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Acacia School is a Magnet for Joyful Learning

Students’ passions and interests lead the way for academic and personal growth at the Acacia School for Enriched Learning – a new Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) Magnet School destination in the Conejo Valley Unified School District beginning August 2018.

As a Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) Magnet School, Acacia School strives for joyful learning based on research and best practices in gifted education.

With a focus on the individual student, Acacia aims to challenge and enrich every child’s education by facilitating both academic and affective learning opportunities to build a foundation for critical thinking, achievement, innovation, and success.

“Our approach to learning embraces students’ enjoyment, engagement and enthusiasm to reach high levels of academic achievement,” said Kirsten Walker, Acacia School’s Principal. “We aim to inspire students to pursue their passions both through the curriculum and on their own. Through this excitement for learning – we not only help build confidence, but also enhance overall student success in the classroom.”

Acacia Magnet School The SEM approach, developed by the University of Connecticut’s Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development, has been researched and practiced in schools across the country for more than 40 years.

Through SEM, Acacia provides enriched learning experiences and opportunities for all students via the Enrichment Triad with three types of learning:

Type 1: Academic learning with infused curriculum and standards designed to expose students to a wide variety of disciplines, topics, hobbies, events, persons and occupations to cultivate new interests.

 

Type 2: Affective learning with a purposeful focus on developing critical thinking, feeling, attitude, and process skills that lead to success in learning and life. Creativity and inquiry is promoted.

 

Type 3: Self-directed learning encourages students to become finders and inquirers who can apply their interests, knowledge, creative ideas, and task commitment to self-selected problems or areas of study.

 

To seamlessly bring these types of learning into the classroom, all of Acacia’s teachers have completed intensive SEM training and continue to pursue professional development opportunities that focus on the implementation, reflection and refinement of SEM practices as a whole school model.

Key parts of SEM in the classroom include specialized, infused curriculum, the creation of Total Talent Portfolios that students build from one grade level to the next, one-to-one Chromebooks in grades 3-5 to further facilitate differentiated learning, and participation in Enrichment Clusters.

Enrichment Clusters bring together small groups of like-minded students to pursue shared interests. There are three rounds of enrichment clusters each year. Enrichment Clusters strive for five key components: advanced content, authentic methods, creation of a product or service, authentic audience, and are student driven. They are a highlight of each week!

To support SEM, Acacia utilizes a homework philosophy that promotes self-directed learning with teacher and parent support – where students read, pursue their interests and passions, and work towards their own personal learning goals at home in lieu of what may be considered a more traditional one size fits all approach to homework assignments.

“No matter a student’s passion, we support and engage with their interests. When we enjoy what we are doing, we can all learn and produce at higher levels!” said Principal Walker. “Acacia School is joyful learning at its best!”

Acacia School is a CVUSD Neighborhood School, with general registration for families beginning on February 1, 2018. Students residing outside of Acacia’s Neighborhood School attendance boundaries may apply to enroll in Acacia School via the School Choice process. School Choice applications are available January 3, 2018. Priority is given to School Choice applications received prior to February 1, 2018. For students living outside of CVUSD's boundaries of residence may apply to enroll in Acacia via the Inter-District Transfer process. Inter-District Transfer applications are available January 3, 2018. Priority is given to Inter-District Transfer applications received prior to February 1, 2018.

Parent Information Sessions and Tours for Acacia begin Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 9:00 am and run weekly through February and then continue the first Thursday of the month for the rest of the school year. For additional information, or to reserve a spot for a tour please call: (805) 495-5550.

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