Most of the schools in town are traditional elementary and middle schools — K-5 and 6-8. This format means students switch schools after fifth grade no matter what. Throw in preschool, and that’s three scholastic transitions before high school with the shift from elementary to middle school being the most significant and potentially jarring.
Transitioning from school to school is disruptive and can impact students academic performance, social emotional health and sense of safety. At Almond Acres, the benefits of a K-8 education include specialized instruction, deeper student/teacher/community relationships, ongoing structure and routine, fewer transitions, and robust leadership opportunities.
Attending a K-8 feels more comfortable, relaxing and safe; students perform better academically than students at a traditional 6-8 or 6-12 school. As confirmed by a recent study from the AMERICAN EDUCATION RESEARCH JOURNAL, we agree that our K-8 school is beneficial to our kids academically and socially.
“In a K-8 system, there isn’t that transition, and even better, our older kids become leader examples to our younger kids, and they have a relationship almost between different generations, and it creates a much more family oriented experience.“Mr. B, Executive Director, Almond Acres
We meet our AACA kids where they are developmentally. Our K-8 model allows us to curate a challenging curriculum, but in the context of an intentional, safe school that nurtures. At this age, AACA middle schoolers are naturally developing leadership abilities. We introduce, encourage, and ignite the responsibility that aligns with being the oldest students in our charter school.
And for students transferring into Almond Acres, at any time and grade, our middle school offers a true community. It is possible to attend a middle school that is a positive environment for growth and development as a tween and early teen. Our middle school embraces sixth to eighth graders as current AND future leaders, ideators, problem-solvers, and independent contributors. Our students, teachers and parents love our middle school, an age and stage that can sometimes get overlooked for quality education, so much so we wrote a blog about it.
Middle schoolers lead tours for prospective families, help with our Shared Start morning assemblies and more. Due to our small size, 1:28 teacher-to-student ratio — our middle schoolers can each be known for who they are. And as an example of what they can do together as a class — our seventh grade recently created a Family Forum where families came together to discuss issues pertinent to middle schoolers while playing games in a relaxed atmosphere. Family Forum created a casual platform for conversation about challenges our middle school kids are currently facing. Not only was the event well-executed, the middle school students showed tremendous maturity and willingness to both share and listen.
With our new school facility opening in fall of ‘21 in time for our the 2021-2022 school year, every K-8 kid will have an innovative and state-of-the-art academic experience. Our new school includes 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. We can’t wait to celebrate learning together, for years to come, at this intentionally designed learning environment.
Every year, another graduating AACA 8th grade class heads off to high school. It makes us very proud to see how our Almond Acres students find success beyond our walls — as leaders, academics, problem-solvers, artists, athletes, ideators and good citizens. The only thing that eases melancholy as we see our beloved students move on, is welcoming each and every new student into our doors. We’re enrolling K-8 at our compassionate, dynamic K-8 tuition-free charter school. Join us!
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!