Tis the Season… to Complete Our Campus!

Almond Acres students in colorful shirts look through door at construction site

“During this time of year, it’s easy to say that there’s more happiness in giving than receiving. (Yet) genuine giving, where you expect nothing in return, is a two-way street because it nurtures humility and promotes gratitude. There’s a Proverb that says, ‘do not withhold good…if it happens to be within the power of your hand to help’.”

AACA Campus Campaign Donor

The Season of Giving is here! As 2021 draws to a close, we are all looking forward to spending time with family and friends, giving thanks and showing appreciation for all that we have. But it’s also a time to give back to our community. Many of you already share your time and talents with AACA, as volunteers, Board members, PSC members, or simply by lending an occasional helping hand. We are so grateful for you!

Today, we are asking for your help with a donation to our campus fundraising campaign. Thanks to the generous contributions of our community, we have surpassed our initial goal of funding a new playground, and we are ahead of schedule on funding the other items on our wish list! To enable us to build out the remaining items on our campus this school year, please consider making a tax-deductible gift by December 31, 2021. Fund a project in any portion that fits your budget. Every gift counts!

Simply go to our giving page to learn more about the campaign and ways you can support the AACA community this season. Thank you for your consideration, and happy holidays!

Completing Our Campus Wish List – $100,000 Goal

Playground $50,000 (fulfilled)

A fundamental element of our outdoor space, this new playground will include a mix of structures for kids of all ages to learn and explore.

Gym Floor and Athletic Field Equipment $25,000

Supporting all recreation and athletic programs for K-8, our gym and athletic field will be utilized by all students during daily rec time as well as during evening and weekend team practices.

Rotunda Sculpture $15,000

A centerpiece of the school, our rotunda will welcome students and visitors with a large eye-catching sculpture. Designed and created by a local artist, the sculpture features a unique design that honors learners.

Flagpoles $6,000

Two flagpoles will greet students and visitors as they arrive at our campus – flying the U.S. flag, the State of California flag, and the Almond Acres flag.

Courtyard Benches $4,000

8 permanent benches will be placed around our new fountain in the rotunda for students and visitors to enjoy.

General Donation

Help us finish our capital projects with a gift in any amount

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern SLO County an additional choice in public education. Open to all students from all communities, AACA is currently in a temporary Paso Robles location until our new purpose built building opens for the 2021-2022 school year. AACA’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul. We grow great kids! 

Get Ready to PLAY!

Rendering of Almond Acres Charter Academy with future playground site marked

We are all so excited to move into our new campus in Paso Robles. But as we finish up the many details to make this possible, we want to share some big news with you!

Starting today, November 8, AACA is launching a campaign to raise $50,000 for a new playground. We are planning to transform our west side outdoor space into a place for every student to enjoy.

How can you help?

  1. By making a gift! Click HERE to learn more about the campaign and make a one-time tax-deductible gift to support the playground.
  2. By spreading the word! Tell your friends and family about the campaign and encourage them to get involved. We could use their support!

For questions or more information, please contact us at giving@aaacademy.com Thank you!

About AACA

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern SLO County an additional choice in public education. Open to all students from all communities, AACA is currently in a temporary Paso Robles location until our new purpose built building opens for the 2021-2022 school year. AACA’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul. We grow great kids! 

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

“We must never become too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw.”

Dr. Stephen R. Covey

We all use tools to help us throughout our day. The condition and quality of those tools is essential to how we perform: a sushi chef requires sharp knives for the perfect slice, a painter washes and dries his brushes so they may be used again, a potter keeps unused clay moist so it is easy to work with. Caring for our tools makes us better at what we do. In our everyday lives, we also rely on tools to perform at our best: our hearts, minds, and bodies.

Built into our philosophy at Almond Acres’ is the mission to grow children’s heart, mind, body and soul. Along with that growth, we teach our students that it’s important to balance work with rest and renewal. Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw is all about finding balance. 

