Educators’ Professional Development: Building Better Work

Calling all educators! Please join us for an open professional development session on “Building Better Work” (Increasing complexity by analyzing student work). This is a free session offered by Alma del Mar – please share the opportunity with all your teacher friends!

March 23, 2017ADMAug16_161
4:30 – 6 PM (Training)

Alma del Mar
515 Belleville Ave.
New Bedford, MA

This FREE professional development session is open to all teachers in the region. Please invite your colleagues and teacher friends! You will earn 2 PDP training hours for attending!

Please register using the link below so we can ensure enough seats and meals for everyone in attendance.

During this free session, you will learn:
*Engaging students in self-assessments & feedback (creating Criteria for Success)
*Using exemplars to increase the level of rigor in your classroom (Tuning Protocol)

A FREE dinner will be provided following the training, at 6 PM.
Register here by Monday, March 20!

*Please note, the form may not open if you are using Internet Explorer. If you have difficulty registering using the form, please contact Becca Kurie at beccakurie@almadelmar.org

Posted in Misc

You’re Invited: Cyber Safety Night at Alma

We invite Alma del Mar scholars and their families to learn more about how to be safe online at our first-ever Cyber Safety Night. The event is scheduled for Monday, March 20th from 6-7 p.m at Alma del Mar.

As more and more forms of social media and uses for internet arise, it is important that we help young people understand how to be safe on the internet. In addition, as adults it is important that we understand the different forms of social media, and how they are impacting the young people around us.

Topics that will be covered:
-“Social Media and You”
-Social media and internet family contracts
-Information on various forms of social media
-The permanency of the internet
-True stories of cyber safety
-How to be an upstander for cyber bullying and cyber safey
-Information on a future event: A screening of Screenagers

Posted in Misc

Meet Mr. Marko: Office and Data Manager

Marko headshotMr. Marko grew up in Brewer, Maine, a fantastic community 40 minutes inland of Acadia National park and the Atlantic Ocean — it is across the river from Bangor, Maine, and roughly two hours north of Portland.  He graduated from Brewer High school in 2006, and continued to live in Maine while getting Bachelors in Criminal Justice from the University of Maine.  In 2011-12 Mr. Marko interned on the Maine Marriage Equality campaign and helped pass marriage equality in Maine at the ballot box in November 2012.  He spent the next five years traveling the country working on Progressive Issue oriented campaigns, with a primary focus on LGTBQ equality.  Some highlights were being on the team to pass marriage equality in Rhode Island, and being on the team to stop a harmful anti-LGBTQ constitutional amendment in Indiana.  Mr. Marko’s last major campaign role was being the Deputy National Operations Director of Bernie 2016.  He worked in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Illinois, Wisconsin and Vermont during his time with Bernie 2016.

Why did you choose the Alma team?

It was a chance to work with a group of passionate educators who are committed to creating better opportunities in the New Bedford area for young people.  I thrive on being surrounded by inspirational coworkers, so Alma del Mar is a great fit.  I found out about this opportunity from a dear friend, and one of the original founders of the School, Meredith Segal, who I met in the campaign world.

What do you hope to contribute to Alma? 

In my role, I hope to make the lives of our wonderful teachers easier, by providing service and creating more efficient systems.  When our teachers can best perform their jobs is when our scholars will reach their highest potential.

What is your top goal during your first year with Alma?

Helping with the transition of Alma del Mar becoming a full K-8 for the first time!

What teacher made a difference in your life — how? 

I had a fantastic 7th grade History teacher named Mr. Hamill, who really pushed us in creative ways to learn and enjoy history.  I give him credit for making me explore certain topics which helped shape my world views as an adult.

Why did you become involved in education?

I was looking for a way to still be active in helping out communities, and impacting the greater good, while taking a hiatus from direct political action work.  My good friend Meredith Segal thought it would be a perfect fit for what I was looking for at this stage in my life.  I have learned to blindly trust Meredith.

Where did you go to college? What did you like about your college?

