Offering In-Person School. Covid-19 Precautions In Place.
Middle School Studio
Middle School is a transformative experience as children navigate between childhood and young adulthood. Students learn leadership and self-direction at a deeper level through internships, Socratic discussions and increasingly independent, in-depth quests. Core skills and quests increasingly involve deep engagement with the broader community, both locally and globally, as students explore potential vocations. Students can embrace world language immersion opportunities, competitive writing and robotics competitions, and employ writing and communications skills to secure internships.
Core skills empower students to cover more than would fit into a single year of the rigidly scheduled, age-based classes found in traditional schools. Each student has different strengths and the mastery-based model allows students to work at their own pace in each discipline.
For example, a twelve-year-old who masters algebra in October can immediately move on to geometry while working at perhaps a slower pace in grammar or writing. Meanwhile, she might learn some applied trigonometry during a robotics programming quest with older team members.
Flexibility is another advantage of each student working at their own pace. If a student takes a 6-week session off to work full-time at an internship or a long-weekend to attend a gymnastics competition, they can either complete their work prior to departure or after their return.
All students in middle school and launchpad are on a quest to discover their vocation, culminating in them launching into the world of adults with a solid foundation of skills and experience. Annual internships are a core component of this learning process, with each student applying for internships which interest them.
The six-week sessions and flexible schedules of the Acton model allow students to either work full-time at an internship for a six-week period or integrate part-time internships into the weekly schedule.
Our school year is divided into six six-week sessions, each culminating in a semi-public exhibition of student achievements. While core skills continue across sessions at each student’s own pace, quests and projects are usually designed to be completed within a given session and exhibited at the end of session.
The Acton emphasis on skill mastery and real-world application replaces the concept of term grades with demonstrable achievements, including specific work portfolios presented by the students and skill mastery badges.
Quests are applied, often cross-functional, short-term projects that can include everything from an in-depth study of the Constitution to learning how to make fire without matches to designing and prototyping a new dress to creating a professional résumé to programming lighting circuits using Python.
Quests include all activities that can be completed within a single six-week session. Longer projects that may extend across sessions are also possible and could include robotics team competitions, AP courses, certifications and courses from providers that do not run on the same schedule as Acton Seacoast.
Acton Business Fair
In addition to internships, students participate in an annual business fair where they market some product or service. Not only does this allow them the potential to earn money, it teaches them how to manage a business, including expenses, revenues, marketing, sales and accounting.
As with other core skills, language learning is an adventure that can and should be integrated into our daily lives in innovative and natural ways.
Within the middle school and launchpad, students are encouraged to pursue any one language or multiple languages at their own pace via online tools such as Duolingo and Hellotalk. Additionally, students are encouraged to change the operating language of their devices to the target language. Reading and writing in non-English languages is also encouraged.
Students choosing French or German have the additional opportunity to communicate with the MS/LP guide in either of those languages throughout the day. While he does speak some Spanish, it is less fluent.
In addition to language opportunities in the classroom, Acton encourages and facilitates opportunities to interact with penpals, find programs of interest and engage in video discussions with students in other countries.
Field trips to local establishments where languages can be natively practiced and study abroad trips are also encouraged.
Middle School and Launchpad
- Chromebook (will be managed on the Acton network)
- Headphones (or earbuds)
What Parents Say About Acton Academy Seacoast
Here Are A Few FAQs We Get A Lot:
We are excited to announce that we will be expanding and serving K-10th graders for the 2021/2022
For our first two years we will be located in a beautiful space in the Cocheco Mills Building
directly across from Henry Law Park in Downtown Dover. Our long term plans are to buy property
and build a school with lots of space and nature allowing more outdoor exploration for the
Acton uses the best of Montessori methods: mixed-age classrooms, student choice within limits,
large blocks of work time, learning through “discovery,” and freedom of movement in the
classroom. Then we go two important steps further by using the best 21st century eLearning
tools and adhering to the Socratic method of instruction which emphasizes asking and answering
the right questions to stimulate critical thinking. Our students don’t just memorize facts, they learn
how to know, learn how to do, and learn how to be.
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.
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.
We are not trained to serve children with serious learning disabilities but have been able to serve
young heroes with dyslexia if they receive special training and believe that many minor learning
disabilities are commonly misdiagnosed.
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.
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.
1. Visit Us
Schedule a campus tour to learn more about our unique school.
2. Submit Your Application
Please complete our online application.
3. Visit Day
After we receive the completed application form, your child is invited to visit our school for a day. The visit day is an excellent way for us to get to know your child and allow them to experience learning at Acton Academy Seacoast.
