How is Evergreen different?
Evergreen is part of a network of schools called Acton Academy. The Acton method of education is fundamentally different from traditional schools. No bells ring, and there are no lectures. Students are in control of their own learning.
Learner-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 BADGES and student PORTFOLIOS of achievements rather than grades; EXHIBITIONS OF LEARNING rather than tests.
Do the children spend much time exploring outside?
Yes! We believe there is so much to be learned from exploring and playing in the natural world. There are flexible work times that allow for use of our outdoor classroom, students get one hour of lunch & free time each day, regularly go on walks and tend to our vegetable garden, bees, and chickens.
What grades do you offer?
We currently offer Kindergarten through 8th grade and are adding a grade level per year through 12th grade.
Are you accredited?
Yes, we are accredited through the International Association of Learner Driven Schools.
What is a learner-driven classroom?
At Evergreen Academy, the students help run the studio (classroom) by agreeing together what their rules are for behavior and treatment of one another. These are called their “Studio Contract” and “Rules of Engagement”. In the elementary studio especially, they are provided with appropriate guidance throughout this process. These rules and covenants are prominently displayed in the studio and revisited. Often, these are revised by the students as they work through challenges and discover better ways of interacting with one another.
Students also budget their time and choose their areas of focus for the day and adjust these based on their performance. We believe strongly that students achieve more when they have control of their learning. This autonomy increases love of learning and improved academics.
Why a learner-driven classroom?
At Evergreen we believe in learning to be and learning to do! An important part of this is encouraging kids to take responsibility for their own behavior and hold those around them to a high standard. When something isn’t working, we want our students to work together to solve the problem, not look for an adult to solve it for them. This creates a sense of independence and confidence that will serve them well in all areas of life.
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. Our Spark Studio (K-1st class) incorporates Montessori and uses minimal technology. We introduce technology starting at age seven in our bridge program that transitions them into the Discovery studio.
What do you mean by a Hero's journey?
We believe that each of us has a special calling in life where a deep passion meets a burning need in the world, 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.
Will Children be grouped into grades?
Children are grouped into multi-age studios. Spark (ages 5-7), Discovery (ages 7-11, Middle School (ages 11-13). Coming soon: Launchpad (high school). 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. This minimizes negative peer comparisons and encourages celebration of strengths and opportunities for growth both individually and as a contributor in the school community. In addition to individualized curriculum, all ages of students work together in groups. This experience also better prepares them for future jobs where they will work with people of various ages and stages.
How long is Evergreen in session each year and how many days a week do you meet?
Our full-time five day a week program runs from mid August to the end of May. Kindergarteners have the option of a Mon-Thursday or Mon-Friday program. Daily school hours are 8:30 to 3:30pm with our after school program running until 5:30pm Mon-Th. We operate in 6-7 week "sessions" with one week breaks in between. And have a mini session between Thanksgiving and Christmas/Holiday break which is two weeks. Our flexible program allows families to travel together during the year, without sacrificing any learning.
What do you mean by "Every child can change the world"?
"To find a calling is to find the intersection between our own deep gladness and the world's deep hunger." ~ Frederick Buechner
We believe each of our students has the capacity to 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. We do not have one definition of success, but rather help students develop the skills to thrive at living and cultivate the tools, strong character, and desire to make a positive impact in the world.
What is the vision for the school in the future?
We currently serve Kindergarten through eight grade Eagles and plan to add one grade per year through grade twelth grade by 2026.
What do you mean by a "Running Partner" and "Squads"?
Running Partners and Squads 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 do you utilize technology at Evergreen?
We seek first and foremost to learn in community and through hands-on learning. Starting around age seven, some 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.
Our Kindergarten and first graders have minimal technology in the classroom. Individualized learning goals are regularly established and tracked with squads and guides. A student-created Internet Use Policy ensures technology tools are used appropriately. Cell phones must be kept on silent in bags and not used during school. If you have questions on the subject of meaningful tech use at Evergreen, please reach out!
Does Evergreen serve special needs children?
We are not trained to serve children with serious learning disabilities, but have been able to serve children with dyslexia if they receive special training outside of school in addition to our program. 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.
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 Academy, we celebrate his defense of economic, political and religious freedom.
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 regular Customer Satisfaction Surveys, 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.