Kresta Morgan has struggled for years to find a suitable school for her children. As a mother of seven she has explored a plethora of different avenues of education. Still unable to find what she was looking for and feeling like their had to be more parents like her who were searching for more, she did something bold. She created one.
“We had really tried it all.” Kresta said. Traditional schooling, both public and private failed to provide the ideal education we were seeking. We felt forced to resort to homeschooling after each failed attempt of what we thought might be a good fit. Homeschooling, for us, was just not the answer. My children really desire to be with peers and need to be challenged daily. We wanted them to build authentic friendships and be a part of a community.”
“I felt like God just kept piercing my heart with the desire to keep looking for options,” Kresta said.
After endless hours of searching for other methods and available alternative schooling, she was frustrated by the lack of choices available in her area. That’s when she began to seriously consider starting her own school.
“That’s when I found Acton Academy,” Kresta said. “It was everything I wanted and more. The only problem was that there were no Acton Academy in my area. The original Acton opened in Austin, Tx. 9 years ago and has now grown into 30 plus schools across the U.S., Canada, and Central America. Acton receives about 20 applications per week from parents like myself, who are interested in opening their own schools. Acton strives to keep the community strong and consistent. They do so by allowing interested parents to audition to ensure that they are indeed the right fit”
In November of 2015 Kresta contacted Acton Academy and after lengthy discussions, she began the audition process in hopes of becoming part of the Acton family.
In December 2015, Kresta was notified that she had gained the honor of joining with Acton to open a school in Weatherford.
“I felt like I won the lottery when I opened my “Welcome Letter,” Kresta said. It truly was the first time in a very long time that I had been excited about my children’s education”, Kresta said.
In September 2016 Kresta will open her own Acton Academy that she has decided to name, Masterworks Christian School. The learning studio is located at 1213 Santa Fe Drive, in Weatherford, Tx.
“I was able to find the perfect studio location. It’s centrally located and has great outdoor space as well. While the building size of 6,300 square feet, was ideal for our small school setting, and provides numerous opportunities for us to host events and grow the building itself needed some improvement. I am blessed to be married to a builder who has worked tirelessly to make the studio beautiful. We have spent the last 6 months completely updating the interior and exterior. We are projecting to be completed with the remodel by August 1st so that we can begin hosting Open Houses for interested families.
Masterworks and Acton Academy are similar to micro schools in many ways.
A recent article in Education Weekly, written by Arianna Prothero, examined the trend of micro schools. The article compares micro schools to the one-room school houses.
According to Prothero, micro schools typically possess a few key features:
- Schools have no more than 150 students, K-12.
- Children of mixed ages learn together in the same classroom
- Teachers are replaced with Guides
- A heavy emphasis is placed on digital and project-based learning
“With small buildings, few faculty and staff members, and a curriculum built largely around online programs, micro schools strip education down to the bare essentials,” the article states.
In many larger cities, micro schools provide a more-affordable alternative to traditional private schools.
Michael Horn, a co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute, a think tank specializing in disruptive innovation, told Education Week he predicts micro schools may eventually eat up the same share of the private school market as charter schools have of the public school sector.
“The whole premise of the Acton Academy model is a self-paced, learner-driven community where children really take the responsibility for their own education” Kresta explained. Children work together in collaborative multi-age groups to solve real world issues.”
“We believe that each child is a Hero on a Hero’s Journey to find a calling that will change the world.”
God has given each of us unique gifts, talents, and abilities. At Masterworks we strive to help children find their purpose while fostering creativity and developing a love for life long learning. This is about so much more than just their immediate education. We hope that as they grow into adults they will continue to be excited about learning, exploring and trying new things”
Over the past few months Kresta has been networking and reaching out to local businesses, parents, community and church leaders.
“At first I was worried that this model of schooling varied so much from the traditional schooling that we were all so used to that people would be terrified. Instead, what I found is that people are genuinely excited and have rallied behind me in support. Everyone I have spoken to has expressed their concerns about the current outdated education system and the need for a more updated 21st Century approach.”
Be The Change
“Sometimes you have to dare greatly to get the results you want.” Kresta says about her journey of launching a school. “We can all sit and debate and complain about what’s wrong in education but until we are willing to do something different we won’t see new results”
The school is accredited through the International Association of Learner Driven Schools. “Each week, parents and students are sent a survey where they can rank the school 0 to 5,” Kresta said. “We must receive an average of at least 4.5 to remain part of Acton and to receive our accreditation. So often, parents and students have concerns that go unanswered, or worse, unresolved. This system provides me with instant feedback as a school administrator, so we can better serve our students.”
“I get asked frequently about testing,” Kresta shared. “While we do not put any emphasis on testing we do offer it to those families who wish to participate. This is an email that I received this month from Laura Sandefer at Acton Academy, that includes this years test scores for the Middle School (MS) and High School (LP) studios.
“Sadly, public school students in Texas spend a reported 45 of their 180 days each year in standardized tests. At Acton Academy, we prefer to equip and inspire Eagles to learn 21st Century Skills instead.
Still, once a year we subject Eagles to a half day of SAT10 (Stanford Achievement Test) testing, just to make sure they are learning the basics.
This year, Eagles scored an average of 3.5 grade levels ahead of age in Reading; 4.5 grade levels ahead of age in Language Arts and 4.6 grade levels ahead of age in Math.
Approximately seventy percent of middle school and Launchpad Eagles ranked at a Post-High-School (College) level in Language
Arts and Math, and almost half ranked at a Post-High-School (College) level in Reading, Language Arts and Math.
Standardized tests aren’t very important. But it is reassuring to know our Eagles score well, even if we don’t spend one minute “teaching to the test.” Laura Sandefer
Masterworks operates on an 11-month school year, from September through July. “I think the 11-month school year is great,” Kresta said. “The way the school is set up, each day leads into the next day. They’re creating this environment of Socratic thinking. Through the long summer vacation, it’s often hard to keep children engaged and learning — no matter how hard we work at it.”
Kresta says “This journey has been tough, challenging and fun. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. We will post Open House dates on our Facebook page”
There are many things that make Masterworks different from traditional schools. Interested families can visit the schools website to learn more about this new approach to learning.
For information about Masterworks,
Kresta Morgan can be directly reached at:
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