Almond Acres students wearing red t-shirts with a running number and a teacher wave at the camera

Sharpen the Saw

You probably know what it feels like to “have a dull saw.” It may show up as exhaustion or disinterest. It may feel like a 3rd cup of coffee to get going for the day. For kids, it may be that feeling right before bedtime, when they’ve hit the wall and even going to bed sounds impossible. It feels like being “hangry” (angry because you are hungry) just before dinner because you missed lunch. In short, it’s no fun. 

If we continually seek improvement without caring for ourselves, we will experience burnout—our saws will dull. And without a sharp saw, we can’t continue to grow and be at our best. 

How Do We Do It?

Rest and relaxation isn’t all about sitting on the sofa to watch tv (although, if that is rejuvenating to you, do it!). We have to pay attention to our whole selves. Here are some examples of activities that renew us as we seek balance:

Heart: “Carefree timelessness” in meaningful social connections with family, friends, and community members are revitalizing. Laughing with a friend and having fun is a great way to strengthen your heart. 

Mind: Reading great books, journaling, and engaging in puzzling activities stimulates your brain and sharpens your focus. Learning is one way to take care of your brain!

Body: A healthy dose of sleep, diet, and exercise. Are you moving your body everyday? Have you filled up on nourishing food? Are you getting adequate sleep? No one can keep moving on an empty tank.

Soul: Enter the “classroom of silence”. Expand your spiritual self through prayer, meditation, art, music, or spending time in nature. Any activity that fills your cup is rejuvenating to your soul. 

As we renew each part of ourselves, we leave room for growth and change. We increase our capacity, our resilience in the face of challenge, and our ability to give. Self-care is not selfish!

An Almond Acres student journals while looking out toward the rocks and sea

Sharpening the saw for children might look different from an adult. It might mean learning to rest after a busy day at school by relaxing with a good book or painting. Or maybe your child balances a passion for video games with breaks outside to move his body and breathe fresh air. Finding balance is deeply personal and how we do that will change as we grow.

In a world that teaches us that we must constantly be moving and doing, Almond Acres aims to help students seek balance. We model rest and recharging so that we can be at our best, everyday. How do you sharpen your saw? How do you help your children sharpen their saws?  

About AACA

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern SLO County an additional choice in public education. Open to all students from all communities, AACA is currently in a temporary Paso Robles location until our new purpose built building opens for the 2021-2022 school year. AACA’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul. We grow great kids! 

Community Spotlight: Bearkitten Program

“…they come to understand that they are there to learn and grow as human beings that will make a contribution to their communities as a whole.”

AACA Parent

Almond Acres is committed to developing the leaders of tomorrow who possess the skills to be competent and contributing members of their communities. Our Project Based and Service Learning programs connect our students to the greater Paso Robles area as we seek ways to be a part and help. It’s a circle of giving that we believe supports everyone, community members, staff, and students, alike! 

AACA students also benefit from the rich programs offered in our local community.  One such unique program brings graduates of Paso Robles High School to us–to work as paraeducators in our early childhood classrooms. Starting in high school, the Bearkitten Program at PRHS develops future educators and supports preschool children in the local community at the same time. 

Almond Acres Charter Academy support teacher Taliyah Thomas and a student enjoy a conversation outdoors at school 

Bearkitten Program

The Bearkitten Program provides Paso Robles High School (PRHS) students who are interested in a career in education or child development the opportunity to earn a paraeducator certificate, as well as graduate high school with college credits toward a degree in Early Childhood Education. 

Under teacher guidance, participants are placed in pre-school settings and learn about child development as an intern. Students teach in the school environment three days a week and have block days devoted to learning about positive guidance and curriculum planning. They gain college and career ready skills while observing and working with a preschooler throughout the school year. 

Photo: DianeyAACA.jpeg Alt Text: Almond Acres Charter Academy paraeducator Dianey Perez works on a computer 

Almond Acres Charter Academy paraeducator Dianey Perez works on a computer 

Bearkitten participants also have a chance to compete at the state level to showcase their skills. The relationship between young children and the interns is a special one, with the students presenting the children with a book at the end of the year that showcases their growth and development. 

