Almond Acres performs the musical, ‘Madagascar Junior’

–A cast of more than 55 students from Almond Acres Charter Academy recently starred in the musical, Madagascar Junior. The production was held at the Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation Berg Auditorium and was directed by Claire Fundaro.

“Almond Acres offers a unique opportunity for its students through the process of production,” said Claire Fundaro. “The lessons that are taught in theatre will impact all aspects of these students’ lives. They’re given the chance to grow their confidence from auditioning, to rehearsing in front of their peers, and to the final product which creates a strong character within them. The process is invaluable, and I’m so grateful to be a part of the magic that only theatre can create.”

With only two weeks of rehearsals, the students were show-ready, according to the school. Parents and students worked together behind the scenes to construct sets, props, and design costumes.

Being a part of the school’s annual theatre production is something that students look forward to every year. “I like to pretend to be someone I am not, and I like that I can put a lot of my emotion into something,” said student, Divy Emmons, who starred as Marty the Zebra. “I can go on a whole journey with my character. My biggest highlight of the show was spending time with the whole cast because I made stronger relationships with some people and the cast was awesome!”

The production was made possible with the support of local individuals and businesses namely the Rima and Stoltzfus Families, Joyce Vertrees, Gena Beckett and Jill Ponti, Realtors with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hallmark Realty in downtown Paso Robles, and Jerissa Parkhurst with EF Educational Homestay Program. Raffle prizes were donated by Cambria Bicycle Outfitter, Keri Border, and Mr. and Mrs. Thompquist.

Almond Acres is a charter school located in San Miguel that has a Visual and Performing Arts Program. In addition to an annual theatre production, it also hosts an annual art show and an annual talent show.

Via: Paso Robles Daily News and Paso Robles Press

History Comes Alive for Fourth Graders During Overnight Stay at Mission San Antonio

San Miguel, California: – Fourth grade students of Almond Acres Charter Academy had the unique experience of being transported back in time during an overnight field trip to the Mission San Antonio de Padua located near Fort Hunter Liggett.  Established in 1771, the well-preserved mission is steeped in California history. It can accommodate up to 65 guests in its renovated living quarters. 

The trip was one that students will likely never forget.

“When I went on the trip, I felt like I was living during the early mission time,” said Vaughn Hanson.  “It was an amazing experience.”

“I loved this field trip because it was a great learning experience,” said student Amelia Baker.  “I learned very valuable information like the San Antonio Mission was the third mission established.”

“It was like a step through a time machine,” said another student, Marshall Hutchinson.

Over the course of two days, students were encouraged to learn through docent-led tours and self-discovery.  During their stay, the students sought to answer the question, “What artifact best tells the story of the California missions?”  They investigated the grist mill, threshing floor, and reservoirs; measured cemetery walls; sketched pictures; inspected architecture, artifacts, and plants; and wrote down thoughts and observations.  They interviewed experts, like Joan, a mission docent, and used the knowledge they gained to adjust their conclusions.  

Not only did the students explore during the day, but also in the evening. Three community astronomers, Glen, Scott, and Larry, came and shared their passion for the night sky.  They connected how the Native Americans used the night sky to tell stories and how some cave paintings reflect that knowledge. They showed the students how the mission padres may have used the planets for navigation. Using current technology with their telescopes, they pointed out clusters, planets, and constellations. 

“I liked the overnight field trip because we got to see Jupiter and Saturn,” said Roman Sanchez Ramirez, a fourth grade student.

Incorporating state standards for math, science, history, and english into creative projects and field trips, boosts students’ knowledge retention levels.  This style of education is called project based learning. 

“In traditional education, we focus on one subject one at a time,” said Bob Bourgault, Executive Director at Almond Acres. “We’re doing everything we can in our educational programs to tie all subjects together and let kids be creative.  This increases the students’ neurological strength, and more importantly, it makes learning fun!”

The trip was made possible thanks to the generosity of a fourth-grade parent.

“What a memorable and incredible experience!  This visit to Mission San Antonio was a powerful first-hand acquaintance with mission life that will stay with students throughout their lifetime,” said Lisa Leopard, fourth grade teacher.

