How will I know if my middle school Eagle is faring well or poorly?


Many Acton parents want to measure a middle school Eagle’s progress towards learning to work hard, deliver excellence work and contribute to a community.

Four yardsticks measure the most important areas of growth:

  1. Weekly Points measure the ability to focus and work hard.
  2. Badges Earned prove an Eagle can deliver excellent work.
  3. 360 Coaching Reviews show growth as a leader, as measured by a survey of peers.
  4. Months until Launchpad is earned shows how long it will take an Eagle to enter Launchpad at the current pace.

Some Acton parents also may care about academic skills.

  • Progress in Math and Grammar can be tracked directly on Khan Academy and No Red Ink.
  • Progress in learning to write and reason can be judged by reading Civilization, Genre and Quest deliverables on Tracker, where every piece of Eagle work is captured and displayed.
  • Progress on more integrative skills can be seen in exhibitions, where the amount of learning can be compared to a ranking by peers that shows how much hard work each Eagle invested in each Quest.

Finally, three times a year an Eagle will create a badge progress report for parents and have a chance to revise his or her badge plan.  Usually the report will include comments from a Squad Leader and your Eagle.

 What are Freedom Levels?

Freedom Levels allow Eagles to earn more freedom by delivering on promises.  As a parent, there’s no need to completely understand Freedom Levels because you can rest assured Eagles have studied every nuance.

At Acton Academy, every Eagle has more freedom than at a traditional school.  Eagles jointly develop studio governance and rules every year.  Every Eagle largely is free to choose when to work and what to work on and free to leave his desk at any time, to take a walk, get a drink or grab a snack – as long as he doesn’t distract anyone else.

Freedom Levels allow each Eagle to earn even more freedom with regard to music, eating, collaboration and other choices, by earning Weekly Points, badges and high 360 Coaching Reviews.

In early months, Eagles may only be working 12.5 to 15 hours earnestly to earn 250 to 300 points per week in Freedom Level One or Two, with 360 Peer Review scores between 6.0 and 6.5 and from zero to 6 badges.

By Launchpad, Eagles in Freedom Levels Four and Five will be working 20 to 22.5 hours each week to earn 400 to 450 Weekly Points; with 360 Peer Review scores between 7.5 and 8.0, with between 36 and 50 badges to prepare. for the rigorous work of Launchpad.

How will I know if my Eagle isn’t progressing?

Acton parents may want to more closely monitor progress on Tracker if an Eagle consistently fails to deliver on badge plans and the “Months until Launchpad” estimate grows higher over time.

Likewise, it is a serious matter if an Eagle is sent home for a day for receiving a third strike for violating the minimum standards of the studio or an Honor Code violation.  Being sent home is a serious matter because the third time an Eagle is asked to leave he will not be invited back.

Finally, if an Eagle’s actions are believed to be detracting from the studio culture, the Eagle and parents may be asked to sign a Probationary Contract laying out a specific set of requirements for remaining in the studio.  Likewise, any Eagle who has decided to attend another school will be asked to commit to specific deliverables to make sure commitment remains high.

Final Words

The allure of the Hero’s Journey, Freedom Levels and the accountability of studio contracts are powerful incentives for continued growth.

When an Eagle does stumble, parents normally just send an Eagle back into the studio for valuable lifelong lessons.

In the rare case where more encouragement from home is needed, Weekly Points, badges earned, 360 Peer Reviews and “months until Launchpad” can help parents keep a close watch on progress, so as to praise every advance.

Next post: What can I do as a parent if my Eagle is struggling?


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