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Academics >> The ACS Classroom

In her 1938 treatise on progressive education at The Avery Coonley School, Finding Wisdom, Gertrude Hartman wrote, "To grow, children need the freedom to move, to investigate, to try out their ideas and interests. They need real experience; they need periods of activity and quiet times of relaxation and repose.”

Our foundational approach has evolved to make The Avery Coonley School a natural fit for gifted learners. Because we know that gifted children learn differently, ACS teachers structure their classrooms, lessons, and expectations in the best interest of gifted learners:


  • ACS classes consist of like-minded peer groups where academic motivation is the norm. We are a place where it is "cool to be smart.”
  • Perfectionism is a characteristic of many gifted children. Risk-taking is encouraged and acknowledged, and mistakes are viewed as invitations to learn.
  • Flexibility within the classroom (both physical setting and climate) creates a relaxed yet challenging environment that encourages responsibility and autonomy.
  • A multitude of opportunities exist for hands-on, less-structured learning experiences – projects, simulations, dramatizations, fairs.
  • Fewer rote-learning activities and repetitions are required for subject mastery. Students are allowed to quickly explore higher levels of thinking. Boredom is not an option.
  • Opportunities for independent and group work encourage students to engage their own interests and benefit from different perspectives.
  • Emphasis on both divergent and convergent thinking supports creative problem solving. 



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