Lyndie Metz isn’t new to public education. She and her husband have backgrounds in education, having taught in public school for 15 years.
Metz eventually became a consultant in the public school system, and she and her husband always assumed their children would attend public schools when they were old enough.
But with increased testing and technology in the public school system, Metz started looking into other options for her children, and that’s when she discovered Acton Academy.
“Acton Academy is a micro-school that launched in Austin, Texas, in 2009, and at that time the founders of our school were looking for a solution for their children, so they launched a school for their own two children,” Metz said. “Their goal was to encourage children to find their calling in life and learn based on their areas of passion.”
Since 2009, Acton Academy has grown into 200 schools around the world, including the Fall Creek campus in Pendleton that Metz started. She will open a Fishers campus in August 2021 and wants to launch a Geist campus east of Interstate 69.
Metz said there also is potential for campuses in Noblesville and Greenwood.
“We started looking at other (education) options here in Indiana,” Metz said. “We live in Pendleton and go to church in Fishers, so we are around that area (Fishers) all the time. We looked in the Fishers area for private schools or alternative options because we didn’t want to do homeschool.
“We wanted something where our children would have social experiences, but the curriculum wasn’t based on me or them, so we were looking for a unique setup and couldn’t find it. We decided to affiliate with Acton Academy.”
Acton Academy at Fall Creek was the first in Indiana. Campuses in Carmel and Leesburg opened earlier this year.
“These schools are started by parents that are in the same boat that the original founders were,” Metz said. “The school options we have available to us just are becoming increasingly more difficult to feel good about, and so because of that, we have launched our own school where children can learn in the ways they prefer to and need to accomplish the goals they have in life.”
Metz is the owner and head of school at the Fall Creek campus, which serves students ages 4 through 12 and will add middle school curriculum next year. There are no grade levels. The school operates on a one-room schoolhouse model. The Fishers campus will start with ages 6 to 12 in its first year and expand for ages 4 through middle school in its second year.
Acton Academy offers three areas of learning: learning to know, learning to be and learning to do.
“We work on academics for learning to know, we work on learning to be for how to be the best human you can be, and we work on doing good for others,” Metz said. “Those three areas are really important.”
The Acton Academy also offers extracurriculars, such as Spanish, yoga, music, art and chess. Twenty-seven students attend the Fall Creek campus in Pendleton. There are roughly 14 spots left at the Fishers studio, which is half full. For more about Acton Academy, email [email protected].
A normal day
In a normal day at Acton Academy, students enjoy free time when they arrive.
“The morning is very free and welcoming. They love coming to school,” Head of School and owner Lyndie Metz said. “When the weekend comes, they are bummed.”
There are three meetings a day. The first takes place after free time and is reserved for setting goals, talking about teamwork and what the students want to accomplish that day.
Then, students delve into core skill, learning their curriculum work.
“The difference is the curriculum work here is all self-directed, so they’re all working independently on tasks at their own level,” Metz said.
Then, students visit a nearby park for recess. Afterward, they eat lunch and have the second meeting of the day, where they go over their units of study, called quests. The quests last four to six weeks.
“Right now, we are studying Athens, Greece, and everything we are doing is hands-on learning involving ancient Greece, mythology, democracy and the Olympics,” Metz said.
The last meeting is a conversation about current events in which open-ended questions are asked to prompt discussions.
“The children lead themselves through having conversations, sharing opinions, valuing opinions of other people and just learning how to collaborate and come to conclusions without offending other people,” Metz said.
The day concludes with a discussion about what was accomplished and a preview of the next day.
For more, visit actonacademy.org.