Is Nova Trails A Religious Program?
All Acton Academies are individually owned and operated. While some Acton Academies intertwine various religious doctrine, Nova Trails leaves those conversations to the parents. We believe that exposure to a Biblical worldview is important, however it is not something that we 'teach' as we are a learner driven school.
Is Nova Trails Accredited?
Yes, our program is accredited through the International Association of Learner Driven Schools. Parents, students, and Guides work together throughout the year to set appropriate learning plans and goals.
Why a Learner Driven Classroom?
At Nova Trails Acton Academy we believe in learning to be and learning to do and 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.
Will Children Be Grouped Together By Grades?
We believe that children learn best when working with those younger and older than themselves, rather than split up into groups based solely on age.
What Is A "Running Partner"?
Running Partners 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.
What Do You Mean By "Every Child Can Change the World"?
We believe each of our students 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 in the world. This may be by becoming a shoe-shiner who tells stories and makes people’s day just by doing his job with love and vigor; it may be by becoming a coach who sees the light in a child’s eyes and guides her to pursue a dream; it may be by becoming a father or mother who leads a family on a Hero’s Journey; it may be 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.
Does Nova Trails Serve Special Needs Children?
We are not trained to serve children with serious learning disabilities but have been able to serve young heroes with dyslexia if they receive special training and believe that many minor learning disabilities are commonly misdiagnosed.
What is an "Independent Learner"?
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.
What Do You Mean By "A Hero's Journey"?
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.
Is Nova Trails A Montessori School?
We respect and incorporate Maria Montessori’s philosophy, but we are not a Montessori school. In addition to Montessori methods, we use the latest interactive technologies, hands-on projects and the Socratic Method for discussions.
What Grades Do You Offer?
We currently offer Studios for learners ages 4-14, but plan to expand that offering in the near future.
How Do You Use Technology In The Classroom Without Students Having Too Much Screen Time?
At Nova Trails, we believe in the power of balance. Using the incredible, self-paced eLearning tools now available, we are able to provide the rigor needed for learning math, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar in about 90 minutes each day, while freeing up the rest of the day for engaging, project-based learning. The two are highly complementary.
How Is Nova Trails Affiliated With Acton Academy?
Nova Trails is part of the network of over 230 Acton Academies around the world. We follow the same exact Learning Design (curriculum) and learning model that our owners helped create at the original Acton Academy campus.
Without Homework And Frequent Test Taking, How Do I Know My Child Is Learning?
Students celebrate the mastery of tools, skills, and character by earning badges, assembling portfolios, and taking part in public exhibitions. Public exhibitions allow students to present work to experts, customers, or the public for a real-world test. Parents and students use our online platform to monitor progress in Core Skills like reading, writing, math, and character development. Electronic and hard copy Portfolios capture rough drafts, photos, videos, and other creative work. Once a year, we offer the Iowa standardized test, and you know what? Most of our students score 1-2 grade levels ahead of the national average.
Do You Group Children Into Grades?
We believe that students learn best when working with others both younger and older than themselves rather than split up into groups based solely on age. In addition to individualized curriculum, students work together in multi-age groups. This allows children to be both teachers and learners, further developing each student’s own learning.
How Do I Apply For My Child To Attend Nova Trails?
Here is how our application process works:

1. Introduce yourself. Schedule a call or contact us below to arrange another meeting with the owners. Dive deep, ask lots of questions and attend a tour. We have many great resources to help you understand our model and consider whether your family would be a good fit at Nova Trails.

2. Complete Application. Request an application from the owners.

3. Collaborative Interview and Visit Day. After we receive your completed application, you and your child may be invited for an informal in-person collaborative interview and a Visit Day in our studios. This will give us the chance to ask questions and learn together to determine if we are a good fit for your family.

4. Invitation to Enroll. We will inform you of our invitation decision within two weeks of your visit day
We are excited to learn more about what YOU want for your family and if Nova Trails could be the right fit!
How To Apply