On any given day…

Excellence + Struggle = Learning

On any given day, ACS students are presented with opportunities to experience excellence. Some students excel in the classroom mastering math or language arts concepts. Other students excel in music or visual arts. Others truly shine outside the classroom: on the ice rink, ski jump, outdoor ed trip or Celebrate the Beat. The experience of reaching excellence is essential to cultivating lifelong learners. Think of a time when you felt the sweet satisfaction of knowing that you were crushing it. You know the feeling…and it lingers. We carry the taste of success with us, using it to motivate or lift us up when the going gets rough.

Equally important to the learning process is the opportunity to experience struggle. Adults tend to specialize, capitalizing on strengths and avoiding things we aren’t “good at.” This is not an affordance we wish to offer young developing minds at ACS. Our mission is to create lifelong learners. This is a delicate act of balancing the sweet taste of success with the humbling effect of struggle.

Our students are asked to SHINE. The simple premise of the Shine Thoery is “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” One cannot excel at everything. While crushing it evokes a high and struggle evokes a low, the eclectic program at ACS consistently offers students opportunities to SHINE. Humanity’s greatest desire is to feel connected. When we experience excellence, we crave the support of others. This is also true when we struggle.

On any given day, in any given class, we are asking students to SHINE. We are asking students to invest in becoming their best selves while helping others to be their best selves – a dance of interdependence. Teachers and students unite to celebrate excellence and support struggle. This is not a small task yet it is the work of becoming lifelong learners.

Some SHINING moments from this past week at ACS:

(Please click on the links to view videos)

Darcy’s Math Class

3-4 Wax Museum Prep

Hilary’s Visual Arts Class


Veronica’s Music Class


5-6 CTB Dance Off

3-4 Ski Jump


1-2 Ice Skating