Category Archives: After School

Extracurricular Activities at Acton Academy

“What about ‘socialization’ at such a small school?”

It’s a question that makes  those of us in non-traditional schools cringe.  So being in a classroom with thirty students, all the same age, being fed information in a factory-like assembly line is an approximation for the real world?  Hardly.

We don’t have a massive football stadium or a large marching band.  No pep rallies either. Nor will we have a prom, unless the Eagles decide to throw one.    In fact, that’s the secret to all of our extra-curricular activities: they are organized and run by the Eagles and parents.

Here’s a partial list of the post-school activities we’ve sponsored at Acton:

  • The Children’s Business Fair
  • Computer Coding Club
  • Spanish Club
  • Golf Club
  • Running Club
  • Speaker’s Club
  • Chess Club
  • Lego’s Mindstorm Robotics Club
  • Film club
  • Tennis club

These are just the events led by the Acton community, and doesn’t count citywide club sports or scores of other after-school challenges in music, sports and other areas pursued individually or in small groups by Eagles, or the many home school Co-op programs open to Eagles.

No, we’re unlikely to field a State  Championship Football team, much to the chagrin of some of our middle school boys.  But at least most won’t discover the hard way that there were only eleven starters on offense when our 2,564 student neighbor recently won the district playoffs.

Socialization?  Far better to live in a tight knit, multi-age community, arranging your own fun, all the while preparing for world changing apprenticeships that will deliver real world skills.


Vigorous Beginnings

Yesterday, Coach Paul Carrozza inaugurated his 2-month Athletics Project with the MS Eagles.Image

Eagles listened thoughtfully and worked HARD.  Later, they ranked the experience on the Daily Fun/Important graph:

blue = Fun (1 low, 5 high). and yellow = Important (1 low, 5 high).  Clearly, fitness is important to this group.





Anaya would like to point out that taking a break to recover is important, too.

Another beginning: Computer Science Club.  After a rigorous school day, 12 Eagles, 3-8th grade, stayed late for an extra hour of collaborative coding, led by 8th grader Mason Dickerson.  They were probably ready to head home by the end of that, right?

In fact, the five-minute warning to save their work was met with groans and protests.  What motivates them to work so hard?  This is the question they’ll explore all year long.

Does not compute. Not!

“Raise your hand if you’ve done any programing before” ( a smatter) “Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Java Script” (a few)  “Raise your hand if you have no idea what I’m talking about” (several) :”That’s okay! We’re here to learn together.”Image

And Mason then led the wonderful group of 12 mixed-age Eagles, 3rd-7th grade, girls and boys, through a Socratic introduction to Comp Sci, taking well into account that some of the youngest had accrued more expertise than some of the oldest, but staying true to the Acton belief that every child is a genius that can change the world.

The joy the Eagles find in collaboration and the depth of learning that enables are humbling.

The future they will invent, rather than accept, will be a (perhaps complicated for those of us over 30) joy to behold.


Spare time for learning

Eagles are hard at work on speeches, budgets, itineraries and Google Earth tours – not to mention working on Core Skills.  Still, with today’s game based adaptive learning programs, there’s always time for more learning.

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Take, for example, the  student generated computer science craze that is spreading like a virus at Acton Academy.  Eagles are staying inside during their free time to teach themselves to write code.

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We’ll soon begin to experiment with an after-school Computer Science Khan Club, to see how we can help build on this enthusiasm.

Our Eagle’s interest meshes well with an earth shattering announcement (at least for higher education) that Georgia Tech will be expanding its Masters in Computer Science program from 300 to 10,000 students over the next thirty six months, as it slashes tuition 80% (to less than $7,000 for the entire degree.)

If you are a parent, student or taxpayer, these opening shots in a higher education price war, almost surely to be joined soon by Stanford and MIT, are a reason for celebration.  If you are a traditional university president, yesterday was a bad omen, of worse days to come.

Our Eagles are unlikely to care, since many will be taking these same courses not at Georgia Tech, MIT or Stanford, but while they are in Acton Academy high school, between breaks in their apprenticeships.

Please let me know if your Eagle would like to stay late next Wednesday.  Snacks/ supervised free time 3:15-3:30, pick-up 4:30 sharp.