ACE Academy

Out-of-System Learning

An educational approach that takes place beyond the confines of traditional public education or typical private schools. In this framework, communities actively participate in determining the most effective education for their members. Our approach incorporates alternative educational models, community-driven initiatives, and unconventional methods that empower our community to craft and implement education tailored to our students specific needs, values, and priorities. The ACE Collective prioritizes flexibility, community engagement, and a departure from standardized educational frameworks. It is characterized by individualized, student-centered learning, emphasizing critical thinking, creativity, and social-emotional development. Going beyond the traditional school system, our model encourages students to take ownership of their learning through experiential projects and community-based opportunities. Collaboration, communication, and problem-solving skills are highly valued, preparing students for a rapidly changing world and fostering lifelong learning and adaptability.

Our Philosophy

ACE Academy’s educational pedagogy is centered on dynamic, holistic, and integrative learning. We integrate authentic tasks, prioritize emotional wellbeing, embrace inclusion, and focus on the whole child. Our adaptable, student-centered approach promotes ownership and pride in students’ accomplishments.

Progressive Education

Progressive Education is based on the principle, espoused by John Dewey and others, that education must prepare students for active participation in a democratic, global society.

Project Based Learning

Project-based learning begins with curiosity, posing questions and seeking solutions. It embraces diverse learning styles through hands-on work and group collaboration.

Community Driven

Community-based learning is an approach to education that integrates classroom instruction with meaningful, real-world experiences in the local community in order to promote civic engagement, with a focus on developing active citizens.

Social Justice Focus

A social justice focus places a strong emphasis on promoting equity through education and addressing systemic inequalities through curriculum, community work and activism.

Our History

ACE Academy was formed by co-founders Chloe Clements and Jessica Johnson as a community-based response during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when there was little protection for students in South Dakota. The pandemic highlighted the educational inequities faced by marginalized communities in our area, and the pair felt a sense of urgency to address these issues in a way that provided a grass-roots solution. What began as an entrepreneurial interest quickly became a necessary pursuit of equitable and progressive 21st century education. Today the concept and their orginal vision has continued to broaden and be shaped by our community as the areas first community based school!

“The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.”

–Diogenes of Sinope

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