Meet Mr. Cadwallader, Executive Director

Almond Acres Charter Academy (AACA) is thrilled to announce the appointment of Jeff Cadwallader as our next Executive Director. Mr. Cadwallader has been a member of our community for one year, helping with the completion of our new school site and the transition from temporary sites into our new building. He is a father of 3 (his youngest will join our AACA kindergarten next year!), loves math, and is looking forward to getting to know the awesome community of Almond Acres.

Jeff Cadwallader

What are you most looking forward to as Executive Director? 

As the new Executive Director, I am most looking forward to building relationships with the staff, students, and families. So much of my role over the past year has been focused on safety and facilities, I have not had the opportunity to really connect with the people that make Almond Acres so special. During these first few weeks as I transition into my new role, I am meeting individually with every staff member to get to know them and their vision for the future of AACA.  We are starting to have more events on campus which will give me the opportunity to meet more of our amazing families.  

What led you to Almond Acres? 

I was led to Almond Acres by meeting many families and community members that have a connection to the school. Everyone has such great things to say about the school and its philosophy. I started doing some research and asking questions and learned that the school philosophy mirrors my personal philosophy, which is that every child can succeed, but success looks different for every child.  What makes this school special is we actively seek out those successful areas in each individual child and celebrate them, but we also look for the areas of struggle and strive for growth.

When did you know you wanted to work in education?

I always enjoyed helping other students out during school. During college, I tutored my teammates in a variety of subjects. A few years after college I had no direction in my career path and had a long conversation with a close friend that had just completed her first year of teaching. After this conversation I started researching what it would take to become a teacher. After my first year in the classroom I was hooked and knew this was going to be my life long career.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

My favorite teacher was Ms. Habas, my Probability and Statistics teacher during my senior year of high school. She made learning new concepts easy and fun. She is the reason I decided to get a math degree and I modeled many of my teaching practices after her.

How does your AACA’s mission and vision align with your personal values?

I believe that all students can learn and excel when given the opportunity and tools necessary to be successful. At Almond Acres, we teach the child, not the subject. We meet each individual student on their level and grow the whole child, heart, mind, body, and spirit.

What do you like to do for fun?

I like to go camping, golfing, and to the beach. I also enjoy spending much of my free time coaching my 3 children in a variety of sports.

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. Located in Paso Robles in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility, AACA is open to all students from all communities. 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! 

Frequently Asked Questions about Almond Acres

Got a burning question about life at Almond Acres (AACA)? We’ve got answers. We’re tackling your most frequently asked questions and corralling them all into one, easy to reference blog post.  As always, if you can’t find an answer here, peruse our website or chat with someone in our office. We are here to help!

Q: Where are you located? 

Our new campus is located at 1145 Niblick Road, Paso Robles. 

Q: How are you keeping kids healthy and safe? 

AACA follows all mandates from our SLO County Public Health Department regarding health and safety practices, including COVID. 

Three Almond Acres Charter Academy students wearing red uniform polo shirts work together at a table

Q: Are uniforms required?

Yes! Our uniforms are loved by families and kids alike for ease and style. Brightly colored polo shirts can be bought through this link on our website and uniform bottoms can be purchased anywhere. We also have a no-cost exchange program available. 

Q: Do you offer transportation? 

Bus transportation is available to and from campus.You can view the bus route and schedule on our website. 

Q: How do kids use technology at AACA?

AACA views technology as a tool for supporting learning. All 5th-8th graders have their own Chromebook. K-4th grades use Chromebooks and iPads in their classrooms. We use Google Apps for Education and offer a variety of tech support and resources. Additionally, we are a Common Sense Certified school. We teach children how to be productive and balanced digital citizens

Q: Is there a tuition fee?

There is no cost to attend Almond Acres. We are funded similarly to all other public schools. More information about what makes us a charter school can be found on our blog. 

Q: What is your average class size? 

Our classes are kept intentionally small, with a maximum of 24 students in each K-3 class. In 4th-8th grade, class sizes are capped at 30. We have two classes per grade. Kindergarten-5th grade students are taught by a homeroom teacher. Our middle school students (6th-8th) rotate between single subject teachers. 

Q: I really want my child to attend AACA.  How do I get in? 

Almond Acres holds open enrollment from February 1 to March 30.  Admission is open to all students regardless of home address. Interested families can fill out a Request for Enrollment (RFE) for each child applying. When the number of requests for enrollment exceeds availability, a random, public drawing is held to determine enrollment and waitlist priority. Additionally, we hold rolling enrollment throughout the school year should space become available. 

Q: What does a typical day at Almond Acres look like? 

Every morning, our kindergarten through 5th grade students participate in a schoolwide Shared Start. Teachers then hold Morning Meetings in homerooms. We have blocks of instructional time for Project Based Learning, English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies and Art. Physical Education is taught by a specialist teacher. K-5 students have a morning and lunch recess and our K-3rd students enjoy an extra afternoon recess. 