AACA Support Teachers

Sometimes, we are lucky enough to have Bearkitten participants join AACA as full-time employees in K-8. This year, we are pleased to welcome three Bearkitten and Paso Robles High School graduates as full-time support teachers (paraeducators) at Almond Acres.

Aurora Ruiz works at our current elementary site, Centennial, as a support teacher.  Dianey Perez and Taliyah Thomas currently work at our middle school site, Youth Arts, also as support teachers. 

Profile photo of Almond Acres Charter Academy support teacher Aurora Ruiz

We think it speaks volumes that Bearkitten participants choose to work at AACA. They bring with them a depth of knowledge about how children grow and develop, as well as experience supporting children’s needs in the classrooms. We love the extra hands, minds, and hearts that these program participants bring to our classrooms.

Of our young professionals, AACA administrator, Leslie Almaguer, shared

I have been able to watch both Dianey and Taliyah’s work performance on a daily basis and the whole admin team here at Youth Arts has been so impressed with them. I have heard nothing but great things about Aurora over at Centennial. They already come prepared with the tools they need in order to build trust with the students, which I feel is the most important part of the job. 

We are so grateful to the Bearkitten Program for enriching our school experience by sharing their talented and dedicated educators. They are a shining example of how community is made better when we contribute our strengths and time. The Bearkitten Program is a win-win relationship for everyone!

About AACA

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern SLO County an additional choice in public education. Open to all students from all communities, AACA is currently in a temporary Paso Robles location until our new purpose built building opens for the 2021-2022 school year. AACA’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul. We grow great kids! 

Profile: Bob Bourgault, Executive Director

Our students and staff know him as Mr. B. Around the community he is known as an advocate for the rights of children to grow into the best version of themselves. We asked Mr. B a few questions about his path to education and what he loves most about his role at AACA. You might be surprised to know that when he’s not busy making AACA an incredible place to learn, he is also enrolled in a graduate program! Mr. B is a terrific role model for what we hope our students will be: life-long learners. 

 Profile photo of Bob Borgault, Executive Director of Almond Acres Charter Academy

How long have you worked at Almond Acres?

It was my privilege to help open AACA in 2012. Prior to AACA I loved teaching social studies, counseling high school students, being a high school principal, and teaching new teachers at the University of LaVerne. I began my career as an educator in 1985.

When did you know you wanted to work in education?

In my senior year of college, I had to decide whether or not I was going to go to law school or work on a teaching credential. I absolutely loved studying history, government, and economics. What to do, what to do? I was invited to teach a class at a local high school and was hooked. I find great joy in helping people to learn and working with parents to help them grow great kids. My enthusiasm and joy back in 1985 is as fresh and gratifying now as I work with our AACA children.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

The most influential mentor I have had in my career was Fr. Tom Buckley. Tom was an outstanding history professor at Loyola Marymount University and the dearest friend I could ask for. Tom encouraged me to pursue my gifts and talents and was the one who invited me into the teaching profession. He witnessed our marriage and baptized my children. To this day his encouraging words brighten my mind and help me to “do the next right thing”.

What do you love most about your role?

I love the privilege of being Mr. B. I feel like a superhero when I walk into a classroom or play with the students on the playground. There is nothing more satisfying than to know that you can make a positive influence on a child.

What else would you like us to know about YOU?

I am blessed to have seven wonderful children and five grandchildren. I live out in the countryside of Creston and find great joy in life on a ranch and working in my woodshop. I am currently in a graduate school program with Santa Clara University studying theology and hope to use my ministry skills in my retirement years.

About AACA

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern SLO County an additional choice in public education. Open to all students from all communities, AACA is currently in a temporary Paso Robles location until our new purpose built building opens for the 2021-2022 school year. AACA’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul. We grow great kids! 

Random Public DrawingThursday, March 25th at 6pm

Join us via Zoom for a random, public drawing to determine enrollment and waitlists for the 2021-2022 school year!