Acton Academy Waco was established in the fall of 2018 by Travis and Kristina Baucom as the school’s co-founders and directors. Acton Academy Waco’s unique approach of providing a “learner-driven community” allows the students to be in charge of their educational journey.
We had the privilege of being one of the founding families of Acton Academy Waco this past year. We picked Acton Academy Waco for our son, Harrison, because we wanted something different in his education…something that honored his individuality and natural curiosity. We loved that Harrison learned how to persevere, that he’s capable of doing hard things and failure isn’t fatal. He can learn and grow from his mistakes.
Kristina Baucom is excited to share more about Acton Academy Waco!
What prompted you to open Acton Academy Waco?
We started Acton Academy Waco out of love for our three children: Eden, Elijah, and Ellie. We see that they are full of curiosity, have a lively imagination and enjoy learning new things and didn’t want this to be stifled in a traditional environment.
In our search for options, we came across Acton Academy in Austin, TX, and everything we read and listened to about Acton Academy resonated deeply with us. We want the light of curiosity to burn brightly, not just as young children, but for their lifetime. We believe Acton Academy is the most nurturing, deep-learning, student-centered learning environment in the world, and we are thrilled to share it with intentional families in our community.
What makes Acton Academy Waco different from traditional schooling?
Our school model uses Socratic discussions to hone deep thinking, peer teaching, apprenticeships for real-world learning, and learner-driven technology for mastering the basics of reading, grammar, and math. We have hands-on projects designed to allow our learners to dig into the arts, sciences, world history and economics.
The physical environment of our school is designed like the one-room schoolhouse, mixing ages that peers can learn from and teach one another. There are a few distinguishing aspects of Acton Academy that separate us from any other school model. Our biggest point of separation is the upside-down power structure that pushes control and decision making to the children. This power shift unleashes children to care so deeply about their learning that they choose to work hard, hold tight boundaries for each other, and rise to excellence in ways we never imagined. Acton Academy is grounded in trusting children with freedom and believing they can handle big responsibilities. The other distinguishing characteristic of our school is the Hero’s Journey. The children here know why they are being challenged to learn, master, solve, forgive, apologize, and discuss. They are doing so because it is part of their personal Hero’s Journey. People in our community–from as young as four years old—embrace the challenge to learn and grow, knowing there will be suffering along the way because it is a part of the journey.
What is Acton Academy Waco’s mission statement?
We believe each person who enters our doors will find a calling that changes the world.
How do you track students’ progress?
We have a series of badges that represent long-term work by each of our learners in reading, writing, math, projects and quests, civilization (history, economics, government), and servant leadership (mentoring, coaching and guiding other Eagles). Each child at Acton Academy has an individual badge plan that parents can see, understand, and track as their learner masters new skills.
What is your vision for Acton Academy Waco and its future?
We have a strong community of founding families from our first year, and we are adding several new families to our community this year. We currently serve students in Pre-K to 6th grade and will be launching our Middle School (6th-8th grades) in September 2020, and our Launchpad (High School), a few short years later. Eventually, we will serve students from Pre-K to 12th grade with a total of 180 learners in our community.
We invite you to attend the Acton Academy Waco Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and first Open House on Thursday, August 22 at 4 p.m. at 1910 Austin Avenue.