I went to the University of Maine, an attended classes at multiple campuses.  I am also a deferred graduate student working on a Master’s in Public Policy from the Muskie School which is part of the University of Maine system.  I think the University of Maine, knowing that they have students from all over Maine who wish to pursue higher education, while not all living near a dense city, has done a great job at integrating different campuses and programs so that Mainers have a quality education that is accessible and flexible.

What is your favorite food?

It is hard to narrow down a favorite food, but lately I would say that I could eat sushi 7 days a week!

What is your favorite book?

Choosing a favorite book is extremely difficult, three books I have read in the last year that have had a huge impact are Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, The Art of Learning by Joshua Waitzkin, and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Posted in Alma Profiles

Announcement: Alma del Mar approved for enrollment expansion!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 27, 2017

Alma del Mar approved for enrollment expansion of 90 scholars

On Monday, February 27th, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved a request for Alma del Mar Charter School to expand its enrollment by 90 students. This approval comes as a strong endorsement by state officials for the five year old school, whose charter was renewed without conditions last year.

The additional 90 seats will bring Alma’s chartered enrollment up to 450 students from its originally approved 360 students. The additional students will be added over the next several years by creating new sections of students in grades K-1 and by adding additional students to existing classrooms of subsequent grades.

“We’re thrilled to be able to increase our impact in New Bedford by serving a greater number of families,” says Executive Director Will Gardner, “it will be especially exciting to be able to admit scholars off of our waitlist who are siblings of our existing scholars. Many families have waited a long time for this opportunity.”

Alma will enroll new kindergartners for the upcoming the school year at its annual public lottery, held at the school on Tuesday, February 28th. Approximately 500 applications have already been received for the next school year. Any students who do not receive a spot through the lottery will be assigned a place on a waiting list. In response to the expansion approval, the school plans to enroll an additional group of students off this waiting list in March and April, with siblings receiving preference for any available seats.

In a memo to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Commissioner Chester pointed to significant improvements in Alma scholars’ performance on the latest PARCC tests as one indicator of Alma’s successful academic program. These measures were used to help determine Alma del Mar’s status as a “Proven Provider,” which is required by state law for a school to be considered for additional seats.

About Alma del Mar:

Alma del Mar is a public charter school serving New Bedford. Our mission is to put every one of our scholars on the path to college and to challenge them to be service-minded leaders. We are achieving this mission by providing a highly demanding, highly supportive education to every scholar who walks through our doors. Alma del Mar features a longer school day, a longer school year, high expectations for all scholars, and outstanding teachers from across the country. We currently serve 320 scholars in grades K-7. Next year, we will expand to serve grades K-8.

Posted in Misc

POSTPONED: Cyber Safety Night at Alma

UPDATE: The Cyber Safety Night event has been postponed. A new date will be announced soon. 

We invite Alma del Mar scholars and their families to learn more about how to be safe online at our first-ever Cyber Safety Night. The event was originally scheduled Monday, February 13th from 6-7 p.m at Alma del Mar.

Scholars and families will have the opportunity to learn and discuss topics such as:
-Social media and you
-How to be an internet upstander
-Information and the internet
-The internet and my family
-Family internet contracts

…and more! Hope to see you there!

Posted in Misc

Public invited to Middle School Expedition Night at Alma

Alma del Mar scholars invite public to Middle School Expedition Night

Spotlight put on scholars’ incredible work at Expedition Night

Alma del Mar Middle School scholars invite the public to attend their Expedition Night on Thursday, January 26, at our new school building, located at 515 Belleville Avenue in New Bedford. Expedition Night is an exciting opportunity for our scholars to share their high quality work with their families and the community.

Doors open to the public at 5 p.m. and the event will end at 6:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

In middle school, Alma scholars spend the year conducting in-depth investigations into a key theme (ancient civilizations in fifth grade, quests in sixth grade, and slavery and freedom in seventh grade). This expedition involves independent research and fieldwork in the community.

This will be the first Expedition Night to take place in our new home, which opened in August 2016. Those in attendance will be able to choose from a variety of performances and will have several chances to interact with scholars in different ways throughout the evening.

