Experience how Acton is transforming education in this independent, award-winning documentary.

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Our Story

I'm Jackie, founder of Acton Academy Hampton Roads. I am a Montessori teacher with five beautiful children who inspired me to open a new kind of school. When I became a mother, I wanted something different for my children. I didn't want them sitting at a desk for twelve years only to have them graduate with a mediocre education. I wanted them to be passionate. I wanted them to be excited about learning new things. I wanted their successes to be theirs as well as their failures. A school that let my children experience this freedom didn't exist, so we had to create it.

We began our journey in 2008 with a small Montessori program we ran out of our living room. As my children grew, so did the ages of the students we accepted into our program. We went from a part-time to a full-time program in 2014 with thirty children in our living room ages three to twelve all learning together five days a week. We began each morning with a morning meeting where we would have tea and discuss what everyone had planned for the day. Inspired by Montessori's philosophy, the children set their own goals and worked a full uninterrupted 3 hours. I was there providing guidance but never delivering information as fact. They made amazing progress with little oversight.

While they were learning, I was learning that all children are truly capable of being in control of their own education and future, with the right kind of atmosphere and guidance. In February 2016 we decided we had outgrown our living-room and opened Hatched Democratic School in Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Our time as Hatched was perfect in every way. One evening while searching the internet, I stumbled across Acton Academy in Austin, Texas. After learning about their program, I knew immediately that this was exactly the kind of school I had envisioned from the very beginning. I wanted our school to be a part of this growing revolution of educators, parents, and students passionate about changing education all over the world. We applied, were accepted, and as of October 2019, we are officially Acton Academy Hampton Roads.

What is an Acton Academy? Acton Co-founders Jeff and Laura Sandefer opened the first Acton in Austin Texas, beautifully mixing Democratic Schooling and Montessori philosophies. Jeff and Laura soon discovered that they had created more than a school. They created a revolution, and it is spreading like wildfire! Acton Academy is a 21stcentury version of the one-room schoolhouse. They offer a fresh and evidence-based approach to education. Acton Academy strays from the traditional lecture-based model of education and focuses on developing real-world skills such as responsibility, leadership, and cleanliness.

At the same time, academics are mastered through a learner-driven, self-paced approach. There are no "teachers" at Acton, merely guides helping them set goals, reach higher, and strive for excellence. Our school model includes state-of-the-art online learning using programs for mastering the basics of reading, grammar, and math. Students at Acton can and do learn from and teach one another, providing real opportunities for leadership and developing respect and compassion toward younger or less-experienced children.

The end goal of learning isn't to get a good score on a test or an "A" from a teacher. It is to learn for the sake of learning, to solve real problems, and to make difficult but responsible decisions. We invite children to explore the essential questions of "Who am I becoming? Where am I going? What do I need to do to get there? How can I improve the world? Our approach is unique and transformational, attracting attention and praise from thought leaders, press, and parents from all around the world. Our goal is to provide your kids with the space and experiences that will allow them to become who they were born to be, capable of achieving their dreams.


Jackie Hill
Acton Academy Hampton Roads Co-founder

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"The thought of a learning environment that incorporates active learning, includes all the senses, and emphasizes a pursuit personalized to your individual gifts, sounds amazing. What kid doesn't deserve that?"

Our promises to your child

They will:

  • Begin a Hero's Journey
  • Learn to be a curious, independent, lifelong learner.
  • Develop a deep respect for economic, political and religious freedoms.
  • Cherish the arts, wonders of the physical world and the mysteries of life on Earth.
  • Discover his or her most precious gifts and learn to use them to solve difficult problems.
  • Understand the importance of strong character.
  • Value a healthy lifestyle of mind and body.

Our beliefs

We believe:

  • We believe each child has a gift that can change the world in a profound way.
  • We believe in a closely connected family of lifelong learners.
  • We believe in learning to learn, learning to do, and learning to be.
  • We believe in economic, religious, and political freedom.

Hi, I'm Jackie Hill. 👋

I'm Head of School at Acton Academy Hampton Roads.

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Discover what a 21st Century, self-paced, hands-on learning environment can mean for your child!

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