The ACLC Story
"If children can't learn the way we teach, perhaps we should teach the way they learn."
The history of ACLC began in 1992, when the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), in partnership with the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, held a visioning conference about the future of education.
That conference yielded a document called the "Graduate Profile," which defined the ideal skills, qualities and work habits of a successful high-school graduate.
The Alameda Community Learning Center (ACLC) was founded as a grade 7-12 incubator to nurture and develop these types of successful graduates through innovative, self-directed and project-based learning, systematic educational facilitation and highly efficient application of per-pupil funding.
Arthur Andersen funded the original start-up costs for the school and endowed it with state-of-the-art technological resources and teacher training.
ACLC Charter & Success
Five years later, to further its stated goals and achieve its full potential, ACLC became a Charter School so that economic and educational decisions could be made by its own stakeholders. The ACLC Governing Board was formed, encompassing teachers ("facilitators"), parents, students ("learners"), community members and a school district representative.
ACLC's charter status allowed the school to seek its own grants, determine its own standards, and enact policy that met the needs of this unique environment.
In 2007, ACLC received accolades as a California Distinguished School, becoming the first charter school in Alameda to achieve this milestone.
An Expanding Vision
An accredited school of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, ACLC now serves over 320 learners in grades 6-12. It has received numerous additional honors, including being named one of America's Best High Schools for the past four years in a row by US News & World Report.
In 2008, spurred on by well over a decade of ACLC's positive educational outcomes and extraordinary learner success with college admissions and beyond, the school's leaders sought to spread its model to a wider and more diverse group of learners.
A vital goal for the new school was to apply the educational and financial efficiencies of ACLC to a comprehensive K-12 curriculum, thereby extending the model's effectiveness to the elementary grades and proving its relevance throughout a learner's formative years.
Nea—Immediate Success & Rapid Growth
Nea Community Learning Center became a Charter School in 2009, starting with grades K through 9, and achieved extraordinary API performance (over 800) even in its first and second academic years.
Nea's immediate success also led to rapid growth in its learner population, confirming the community's desire for educational alternatives at the elementary level. Today, Nea serves over 500 learners who enjoy and benefit from this unique and innovative type of public charter school education.
CLCS—Managing and Supporting the Model
In 2006, Community Learning Center Schools, Inc. (CLCS), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was created to provide management and support to both ACLC and Nea, while helping the schools achieve even greater financial efficiencies and economies of scale. This restructuring yielded improved stability and fostered the decision to detach from the AUSD and become independent charter school organizations.
All three CLCS entities are self-governed by facilitators, parents, learners and community members, who are involved in all levels of decision making.
The New Standard of Education
From the original vision of the ideal Graduate Profile back in 1992, to our 18th year of sustained growth and proven outcomes, CLCS is setting The New Standard of Education, as we seek to serve as many diverse learners as possible.
The quality and experience of an ACLC education makes it easy to forget that this is a public charter school. Graduates of ACLC consistently demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, a desire for lifelong learning, and a commitment to community betterment—key ingredients of a thriving culture and society.
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ACLC Featured on Oprah in 2000: