Feelings about technology are complex right now. 2020 changed our perspectives and our reality in so many ways. Technology is one such reality shift. As it pertains to our Almond Acres K-8 students, we use technology as a means for exploration, for research, and for responsibility.
All AACA middle school students, grades 6-8, enjoy their own personal laptop, or school provided Chromebook, and the responsibility that comes along with it. Our youngest K-5 students enjoy iPads or Chromebooks and are experienced using them in class and with online learning. Some Almond Acres students are members of our AHA! — Almond Acres At-Home Academy. They’re using technology in many ways, everyday. Chromebooks are used across all curriculum areas. We, as a faculty team, use Google Classroom to manage school work.
We want to minimize the use of technology, because we heartily desire kids talking to each other…and to us, their adults. We want our K-8 students reading books. We like to see our kids working and playing outside. We also enjoy our students building things with their hands. We hope our students carve out time and employ space for creativity, for recreation, for thinking. Our students deserve unstructured downtime, as an end result in and of itself.
So we’ll use technology as is appropriate and effective for teaching and learning, and we’re champions of getting kids doing things outside and off of screens, too. Our digital mission statement sums up and truly captures our thinking:
Almond Acres Charter Academy will promote and model positive uses of digital spaces in every classroom. We will build a culture of digital health across our school by incorporating character building into our digital citizenship instruction.
We realize that our children will be shaping the world of tomorrow through their online identity and digital footprint. It is our job as educators and parents to make sure they are prepared to share their voice with confidence and without regrets.
We will ensure this happens by demonstrating the value of technology in enhancing achievement, improving students’ attitudes about themselves, and promoting the value of citizenship in the 21st century digital world.
We’re a Common Sense School
From the Common Sense Schools website, “Earning the Common Sense School badge is a symbol of a school’s dedication to helping students think critically and use technology responsibly to learn, create, and participate.”
Cory Houdyshell, Second Grade Teacher at Almond Acres, spearheads our Common Sense School initiative. He says:
“Being a digital citizen starts in kindergarten here at AACA. It is all about using technology responsibly and respectfully. This is especially important in the younger grades as our students begin to be exposed to different types of media and start to explore the world wide web.
The earlier students can be taught about their “digital footprint” the safer they will be as they create their online identity. Common Sense Media’s “citizenship” lessons scaffold up each year with repetition of key concepts and core ideas. The grade level appropriate structure to these “digital citizenship” lessons will lead to lifelong habits by the time our students reach 8th grade.”
About Almond Acres
Almond Acres is relocating to Paso Robles. 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 in all communities, the school is currently located in San Miguel and moving to Paso Robles for the 2021-22 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!