Alameda Community Learning Center

Does anyone have any experiences with Alameda Community Learning Center? My daughter was accepted there for the 2016-17 school year at the last minute, and it sounds like a great fit for her on paper. Due to this being an unexpected change for us, we weren't able to attend any information sessions there so I'd love to hear from people who have real life experience with the school. It would be great if you could address how much homework is given too. My daughter will be in the 11th grade. Thanks in advance!

Richmond Mom

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I would suggest posting your question to the Alameda Parents Yahoo Group, which has >6000 members. I find BPN doesn't get a lot of Alameda-specific responses with school questions. 

I have lots of experience with ACLC. My son graduated from there in 2013, and my daughter will be a senior this coming year. ACLC is a unique school with a strong leadership-oriented culture that rewards kids that are at least somewhat self-directed. Kids with a real interest in learning, who are able to take personal responsibility and manage their time well will excel there.

Somewhat similar to your daughter, my son came in as a 10th-grader, after a traditional public high school. He was intensely shy, but the welcoming and accepting culture at ACLC was a wonderful change for him. He came out of his shell so much that he was elected a co-chair of leadership in senior year, something I couldn't imagine happening elsewhere. Though always a good student, he had to adjust to the less-structured educational model. However, once he learned how to set personal goals, use his time wisely and participate, he graduated second in his class. He feels ACLC's college-like structure helped prepare him for the intense experience of attending a large competitive university (Cal Poly SLO) and that that his completion of college classes while in high school was a huge advantage because he will graduate in 4 years, despite a highly impacted school.

My daughter has been at ACLC since 6th-grade, and has thrived for different reasons. She is more creative and naturally independent. The project-based learning approach allows her to do artsy and hands-on projects while gaining academic knowledge. Just yesterday, we had an in-depth conversation about ancient history (not her favorite subject) due to a "timeline" project she completed last year that really piqued her interest! She has also gained strong leadership skills by taking on activities typically planned by school administration and/or parents. For example, she and a friend have run the Dance Committee for two years, and have executed some amazing and memorable events. Along the way, they've not only learned how to host fun dances, but how to find and book venues, hire great DJs, publicize events, sell tickets, organize payment/attendance details, plan food for large crowds, decorate beautifully on a budget, etc. And, attendance at school dances has grown exponentially due to their enthusiasm and personal investment in the process. Entering her senior year, she'll also benefit from other advantages of the program - completing an internship, personalized college counseling/application assistance, taking college classes, and doing a senior project and portfolio - all skills valuable in college and the real world.

Though very different people, both of my children have been challenged academically, developed great study habits, gained real world experience and become examples of the empowering culture at ACLC. Homework seems right on target - creative enough to keep kids engaged and interested, demanding enough to require effort without overwhelm, and relevant enough to prepare them for college. Clearly, I'm a fan, but I also recognize that the program may not be a great fit for everyone or may take adjustment. The key is to participate, stay in communication with teachers, utilize after-school support and be willing to stick with it long enough to make the adjustment. It has the reputation it does for a reason!