Acton is fundamentally different than traditional schooling. No bells. no lectures. No one-size-fits-all approach. Just learner-driven learning. Take a deep dive into these  great books and videos below to get a better understanding of the Acton Academy method. Families who apply must have read “Courage to Grow” and watch / listened to some of the videos and podcasts below.




A Free "Courage to Grow" Paperback book is available on request! You can also download a free digital version from Kindle by clicking the link below. 


Acton Lingo


Here at Acton Academy Cache Valley, we believe our words should intentionally reflect our
purpose and philosophy. Some terms we use may initially sound strange. Over time
though, they all start to make sense, and you will experience how our language reflects
our promises and beliefs.

The following is a list of words and ideas that are commonly used at Acton Academies
around the world:

HERO’S JOURNEY: The guiding structure of many of the greatest stories and myths in
history. The structure describes the stages that hero’s go through on their journey. This
structure, which follows a set pattern, is a key principle in the Acton model.

HERO/EAGLE: These terms can be used interchangeably. We prefer to use these terms
instead of “children” or “student,” because we are all students on a learning journey.

LEARNERS: We prefer to use the term “learner” instead of “student.” Learners take an
active role in their education.

GUIDE: We believe that heroes need “A guide on the side” more than a “sage on the
stage.” This is our term for a “teacher,” because it better reflects the role of adults in the
school. The guide is not there to teach or to answer questions. A guide is there to be a
gamemaker and storyteller, to offer choices and ask questions.

STUDIO: Studios are where collaborations happen and great exhibitions are planned. We
use the term studio instead of classroom.

TRIBEWe are intentional about building trust and friendships between all of the Heroes
in a studio. We refer to them as a “tribe” because of this level of camaraderie and
vulnerability that is required to truly belong to the team.

CORE SKILLSReading, writing, and math are the foundational academic subjects that
all Heroes work on individually and at their own pace.

D.E.A.R.: An acronym that stands for “Drop Everything and Read.” Our goal is to have
young Heroes who love to read. D.E.A.R. is a time for learners to read anything they
enjoy – even comic books. Over time, Eagles naturally begin to read more and more
challenging books – if they care about the subject.

QUEST: A quest is roughly equivalent to a unit in project-based learning. It represents a
significant amount of work with a team and a high level of mastery to complete.
Examples of quests would be Entrepreneurship, Architecture, Greek Mythology, or

GROWTH MINDSET: According to Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology
of Success, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be
developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting
point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great

JOURNEY TRACKER: The proprietary Learning Management System (LMS) built by and
for the Acton network. Think of it like an Eagle’s educational plan, calendar, and record
of work.

BADGE: One of the ways young heroes celebrate the mastery of tools, skills and
character is by earning badges. Parents can use badges to track academic progress in
core skills like reading, writing, math and character development in “Learn to Be”

RUNNING PARTNER/SQUAD: 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.


S.M.A.R.T. GOALS: Used to help guide goal setting. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that
stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.


JOURNEY MEETING: The Acton equivalent of a “parent-teacher conference.” This
meeting is led by the Hero, not by the parent or the guide.


LAUNCH: A Socratic conversation that is geared toward exploring deep and meaningful
concepts or challenges. Every school day begins and ends with a “launch.”


SOCRATIC DISCUSSION: A formal discussion based on a defined concept or question
that requires participants to clearly articulate their positions or arguments. A leader’s
role in a Socratic discussion is to ask open-ended questions that will help the
participants lean into deeper understanding.


MICRO-SCHOOL: A school where people are rethinking the traditional educational
model to better prepare children for the future. They are small, private institutions where
students are empowered to personalize their own education and are held accountable
for their own progress.