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  • Heather Clayton Staker

10. Opening a school like Slope School

Updated: Mar 9

This resource accompanies Podcast 10: Opening a School, featuring Slope School.

How can existing schools replicate the learner-driven, high-agency culture that characterizes Acton Academy micro-schools, including the new Slope School? In Podcast 10: Opening a School, featuring Slope School, Matthew Clayton shares two answers.


First, give learners the respect that one would give "a trusted friend or coworker." Replace a hierarchical, boss/subordinate culture with one that is mutually collaborative.


Second, give learners choice. Look for ways to post instructions, enable self-pacing, expand timing options, and create flexibility.


Click here for the Reflection Worksheet for Episode 10 to apply these principles in your school.


Use the worksheet above to think about how to implement the two principles that Matt shared.


Although Matt's principles involve giving learners two things, the adults in the system can expect to get more than two gifts back in return. Student engagement and motivation increase when learners feel more valued, respected, and significant to the community. Teachers find that they have less stress as learners discover how to drive their own learning. Everyone in the culture enjoys more satisfying relationships. School leaders reap the academic growth metrics that result.


Not every educator can open a new school like Slope School. But many of its foundational principles are broadly applicable and beneficial.

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