How Acton Academy prepares a student for the real world.

Laura Sandefer

February 16, 2018

How Studio Covenants and Freedom Levels Prepare You for a Hero’s Journey in the Real World

Acton Academy is a special place reserved for those committed to becoming a Hero on a Hero’s Journey, determined to find a calling that will change the world.

Below are three important principles about the frameworks, systems and structures that will allow you to earn more freedom and responsibility at Acton Academy Las Cruces, as you discover the gifts and passions that are a path to a satisfying and fulfilling life in the real world.

1. Acton Academy Las Cruces is a special place reserved for those committed to a Hero’s Journey.

Will you choose to be a Hero or a Victim in life?


  • Welcome challenges and embrace responsibility.
  • Strive for and celebrate excellence.
  • Praise heroic choices by others, practice frequent acts of kindness and hold firm boundaries in relationships.
  • Are grateful and generous.


  • Avoid hard work.
  • Look for the easy way out and seek loopholes, rather than delivering their best work.
  • Fail to keep their word, gossip, brag or diminish others.
  • Feel entitled, whine, blame and complain.

While our learner driven community offers patience and grace, Acton Academy Las Cruces is reserved for those who are truly committed to becoming a Hero on a Hero’s Journey.

2. Studio Covenants and Freedom Levels act as guardrails and mile markers for your Hero’s Journey.

Studio Covenants and Freedom Levels prepare you for the real world by rewarding heroic choices with more freedom and responsibility.

As an Eagle, you will work with studio-mates to craft the promises and consequences in Studio Covenants, which will act as guardrails, signaling the impact your actions on others and developing habits that will make you happier, more satisfied and more fulfilled.

Freedom Levels provide milestones to measure your progress, and like a more advanced driver’s license, give you more freedom as you build healthy relationships, develop impressive work habits and showcase excellent work.

Even at the lowest Freedom Levels, you will enjoy more freedom and responsibility than a traditional school.   In the long run, Acton Academy’s Owners want to delegate even more responsibility for running the community, as soon as Eagle leaders show a track record of raising standards, holding boundaries and acting with respect, kindness and generosity.

While all of the activities below eventually will be delegated to Eagles and your suggestions will have a major impact on studio life and governance, our promises to parents mean owners always will have the ultimate responsibility to:

  • Establish safety protocols;
  • Set studio schedules;
  • Offer challenges and points;
  • Create systems like Eagle Bucks and Freedom Levels; and
  • Set final badge standards and graduation requirements.

3. The Real World is Not Fair

One of the most important responsibilities of Owners and Guides is to prepare you for a real world that is both generous and relentlessly unforgiving with consequences.

If you look at the world as a Hero, you will welcome challenges; embrace responsibility; act kindly towards others and hold firm relational boundaries, while being grateful for opportunities that come your way.  If you do this, you likely will look back on life as a journey filled with almost limitless opportunity and luck.

If, however, you adopt the pose of a Victim, feel entitled; shirk hard work; seek loopholes; take the easy way out; fail to keep your word; or whine, complain or blame others, you likely will see the world as unfair because it does not cater to your whims.

George Bernard Shaw perhaps put it best about the contrast between choosing the heroic life and

“….. being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote  itself to making you happy.”

There is no Utopia on earth.  Work is work, even when it’s rewarding.  Skills must be mastered through deliberate practice; there are no shortcuts.  Human beings are complex and will disappoint as often will disappoint as they amaze.   If you choose not to work or to treat others unkindly, you almost are guaranteed an unhappy and unsatisfying life.  In the real world, there are real consequences.   The same will be true at Acton Academy because we have promised to prepare you for a calling that will change the world.

“That’s not fair,” is the cry of a victim.   If you were born in the United States, live in a middle class American family or attend a school like Acton, you already have had more luck and good fortune than 99% of the people on the planet.  Those who work hard, fairly and treat others well are not necessarily guaranteed material success, but they will have far richer lives than those who blame and complain.

The challenges, systems and frameworks of Acton Academy are not perfect, but they will serve you well if you are committed to continually raising community standards and serious about your promise to find a calling that will change the world.  Plus, even on your most difficult days, you will enjoy more freedom and responsibility than at a traditional school.

Two of the most important questions in life are: “Who am I becoming?” and “What road am I on?”  If you are committed to becoming a Hero on a Hero’s Journey, this is the place for you.  If you are prepared to make that brave choice, we respect your right to return to a more traditional school until you are ready.

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