“We had such a remarkable field trip with our students,” said Joanna Lisonbee, fourth grade teacher.  “We not only experienced, hands on, what mission life was like and the impact it had on California history, we also had a unique opportunity to connect with our students in a whole new way.  We all built a great understanding of the mission era, great memories, and great connection that will last!”

via: Paso Robles Daily News

Almond Acres Hosting Auction at Warbirds Museum on Nov. 15

PASO ROBLES — Almond Acres Charter Academy is hosting its annual benefit auction at the Estrella Warbirds Museum on Nov. 15, from 6 to 10 p.m. This year’s auction will help raise essential funds which benefit AACA’s Project Based Learning, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics), and athletics programs. AACA will highlight their Fund-A-Need goals and gift their students with materials, field trips, and hands-on experiences to help them grow.

The event will provide opportunities for attendees to meet everyone involved with the school and network with other community members. Tickets are $50 which includes finger foods by Chris Beckett and Katie Castillo of Roots on Railroad, music by Sparrow Entertainment, beer and wine, and access to both silent and live auctions. The theme for this year’s auction is “Top Gun” — dress is semi-formal, contemporary or 80s style.

The event is sponsored by Pankey Ventures and The Partridge Family Olive Company. Auction items have been donated by local businesses.

Tickets can be purchased by Nov. 1 by visiting For more information, visit the AACA website at or call the office at 805-467-2095.

via: The Paso Robles Press

Almond Acres Charter Academy closes escrow on new school site

–Almond Acres Charter Academy closed escrow on a 3.1-acre property on 1145 Niblick Road Friday, Aug. 30, 2019.

The tuition-free public charter school serves 240 students in North SLO County and will be relocating to Paso Robles where 70-percent of its families reside.

“I’ve been a part of the facility team for five years,” said AACA Board President Samer Mohamed. “We’ve been actively looking for a home that we can call our own in which we can grow and thrive as a school.”

After a seven-year search for a property that met the school’s budget and safety requirements, the facilities team can now focus on the project’s next steps.

“The fact that we are going to be in a permanent structure building with our own playground and our own activity field is exciting,” Perino said. “We will have the resources we need to fully execute the educational programing that Mr. B and his team have developed.”

Perino said that he is excited to get moving on developing the blueprint design and construction of the school’s new location, with a swift goal of opening for instruction in Fall 2021.

“Now that we have closed escrow, the real work begins,” Perino said. “We will be working with our bond issuer, the City of Paso Robles, Paso Robles Unified as well as San Miguel Joint Unified school districts, as we move forward with the permitting process and the different approval processes for construction.”

Almond Acres is a tuition-free public charter school that is required to have some of the same fundamental certifications as a traditional public school, Mohamed said.

“The difference [between a charter school and a public school] is we have some more flexibility in how we can teach and what type of curriculum we can offer,” said Mohamed.

When asked about the learning environment at the charter academy Executive Director Bob Bourgault, also known as Mr. B said. “Learning is something you do, not something that happens to you. We spend a lot of time helping each child understand how they’re smart.”

Almond Acres is currently accepting enrollment applications for grade levels K-7. Tours are available upon request. For more information, visit

Via: Paso Robles Daily News

Almond Acres Academy celebrates eighth grade promotion

Almond Acres Charter Academy celebrated the promotion to high school of their eighth grade class on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. The celebration was held in the Lillian Larsen Gymnasium in San Miguel at 4 p.m. This is the fifth year the academy has had an eighth grade class being promoted to high school, and the San Luis Obispo County community was invited to participate and attend the celebration.

While the eighth grade class stated that they are looking forward to new opportunities in high school, the students also reflected on their experience at the small, close-knit charter school. Some of their favorite activities this year included girls volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and Art in the Dark–an evening art show the class organized and hosted. “We’ve become family,” they said, “and made some great memories.”

The eighth graders may be taking the next step toward their future, but they will be leaving their own mark on the charter school campus. “At Almond Acres Charter Academy, we place a high value on helping students recognize and implement their natural talents to make a difference in both their school and community,” said Bob Bourgault, Executive Director.  As such, the graduating 8th graders spent numerous hours giving back with their time and abilities.  Many in the class helped organize and implement a canned food drive, week-long childhood cancer awareness activities and fundraising, along with cleaning up the middle school quad and schoolwide makerspace.  They also planted a sunflower garden as their lasting gift. The 8th graders will forever be remembered for their contributions to both their school and community.

Via Paso Robles Press