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Accreditation & Long-term Track
How Ark Taipei is accredited and how we connect with higher education and future opportunities in US, Taiwan and abroad...

Key Notes:
 

  • This "Accreditation & Long-term Track" overview is only for our elementary school program, and not our preschool age playgroup which are separately approved and differently regulated as a non-profit community association.
     

  • While we think we're realistic to believe no learning community can be the best fit for everyone, we do have confidence that our system is most likely the best choice for families and Learners who greatly desire to 1) maximize their God-given potential, including living a Christ-centered life and building Christ-like character, 2) become fully bilingual in both English and Chinese, and capable in both English-speaking and Chinese-speaking cultures, and 3) best position themselves to impact the world in context to our rapidly evolving future. If this sounds potentially interesting, we invite you to continue reading about our accreditation and long-term track, as well as our specific learning approaches.
     

International & Domestic Accreditation

International Accreditation & Long Term Tracking (United States)

Part of the Acton Academy school system, Ark Taipei's elementary school program is accredited through the International Association of Learner Driven Schools, based in the United States.

In the 14 years of Acton Academy's (our US-based school system) existence, Acton graduates have gone on to diverse and top tier universities, including UC Berkeley, University of Virginia, The New School (NYC), Vanderbilt University, Georgia Tech, and many others. Still other Acton graduates have made their own boldly rational decisions to begin on their creative and entrepreneurial callings right after high school, some even raising venture capital to start their own startup companies.

Domestic Accreditation & Long Term Tracking (Taiwan)

We are approved by the Department of Education, Taipei City Government as an experimental education group 實驗教育團體 and are a non-profit foundation registered in Taiwan.

Since 2014, the Taiwan government has shifted policy to encourage experimental schools to form and innovate under their formal review, regulation, and active guidance. As a result, the student population in experimental schools in Taiwan has seen rapid, exponential growth for every year since the policy change. In Taipei alone there are 4000+ students being educated by experimental schools such as ours.

As a result of the government's progressive policies, universities in Taiwan have already made adjustments to their Admissions Process in order to engage the growing number of experimental school graduates. We expect the number of experimental school graduates to grow from a small niche into a much larger segment over the next 10-15 years as experimental schools continue developing more custom fitted choices for families, emphasizing differentiated values that range from faith and family values, language and culture, and innovation and superior learning results. 

Ark's Long-term Track

In the medium term, Ark's expansion plans include middle school (2024) and high school (2025).

In the long term, we predict that some of Ark Academy's Learners will continue their studies at top tier universities in US or Taiwan or elsewhere (if that's what they and their families believe makes the most sense towards maximizing their God-given potential), while still many of our other Learners will find equal success in more alternative, less conventional paths. We celebrate both traditional and non-conventional routes alike, and care more about whether our Learners maximally connect with their God-given gifts, passions, and calling.

Our own view of what's likely to happen in 10-15 years for higher education:

  • the majority of universities will continue to face greater challenges in holding onto their student populations in the face of slow but steady population decline (although top tier universities will likely hold their places);

  • innovations in higher learning that offer specific value and clearly align with students' financial incentives (e.g. coding schools, online courses offered by Ivy Leagues or venture capital backed, large scale education tech platforms) will continue to enjoy compounded growth, which further eats into the longer tail of mainstream universities;

  • large and small companies alike will modernize the ways they evaluate potential hires via software, data, and AI, reducing the still somewhat heavy weighting on top university brand names and increasing the weight on more predictive success factors such as various testing for real world problem solving among other areas; 

  • entrepreneurial opportunities will continue to require increasing levels of visioning abilities, strategy, and interdisciplinary wisdom to leverage an ever expanding universe of higher-level software, tools, networks, data, and other resources.

In short, we think the context for getting into these schools will actually become relatively easier for everyone, while we think an increasing percentage of people will also wisely, rationally decide that non-university paths might even make more sense than a traditional education route when considering all factors, whether financially from an ROI perspective, or even personally from a life enriching perspective, or spiritually from a "what is God calling me to value and pursue, and how ought I go about it wisely?" perspective.

