FAQs

Learn about our Calendar, Tuition, Philosophy, Learning Design and more.

We do not have traditional K-12 grade levels.  We currently serve learners ages 5-13.

Each learner set out on their own S/Hero’s Journey.  Although we don’t have grade levels, all core curriculum work is tracked, managed, and saved.  We are always able to provide you a transcript.

Annual tuition: $7,425 (11 payments of $675). Application fee is $50, and there’s non-refundable registration deposit of $250 to confirm enrollment. For more information about Pre-Pay Discount, Need-Based Scholarship, or Sibling Discounts, click here.

We currently operate on a ten-month calendar. We have also attempted, when possible, to align our academic calendar with DPS breaks to make things easier for families with children at multiple schools. View our 2020-2021 here.

EMA is Montessori-Inspired and uses the best of Montessori methods:  hands-on learning, lots of play, mixed-age workspaces, structured freedom, large blocks of work time to get into “flow”, learning through “discovery”, and freedom of movement.

In order to maintain our focused mission and improve the daily experience, we plan to grow slowly and methodically.  This Fall 2020, we plan to add 15-20 more learners and their families to our community. 

We believe that children learn best when working with children younger and older than themselves rather than split up into groups solely based on age.  In addition to individualized curriculum, all ages work together in groups.

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 learner for their special journey. You may read more here.

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.  At EMA, we use 3BB4G;  we invite Panthers to consult their Brain, a Book, and/or a Buddy, before asking a Guide.

Running Partners are Fellow Panthers 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.

We believe each of our learners 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. This may be by becoming a homesteader who lives off the grid and inspires others to unplug and grow their own food;  it may be by becoming a neuroscientist who shares the miracles of the human brain or an epigeneticist who studies how past trauma and effects human DNA;  or, an architect who designs sustainable structures or a computer programmer who uses code to create apps that change people’s lives;  becoming a father or mother who leads a family on a Hero’s Journey;  becoming an entrepreneur or business leader guided by compassion and integrity;  or it may be by becoming an artist or writer who brings beauty to people’s lives.

We measure student progress in several different ways:

1.  We set Daily, Weekly, and Session goals (each session lasts typically 4-6 weeks).  Learners share these goals with parents.

2.  We utilize robust real-time data for each of our online learning tools. At any given time both parents and Guides can find out exactly what their child is learning. It easily allows us to track progress, identify areas of struggle, and close any learning gaps. The web-based programs don’t allow learners to move on to the next skill until it has been mastered. Guides equip learners get unstuck, embrace a growth mindset, and develop grit.

3.  We utilize paper portfolios/binders, electronic portfolios, and a web-based tool called the Journey Tracker, where each learner showcases and adds their best work.

4.  Though we never “teach to the test,” the IOWA test is given each Fall & Spring to provide useful benchmark data for parents.

EMA Panthers will be equipped for the future by working hard to improve their reading, writing and math skills.  Real-world projects (called missions and quests) will allow learners to compete and collaborate in a game-like series of real-world projects (e.g. coding, chemistry, entrepreneurship, agriculture, electricity, etc.,) to learn and practice 21st Century Skills.

21st Century Skills include Learning Skills (critical thinking, creative thinking, collaborating, communicating), Literacy Skills (information literacy, media literacy, technology), and Life Skills (flexibility, initiative, social skills, productivity, leadership).  All of these skills are vitally important for present and future success.  These skills were invaluable to our ancestors thousands of years ago when they built cities, universities, economies, and mutually beneficial social systems.  These skills are therefore misnamed and are not a “new” need of our times;  we’ve always needed these skills.

However, in order, “To hold information-age jobs,” build careers, businesses, and non-profits, “…students need to think deeply about issues, solve problems creatively, work in teams, communicate clearly in many media, learn ever-changing technologies, and deal with a flood of information. The rapid changes in our world require students to be flexible, to take the initiative and lead when necessary, and to produce something new and useful.” source

NO.  We are not a franchise or chain.  EMA is an independently-owned and operated school that was founded in Fall 2016 and became part of the Acton Academy Affiliate Network in Fall 2017.  The affiliate network is passionate about revolutionizing education, pursuing best practices, and have agreed to protect a learner-driven environment.  Each affiliate follows their own methods in keeping with these commitments and varies based on the leadership at each school and the community they serve.  We are the only Acton Affiliate that uses Afrocentric frameworks and tools. For example, at EMA, instead of Socratic Seminar, we use the terms Kemetic Conversation or Kemetic Dialogue Method, to reclaim this ancient method of teaching.  And because we serve Black learners and their families, we’ve also added the following statement to our educational philosophy:  We believe that by un/dis-covering (with research, study, and direct contact), reclaiming (with due diligence and hard work), and reconnecting with our truth (by reaching back – “Sankofa”) we will better understand who we were, who we are, and who we must be. 

EMA is accredited through the International Association of Learner Driven Schools.

Don’t see your question?  Don’t worry!  Just send us your questions to info@empoweredmindsacademy.com.

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Empowered Minds Academy: An Acton Academy Affiliate ©️ 2020

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