
Spark Studio (Lower Elementary, ages 5-7) and
Discovery Studio (Upper Elementary, ages 7-10).
Eventually, as our oldest learners age out, the plan is to launch a middle school and a high school studio as well!
A Badge is something that a learner can earn after they complete a series of learning challenges that demonstrate mastery in something.
“Core Skills” refers to the foundational skills of Reading, Writing and Math. We set aside time each day in our Daily Schedule setting SMART Goals to focus on tackling challenges and earning Badges in each of these areas.
Quests are a four- to six-week series of challenges bound by a compelling narrative and designed to deliver 21st century skills. Elementary Quests typically focus on broad explorations of science and curiosity. This is an exciting opportunity for learners to utilize the Core Skills they are mastering to solve real-world problems and bring new ideas to life!
A Launch is a 15-minute Socratic discussion designed to help inspire, equip and focus Eagles for a work sprint – a focused period of individual flow or purposeful collaboration. In a typical day we will have two Launches (Morning and Afternoon) with a somewhat similar Landing (closing discussion) at the end of the day where learners reflect on their day.
Although we are quite serious about this, we recognize that more information would be useful. The word "genius" is truly defined as great intellectual, creative, or other natural talent.
Does this suggest a very high IQ? No. (Which, incidentally, is a mostly inaccurate and useless measurement in any case!) Is this just another way of saying that "everyone deserves a trophy for being a unique and beautiful snowflake"? Nope. While having potential value, uniqueness cannot take the place of greatness, competency, or moral integrity.
Believing that every child is a genius simply means that we think every person who enters our doors possesses a unique talent or two that have the potential to make a significant difference in the world. Our main objective is to give them the tools they need to find and develop their gifts.
Many children who require something other than the conventional school setting can benefit greatly from the flexible learning approach offered by AAF. In our environment, which offers room for breaks, comfortable and flexible seating, and space for individual self-regulation, students who have difficulty staying still throughout a typical school day can occasionally thrive.
Schools who have used this learning model, though, have observed areas where students with disabilities face difficulties. Students who struggle with cooperation, self-regulation, and sensory difficulties may face particular obstacles in our classroom because this educational model is built with a curriculum that relies on autonomous learning and dynamic group projects, as well as a setting that can be quite stimulating. Simply put, we lack the necessary resources to assist kids with certain learning difficulties.
Each Studio is built on a foundational Studio Contract, created and agreed to by the learners. We also have a "Strike" System that function as safety guardrails that help keep everyone safe. The learners are empowered by these guardrails, contracts and feedback/conflict resolution frameworks to set healthy boundaries and use their voice to be heard. Our goal is to not intervene/handle bullying as adults as much as it is to equip the learners to navigate interpersonal relationships successfully on their own with both a kind heart and tough mind.
At AAF, choosing to keep the Contract promises is interpreted as a choice to stay and choosing to break Contract promises is interpreted as a choice to leave - either way, we will respect the learner's choice.