What does it mean to be unique these days? What is a unique school? How are public schools different from each other — nevermind truly unique? How do kids recognize when they are in a special, one of a kind environment for learning?
Let’s focus on middle school. Middle school is often a very challenging time in education and schools. Not always the favored age or stage to teach, middle schoolers can get overlooked for quality, intentional, gratifying educational experiences. Elementary schools are full of earnest, cute, malleable young kids. High schoolers can debate, advocate, and conceptualize really large ideas, concepts and realities. But what about those kids — in the middle?
What if there was a middle school that truly embraced sixth to eighth graders as current AND future leaders, ideators, problem-solvers, and independent contributors to their schools? What if the students, teachers and parents actually love their middle school? What if it’s possible to attend a middle school that is a positive environment for growth and development as a tween and early teen?
It’s possible. It’s here. And rather than have us tell you about us, let’s hear it from an AACA middle school teacher. And some parents. And a couple of our middle schoolers themselves. Let’s read their description of their realities as to why they think AACA middle school is the real deal in middle schools — unique.
From AACA students:
“I think AACA has such a unique middle school environment. Not only are students taught to be considerate leaders, but students are given many opportunities to show their initiative skills. Leadership and citizenship is exceedingly highlighted. And most of all Almond Acres stretches and educates students as a whole child: heart, mind, body, and soul. Growing Great kids day-after-day!”
“AACA Middle School is unique because everybody is free to be themselves, it is a great community to be in because everybody knows each other and everyone there is very welcoming. Middle school students also get to be in our Leadership program and get to vote for a Middle School President.”
“We are taught more than academics and we are also taught the seven habits of highly effective teens. “
“The Middle School Leadership Team is unique because it comes up with the BEST ideas for activities. It’s really fun and creative and so hands-on, even in this pandemic. When there’s a problem, they’ll solve it.”
“AACA is a very unique school because they are so encouraging and passionate about everyone.”
From AACA parents:
“Small classroom sizes offer a unique and individualized school day. The teacher really knows where the student is struggling.”
“I believe that the following are what makes AACA unique: intense parent involvement, strong sense of community and shared values, an intimate, small school feel, as well as an emphasis upon the idea that education is more than about getting a good job — but about serving the community around us and forming the whole person — body, soul, mind and heart.”
And from an ACCA teacher:
“AACA Middle School is like a family – it is small and all the students know one another. Teachers are able to give more attention to individual students because the class sizes are smaller. The philosophy of Heart, Mind, Body, Soul is very unique for a school as it promotes teaching students foremost and curriculum follows. When we take the well-being of every student into consideration, it makes it much easier for students to focus and learn the curriculum.”
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!