Individualized, hands-on & joyful learning

We believe in a multiple-intelligences approach to defining giftedness. We’ve created Acera as an alternative for students who love to solve problems, make things, ask deep questions, and thrive with an opportunity to create. Acera students experience regular school as a place with a ceiling that is too low, where they are not able to learn at a rapid enough rate or with enough depth and engagement to honor their voracious appetite for ideas, knowledge, and expression. Creative thinkers, robust readers, and deep thinkers experience a sense of belonging at Acera, a place with a runway that aligns with each students’ interests and potential.

Acera is accepting rolling admissions applications for the 2024-25 school year, based on classroom availability. To learn more, contact Admissions Director Tami Cronin at the email below.

Early decision applications for the 2025-26 school year are due by November 15, 2024. Regular decision applications for the 2025-26 school year are due by January 15, 2025.

How to apply

“Acera was life-transforming for our son, and we can't thank the Acera teachers enough for creating a place where kids can thrive, and where parents can feel like their gifted, quirky, twice-exceptional, nerdy, brilliant, perplexing children will be understood and supported and inspired. I will forever be grateful for the difference you made in our child's life!”

Parent of Acera alum

Upcoming Info Sessions

Information sessions are two hour long presentations and tours intended for parents, guardians, and other adults who would like to learn more about Acera. You’ll hear from Courtney Dickinson, Founder and Director of the Acera School. Learn about our mission, approach, and profiles of students whose needs are met by Acera. Ask questions and tour the school, hear about classroom themes and our individualized and project-based educational strategies. Stay after the session to engage and talk more about pedagogy, admissions process, and your child. All Parent Info Sessions take place at 5 Lowell Avenue in Winchester.

To register for a session, please email

Acera is a member of the National Association for Gifted Children & the Massachusetts Association for Gifted Education.

Information Sessions Schedule:

  • August 1, 2024, 4:00–6:00pm
  • August 27, 2024, 3:00–5:00pm
  • September 17, 2024, 7:00-9:00pm
  • October 8, 2024, 9:30-11:30am
  • November 14, 2024, 7:00-9:00pm
  • December 10, 2024, 9:30-11:30am
  • January 16, 2025, 7:00-9:00pm
  • February 4, 2025, 9:30-11:30am
  • March 6, 2025, 7:00-9:00pm
  • April 8, 2025,9:30-11:30am
  • May 8, 2025, 7:00-9:00pm
  • June 3, 2025, 7:00-9:00pm

Why Acera

Because Acera students grow capacities to create, solve problems, and be themselves while feeling a sense of belonging in a kind community.

See What Parents Are Saying

“Acera is, without any doubt, the best school our kids have been in. This is not just a function of the individual teachers, but also the whole – the totality of experience – that you have architected for the children. It is a remarkable achievement.” – Acera parent

“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for creating a one of a kind school.  At Acera, children get to fall in love with learning and find a community of unique thinkers.  They are supported along the way and encouraged to explore beyond what’s “allowed” for that particular grade, age, or any other limitation placed by society.  Thank you for your patience and persistence in developing our child’s gifts.  Thank you for always being there for us.  Thank you for your honesty.  Thank you for creating a place kids can’t wait to go back to!  Thank you for giving our kids an unparalleled advantage – the ability to question, create, reflect, wonder, share, inspire, care, lead, and so much more!”  ~Acera Parent, 2020

“We’re incredibly pleased with our child’s middle-school experience at Acera. The math in particular is fantastic, a very high level of content and tough homework that requires thought and creativity. Likewise for the biology lab, the astronomy elective, the independent science-literature research project… Language-arts learning is an integral part of all classes, even math. In a nutshell, the work is challenging and engaging and the teachers are skilled and very supportive.” ~Acera Parent (