Scholars in grades 5-7 have planned and participated in every part of this special night. Scholars have researched their topics thoroughly, written many drafts and practiced several times, and even filmed an orientation film for all visitors to enjoy before experiencing Expedition Night.

From authentic medieval fresco artwork to tableaus and string instrument performances, there will be something for everyone at Expedition Night! A few highlights include:

  • A Gallery of Quilts – Our seventh grade scholars’ quilts are inspired by the talented quilters of Gee’s Bend. Gee’s Bend, once a plantation, has become a mecca in the folk art world known for these abstract quilts that have been created by multiple generations of women who almost entirely descended from the slaves of the original plantation.
  • Instrumental performances of time honored fanfares which herald the start of the modern Olympic Games; a tune dating back to the 1300s which was sung by medieval bards throughout the English countryside; and a patriotic song that was sung during the Civil War as a way to advocate for the causes of Unionism and abolitionism.
  • Monologues from Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! – Humans love adventure: discovering a continent, crossing a border, or joining a Crusade. Our sixth grade scholars have found that questers always learn something about themselves along the way. They will these monologues to reveal the struggles of living in the Middle Ages.

 

Posted in Misc

Meet Ms. DeSousa: Kindergarten Academic Fellow

img_5171Ms. DeSousa was born and raised in New Bedford. She is the youngest of four siblings and loves having a big family. Ms. DeSousa attended high school at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical School and focused her studies there on child development. She graduated from GNB Voc-Tech in 2013. Then, while working at Little People’s College, she took courses at Fisher College. She plans to go back to school to pursue a degree in teaching. In her free time, Ms. DeSousa enjoys going off-roading in her Jeep — something she has loved doing since she was younger and would go with her dad. She has three dogs, one cat and a ferret.

Why did you choose the Alma team?
I started at Alma as a leader for an Afterschool Program activity last year and immediately fell in love with the school. Soon I was coming in as a substitute and I loved how welcoming and helpful everyone was. I kept reminding everyone that if there were any openings, to please let me know. 

What do you hope to contribute to Alma? 
I’ve been working with scholars in kindergarten on making sure that they are being safe and engaged in the classroom. I hope to continue to contribute to a classroom environment that is safe for every single scholar to be a part of the crew, all while they’re being engaged and learning.

What is your top goal during your first year with Alma?
My goal for this year is to truly find my voice as an educator so I can effectively interact with all scholars. 

What teacher made a difference in your life, and how? 
Ms. Brightman, my shop teacher at Voc-Tech, made a difference by helping me to break out of my shell as an educator. She helped me get over my fear of being in front and leading.

Why did you become involved in education?
I come from a big family and my cousins and I would always play school and I would always be the teacher. I think I knew even then that I wanted to be the person to make a difference in someone’s life. 

Where did you go to college? What did you like about your college?
I went to Fisher College and enjoyed learning more about how to work with children. 

What is your favorite music?

I listen to all types of music but my absolute favorite is country music because I really connect to it.

What is your favorite place?

I’m very adventurous and love being outdoors, so anywhere outdoors! I enjoy taking my nieces and nephews to some of the trails in Dartmouth.

Posted in Misc

Meet Mrs. Lavallee: Fourth Grade Associate Teacher

marylavallee2

From Mrs. Lavallee: One of my favorite things to do is travel. This photo was taken at a replica of Stonehenge found in Odessa, Texas.

Mrs. Lavallee grew up in Acushnet. She attended Westfield State University in Western Massachusetts, where she earned degrees in English and Communication. In 2012, she moved to Austin, TX to earn her Masters of Fine Arts degree in fiction writing from the University of Texas. While in Austin, Mrs. Lavallee worked as a teaching assistant for introductory literature courses and also volunteered to teach creative writing in the community. After graduation, Mrs. Lavallee taught reading and language arts to a wonderful group of Austin scholars. She has returned to Massachusetts to continue teaching closer to home.

