Middle school is a powerful transition for young people. Moving from a more dependent to independent relationship with parents and teachers creates a ripe opportunity for great thinking development. The anticipation of a new school, new people, and challenging academics requires extra patience, grace, and intelligent thinking skills. At Almond Acres Charter Academy, we ease this transition from middle school to high school with attention to leadership and character development built into our child centered education. We have your child’s future in mind from the minute they step through the door at Almond Acres. Beginning in kindergarten, we target students’ strengths and areas of improvement by affirming all the ways they are smart and stretching them into the best version of themselves. Our intentionally small school helps build strong relationships, giving students a solid foundation from which to grow into the capable and competent people they are.

Five Almond Acres 8th graders leaning against a wall

“Pathways” Leadership Skills Classes 

With guidance from our executive director, we help middle school students prepare for adult life by developing the thinking skills and habits of mind necessary for success. Each of the three grade levels, 6th, 7th & 8th, examine essential skills and habits that will help them navigate life after AACA. 

In 6th grade, students take a deeper dive into the school-wide study of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. These habits help to keep us focused on dreams, positive relationships, and skills for life long after our school years. In our 7th grade leadership class, students hone in on these same skills with more advanced reading: The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make A Guide for Teens: Updated for the Digital Age by Sean Covey. This study examines the critical decisions made during the adolescent years that can make or break happiness and success in life. Self-worth, Parents, Friends, College/Career, Dating, and Extracurricular Activities are examined using the AACA decision making model.

Almond Acres volleyball team stands in a circle in the middle of the new gymnasium

8th graders jump into one of our favorite books: The Middle School Student’s Guide to Academic Success: 12 Conversations for College and Career Readiness by Carissa Logan. The book examines the positive conversations that adults and middle schoolers can have to plan for the future. The 12 conversations are:

  1. Goals
  2. Planning & Preparation
  3. Time Management
  4. Grade Point Average (GPA)
  5. Extra- & Co-Curricular Activities
  6. Service
  7. College Entrance Exams
  8. Internships & Work Experience
  9. Money Management & Scholarships
  10. College Application Process
  11. Interviewing
  12. Share Your Experience

We also incorporate lessons designed around essential skills such as healthy keys to communication, smart decision-making, and effective study skills. Our community partners provide ample opportunity to strengthen social skills through field trips, service projects, clubs and sports. Strengthening social skills from an early age helps students deal with the stress of change as they grow, leading to resilient, confident kids, prepared to tackle what comes their way. 

8th grade promotion is bittersweet as we send our students on their way to new horizons. We know we have prepared them to spread their wings and fly and are grateful when they return to share their success with us. It’s an honor to support our students on their life’s pathway. Almond Acres Charter Academy grows great kids now and beyond 8th grade.  

About AACAAlmond 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!