Learn about our offerings, tuition, philosophy, and more.
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WHAT DOES IT COVER & DO YOU HAVE SCHOLARSHIPS?
The annual tuition for Acton Academy Kennebunkport is $15,900 per student. There is a $500 nonrefundable deposit per student that is due upon acceptance. The balance may be paid as a one-time payment or scheduled as monthly installments.
What does tuition cover?
Tuition covers all materials (no additional materials fees are charged).
Tuition covers the cost of the off-site outdoor program once a week.
Tuition also covers most field trips. Bigger field trips or overnight trips will be an additional cost (for example when we took the school on an overnight to NYC the cost was $210 per person which covered parking, hotel, food, and admission costs)
Do you offer scholarships?
Limited need-based scholarships are currently available. We are working to increase our financial assistance program for upcoming years.
We offer Elementary & Middle School grades K-8th.
High School grades 9th – 12th will open in the Fall of 2024.
We have 3, eventually 4, studios:
Spark: approximately ages 5-7
Adventure: approximately ages 8-11
Middle Studio: approximately ages 12-14
Launchpad: approximately ages 15-18 - opens Fall 2024
LOCATION & WHAT WILL A NORMAL WEEK LOOK LIKE?
LOCATION: We will be located at 5 Nasons Court in downtown Kennebunk (right
behind the ice rink, next to Boulangerie & Fifth Om in the old Pharmacy
space). This will be our location for at least the next 2-3 years. As we grow, we will build a permanent location, but obviously this will take time.
WEEKLY PROGRAM: Our program is a five day a week program, but one day a week will be spent at an off-site outdoor program. Students will be immersed in nature and learn from guides that are knowledgeable and passionate about the natural world. Our children currently attend this program and love it, you will be amazed at how resilient your children are and how much fun they have learning about nature. Your child does not have to have any experience with this, but should be open to being in nature and amidst various weather conditions. For more information on our weekly program please see our sample weekly schedule.
No homework will be assigned. We believe that kids need time to play, relax, and to spend time with family and friends.
We believe that children learn best when working with children younger and older than themselves rather than split up into groups based solely on age. In addition to individualized curriculum, all ages of students work together in groups.
While we respect and incorporate aspects of Maria Montessori’s philosophy, we are not a Montessori school. We also use the latest interactive technologies, hands on projects and the Socratic Method for discussions.
While we expose children to the importance of mindful spirituality and stress the historical importance of Christianity to the development of Western Civilization, we do not promote any one religion. We strongly believe in religious, political, and economic freedom.
Severe Learning Disabilities: We are not trained or staffed to serve children with serious learning disabilities or behavioral challenges. However, each child and situation is unique and we will treat it as such. If you believe that Acton Academy Kennebunkport is a great fit for your family and that your child can thrive in this environment then please don't hesitate to reach out. We are committed to treating each child and family as unique individuals and will assess the situation in the same way.
Minor Learning Disabilities: We believe that many minor learning disabilities are commonly misdiagnosed and can be the product of the child being in the wrong environment or lack of challenge, among other things. Again, if you feel this is the right fit for your child and family please don't hesitate to reach out.
The Socratic method as defined by Wikipedia, "is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions...it is a method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. The Socratic method searches for general, commonly held truths that shape beliefs and scrutinizes them to determine their consistency with other beliefs. The basic form is a series of questions formulated as tests of logic and fact intended to help a person or group discover their beliefs about a topic." (Wikipedia)
During a Socratic discussion at Acton Academy, a guide sets up scenarios and asks questions to stimulate critical thinking and independent learning. Acton uses the Socratic method rather than lectures because students improve their critical thinking and speaking abilities through discussions and actively making arguments to support their beliefs. This engagement allows students to gain a better understanding of a topic as compared to passively taking notes during a lecture.
Outside of discussions, guides employ the Socratic method with students throughout the day in order to build and reinforce independent learners who are able to answer their own questions. Guides are trained to answer questions with questions in order to help students discover answers on their own. This method is important to the process at Acton Academy because as Charlotte Mason says, "What a child digs for becomes his own possession".
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.
We believe each of our students will find a passion — something they love and have a gift to do. They will use this gift to serve others and fulfill a need they are passionate about in the world. 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.
Quests are real world challenges that make learning fun. Lasting anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks, quests put learners in the shoes of someone who has to solve and important problem. Students must use 21st century skills in areas such as chemistry, physics, robotics, math, public speaking, art, marketing, and more, to complete a series of challenges that culminate in an open public exhibition for friends and family.
