acton academy, highschool, modern school,montessori, private school in san diego , private school in la mesa

helps TK- 8th students discover and grow their unique strengths

because the world needs them.

Meet Mandy Callister
and find out why this San Diego Educator and mom started an Acton Academy

School, as we know it, was designed in 1893

Our academy was born different. Acton Academy has one of the newest and most innovative (and downright coolest) learning designs in the world.  Each Acton was founded by educators and parents who believe there is a better way to educate their children and help other like-minded families in their community.

What is Acton Academy?

What exactly is the difference between Acton Academy and other schools?

acton academy, outdoor education, private school in san diego , private school in la mesa
acton academy, outdoor education, private school in san diego , private school in la mesa

Watch This Short Award Winning Documentary About Acton Academy

Are you frustrated with the old, traditional educational model that teaches students to spit out facts and pass state-mandated tests?

Our promises to your child

We believe each of our students will find a passionsomething they love and have a gift to do – finding and pursuing this gift we call the Hero’s Journey. Our mission is to equip our students with the skills and tools they will need to find and pursue their life’s purpose.

acton academy, highschool, modern school,montessori, private school in san diego , private school in la mesa

Our Students build
small businesses
from the ground-Up

San Diego Children's Business Fair

Coming April of 2023

8360 Lemon Avenue in La Mesa

See Why Parents Like You

Choose Acton Academy!

Who We Are

acton academy, highschool, modern school,montessori, private school in san diego , private school in la mesa

Mandy Callister and Family

Mandy’s favorite title is a mom of three. She has a Master’s Degree in Education and has taught in both public and private settings for over eleven years. She is passionate about constantly improving as an educator and finding better, innovative ways to equip young people to thrive. So when she came across Acton Academy, she knew she only had one choice–to start one for her children and for her community. She is on a mission to reinvent what education looks like for like-minded families in San Diego. She would love nothing more than for each young person to find and grow the unique gifts within them so they can better serve the people around them.

acton academy, highschool, modern school,montessori, private school in san diego , private school in la mesa

Monica Jenkins and Family

As a mother of 4 very different children, I have learned that not all children learn the same way and that each child comes with struggles, strengths and talents that set them apart.  Working with children in reading and writing through STEM programs inspired me to empower learners to think for themselves and to recognize their importance in communities. I love  engaging them in hands-on activities and meaningful discussions. I discover the gaps in their reading skills and give them successful tools to place in their reader’s toolbox and then watch the magic of reading happen. I believe that art, sports, and music all have an important role in helping children thrive in the academic environment. I have been involved in creating curriculum for art programs, writing and reading curriculum, and Montessori home school programs. After reading A Courage to Grow by Laura Sandefer, I was inspired by the Acton Academy model and had a desire to inspire children and parents to find their callings and to share this vision and help bring education to the 21st century. I have a BA in English and am currently working on a MA in public health.

Need To Know MORE About What Acton Academy Can Do For Your child?

At Acton Academy, we call our rooms "Studios" because students are learning through movement, exploration, and hands-on activities. Find out how our learning design can help your child reach their full potential.

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Spark Studios

ages 4-6

Our Spark Studio offers a safe and warm environment where a love for learning is fostered and young children thrive.

Adventure Studio

ages 7-10

The Adventure Studio is a magical environment where children learn at their own pace and build character.

Journey Studio

6th-8th Grade

We believe in the education or the whole person–inside and outside the studio.  We empower leadership.

Launchpad Studio

9th-12th Grade

Would you prefer traditional high school or the adventure of a lifetime?

Here Are A Few FAQs:

We operate on an eleven-month calendar, with six-week sessions, followed by a week-long break and longer breaks during the Christmas holiday and summer. Our flexible program allows families to travel and spend time together during the year, without sacrificing any learning.

Acton is the right place for your child if they…
  • Wish traditional school was more challenging and engaging.
  • Enjoy doing projects around their interests with just a few dozen young people.
  • Build, create, innovate, or make art.
  • See things differently.
  • Care about their future, want to find a calling, and want to change the world.
  • Are kind, hardworking, and committed to doing their best.

Our annual enrollment fee is $500. The annual tuition is $11,395 for a full day (8:30 to 3:15). We also offer a shorter day option for younger children that ends at 1:15. The annual tuition for the shorter day is $9,540 ($750 a month).  We also offer a 20% sibling discount.  Payments are made in monthly installments. 

We do offer financial aid.  Please contact Mandy for more information.  Acton Academy: San Diego East is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

We provide a 21st century learning environment using the latest in educational technology for self-paced mastery of reading, writing, elective courses, and math skills. Students are placed according to ability so that our program can meet the student right where they are. Students move on to the next level only after the content has been mastered, which ensures there are no learning gaps.