Why did you choose the Alma team?
I chose to become a part of the Alma team because upon visiting I was so impressed by Alma’s mission and culture and the way they are brought to life in each classroom. This is a very special community of teachers and scholars dedicated to giving their best every day, and I am excited to be a part of that!

 

 

What do you hope to contribute to Alma? 
I hope to contribute positivity and optimism, and to share my love of reading and writing with my students.

What is your top goal during your first year with Alma?
I have several top goals – first, to help scholars succeed; second, to assist my team in any way possible; and third, to learn as much as I can from the talented teachers around me.

What teacher made a difference in your life, and how? 
My high school English teacher made a difference in my life when she told me that my writing had an interesting voice and that I should try to further develop my writing skills. She gave me confidence to pursue my creative goals.

Why did you become involved in education?
I grew up in a family of teachers, but I did not begin my own teaching journey until I arrived at the University of Texas and began working as a teaching assistant for introductory literature courses. I loved the creativity of teaching, and enjoyed coming up with fun, creative activities to help my students grasp the material. In my last semester, I taught a community writing course, and knew at that point that teaching was the profession for me. I am grateful that every day I get to help others and give back to my community.

Where did you go to college? What did you like about your college?
I went to college in two places – Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts, and the University of Texas at Austin. The thing I enjoyed most about my time in both places was the sense that I could learn anything – whether that meant taking a class in an unfamiliar subject, browsing through books at the library, or meeting someone from whom I could learn something new.

What is your favorite piece of art?

My favorite piece of art is a painting called Homesickness by Rene Magritte. I am drawn to this painting time and time again because I feel that it encapsulates a feeling more thoroughly than words ever could.

What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is absolutely pizza!

Posted in Misc

Upcoming Event: Alma Family Day of Service

Alma Family Day of Service

Saturday, January 14, 2017

10:00am-1:00pm

Located at Gifts to Give

1 Titleist Drive

Acushnet, MA 02743

Scholars and their families will help Gifts to Give process donations and fulfill gift requests by working in the toys and games department as well as processing clothing and book donations. This event will serve as a recognition and celebration of the national day of service on January 16th.

You can register yourself and your family members online at https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07edg1xcdq844bd826&oseq=&c=&ch=

All are welcome!

Posted in Misc

David Eckert joins Alma del Mar Board of Trustees

David Eckert was elected to the Alma del Mar Board of Trustees during the Board’s Annual Meeting on Nov. 4.

Mr. Eckert has long supported and been involved in education, including previously serving on the national board for Let’s Get Ready Inc., a nonprofit that helps low-income high school students get into and succeed in college. Mr. Eckert also served as the initial Chair of the nonprofit’s New England Advisory Board.

“David has the right combination of expertise in organizational strategy and passion for getting outcomes for kids,” said Will Gardner, Executive Director of Alma del Mar. “We’re thrilled to welcome him to the Alma crew.”

Mr. Eckert is a retired CEO who, for 25 years, led businesses and served on many corporate boards of directors. Before his CEO roles, Mr. Eckert was a partner at Bain & Company, a business consulting firm. He was awarded an MBA from the Harvard Business School and received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. Mr. Eckert has long supported education. He is Chair Emeritus of the Board of Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, and former co-chair of the NU Leadership Circle Boston Regional Board. For many years, he was a member of the board of the Wayland (MA) Public Schools Foundation.

David lives nearby in Rochester, MA, with his wife Jackie. They have four grown sons.

Other current Alma del Mar Board of Trustees members are: Jan Baptist (Chair), Chris Arnold, Mary Jean Blasdale, Bronwen Cunningham, Lucile Hicks, Martha Kay, Gail Fortes and Bob Unger.

About Alma del Mar:
Alma del Mar is a public charter school serving New Bedford. Our mission is to put every one of our scholars on the path to college and to challenge them to be service-minded leaders. We are achieving this mission by providing a highly demanding, highly supportive education to every scholar who walks through our doors. Alma del Mar features a longer school day, a longer school year, high expectations for all scholars, and outstanding teachers from across the country. We currently serve 320 scholars in grades K-7. In the coming years, we will expand to offer grades K-8.

Posted in Misc

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