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Looking back at my seven years at ACLC, I’ve learned several valuable lessons that will be valuable in college and beyond.
Before joining the ACLC community I did not have the best work ethic. ACLC guided me to change my ways and excel in personal skills such as responsibility and self management. When I first joined ACLC as a sixth grader, one of the first things introduced to me was the unique mission statement. It stated that all learners must take ownership of their own education. The part of this mission statement that really rang true to me was “ownership”. To me, responsibility and self management are one in the same when it comes to ownership. In addition to ACLC’s strong project- based learning culture, which means less daily homework assignments, I was prompted to make my own deadlines and truly take ownership of my own learning.
During my time at ACLC, I have learned about new basics that are invaluable when it comes to an academic environment and a lifestyle in general. After taking three years of Spanish and a couple years of visual communication, I have developed a strong understanding of different forms of communication. Whether it’s the Spanish language or street art, I have learned a lot about vast world around me and different ways in which I can communicate with the people living in it. Additionally, I’ve also learned about fitness and health while attending ACLC. For the past six years, I have been playing with ACLC’s Ultimate Frisbee team and I have gained knowledge about what it means to live a healthy lifestyle.
Thinking and Reasoning Skills
A major part of ACLC’s curriculum is hands- on, project- based learning. This sort of curriculum, which is applied to every class, has helped me develop skills that were needed to complete such projects. When it comes to many of the large projects assigned in classes, creative thinking is always encouraged. In creative thinking projects such as building a boat out of cardboard and duct tape or a roller coaster out of wire, problem solving skills are also required to bring those ideas to life. As learners, we are challenged to put creative twists on projects so that we are interested in the material being taught. For example, in Calculus and Engineering Graphics, we were always motivated to use our own interests in order to make class material more meaningful. So in my case, I was allowed to create an Ultimate Frisbee- themed figure on Solidwors that I would eventually replicate using clay. No matter what you do, problem solving is a skill that you must develop at ACLC.
Before coming to ACLC, I was the type of person who preferred to work alone and rely on myself. But once again, with the abundance of group projects and assignments, my perspective changed. The ability to cooperate with others is developed naturally in an environment like ACLC’s. Everyone is thought of as an equal in the community and that means everybody’s opinion is valued. In English class, there is an activity known as a Socratic Seminar that relies on the contribution of everybody's idea so that the understanding of the piece being studied is fully developed. Also, because ACLC is such diverse community, I have become more open- minded, which improved my ability to work with different people who have different opinions and perspectives. Referring back to the previous section about project- based learning and problem solving skills, the ability to accept our peer's opinions and perspectives is extremely valuable especially when trying to finish assignments when members have different ideas.
Technology also plays a significant role in ACLC culture. Although the use of the computers and printers in the center is the most well- known, there are more ways in which technology is incorporated into the community. With the introduction of school emails and sites to check grades online, I have been able to use technology in order to increase my educational experience. Additionally in classes such as Calculus and Engineering Graphics, technology like 3D printers is used as a medium to make ideas come to life.
The Alameda Community Learning Center has been much more than a school for me. It has been a community that has taught me not only academic skills and knowledge, but also skills that will help me thrive in college and beyond.
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