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Acton Academy

Finding a calling

Current news is full of stories of technology, and more specifically, AI changing the world. The pace of change in almost all areas of life has outstripped the pace of change in education. While many parents have questioned how best to address this or looked for innovative options, the pandemic was a catalyst and instrumental in the emergence of micro-schools and alternative learning environments. 

Educating their children themselves for the first time, parents realized that the traditional model of rote memorization to prepare for tests is not ideal for the twenty-first century, nor does it promote a lifelong love of learning. The Acton Academy, a K-12 network of over 300 schools around the world was created to address these deficiencies.  

Jeff and Jacqlyn Johns, the co-founders of the Acton Academy Albuquerque, told us, “At Acton Academy, students find that school becomes their favorite place to be. They look forward to overcoming the challenges that are presented in their journey of learning and enjoy developing responses to real-world situations. Acton helps them to find their voice.”

Acton Academy has a unique approach to learning. Classrooms are called studios, there are no actual grade levels (or grades at all, for that matter) and students of different ages and levels are together for learning activities. Teachers have been replaced by “guides,” who encourage self-directed learning and peer education through Socratic group discussions and interdisciplinary “quests.” Older students help younger students define their goals and overcome hurdles. Drawing inspiration from the classics, Acton students are referred to as “heroes” because everyone can use their innate individual talents to make a difference in their community, the world, and the future. This is referred to as the Heroes’ Journey. One of the tenets of Acton is “Each person deserves to find a calling and has a gift that can change the world in a profound way.”

Acton promotes individual critical thinking and group-based accomplishments. Students are encouraged to develop tough-minded honesty yet strive to have a warm-hearted outlook toward others. Peer discussions and presentations among students foster accountability and help develop respectful relationships. Students can earn privileges as motivation by accomplishing goals and engaging in school projects and discussions.

There are, of course, core skills taught as well…reading, writing, and arithmetic. This is typically the focus of each morning before an afternoon of quests and Socratic conversations. 

There is also a great deal of emphasis on entrepreneurial activities. Each year, Acton hosts the Children’s Business Fair that is also open to students from other schools where kids market products and services and produce income. Shoppers always come away impressed by the commitment, thought, and products the children produce. This year the event is April 13th from 10am – 2pm on the Acton campus. The website for this event is

Acton Academy encourages parental involvement with a variety of events and participatory learning engagements, along with its staff and peers, it is a village that educates the child.

Acton Academy can be reached at 505.358.1163. They are located at 3100 Menaul Blvd SE in ABQ. Their website is