Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where is Ascend located?

A: We are located conveniently in Milford, PA; less than 2 minutes from the borough of historic Milford. We can be easily be reached via Interstate 84 or locally by Route 6. Our location is located within 20-30 minutes of Dingmans Ferry (PA), Lords Valley (PA), Hawley (PA), Lake Wallenpaupack (PA), Barryville (NY), Port Jervis (NY), Montague (NJ), and Sussex (NJ).

Q: What are your current tuition rates?

A: We are extremely up-to-date and conscious of the current economic and educational climates.  We are committed to keeping our tuition rates affordable without sacrificing any aspect of the learner experience.  Tuition includes all supplies that your child needs for their learning experience at Ascend besides their personal Chromebook (see last question of FAQs for more information about Chromebooks).

Our annual tuition rates for the 2024-2025 school year are as follows:

Early Learning Studio (4-5 year olds): $8,360 (5 days), $7,810 (4 days), $7,260.00 (3 days).

Spark Studio (5-7 year olds): $8,690 (5 days).

Elementary Studio (7-11 year olds): $9,020.

Middle School Studio (12 years and up): $9,350.

*A $500 reservation fee for incoming (new) families is due at the time of enrollment.   The reservation fee serves to secure and save your learner’s seat in the studio. The fee directly goes towards learning materials and supplies to support your learner. The fees also go towards studio improvements and studio upkeep (both indoor and outdoor areas). All fees are non-refundable.

**
Tuition can be paid in full by September 1 or in 11 convenient monthly payments. Late fees apply for late payments.

***Sibling discounts are as follows:
Reservation fees for the first sibling are listed above, with the second sibling discounted at 10%. Each additional sibling will be given a discount of 20%.

Example: 1st sibling - $500.00 (full), 2nd sibling - $450.00 (10% discount), 3rd sibling - $400.00 (20% discount).

Tuition for the first sibling is in full, with a second sibling discounted at 10%. Each additional sibling will be given a discount of 20%.

Example: 1st sibling - $820.00 (full), 2nd sibling (Discovery)- $738.00 (10% discount) , 3rd sibling (Discovery)- $656.00 (20% discount)

Q: Tell me more about how you group students?

Q: Will students be grouped into grades?
A: We believe that children learn best when grouped with other children of various ages. Children develop at different rates and have all different strengths. They can be huge assets to one another in a learning environment. We group our elementary students to cultivate what we believe is the optimal learning experience.

Q: Will Ascend: An Acton Academy expand and serve more grade levels?
A:
Our goal is to expand the ages of students we serve every year!  

Q: Do you provide any extended before or after school hours?

A: We do not provide any before or after school hours. The studios and grounds are open from 8:30am-3:15pm.  Learners must be dropped off and picked up on time, as responsibility and punctuality are traits we try to instill in our learners.  

Q: What is a parent's role at Acton Academy?

A: Parents play a huge role at Acton Academy. To start, all parents are asked to read “Courage to Grow” by Laura Sandefer to ensure that this model is a great fit for their family.  Parents must understand that this model does not work unless school and home run parallel.

Part of our mission is to never come between a parent and their child. We want to help parents forge strong relationships with their young heroes and provide tools and a community that help support that.  Our parent community is one of the best! Being that we are the first learner-driven schools in the area, it is a gift to do life with people who are on mission together.

We believe that the educational environment and home environment should coincide and support the other; not counteract or clash.  Parents sign a contract at the beginning of the school year where they commit to using strategies that come along with being an Acton Parent. For example, using growth mindset language at home, or allowing their child to fail and struggle when things feel hard at school. Parents are expected to attend their hero’s Public Exhibitions of Learning in addition to community “Deep Dive” meetings to engage in Socratic discussions about family and the learner-driven model.

Volunteering opportunities are always available and parents are welcome into the studios to observe and see what their heroes are doing.

Q: Is Ascend: An Acton Academy basically a Montessori school?

A: No. We highly respect and do use a lot of Montessori methods (especially in our Spark Studio), but we are not a true Montessori program. We incorporate Socratic methods, game and project based learning; as well as the latest online learning software for our older learners.  To answer the question plainly: we use Montessori methods (primarily for our younger learners) but are not just a Montessori school.

Q: What is an "Independent learner"?

A: 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.

Q: How much time do the students spend outside on a regular school day?

A: We firmly believe time spent outside is beneficial for the growth and development of our young heroes. For that reason, our heroes enjoy the outdoors and free play most school days. Weather permitting, the heroes are outside three times per day (which, on average, is about 80-100 minutes per day).