“If I were to give one advice to parents considering Acera, it would be this: please consider it for your girls. Somehow it’s more typical to think of a STEAM school for boys (especially those who are bored in other schools), but girls sometimes tend to fit in better in other environments, and so it may be that a family thinks that they are doing well enough. I used to think that we knew our daughter, and that she was happy in her previous school, and that we were transferring our kids to Acera because it would be a great fit for our son. I had no idea just how wonderful, and how needed it was for our daughter also. This is my family’s 6th year at Acera, and we foresee another 6+ years there (that’s what happens when you have children of very different ages). We are extremely passionate about Acera, which is not to say that we find it absolutely problem-free. As with any school, private or public, there may be issues that come up. What I’ve been impressed with is how the school deals with those issues. We’ve felt that our concerns were heard and addressed. The level of flexibility of the school is really unparalleled, as well as the level of instruction. Where else can your 6th grader do Algebra II and Precalculus material? And not because the school is about pushing kids ahead, but because this is truly the right level for them, and they are enjoying it and are coming home energized and excited about their math classes (and even homework)? Not only does the school excel at science teaching (Real CRISPR work as a 6th grade lab, anyone?!), but in the past few years they’ve really stepped up in the Humanities/Social Sciences areas. The Middle school has some amazing electives, including the US Government & US Courts electives, Geography, Ancient History, Astronomy, Learning about the Holocaust, etc.” ~Acera Parent (

“This school has been a game changer for my child. After years of frustration for him with school, when we started at Acera, he bloomed. He is so genuinely happy and excited about what happens at the school, and spends his evening sharing all the cool ideas and projects he is working on, both at school and on his own, thanks to the inspiration he gets from school. I work in teacher education, and see tons of schools, and this place is like none other – and it shows everyday in the level of joy my son experiences in learning. It is a place where children are accepted, inspired, challenged, and set on a path to be lifelong learners and thinkers. Thank you Acera!” ~Acera Parent (

“…We remember the influence you and Acera have had on his educational growth. Today was the Math Count state competition and he did well enough to finish in the top four and make the national competition. His two years at Acera, where he was finally challenged in math, was really the catalyst for this day.” ~Former Acera Parent, Lexington 2020

“One of the most rewarding pieces of the high school application process was taking a step back, looking at the boys objectively, and realizing how much they have grown and taken ownership of their intellectual journeys. We attribute so much of the growth in their curiosity, fearlessness, humor, and voice to all you have done to create such a wonderful and supportive environment at Acera. As parents, we couldn’t ask for anything more from a community. Thank you.” ~Acera Parent, 2020

“This is our family’s first year at Acera, and what a year this has been!  This transition has not all been smooth sailing for my son, and we sincerely appreciate everyone’s effort to help us and help him through the difficult patches.  Yet just when things seem to be getting on the right track and going really well, the world turned upside down on us.  I cannot tell you how impressed my husband and I were with your ability to seamlessly transition to remote schooling.  I know this must mean hours and hours of planning on your part, and we thank you for that.  While the remote learning model isn’t everyone’s first choice, the upside to it is we got a good view into our son’s daily activities, and we continue to be amazed.  You guys are the rock-stars and super-heroes!  I know my son misses all of you, and we look forward to the day we can see all of you in-person again.”   (Janey C., Acera Parent).

Because Acera is responsive to each child, relevant to the world, and powered by incredible teachers.

Because Acera students transition well into high school and beyond.

About Life After Acera

When transitioning out of Acera into high school, most of our students who apply to private schools prefer a day program proximate to their homes, so they look at schools north of, west of, and within Boston city proper.

Most frequently, students are accepted into and enroll in one of these Boston area schools, driven by fit with the program: Boston University Academy, Cambridge School of Weston, Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall, Commonwealth, Concord Academy, Gann Academy, and Newman School.

Acera students have also been admitted to and/or attend these day and boarding school programs:  Bard’s Academy at Simon’s Rock, Belmont Hill, British International School of Boston, Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, Buxton Academy, Dana Hall, Dublin School (NH), German International School, Groton School, Meridian Academy, Milton Academy, Northfield Mount Herman, Phillips Exeter Academy (NH), Pingree School, Putney School (NH), St. John’s Prep, Waldorf HS, and Winsor School.

About 30% of our students choose to go to their public high school.

Because Acera’s Individual Learning Plans help students become the best version of themselves!

Meet Sonya!

Hear from Acera School Founder & Director Courtney Dickinson, Core Classroom Teacher David Fodaski, and an Acera student on how ILPs help students become the best version of themselves.

What Acera did for me

Acera alumni look back on how their time at Acera prepared them to thrive in high school and beyond.


Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for creating a one of a kind school. At Acera, children get to fall in love with learning and find a community of unique thinkers. They are supported along the way and encouraged to explore beyond what’s “allowed” for that particular grade, age, or any other limitation placed by society...