MISSION

A nonprofit educational organization, The ACME Network advances lifelong learning, career readiness, innovation, and social responsibility. 

CHALLENGE

There is a clear gap between the expectations of school and the workplace with regards to career ready students.  This gap has created an ill-prepared workforce for high skill, high wage careers. To remedy this issue, experts recommend stronger cooperation between education and industry to develop work-based learning opportunities for students and teachers.  ACME addresses the challenge of distance and time constraints that often prevent industry experts from conveniently and effectively working with students and teachers.  

ACME address this through the following strategies:

  • Level the Playing Field - access to opportunities for all

  • Relevance - Industry professionals vet student projects, resources, curriculum and mentoring

  • Skill Building - Through professional feedback on their projects and through the iterative process (experimentation, review and revision), students learn industry specific standards, skills, and practices.

  • Social Responsibility - peer mentoring promotes social responsibility and empowers students to become invested in each others success

  • Quality Work-based Learning -  Mentoring by industry professionals on industry designed projects provides students with project guidance and virtual internships.

 

WHAT WE DO

The ACME Network, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, brings the workplace - its world-class experts, standards, and practices - into the educational environment on an ongoing basis, leveling the playing field for all learners, closing the gap between school content and industry expectations, and facilitating college and career pathways for students in middle school through college.  ACME collaborates with education and industry to provide quality work-based learning opportunities for students and teachers.  

Principles

  • Opportunity for all: Providing underserved and low-income students access to world-class experts, standards, and practices

  • Experiential learning:  Hands-on projects that students design, revise and build

  • Relevance: Student projects designed by industry professionals based on real-world standards and criteria.

  • Pay-It-Forward:  Students serve as "peer mentors" - thinking more creatively, communicating more clearly, and critiquing more constructively

  • Sustainable Connections:  Continuously connecting industry professionals and students to provide meaningful work-based learning experiences

 

how we do IT

ACME provides relevant, real-world learning experiences via its award-winning, time-tested, online mentoring platform. 

ACME has created a unique online platform that addresses the challenges of time and distance that are often barriers to sustained industry connections, thereby effectively scaling the involvement and impact of industry interactions on student learning.  The innovative learning environment supports the goals of building 21st century workplace skills and access to meaningful, work-based learning opportunities that provide industry aligned curriculum and real world projects, authentic assessment, project-based mentoring, and virtual internships.

Methodology

  • Continually evolving online mentoring community

  • Real-world project challenges - industry vetted design and learning principles

  • Live mentoring sessions with industry professionals

  • Peer and professional feedback on student work

  • Virtual internships

 

WHY WE ARE DIFFERENT

ACME has taken an integrated approach to creating industry-led, work-based learning opportunities for students and teachers.  Student projects, professional development, curricula, instruction, industry mentoring, assessments, and competitions are all interrelated.

Industry involvement that is sustained (not one-shot), thoughtful (designed), and effective (measurable) is key to the success of our integrated approach. 

To address this need, we have tackled the challenge of distance and time constraints that prevents industry from conveniently and effectively working with classrooms.  We created an online program that provides two complementary virtual components:  ACME “On-Air,” launched in 1996, and “ACME On-Line,” launched in 2002.  

Both components bring together students, educators, and industry professionals in a like-minded culture of creative enterprise in which each participant is both a learner and a mentor, and everyone has access to all community exchanges.  Industry establishes the standards, work methods, behaviors, principles, curricula, and feedback protocols. 

 

awards & recognition

 

USDLA International 21st Century Award for Best Practice in Distance Learning

CETF Vial Awards for Digital Inclusion in California: Outstanding Performance by an Organization and Individual

CENIC Award for Innovation in Education

Recognition by The James Irvine Foundation and WestEd as an Innovative and Effective Work-Based Learning Model in California                              

Recognition in the California Governor's Legislative Report as an Innovative Strategy and Career Technical Education Model

Exemplary Program Award from the Alliance for Distance Education in California