About Our School
Alice King Community School (AKCS) is a tuition-free public charter school authorized by the Albuquerque Public School district serving students kindergarten through 8th grade. Our mission is to provide a school where students thrive academically and socially in a multiage setting. AKCS has been in operation since the 2006-2007 school year and has completed two charter renewals (2010 and 2015). The next renewal will be during the 2020-21 school year.
Alice King Community School originally was named the North Albuquerque Community Cooperative Charter School. The school was renamed in 2010 after New Mexico’s former first lady, Alice King. The wife of Governor Bruce King, Alice King was known for her work with children and is credited with creating the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department. We are proud to have our school named after such a remarkable woman!
Previously housed in two different locations, AKCS is now in its permanent home. The Alice King Community School Foundation purchased and renovated our spacious new building, which houses 440 students. We also own a small building, affectionately referred to as “The Annex,” located directly across the street from our main building where elective classes are held on a daily basis.
The philosophy of multiage grouping is the cornerstone of AKCS’s instructional practice and the heart of the school’s charter. Research indicates that children in multiage classrooms benefit both socially and emotionally. In the multiage classroom, children progress at their own pace, view themselves as successful, learn from their peers without competition, and have the opportunity to mentor. Older children gain confidence, increase their self-esteem, and learn how to care for and nurture others. Younger children have the opportunity to interact with older children, increasing their level of learning. In multiage classrooms, differences among students are accepted and respected. Each child is held to high expectations in all settings at his or her own level of development. Effective large and small group learning experiences are used, which allow for each child’s continuous progress.
Teachers use a variety of resources to develop a curriculum that meets the needs of students and addresses the Common Core State Standards. Curriculum is written collaboratively for English Language Arts (ELA) and math, integrating science and/or social studies. Students learn presentation and listening skills while collaborating and problem solving with one another on school and home projects. Art, music, technology, and PE are taught on a weekly basis to all students using curriculum developed by the teachers of these disciplines.
In 2016, AKCS expanded to include grades six and seven, with eighth grade being added in 2017. The middle grade program utilizes the multiage model used in grades K-5. Students are placed in “families” that stay together as they rotate from class to class. Core classes consist of math, science, humanities, and ELA. Each family also has an advocacy teacher with whom they meet twice daily. Advocacy classes work on social/emotional, communication, and leadership skills, as well as other topics that are relevant for this age group.
The AKCS teaching staff is diverse in terms of years of experience, areas of expertise, and educational attainment. All teachers have a New Mexico state license and hold various endorsements. In addition to regular and special education teaching staff, educational assistants and other support staff are hired to meet the needs of students. As part of their contract, teachers participate in 21 professional development days per year. The focus of the professional development sessions includes curriculum development, data analysis, and social-emotional learning.
Students at AKCS attend school Monday through Thursday, with some occasional Fridays for students in grades 6-8. Students in grades K-5 have a total of 159 school days and grades 6-8 have 166 days. AKCS has a longer school year, due to the shortened school week, to ensure that the number of hours required by the state of New Mexico are met. School typically begins the first week of August and goes through the end of May. For our families living on the west side of Albuquerque, AKCS offers two buses that pick up and drop off at Sagebrush Church. We hope to add another bus in the future that will pick up and drop off in the far northeast heights.
AKCS is governed by a governing council comprised of parents and community members with varying backgrounds and careers. The role of the Governing Council is to develop policy pertaining to the school’s charter and to provide oversight of the operation of the school. The Governing Council meets on the second Wednesday of every month at the school, and the public is invited to attend.
There are a variety of ways for parents and community members to get involved at AKCS. The Alice King Community School Foundation is an active group of volunteers who meet monthly to work on fundraising efforts that support the instructional focus of the school. The Foundation provides funding assistance for programs, resources, and facility enhancements. The AKCS PTA is a group of parents who work with the school staff to support the students and the school. The PTA hosts events and fundraisers that allow families to get involved in their child’s education. In addition to the opportunities described above, parents are encouraged to volunteer in their child’s classroom to assist with small group instruction and material preparation. Volunteers also can be room parents, help with class parties, chaperone field trips, and teach students by sharing their expertise. Anyone who would like to volunteer at AKCS must attend a school-sponsored Volunteer Training and have an approved current background check.
AKCS has a single overarching goal--- to nurture, excite, and motivate children to learn. All facets of the school, including staff, curriculum and instructional practices, parent and community involvement, and governance, work together to achieve this outcome. We are eager and privileged to accept this responsibility because, as Alice King recognized, children are our legacy.