Acera School

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Acera School
Acera School logo
"The Massachusetts School of Science, Creativity and Leadership"
Winchester, MA
School type Independent
Established 2010

The Acera School (formerly the Anova School) is an independent, co-educational day school in Winchester, Massachusetts serving gifted and talented students in grades K-8. The first school year began in September 2010 using a portion of Melrose's vacant Decius Beebe Elementary School. For the school's second year, it was renamed the Acera School and moved to the First Methodist Church's annex building.


The Acera School was founded in 2010 as the Anova School by Courtney Dickinson, a teacher, corporate executive and consultant. Dickinson was inspired by her own family's challenges in finding appropriate opportunities for gifted students in Massachusetts public schools.[1] After a year as volunteer facilitator to try to launch a gifted education program in public schools, Courtney decided to create a school to serve high ability students who could not develop into their full potential because of too low of a ceiling in regular school programs.

In the second year Acera started requiring that children take the WISC-IV assessment test as part of the admissions process. This is a precursor to a parent interview/visit. This along with attending Information Sessions have always been a part of the admissions process. In its first year, Anova opened in Melrose, leasing a portion of the vacant former Decius Beebe Elementary School building from Melrose Public Schools[2] opening in September 2010.[3][4] For its second year, the school moved to the First Methodist Church's annex building following Melrose Public Schools' decision to lease the Beebe School in its entirety to another program.

In fall 2013, the Acera School re-opened for its fourth year in Winchester in its own building at 5 Lowell Avenue. The previous building owner donated back $100,000 towards the school, and this along with a few families' generous donations made up a down payment for the building's purchase. A mortgage loan was secured from Winchester Cooperative Bank. The school started offering an after school program in its second year, and its after school enrichment programs are now open to students not enrolled at Acera during the school day.

For 2013/2014 School Year, Acera: The Massachusetts School of Science, Creativity and Leadership has 79 students enrolled in Kindergarten - Grade 8. Students are grouped in small multi-age classroom communities for Lower Elementary, Intermediate Elementary, Upper Elementary and Middle School. Elementary Classrooms are capped at 14 students. Acera hosts the American Mathematics Competition AMC8 Exam each year and has several Curriculum Collaborations with great thinkers and scientists in the Boston Area such as Dr. Angela Belcher, Dr. Calum MacRae, Dr. Eric Alm, Dr. Tom Vandervelde, and Dr. Kevin Dunn.

Acera's mission is to develop the next generation of innovators, creative thinkers, and leaders who can make a positive impact on the world.

Student body[edit]

In its first year, the Acera School offered three multi-age classrooms serving grades K-6. The school has since expanded to include students from kindergarten through eighth grade.[5]

The school serves "high-ability learners," including academically gifted/highly successful students, creatively gifted students, highly gifted/profoundly accelerated students, and twice-exceptional students who present both giftedness and disabilities.[6]


The Acera School curriculum is individualized to each student based on readiness and interests. Subjects such as math and reading are taught in flexible cross-age groupings.[7] Emphasis is placed on core capacities of systems thinking, perspective taking, collaboration, creativity, problem solving, and ethical leadership. Acera supports robust learning in STEAM topics and believes in giving students voice in their work, and engaging in meaningful work which inspires student curiosity and keeps the innate love of learning alive in each student.

Learning is interdisciplinary and project based, with schoolwide themes inspired by the Museum of Science Engineering is Elementary (EiE) program. Destination ImagiNation and FIRST Lego League teams are an optional after school activity as of 2012.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°27′58.9″N 71°8′2.4″W / 42.466361°N 71.134000°W / 42.466361; -71.134000