Know Your Neighbors: Meet the Kids of Acton Academy

April 18, 2017 raguirre

Photography by Julian Nunez

Students from Las Cruces’ newest private school let us in on what they love about school and what they are most looking forward to during the upcoming Spring Break.

Anna Emerick-Biad had five very good reasons to found Acton Academy: Sara, Simon, Emma, Matthew, and Zachary. “We wanted a relevant education for our children where they get real world experience and really have a say in their education,” she explains.

Acton Academy offers a project-based learning environment. Students work at their own pace, regulate the classrooms, and vote on rules for the school. Teachers are called “guides.” The school currently offers grades kindergarten through 6, and they’re adding a new grade every year with a goal of going all the way through high school.

When the doors first opened last September, Acton had about 20 students. Enrollment has since more than doubled to 42. “As adults, it’s our role to, first and foremost, believe that every student is a genius and can do great things in this world, and then to create an environment where they can succeed,” Anna says. “We’ve been blown away at how many like-minded families also want this experience for their children.”

Interested in Enrolling?

Learn more about the Acton Academy environment and philosophy at

Lainey Mischler, 7
Why I Love School: “I love the feeling of being free and I get to spend time on Newsela every day.”

Spring Break Plans: “I’m going to take photos of all the gorgeous flowers around here. I have a Nikon that can even go underwater. I love taking photos.”

Piper Gandy, 7
Why I Love School: “It’s really fun and we have a beautiful playground. We get to play a lot and learn.”

Spring Break Plans: “We might go to Hawaii.”

Yakira de Rouen, 10
Why I Love School: “We get to make our own choices here and be independent. We learn about entrepreneurship and running our own businesses. This school really prepares us for the real world. If I could describe Acton in one word it would be: excitement.”

Spring Break Plans: “See friends and grandparents and go swimming if it’s warm enough.”

Tara Gandy, 9
Why I Love School: “It’s not like other schools. It’s just fun. I like art, music, and history. I like that we learn history in a fun way, not just by reading from a book. We just had to do a project on someone from New Mexico and I did mine on J. Paul Taylor.”

Spring Break Plans: “I think we are going to Hawaii or Italy. I really want to go on a cruise.”

Jude Lange, 10
Why I Love School: I love that our school is student-led. We have an Eagle Bucks system that allows us to monitor each other, instead of the guides having to discipline us. We also can earn different Freedom Levels that give us special privileges. We do lots of fun activities, like we just finished a Detective Quest where we had to figure out a mystery.”

Spring Break Plans: “Lots of swimming and spending time with my grandparents.”

Tristan Salopek, 9
Why I Love School: “We get to go at our own pace, like I’m in 3rd grade, but I’m on 4th grade math.”

Spring Break Plans: “Playing with my pets. I have seven chickens, four pigs, five turtles, and two dogs.”

Levi Peterson, 9
Why I Love School: “We get the chance to learn things that they don’t have at other schools, like how to start a business.”

Spring Break Plans: “I want to go on a vacation, or spend time at the Farmers’ Market selling items, like slingshots and jewelry, for my business, Launch by Levi.”

Lexi Schwartz, 12
Why I Love School: “We don’t have to be rushed into anything or have anything forced on us. Spelling is my favorite class. I like figuring out words and how they are pronounced. It just interests me.”

Spring Break Plans: “Video games and having fun with my parents and friends.”

Whit Gibson, 11
Why I Love School: “No homework and no tests! I also like our 30 minutes of math. I don’t know why, I’ve just always liked math. I also like World War II history.”

Spring Break Plans: “Going to the pool and I like building models of ships, tanks, and airplanes.”

Carson Kaczmarek, 8
Why I Love School: “It’s fun. We get toys and prizes from the Eagle Store. My favorite subject is math and we get to work at our own pace. I’m done with 3rd grade math and halfway through 4th.”

Spring Break Plans: “Go to my grandparents’ farm and to grammy’s house.”

Wyatt Gibson, 9
Why I Love School: “I like our guides. They are good at helping us. Ms. Alana is really nice.”

Spring Break Plans: “Going to the pool and playing video games with my brother.”

Sara Biad, 11
Why I Love School: “I love everything about school. Grammar is my favorite subject. It’s entertaining and fun.”

Spring Break Plans: “Sit in my room and watch movies like Jurassic World and Avengers.”

Simon Biad, 8
Why I Love School: “I get to do math and magic. I do mostly card and rope tricks. I can do one trick where I read someone’s mind and make their card appear somewhere else.”

Spring Break Plans: “I want to go to Costa Rica.”

Kennedy Kaczmarek, 5
Why I Love School: “We learn about art. We also did a test to see how many pennies we could put in a cup of water before it overflowed.”

Spring Break Plans: “Swimming and playing with my brother.”

David Fernandez, 5
Why I Love School: “Playing Ghostbusters outside on the playground. And I like studying bugs.”

Spring Break Plans: “Go to the aquatic center. I’m learning to swim.”

Brooklyn Schreurs, 7
Why I Love School: “No homework and we get nap time. I also like art because we get to paint and color. My favorite color is rainbow.”

Spring Break Plans: “Play on my phone and play Barbies with my sister.”

The post Know Your Neighbors: Meet the Kids of Acton Academy appeared first on Las Cruces Magazine.

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