Q: What does a typical daily schedule look like?

The following is a “blueprint” of what a typical day at Ascend looks like:
8:15-8:35
– Learner arrival and outdoor play
8:40-9:00 — Morning motivation and Socratic discussion                                                          9:00-9:10 — Snack/Running Partner Meetings & Goal Setting
9:15-11:30 – Core skills/Montessori work cycle
11:30-12:30 – Lunch & Free time/Outdoor Play
12:30-1:00 — Drop Everything And Read (D.E.A.R. time)
1:00-1:15 — Afternoon circle discussion/Quest launch
1:15-2:30 –   Project-Based QUEST/Extracurricular
2:30-2:40 — Town Hall/End of Day Reflection.
2:45-3:00 –- Studio maintenance
3:00-3:15 – Outdoor play and pickup

Q: Do you serve children with special needs?

A: Unfortunately, we are not equipped to serve children who need specialized attention because of serious learning challenges.

Q: What do you mean by a "Hero's journey"?

A: 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.

Q: Is Ascend: An Acton Academy a religious school?

A:  Ascend is a school founded on Christian principles; however we respect and welcome families of different faiths. We believe that each learner is created by God and has the ability to change the world in a profound way. As Psalm 139:14 (NIV) states: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” This profound Bible verse encompasses how every person who enters our doors is viewed at our school.  

Ascend is not a Christian school in any traditional sense.  Learners are free to read Bibles during the school day if they choose; but no formal “bible studies” are held.  Although our founders and staff approach life from a Biblical Worldview, adults will never feed learners pat answers to life's big questions; but instead will encourage them to seek truth for themselves with all their heart and mind.  Bible verses are sometimes used to launch a discussion about morality or virtue.

At Ascend, guides empower learners to discover and explore their gifts, skills, and passions to make the greatest impact in the world.  Ascend guides prioritize the development of virtue and moral character as part of every learner's journey, and gives learners the freedom to ask questions about God and our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that by cultivating an environment built on righteousness, kindness, and moral character we bring God great glory.

Q: How does your school ensure a high quality learning environment?

A: Deep at the core of Ascend: An Acton Academy is our commitment to serving families and receiving transparent feedback. Because of this, we ask families to participate Satisfaction Surveys, where we ask families to rate us 1-10 on how well we accomplished our promises. These surveys are our most important metric to measure the success of the learning community.

Q: No grades? How do you measure student success and progress?

A:
Young heroes celebrate the mastery of tools, skills and character by earning badges to prove mastery of skill in lieu of traditional grades. Parents use badges to track academic progress in Core Skills like reading, writing, math, and even character development in the form of "Learning to Be" Badges.  In traditional education, a student is graded on how well he or she is able to recall or apply material they've been taught.  At Acton, he or she will continue to dig deep on a subject until they have achieved a working mastery using the new knowledge. They will not advance until they've reached an 'A' level of understanding as demonstrated by their work.  It is their work and the demonstration of their understanding that show us they are ready to move ahead.  Learners get an opportunity to show and demonstrate what they’ve learned through means of public exhibitions; where all families are invited into the studios to see what the heroes have been up to!

Q: How do you use technology in the classroom for core skills without exposing the students to too much screen time?

A:
At Ascend: An Acton Academy, we believe in the power of balance. Through use of adaptive, self-paced software we are able to provide the rigor needed for learning across disciplines and gather more data than we could ever want about each hero’s progress. Hands-on manipulative materials are available in the studios for mathematics, grammar, and reading.  Heroes typically spend 2-2.5 hours on their Core Skills; which frees up the rest of the day for engaging, project-based learning.

Our Spark and Voyager studios do not utilize software; but instead use a Montessori-inspired approach. Heroes typically begin dabbling in some of the adaptive software at age 8, and use a Google Chromebook or something equivalent.

Q: Do you provide the Chromebooks for students?

A:  
This is on a case-by-case basis. The Chromebook becomes a very personal item for the learners; therefore we ask that families provide their own. We can provide Chromebooks for those families that might have trouble acquiring one.  If this is an issue for your family, please bring it to our attention and we will do our best to help and/or accommodate.

Q: Is Ascend: An Acton Academy accredited?

A:
Yes, the school is accredited through the International Association of Learner Driven Schools.

Q: I see you are a 501(C)3 educational organization. Can you provide your mission statement?

A:  Our mission is to support and guide every person who enters our doors to discover their unique God-given gifts and traits that will allow them to find a calling and change the world in a profound way.

Q: Do you recite the pledge of allegiance?

A: Every morning.

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