Our Approach to Learning

At Acton Academy Hampton Roads, our children learn in a collaborative studio of multi-age learners. Our flexible approach challenges each student with their individualized learning plan and inspires them through real-world projects and experiences. A day in our studios is marked by creativity within constraints: large blocks of time for work and play with clear but broad guardrails, equipping young people to manage their time, set goals, and track progress. As learners demonstrate their readiness, they earn more freedom and responsibility. Mornings are reserved for Core Skills, and afternoons are for hands-on projects with integrated time to reflect, think deeply, and connect with peers. Within each work block, students choose from a broad range of work options based on their personal goals, passions, and commitments.

Our typical day begins with a Socratic Discussion that encourages our Eagles to think deeply. They then begin a three-hour, uninterrupted work cycle for Core Skills, where they use the latest technology and resources of their choosing to improve on Reading, Writing, and Math skills at a pace they feel comfortable with. Our Eagles break as needed during this time, stopping to eat or take a few minutes outside and returning to work when they feel ready. Once they are finished with Core Skills for the day, they have up to 2 hours of free time. We then gather again at 1:30 for an afternoon launch before our learners set out to work on projects and hobbies or participate in a Studio Quest. At the end of the day, the learners work together to tidy up and clean before leaving.

Our studios are run mostly by our learners, where closely connected Eagles are bound by clear commitments. Our learners create, and sign, a Contract of Promises the beginning of each year laying out behavior expectations and consequences for violating community norms. Our learners agree to participate fully and responsibly in our community, place a high value on their education, and use our studios for their intended purposes.

Primary Studio Students

Primary Studio

"Spark" — Ages 4-6

At Acton Academy Hampton Roads, we believe young children are capable of learning necessary skills like reading and mathematical reasoning at their own pace and in their own way. We create an environment in which children are free to explore and play, allowing their own curiosity to be the spark that ignites learning. Along the way, they also develop vital character traits and social skills like kindness, empathy, honesty, critical thinking, the satisfaction of performing hard work, responsibility, and joy in learning. Inspired by Montessori principles and Socratic teaching methods, our Spark Studio is a holistic environment that aims to stimulate children's minds, spirits, and bodies as they figure out the world around them and their place in it.
Elementary Studio

Elementary Studio

"Discovery" — Ages 6-10

The Discovery Studio lays the foundation for our Eagles to develop a deep love of learning for life. Our Discovery Studio is full of energy, excitement, and creativity. Learners begin to understand how to handle the freedom and responsibility that comes with being in charge of their education. They learn to accept challenges with a growth mindset.
Middle Studio Students

Middle School Studio

"Adventure" — Ages 11-14

During the transformative middle school years, our Adventure Studio inspires our young people to develop independent thinking, strong friendships, leadership skills, and pursue their work with integrity. They are playful, yet responsible, and prove to be excellent role models to our Spark and Discovery learners, as well as each other.
Launchpad Studio Students

High School Studio

"Launchpad" — Ages 14-18

Our Launchpadders get ready for real-world success by gaining valuable skills, mastering them through apprenticeships, and launching real startups, businesses, and projects. Learners in this studio have the option to work part-time or attend college classes during school hours. In this studio, students get to hone their skills and talents while building a portfolio that proves what they can do.
"I would never have believed children could learn so much from each other – until I saw it with my own eyes. The lessons of self management and self governance have prepared our fifth-grade son to be a lifelong learner.”

Hi, I'm Jackie Hill. 👋

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

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