How is Evergreen different?
Evergreen is part of a network of schools called Acton Academy. Acton Academies are fundamentally different from traditional schools. No bells ring, and there are no lectures. Students are in control of their own learning. KEY WAYS WE ARE DIFFERENT: Student-driven, self-paced learning; real-world projects and apprenticeships; multi-age/grade classes; student self-governance, exploration and assessment of skill levels; learning styles, aptitudes, personality traits, and interest; No homework. No teaching to the test; GUIDES rather than teachers; SOCRATIC DISCUSSIONS rather than lectures; MASTERY LEARNING and student PORTFOLIOS of achievements rather than grades;
What grades do you offer?
We currently offer Kindergarten through 6th grade. In coming years we will grow to accommodate upper middle school and high school studios.
Is Evergreen a Montessori school?
We respect and incorporate Maria Montessori’s philosophy, but we are not a Montessori school. We have applied the best of Montessori methods: mixed-age classrooms, student-directed meaningful work, large blocks of work time, learning through “discovery,” and freedom of movement in the classroom. We believe it is possible to surpass this method by adding the following components: project-based learning, the Socratic Method of discussion and the latest in educational game-based software.
Are you accredited?
Yes, we are accredited through the International Association of Learner Driven Schools.
How long is Evergreen in session each year and how many days a week do you meet?
We operate on an alternative calendar of 4-6 week sessions or "Quests" with breaks in between sessions and a 10 week summer break. Our flexible program allows families to travel together during the year, without sacrificing any learning. We are a 4 day a week program, Mon-Thurs with Fridays being a learn at home day as a field-trip day 1-2 times per session.
Who was Lord Acton?
Lord John Emerich Edward Dahlberg Acton (1834-1902) was a Victorian scholar of Freedom who saw liberty not as a license, but as the freedom to do what was right. He was suspicious of power for the sake of power, which led to his most famous quote: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." At EVERGREEN: An Acton Academy, we celebrate his defense of economic, political and religious freedom.
What is an "Independent Learner"?
Someone who can research questions, follow instructions, solve problems—admit that they don't know something and figure out a solution when they hit a roadblock without asking an adult for help — participate in discussions, and strive for mastery.
Will Children be grouped into grades?
We believe that children learn best when working with children younger and older than themselves rather than split up into groups based solely on age. In addition to individualized curriculum, all ages of students work together in groups. Pre-readers will be in their own classroom or "studio" for most of the day and the elementary and middle schoolers will flow between big and smaller groupings for morning and afternoon meetings as well as projects, art, music and PE.
What do you mean by "Every child can change the world"?
We believe each of our students will find a passion — something they love and have a gift to do. They will use this gift to serve others and fulfill a need they are passionate about in the world. This may be by becoming a father or mother who leads a family on a Hero’s Journey; it may be by becoming a coach who sees the light in a child’s eyes and guides him/her to pursue a dream; it may be by becoming an artist or writer who brings beauty to people’s lives; or it may be becoming an entrepreneur or business leader guided by compassion and integrity. We do not have one definition of success, but rather help students develop the tools to thrive at living and cultivate the tools and desire to make a positive impact in the world.
Where are you located?
We are located just south of east Norman in Noble, OK at the Parker Ranch. This picturesque location is just 7 minutes south of highway 9 and Classen with a brand new Starbucks on the way (sleepy parents rejoice). Evergreen rents the second floor of a beautiful log building overlooking a pond and the South Canadian River. Lots of great outdoor STEM and exploration opportunities including gardening and nature hikes. Animals are welcome: if you come to visit you'll likely meet Chia the mini Labradoodle and our class pet, Mr. Brussel Sprouts, the Ball Python.
Is Evergreen a religious school?
While we expose learners to the importance of mindfulness, Evergreen is a non-sectarian learning environment. We value and respect each person’s beliefs. Learners explore the importance various religions have played throughout history, but we do not promote any one religion.
What do you mean by a Hero's journey?
We believe that each of us has a special calling in life, and a series of trials and tests that must be faced with integrity and purpose, in order to live a satisfying and fulfilled life. Our mission is to prepare your child for his or her special journey.
What do you mean by a "Running Partner"?
Running Partners are 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.
How much “screen time” do students have each day?
Evergreen is constantly seeking balance between utilizing the advantages of tech-based learning while minimizing technology practices that isolate or disengage. Socratic discussions around this topic will take place regularly in student and parent meetings as we seek first and foremost to learn in community and from the natural world. Core skills learning takes place with high quality online programs that equip students to better engage in the amazing project-based learning that happens at Evergreen.
At the Kindergarten level, there will be little to no screen time. Elementary and middle schoolers use computers for core skills (reading, writing and math) work in the morning for 1-2 hours, depending on the week. Individualized learning goals are regularly established and tracked with running partners and guides. A student-created Internet Use Policy ensures technology tools are used appropriately. That said, you and your child are empowered to plan non-tech alternatives for core skills work with the only requirement being that mastery checks are done via the online platform. If you have questions on this subject, please talk with us.
Does Evergreen serve special needs children?
We are not trained to serve children with serious learning disabilities, but have been able to serve young heroes with dyslexia if they receive special training. Evergreen's flexible approach to learning is a great fit for many kids who need something different than the traditional school environment. Students who have trouble sitting still through a standard school day often flourish in our classroom, which provides space for breaks, comfortable and flexible seating, and room for individual self-regulation.
How does Evergreen ensure a high-quality learning environment?
Deep at the core of Evergreen Academy is our commitment to serving those students and families in our community and receiving transparent feedback. Because of this, we ask families to participate in a bi-weekly Customer Satisfaction Survey, where we ask them to rate us 1-5 on how well we accomplished our promises. We then share the results with the community. These surveys are our most important metric to measure the success of the learning community.
What is the vision for the school in the future?
As our older students progress through the program, we will plan to expand up to a full middle school and high school. The founder's children are ages eight and five. They are committed and invested in ensuring that the children in our school community will have access to this type of learning model for their entire education.