Our History

A Community Vision

Graphic from Original Graduate Profile

Although Nea first opened its doors in 2009, its story began in the early 1990's, when about 1,200 Alameda students, educators, and community members gathered to envision the future of public education. Together, they identified the skills and qualities of their ideal 21st century graduate. Key attendees designed an educational model to cultivate these skills and qualities. They envisioned self-directed, project-based learning in the context of democratic school institutions and a community-oriented culture. This model is still at the heart of Nea's program today.

See Nea's Current Graduation Standards

The Vision Expanded

Image of Nea Tree Painting
1996-2008: success to grow on

The first school founded on this vision (Nea's sister school ACLC) served middle and high school learners. By 2007, ACLC was named a California Distinguished School. As demand for enrollment exceeded capacity, several educators at ACLC began to envision a second school that would serve a wider and more diverse population of learners. Central to their vision was adapting the model to the elementary grades and drawing on West African concepts, symbols and metaphors in shaping the culture of the new school.

Learn why Nea is called Nea

Photo of Early Nea Learners
2009: Nea Opens its doors

Opening its doors in 2009, Nea Community Learning Center started with grades K through 9, and became Alameda's first K-12 charter school over the next three years. From its founding, Nea emphasized the integration of science, technology, art, math and humanities across the curriculum. A central gathering place, known as "The Tree", provides the space for this creativity to thrive. Nea's immediate success and rapid growth confirmed the community's desire for a research-based educational alternative, especially at the elementary school level.

See Our Current Charter

Photo of Nea Front Entrance
2014: Nea gets a new home

After occupying two temporary sites during its first five years, Nea moved to 1900 3rd Street in 2014 (as did our sister school, Alameda CLC). With the Alameda Boys & Girls Club on site, and the College of Alameda just down the street, Nea learners gained easy access to college classes and affordable aftercare services. In 2018, Nea added three classrooms to the site.



2022-23: nea unifies its high school with aclc

Nea's staff, learners, families, the Nea Board and the CLCS Board considered and adopted a plan to unify both high schools, making Nea a TK-8 model.  Beginning Fall 2022 Nea High School no longer accepted 9th grade enrollment.  Current high school learners will remain with Nea until they graduate through 2025.  ACLC continued as a 6th-12th grade program expanding from two sections to three.

2022-23: nea expands to offer A Transitional Kindergarten Program

For the initial year (2022-23) the program was opened to children turning five between September 2, 2022 and February 2, 2023. Families can apply for Transitional Kindergarten from our "Apply to Nea" page.

Apply to Nea's TK Program