4. Admissions Decision
We will convey a preliminary decision on admission within a week after the visitor day. Admission to our school will be confirmed upon receipt of the registration fee, and signed enrollment documents. Ensuring a good fit between each student and family with Acton is essential. For that reason, admission remains subject to review of student school records, and the discretion of the school based on information obtained prior to the start of school.
We partner with TimberNook and will do offsite outdoor learning one day a week in their popular year-
round forest program gets children playing outdoors and learning in the fall, spring, and winter months.
Children enjoy “living and breathing” stories, diving deep into their imaginations, engineering in grand-
scale play experiences, and so much more! They’ll also get plenty of time to cook over an open fire and play for hours on end.
TimberNook provides innovative outdoor play experiences that challenge the senses and inspire
creativity, imagination and independent play in nature. Founded by a pediatric occupational therapist,
TimberNook has become internationally acclaimed and is now offered in five countries. It all started in
Barrington, New Hampshire!
We operate on an 11- month calendar, but our flexible program allows families to travel together during the year, without sacrificing any learning.
Acton is the right place for your child if they…
- Wish traditional school was more challenging and engaging.
- Enjoy doing projects around their interests with just a few dozen young people.
- Build, create, innovate, or make art.
- See things differently.
- Care about their future, want to find a calling, and want to change the world.
- Are kind, hardworking, and committed to doing their best.
We provide a 21st century learning environment using the latest in educational technology for self-paced mastery of reading, writing, elective courses, and math skills. Students are placed according to ability so that our program can meet the student right where they are. Students move on to the next level only after the content has been mastered, which ensures there are no learning gaps.
From glow-in-the-dark contemporary painting to making music with ukuleles, boomwackers, and paint buckets, our students experience varied and unique art and music workshops. Checkout our YouTube channel to see music videos produced and recorded by our students.
Although we do not offer formal team sports, many of our students participate in city league sports. Our school embraces a deep commitment to physical fitness and overall health awareness. Acton students explore a variety of physical activities that have ranged from soccer, golf, track, hiking, dance, and rock climbing. Our students are very active, and we strongly support good sportsmanship and teamwork.
We believe that students become confident, independent learners, and good citizens when they embrace the following character qualities: integrity, resilience, self-reflection, and empathy. We believe in personal responsibility and high accountability standards. Acton students are encouraged to take responsibility for their choices and actions as we think developing a strong moral compass will help students lead joyful and successful lives. Character learning is woven into all parts of learning at Acton.
We believe that children learn best when working with those younger and older than themselves
rather than split up into groups based solely on age. We have three studios: Spark (K/1), Explorer
(2-5), and Launch Pad (6-10).
At Acton Academy Seacoast we believe in learning to be and learning to do and 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 problem, not look for an adult to solve it for them. This creates a sense of
independence and confidence that will serve them well in all areas of life.
At Acton Academy, we believe in the power of 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 90 minutes each day, while freeing up the rest of the day for engaging, project-
based learning. The two are highly complementary. Those learners in the Spark Studio (K/1) do not
use technology for their academic work period. It is Montessori based for that age group.
We measure student progress in several different ways:
- We set daily, weekly, and session goals between the student and the Guides.
- We utilize robust real-time data for each of our online learning tools.
- At any given time both parents and Guides can find out exactly what their student is learning. It
easily allows us to track progress, identify areas of struggle and close any learning gaps.
- The staff is alerted if a student gets anymore than 2 wrong in a row.
- Having a small class size, we are able to work one on one with the student to make sure that we
can close gaps and help them master the skill.
- The web based programs don’t allow the student to move on to the next skill until it has been
- We utilize individual paper portfolios where each student showcases and adds their best work.
- We can measure their growth in things such as History, Writer’s Workshops, and any Quest use
projects we have.
- Though we never “teach to the test”, optional standardized tests are given each Fall & Spring
provide useful benchmark data.
Makerspace Coming Soon
We believe each child is a maker, innately gifted with creativity, wonder, and curiosity. Our Makerspace is a hands-on think tank for children and teens that provides materials, both low tech and high tech, where they can create and prototype. Students build, tinker, problem-solve, and think like entrepreneurs and inventors. We will eventually have a wide variety of items in our Makerspace like a green screen for film production, podcast equipment, robots, engineering tools, textiles and fabrics along with sewing machines, coding and animation programs, book illustration options, 3-d printer, wood kits for building, and lots of raw materials for open-ended creation.