At Acera, we seek to be a microcosm of what is possible in education, and engage communities in a dialogue about innovation, creativity and joy in education. These are some of the ways in which we carry out our broader mission:
Stipend Programs and Free Workshops
Free STEM workshops provide access to innovative education, for example via a series of maker-workshops funded by the Malden, Woburn and Medford Cultural Councils. We also partner with the non-profit Mission of Deeds on a stipend-program for low-income youth to attend Acera’s after school and summer programs.
Teacher Trainings and Conference Presentations
Recent teacher trainings have drawn in educators from schools in Revere, Lowell, Jamaica Plain and other communities interested in bringing more hands-on, engaging and creative learning on STEM subjects into their classrooms. Acera teachers also present their innovative approaches at national conferences, such as the International Society for Technology in Education or the Interaction Design & Children Conference at Stanford.
Science Exploration For All
We host a bi-annual public Innovator Symposium at our school that connects researchers, inventors, engineers and entrepreneurs with people of all ages interested in science & tech. We also participate in major community gatherings such as the Cambridge Science Festival, the Boston Science March for Kids, Boston Design Week and Scratch Day.
Research And Curriculum Collaborations
As a lab school, we welcome collaborations. Our curriculum partners include: The BU Social Development and Learning Lab; the MIT Media Lab; the MIT Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics; the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach; the Handel and Haydn Society; and Amino Biolabs. (Click here for a full list.)
Acera is also part of a larger national effort devoted to developing the next generation of smart assessment tools. Bringing his background as both a neuroscientist and an educator, Gus Halwani is leading our probe into documenting and studying in scientific ways both what and how students learn in our unique learning environment.
At Acera, Gus works with experienced classroom teachers on specific approaches for different developmental stages, and collaborates with researchers from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, MIT and Tufts on study designs and frameworks. For example, he is developing a Virtual Reality experience that challenges middle school students to develop deeper cross-conflict empathy and perspective-taking skills — while VR technology also allows him to collect behavioral data to assess if and how the intervention is working. (To find out more or connect with Gus, e-mail him at Gus@aceraschool.org)