Our first-ever fundraising campaign wrapped on December 31, and we are excited to report that it was a wonderful success! We set the goal high and our Almond Acres family stepped up with generous gifts. By the end of the year, $67,900 was raised to fund the purchase of playground equipment for our new campus. We are currently designing the playground, and hope to start installation this spring. Some of that money will also be used to purchase much-needed recreation equipment for the gym and play field, to decorate our new courtyard, and more. Thank you to all the donors who participated – your gifts really make a difference!
If you are interested in participating in the Completing Our Campus campaign, we still have some items that need to be funded. Click here to learn more about the projects on our wish list, and to make a fully tax-deductible gift. Every gift counts, in any amount! Thank you for being a part of the Almond Acres family!
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!
“…they come to understand that they are there to learn and grow as human beings that will make a contribution to their communities as a whole.”
Almond Acres is committed to developing the leaders of tomorrow who possess the skills to be competent and contributing members of their communities. Our Project Based and Service Learning programs connect our students to the greater Paso Robles area as we seek ways to be a part and help. It’s a circle of giving that we believe supports everyone, community members, staff, and students, alike!
AACA students also benefit from the rich programs offered in our local community. One such unique program brings graduates of Paso Robles High School to us–to work as paraeducators in our early childhood classrooms. Starting in high school, the Bearkitten Program at PRHS develops future educators and supports preschool children in the local community at the same time.
The Bearkitten Program provides Paso Robles High School (PRHS) students who are interested in a career in education or child development the opportunity to earn a paraeducator certificate, as well as graduate high school with college credits toward a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Under teacher guidance, participants are placed in pre-school settings and learn about child development as an intern. Students teach in the school environment three days a week and have block days devoted to learning about positive guidance and curriculum planning. They gain college and career ready skills while observing and working with a preschooler throughout the school year.
Photo: DianeyAACA.jpeg Alt Text: Almond Acres Charter Academy paraeducator Dianey Perez works on a computer
Bearkitten participants also have a chance to compete at the state level to showcase their skills. The relationship between young children and the interns is a special one, with the students presenting the children with a book at the end of the year that showcases their growth and development.
AACA Support Teachers
Sometimes, we are lucky enough to have Bearkitten participants join AACA as full-time employees in K-8. This year, we are pleased to welcome three Bearkitten and Paso Robles High School graduates as full-time support teachers (paraeducators) at Almond Acres.
Aurora Ruiz works at our current elementary site, Centennial, as a support teacher. Dianey Perez and Taliyah Thomas currently work at our middle school site, Youth Arts, also as support teachers.
We think it speaks volumes that Bearkitten participants choose to work at AACA. They bring with them a depth of knowledge about how children grow and develop, as well as experience supporting children’s needs in the classrooms. We love the extra hands, minds, and hearts that these program participants bring to our classrooms.
Of our young professionals, AACA administrator, Leslie Almaguer, shared
I have been able to watch both Dianey and Taliyah’s work performance on a daily basis and the whole admin team here at Youth Arts has been so impressed with them. I have heard nothing but great things about Aurora over at Centennial. They already come prepared with the tools they need in order to build trust with the students, which I feel is the most important part of the job.
We are so grateful to the Bearkitten Program for enriching our school experience by sharing their talented and dedicated educators. They are a shining example of how community is made better when we contribute our strengths and time. The Bearkitten Program is a win-win relationship for everyone!
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 from all communities, AACA is currently in a temporary Paso Robles location until our new purpose built building opens for the 2021-2022 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!
Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a key component of our instructional program at Almond Acres Charter Academy (AACA). We integrate PBL as an articulated curriculum across all subject areas and in all grades.
Our PBL enriches student knowledge by utilizing themes, unit-based queries and a variety of hands-on methods for every age and stage at our K-8 public charter school. Starting with an essential question, our innovative PBL efforts, now led by Carrie Fiel, also enhance community connections via field trips, guest speakers, and our highly rewarding service projects. One such community connection is with Echo Homeless Shelter.
One essential question that informed this partnership was put to our first grade class, “How does knowing about the ABCs help others?” Together, we discussed the ABCs as words and books, and the impact of stories. And who tells stories? Sometimes our friends from Echo Homeless Shelter come to ACCA to share stories.
From there, we arranged for a scavenger hunt of what exists at a homeless shelter — do they have books? Or a TV? The minds of first graders are alive and curious!
Once our students arrived at Echo Homeless Shelter and sourced what did and did not exist there, our students then interviewed the director to find out what else the residents could use. AACA students thought a book drive might help. Instead, what the shelter wanted was for students to come and read to the children residing there. In order to read to the children at the homeless shelter, we needed funds to buy books.
Empathy’s Role in Project-based Learning
Empathetic hearts and holistic views prevailed and the group decision was to sell flowers for Valentine’s Day and use those funds to purchase books for the homeless shelter residents, and enable our AACA students to go and read together. The flowers and supplies were curated by our AACA students, including a field trip to the Dollar Store.
Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to learning. It encourages students to learn by getting hands-on and exploring content in a more interactive way. Our Almond Acres students acquire deeper, more meaningful knowledge by actively exploring real-world situations and challenges and imparting their ideas and wisdom to help solve or create a solution. We grow great kids!
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!