Charter schools started about 30 years ago for two main reasons. The first reason was to provide families with an alternative to their neighborhood public school. The second reason was to allow educators to do something different with public education — to be innovative and creative in ways that are new and distinct.
How Charter Schools Are Different
Charter schools often have smaller classes and readily focus on the individual learning styles of each student. This is certainly the case at Almond Acres Charter School (AACA). Not only do we focus on growing great kids in our small classes, our highly qualified teachers bring unique and intentional lesson plans to our classes each day. Our K-8 charter school uses project-based and service-based learning to instill a sense of self-confidence. We help our kids unlock how they’re smart alongside meaningful ways they can contribute to their community.
Charter schools are public schools that are tuition-free and funded by tax dollars. Charters must meet academic goals in order to have their charters upheld and re-approved. At Almond Acres Charter Academy (AACA), we have been chartered since 2010.
“AACA is a very unique school because they are so encouraging and passionate about everyone.” AACA student alumni
At AACA, our mission is to grow great kids. As our Executive Director
Bob Bourgault, or Mr. B as he is affectionately known by our students, says,
“Our kids are great. We need to grow them…to treat them with respect and dignity to become the very best version of themselves.”
Identifying How You’re Smart
Each AACA child has his or her own mind, their own way of thinking, and is smart in their own way. Almond Acres charter school enables every student (and faculty and staff member) to identify the ways they individually learn. We created our kite model; a visual, child-focused system to explore and explain how every individual is smart.
We ask the question, how are you smart, not how smart are you? We do this in three different ways: affirm, stretch, celebrate.
We affirm how our AACA kids are smart and how they’re developing. We help them establish their strengths and their struggles. We give our students a sense of confidence that with both their strengths and their struggles — they can learn.
We stretch our kids. By using their strengths to stretch into their struggling areas, we help our kids to be a better version of themselves, and to learn the things they need to learn.
We celebrate. We celebrate by high fiving. We celebrate by enjoying cake. We announce wins in our all-school morning meeting. We actively celebrate the awakening of creativity and its accompanying success.
It’s a simplistic way to think about educating children and even parenting them. Affirm first, then stretch and then — celebrate!
“Small classroom sizes offer a unique and individualized school day. The teacher really knows where the student is struggling.” AACA Parent
Moving to Paso Robles
Finding our new location and the space to create the facility of our dreams was no easy feat. Our tuition-free public charter school currently serves over 300 students in North SLO County. After the new site is built we will serve over 500.
“I’ve been a part of the AACA facility team for five years. We’ve been actively looking for a home that we can call our own in which we can grow and thrive as a school.” AACA Board President Samer Mohamed
A seven-year search for a property that met the school’s budget and safety requirements ensued. Our facilities team is now fully immersed in building and preparation for the fall 2021-2022 school year. Our state-of-the-art charter school will include indoor and outdoor play spaces, collapsible classroom walls to invite collaboration and shared learning, small meeting spaces for faculty to collaborate, and a combinable gym and atrium to hold large events. Our middle school will have science labs and a college-inspired academic library.
At Almond Acres Charter Academy we believe strongly that when we affirm, stretch and celebrate — we create kids that are intelligent, confident, successful, creative, happy, and caring. They become leaders in our charter school community — and throughout their lives.
About Almond Acres
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!