Acton Elementary School is a K-8 school with 194 students taught by 21 teachers and 12 educational technicians. They have a 53% free and reduced lunch rate and a 23% special education population.
Walking through Acton Elementary is like walking through time. In the 1950s when the school was built (the first time the school was consolidated) it was a four-room schoolhouse. The original schoolhouse still exists and serves as the primary wing. Moving toward the office, you go through the 1970s section and then the “new” section of the building which was added on in the 1990s.
When speaking to Principal Tricia Boivin, she beams with pride when speaking about the kids and the community. “The kids are remarkable,” she says, “and we have a great parent connection. This school is theirs and they know it. They are as involved as they possibly can be.”
“I also have to say although I have an experienced staff, an exceptional number of them have the creativity and attitude towards new learning that any principal would love to have!”
Giving the students a real world working experience is part of the curriculum at Acton Elementary School. Every year all 7th grade students are taught how to write a resume, cover letter, “apply” and “interview” for different jobs. “We Deliver Postal Service” is a mail carrier experience that students apply for in the school. Each year there are different job opportunities, similar to a post office, within the school for which students apply. The day I visited there were many students who were professionally dressed for their interviews. Being offered the position of “Post Master” is a prestigious job ~ every student I spoke to was interviewing for this position!
Using these critical job interviewing skills, the 8th grade students go into the community – as far away as Portland – and job shadow different places of business. The school matches the interest level of each student with a potential job shadow placement. Having these opportunities gives each of the students a sense of pride and is seen as a rite of passage in the eyes of the community.
Being a k-8 school, the staff fosters the sense of community by having a k-8 assembly every Friday. During these community meetings, the students have the ability to share work, podcasts, and hear announcements such as who was chosen to be “Post Master.”
Principal Boivin works closely with her staff and the part-time superintendent. “It’s critical to have the same vision. It is what is best for kids.” Staff meets on a regular basis to talk about the kids, the curriculum, and how to help students meet their individual goals.
I had the opportunity to talk to two students during my visit. Chad, an 8th grade student and current Post Master, shared “The teachers know us and our personalities. We have a nice community here. We are care and help each other.”
I also had the pleasure of speaking with Hadley, a 1st grade student, “We have a VERY good principal. Our school has lots of ‘just right’ books for us and we even get to make and paint turtle structures. That’s what makes our school great!”
Community involvement, customized learning, and providing real life learning opportunities makes Acton Elementary School stand out among many schools. It’s a truly memorable school!
Contact: Acton Elementary School
700 Milton Mills Road
Acton, ME 04001
Principal Tricia Boivin