In the middle school wing, 6th-8th students also participate in our schoolwide Shared Start and a homeroom Morning Meeting. We use “periods” for students to rotate through English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Recreation and Electives. Middle school students also have a morning and lunch recess.  

Two Almond Acres students sit together outside. One student wears a blue AACA polo shirt and the other wears a yellow polo shirt uniform.

Q: Do you offer sports? 

Yes! From elementary to middle school, students have the opportunity to participate in intramural and competitive sports. You can read all about our sports offerings on our blog.

Q: Do you meet state standards?

As a public school in the State of California we are required to participate in all state mandated testing. We adhere to the Common Core State Standards for ELA and Math, NGSS for Science and California’s state standards for Social Studies. 

Q: My child is struggling in her regular school. How can you help? 

We offer the same support services as all public schools in the state of California, including for those with 504s, IEPs and disabilities. We implement at Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) for students in the area of social-emotional, behavior and academics. Schoolwide, we use Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to teach and reinforce appropriate student behaviors. 

You can be a part of our vibrant learning community, too. Open enrollment occurs every spring for the following school year. Find out more about our process on our enrollment page

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. Located in Paso Robles in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility, AACA is open to all students from all communities. 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! 

Why Choose a Charter School

A charter school is a publicly funded, independently operated public school. Most charter schools are started from the ground up, by a team of passionate educators and parents who see a need in the community and decide to fill it. Charter schools operate under a contract between the school and the state government that outlines how the school will educate students in exchange for public funds. A charter school’s authorization is renewed every five years based on agreed upon expectations for educating students, including state standards and testing.  

Three Almond Acres Charter Academy upper school students smile for the camera.

Mission Driven

Founders of charter schools want to offer students and the community a unique approach to learning. They may choose to focus on college preparation, arts or sciences, or a specific curriculum; the sky’s the limit! The school’s unique mission drives the planning for the school and influences every part of the students’ day. 

Ten years ago, Almond Acres Charter Academy founders began with a powerful vision; to create a school that would be a part of, and continue, the tradition of the local districts, but also have greater flexibility in the delivery of curriculum, fiscal management, and decision making. A school and program of learning that centers the best of interests of children in all decisions was born. Today, Almond Acres has bloomed into a thriving charter school serving K-8 students of the Paso Robles area  – with heart and dedication. 

Student Centered

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all learning. Charter schools are usually centered on the needs of the student, often through a personalized curriculum or specialized offerings. An artistically inclined child can thrive in an arts-centered school, while another child may do best in a school with smaller classes and an emphasis on outdoor education. The ability to find a “just right fit” for your child’s schooling is very appealing. 

Growing Great Kids!

Affirming each for their strengths and struggles,

Stretching positive and productive habits of mind, and

Celebrating the awakening of creativity!

Our simple mission is to put students first. Almond Acres celebrates the uniqueness of each child by designing lessons based on the many ways a child can learn and identifying how children are smart, not just how smart they are. We value students for who they are now and who they hope to become and we take advantage of our small class sizes to build solid, affirming relationships that help students grow into the best version of themselves. 

Freedom to Innovate

Because charter schools are free to choose the best path to success, they can be an exciting hub of innovation and creativity. Highly qualified teachers are often attracted to work at charter schools for a chance to teach in a less restrictive way, with greater creative freedom, or with like-minded teachers and staff. 

In addition to an innovative project based approach, we use research backed practice to teach reading, writing and math fundamentals. Arts and sciences, leadership, technology, and unwavering student support are all included in our curriculum. Our service learning projects connect students to the local community, creating a bridge between schooling and life. And we get kids up and moving throughout the day with physical education and abundant athletic offerings, to strengthen young muscles and hearts.

The exterior of Almond Acres Charter Academy showcases the multiple intelligences with a series of signs and symbols.

Almond Acres teachers are the heart and soul of our school. Our teachers are committed to creative, energetic teaching, and a positive school culture that is modeled by every member of our staff. We teach to the strengths of every learner, including those with 504s and IEPs. 

Community & Size

Parents looking for a small school, where everyone knows their name, often look to charter schools to find a greater sense of community. Many charter schools are born out of a desire to create a like-minded community, where children can safely learn in a way that suits their needs.

Community is at the core of our safe and deliberately small K-8 charter school. At Almond Acres, every child gets personalized attention, caring instructors, and a close-knit academic environment. Communication between teachers and family is frequent.  Special events invite families to our school to celebrate our success and cheer on our growth. We lean on parents as our partners in growing well-rounded children into college-bound students. 

Almond Acres Charter Academy strives to offer excellence, flexibility, and choice in your child’s education. We love our close community and invite your family to experience all our charter school can offer.

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. Located in Paso Robles in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility, AACA is open to all students from all communities. 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!