Middle school is a bridge where students go from being big kids to teens. At some point, middle school challenges every kid  — academically, socially, hygienically. Biology has guaranteed that. So how does middle school impact this critical time of growth and development? What matters most — to achieve a satisfying middle school experience? How does a middle school prepare students for the rigors and demands of high school? And what is the right middle school for your child? 

We asked some ACCA middle school alums these questions and more. We figured, they’re as close to the experience as we are. Maybe even closer as they’re now in the throes of full-fledged teen life and high school. Read on for their reflections and sentiments — and maybe a little teenage cyber side eye. 

boys working on laptop

As a student, what did you enjoy about AACA?

Made some of my best friends ever!

I enjoyed the amount of one-on-one attention and education I received since the classes were so small. I felt like I could create deeper connections with my peers and teachers as well for the same reason. Despite what I thought while attending AACA, I found it beneficial in my older years to have thoroughly learned the Habits of Mind and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Small class sizes, everyone was friendly with each other.

The ability to work closely with the teachers and classmates. 

I liked how personable the environment was, everything was very collaborative.  Also, the play every year is what started me on the theater path and I am now in my second year as an Advanced Drama student.

All of my close friends at school. 

What did you find most rewarding during your time at AACA?

The connections I made. I found I was very comfortable talking to adults and having beneficial conversations and other kids clearly did not have those skills.

The field trips I got to take during my time at AACA are something I will cherish forever. During high school, depending on what classes you take, the field trips are minimal to none. I enjoyed every field trip I took at Almond Acres (even though the trips to the PAC were less than desirable, they’re fun to look back on). I got to experience different parts of SLO County and beyond that I would’ve never gotten the chance to by attending every field trip offered second through eighth grade. I appreciate the effort put into each one.

Learning how to do math —  it’s needed in the future. 

All the leadership talks with Mr. B. 

The friendships I made and being able to express myself.  

Opportunities to work on projects, such as painting the mural.

boys standing on a beach

What is one positive thing you would tell prospective students about AACA?

Almond Acres Charter Academy offers individualized learning for all learning styles and it’s an organization that focuses on doing what is kind rather than what’s right. The vision they have is unique and it’s apparent that they’re working on making it a reality each day. A safe environment is something you should expect when attending and the amount of support the staff provides is matched by no other. AACA does indeed grow great kids. 

AACA will give you opportunities to identify and use your own strengths to excel.

You will find yourself and make friends that last a lifetime.

It was an amazing experience so don’t take it for granted! 

The teachers are super nice compared to high school. 

AACA is a great place to slow down and learn about yourself. There are lots of day-to-day skills you learn that even adults have trouble with.

Hearty thanks to these AACA middle school alums for sharing their feedback with us. Almond Acres gives 6th to 8th graders many opportunities to expand their sense of self — and to explore their place in this world. We love hearing directly from our students. If your family is seeking a middle school —  focused on the whole child — you have found it. We’re enrolling and we welcome your middle schooler to join our collective ensemble of great kids! 

About AACA

Almond Acres is moving 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!