One example is the Bridge Building Quest, in which students are challenged to construct bridges that are structurally sound and also fit within the budget allocated for the project by their city. As bridge engineers, students explore concepts in physics like tension and compression, friction and elasticity. But physics isn't' the only consideration; as project managers, the students must also figure out how to build a strong bridge within a limited budget.
Someone who can 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.
At Acton Academy Kennebunkport the students run the studio (classroom) by agreeing together what their rules are for behavior and treatment of one another. These are called their "Studio Covenants" and "Rules of Engagement". Students, especially in the younger grades, are provided with appropriate guidance throughout this process. These rules and covenants are prominently displayed in the studio and revisited. Often, these are revised by the students as they work through challenges and discover better ways of interacting with one another.
Students also budget their time by choosing their areas of focus for the day and adjusting these based on their performance. We believe strongly that students achieve more when they have control of their learning.
Why a learner driven classroom?
At Acton Academy Kennebunkport we believe in "learning to be" and "learning to do". An important part of this is encouraging kids to take responsibility for their own behavior and hold those around them to a high standard. When something isn't working, we want our students to work together to solve the problems, not look for an adult to solve it for them. This creates a sense of ownership, independence, and confidence that will serve them well in all areas of life. Research shows that students who have a true feeling of ownership for their education learn and retain more.
(in a learner driven classroom)
A student's ability to set and track goals in order to evaluate progress is essential to success in a student driven, individualized learning program. Children, and most adults, need a lot of practice setting specific, measurable goals that are challenging, yet realistic. Therefore, this is a skill that we will work on with the students here at Acton Academy Kennebunkport.
Young children hone their ability to choose and engage in independent work. As children get older, our guides help with the development of time management and goal setting skills until students are able to make and follow their own simple work plans. "Running Partners" are also an essential part of this process (see next question).
Running Partners are classmates who meet together regularly to set goals and hold each other accountable for meeting those goals. Running Partners encourage and inspire each other by asking good questions, listening and providing affirmation.
We believe in liberty and 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 examine other cultures and forms of government.
At Acton Academy Kennebunkport we believe in balance and age appropriate use of technology.
By age appropriate, we mean that younger students will use less technology than older students. 5-6 year olds will have little to no screen time. The reason for this is that at a young age so much in a child's body is still developing, in this case specifically their eyes; therefore, it is not recommended for young children to spend long periods of time doing 'close' work (screens or otherwise). So while each student will have some screen time, the amount of time will be dependent on their age, increasing slightly with age.
Balance. Using the incredible, self-paced eLearning tools now available, we are able to provide the rigor needed for learning math, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar in about 60-90 minutes each day (not all on computers), while freeing up the rest of the day for engaging, project-based learning. The two are highly complementary.
We measure progress in several ways:
1) At Acton Academy, students set S.M.A.R.T. Goals - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals for the session, week, and/or day (depending on the learner's level). Students track their progress in relation to these goals and the learning community provides support and affirmation.
2) Students work to mastery. Working to mastery means a student doesn't move on if they get anything less than 100%. In a traditional school setting, after the exam the student moves on regardless of their score. For example, if the student scored an 80% (and that's not a terrible grade) it means they missed 20% of the material. This gap only widens as the material gets harder. At Acton, students work until a skill is mastered.
We utilize robust real-time data for each of our e-learning tools. At any given time students, parents, and guides can determine what a given student is engaging with and how they are faring. Technology enables us to monitor how each student is progressing and can ensure mastery of the given subject has been achieved before moving on.
3) We utilize individual portfolios where each student showcases their best work.
4) We host interactive exhibitions for friends and families of our students where students display and demonstrate their work while interacting with the guests. The exhibitions demonstrate what the students did and learned during their 4 to 6 week quest.
While performance on standardized tests is not our goal and we do not "teach to the test", on average Acton Academies across the country are finding that students are performing approximately 2 grade levels above their peers.
Acton Academy Kennebunkport is an independent affiliate of the Acton Academy network of schools. Acton affiliates share a mission, set of beliefs, and promises to families. They are passionate about revolutionizing education and pursuing best practices. However, individual affiliates adapt Acton's model to best serve their unique communities. The Acton network supports affiliates with curriculum materials, learning tools, custom software, best practices, and more. Each year, Acton affiliates from around the world gather in Austin, TX to share knowledge, collaborate, and help the network grow.
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 Acton Academy, we celebrate his defense of economic, political and religious freedom.
Yes, the program is accredited through the International Association of Learner Driven Schools.