From figure drawing and sculpture to process drama workshops, our students experience varied and unique experiences with the arts.  In addition to long lunch breaks at a local park, they also participate in a variety of physical activities such as kick ball, yoga, Croquette, flag football, and student-led P.E. games.

We believe that students become confident, independent learners, and good citizens when they embrace the following character qualities: integrity, resilience, self-reflection, and empathy. We believe in personal responsibility and high accountability standards. Acton students are encouraged to take responsibility for their choices and actions as we think developing a strong moral compass will help students lead joyful and successful lives. Character learning is woven into all parts of learning at Acton.

1. Visit Us
Schedule a campus tour to learn more about our unique school.

2. Submit Your Application
Please complete our online application.

3. Visit Day
After we receive the completed application form, your child is invited to visit our school for a day. The visitor day is an excellent way for us to get to know your child and allow them to experience learning at Acton Academy San Diego East

4. Admissions Decision
We will convey a preliminary decision on admission within a week after the visitor day. Admission to our school will be confirmed upon receipt of the registration fee, and signed enrollment documents. Ensuring a good fit between each student and family with Acton is essential. For that reason, admission remains subject to review of student school records, and the discretion of the school based on information obtained prior to the start of school.

While we expose children to the importance of mindful spirituality and stress the historical importance of religion to the development of civilization, we do not promote any one religion.

We believe that students learn best when working with children younger and older than themselves rather than split up into groups based solely on age. In addition to individualized curriculum, all ages of students work together in groups.

Students celebrate the mastery of tools, skills, and character by earning badges, assembling portfolios, and taking part in public exhibitions. Public exhibitions allow students to present work to experts, customers, or the public for a real-world test. Parents use our online platform, JourneyTracker, to monitor progress in Core Skills like reading, writing, math, and character development. Electronic and hard copy Portfolios capture rough drafts, photos, videos, and other creative work. Once a year, we offer the Iowa standardized test, and you know what? Most of our students score 1-2 grade levels ahead of the national average.

Our promise at Acton Academy is to have students well prepared for any selective university where they can score high enough on a standardized test to gain admittance. Once your student gets over the test-taking barrier at the university of their choice, their portfolio and critical thinking skills will be a big boost during the application and interviewing process. Most importantly, students are well prepared to shine in the real world, whether they choose to go to college full time, part time or not at all.

Field Trips and
Outdoor Education

We offer frequent opportunities for field trips and outdoor education. Some of the places we visit include local parks, Point Loma Tide Pools, Children’s Nature Retreat, the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Cuyamaca College Water Conservation Garden, Naval Base Point Loma, and local businesses.

Help Your Child Build Their Future.

Montessori Kindergarten Studio

Our Montessori Studio offer a safe, caring, and warm environment where young children thrive. Through the use of Montessori materials, each child experiences hands-on activities, encouraging a love of math, science, art, reading, writing, building, and dramatic play. The daily schedule and routines include a balance of indoor and outdoor activity time with plenty of time to play, which by the way, we feel is super important to a child’s development. Children are encouraged to think, reason, question, develop ideas, experiment and problem solve, as well as make choices and display independence. Kindness and developing good character is a cornerstone in all we do.

Adventure Studio

ages 7-10

On any given day, you might find Adventure students doing something like racing their vehicle prototypes as they learn about physics, teamwork, and basic mechanics. Hands-on, meaningful project-based learning is a cornerstone of learning at Acton Academy. The Adventure Studio is a magical environment where children learn at their own pace using the latest in educational technology for self-paced mastery of reading, writing, and math skills. Students are surrounded by a close-knit group of peers, as they focus on excelling academically and showing up in the world with kindness.

Middle School

6th-8th Grade

acton academy, highschool, modern school,montessori, private school in san diego , private school in la mesa

Middle School is where young people rapidly start owning their education. Middle school is the perfect time to develop intellect and character while gaining a deeper sense of self and the real world. Students have a broad palette of topics to study and pair in-depth academic exploration with real-world connections to experts and local apprenticeships. Middle School is about deepening a passion for individual subjects while broadening your understanding of yourself and your future.

Our high school is launching in Fall of 2023. Acton High Schools are designed to help you find your passions and achieve your goals. What do you want to do?


  1. Go to college?
  2. Start your own business?
  3. Launch a nonprofit?
  4. Learn a trade or specific technology skill?
  5. Start a job after high school?
  6. Join the military?

As a micro-school, we are flexible and adaptable and capable of customizing each student’s high school learning experience. Working in tightly-knit teams of 10-15 students and our Guide staff, Acton students explore everything from the sciences to art to robotics and coding to advanced and college credit courses. This is 21st-century learning.