That said, we also expect our learners to mature more quickly than average, especially in Christ-centered living and character, critical thinking, self and others awareness, and real world experiences that test their capabilities and passions -- so we think we will be confident in their abilities to make an informed, wise, Biblically principled, and prayerful decision on whether or not pursuing a top tier university, e.g. NTU, Stanford, is what actually makes the most sense for maximizing their own God-given potential. If and when a future Ark Academy Taipei graduate chooses to go to an Ivy League school or a National Taiwan University, we believe they will do so because they feel like this is where God is calling them to go in order to maximize their God-given potential, and not just because it's the best brand name school they were able to get into.

Our Vision and Strategy for the Future

We believe that many parents today might only be thinking about what works for fresh college graduates today, or perhaps some may even be thinking about what worked for them "back in the day" when they themselves were recent college graduates. As Steve Jobs often quoted the legendary hockey player Wayne Gretzky: "we don't want to skate to where the puck is, but we want to skate to where the puck is going."

Therefore, we firmly believe that families should critically think about the the present trajectory, and project out where they think we will be 10-15 years out from now. In the year 2035, what will the world be like? What trends will continue to grow at a compounded rate versus decline? What capabilities and assets will grow, retain, or decline in value? What kind of living faith, character, strengths, mindsets, skills and experiences will truly set apart our next generation, and even their subsequent generations, to be best positioned for all-around success in Christ? Even though we cannot see the future with certainty, we must position for it as best we can regardless.

We have four basic ideas that guide us in the way we prepare our learners for a long term track to best connect with their calling and maximize their future for the glory of God:

  • Accelerate in knowing the essential "Why" (Christ-centered life, one that loves God and loves people with a great servant leader's heart, mind, and capability) behind all of their efforts so that they feel both an exciting and profound motivation to drive and accelerate their own learning for eternal impact.

  • Accelerate in knowing the essential "How" in rapidly developing their real world experience and capability through projects (Quests), exhibitions and business fairs, and apprenticeships and internships especially in their middle and high school years. Critical thinking, listening and communication, collaboration, selling and the ability to work smart, hard, and generally execute, along with growth mindset, grit, learning by doing and experiencing the trial and error process, and many other mindsets and tools all come together to form this "How."
     

  • Accelerate the journey of self-awareness and others-awareness, with a major emphasis on early discovery of gifts, passions, callings / uniquely fitted serving opportunities. Older professionals have many tools, such as Gallup's StrengthsFinder, Myers-Briggs, and others. While these more structured tools might arguably be less useful for earlier stage, rapidly evolving, younger people, we believe in the value of building a community and culture of families, teachers, guides, and leadership working together to observe and encourage Learners to leverage their unique strengths, passions, and opportunities as they learn and grow along a path filled with real world projects and interactions.

  • Accelerate in core skills, and preferably jump ahead the average traditional school standard without the unhealthy stress, pressure, or even heavy workload of the average traditional school standard. For instance, by end of first grade year, they might be finished with second grade math and reading, and it's because they've enjoyed the learning process through innovative, personalized software, peer to peer encouragement, and gamification.

    • In a way, we think this accomplishes a few things:

      • 1) it reminds both the Learners and their community of their great and exciting God-given potential, and furthermore reminds us all to consider the likeliness that there is a greater risk we underestimate their potential (versus overestimate their potential) and thereby risk limiting their growth opportunities (versus empowering them to maximize their God-given potential) as a second order effect

      • 2) the acceleration actually creates more space, time and flexibility for Learners to more deeply explore learning through their own, unique, diverse interests, and begin to see for themselves how those core skills actually apply to the real world in conjunction with their God-given gifts, passions, and calling

      • 3) it creates a strong margin of safety such that if the Learner ever needed to switch to another public or private school system, they would already be ahead of schedule and could focus on just social and cultural adaptation (though we intend to support Learners all the way through high school and intend for our culture and learning environment to be far more appealing, we still understand God & life take families all over the world or across town for various reasons so we value the extra preparedness).

    • We feel it's also fine for Learners to take as much time as they need to truly master any subject, even if it takes longer than other Learners.

    • However, we also observe that it does not seem like a traditionally high IQ is necessary to naturally learn faster than the normal public school year (even without the unhealthy pressure or heavy workload) given how slow and inefficient traditional education can sometimes be, and how conversely efficient and effective modern software and approaches can be. 

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