Press

Alma del Mar accepts 57 new students in lotterylottery – Standard-Times, 2/28/17

Penelope Diotte-Arsenault enjoyed an ice cream sundae Tuesday night after being selected to join the Alma del Mar Charter School through lottery process.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Kate Diotte-Arsenault, Penelope’s mom, said. “We don’t have any luck. All the luck has to come from our daughter.”

Penelope was one of 57 new students to be accepted to the New Bedford charter school. According to the school’s founder and executive director, Will Gardner, the school received roughly 500 applications to fill 40 open seats in kindergarten and first grade. The remaining 17 seats were committed to siblings of students already enrolled in the school. Siblings and New Bedford residents are given preference for acceptance.

Seventh graders gather for the morning community meeting on their first day of school at the Alma del Mar's new school on Belleville Avenue in the north end of New Bedford. PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES/SCMG

PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES/SCMG

State board approves Alma Del Mar expansion, new charter in Plymouth – Standard-Times, 2/28/17

The city’s Alma del Mar Charter School received state approval to add 90 seats, and Southeastern Massachusetts will welcome a new and different charter school to the region on Monday.

At the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Feb. 27 meeting, members approved the New Bedford charter school to expand to 450 students next year while it allowed The Map Academy to open its doors in September 2017, with preference to students from Plymouth, Carver and Wareham but others can also apply. 

“We’re thrilled to be able to increase our impact in New Bedford by serving a greater number of families,” Alma Executive Director Will Gardner said in a press release. “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.”

Students walk into their first day of school at the Alma del Mar's new school on Belleville Avenue in the north end of New Bedford. PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES/SCMG

PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES/SCMG

Alma del Mar Charter School poised for expansion vote – Standard-Times, 2/18/17

New Bedford’s Alma del Mar Charter School could get the state’s go-ahead this month to add 90 seats, and the SouthCoast could get a new charter school — one very different from the existing charters — pending approval by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education at its Feb. 27 meeting.

Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester said Thursday that he will recommend the board approve three new regional charter schools, including Map Academy Charter School in Plymouth, which is scheduled to open in 2018 and would serve mainly Plymouth, Carver, and Wareham, but admit students from farther afield as space allows. The other new schools would be in Westfield and Sturbridge.

Chester said in a press release that he will also recommend expansions at Alma del Mar and three other schools around the state.
7th grade Alma del Mar scholars studied the American Civil War and its affects on different groups of people. Groups included soldiers, medical staff, and people on the home front. Scholars then created characters and developed tableaus (frozen scenes) to demonstrate the common experiences of their characters. MIKE VALERI/THE STANDARD-TIMES/SCMG

MIKE VALERI/THE STANDARD-TIMES/SCMG

An Expedition into Learning – Standard-Times, 2/17/17

Alma del Mar Charter School scholars embarked on an amazing Expedition — and they didn’t have to leave town to do it.

The scholars, Alma del Mar’s middle schoolers, “traveled ” to far-flung places via their extensive research into a variety of topics. In some cases, that travel became time travel as they explored subjects as diverse as the Middle Ages and the Civil War.

 

Masters of their profession: Alma del Mar salutes 4 teachers – Standard-Times, 11/12/16

Four educators at Alma del Mar were recently recognized for their mastery in teaching at the K-8 public charter school in the North End.

The school, in a news release, said Alma educators are designated as Master Teacher “when they exhibit a strong work ethic which contributes to both tangible results today and a lasting impact into the future. Master Teachers are also successful members of our interdependent crew at Alma del Mar — they not only get great results for scholars, they also contribute to our long-term effort by helping the teachers around them to achieve at higher levels.”

Alma del Mar’s Master Teachers for the 2016-2017 school year are Kyla Spindler, Joshua DaPonte, Margaret Carvalho and Jessica Summers.

Alma del Mar students host mock election – Standard-Times, 11/8/16

A first graders, right, hands a I voted sticker to a seventh grader who just cast his ballot uring a mock election held at the Alma del Mar school in New Bedford. PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES/SCMG

A first graders, right, hands a I voted sticker to a seventh grader who just cast his ballot uring a mock election held at the Alma del Mar school in New Bedford.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES/SCMG

Our View: Alma del Mar sets high standard for charters – Standard-Times, 9/18/16

There are no smartboards or other technological “bells and whistles” in the classrooms, but the creativity and innovation of teachers and other staff assure quality opportunities to learn. Furthermore, the regular sharing of best practices with district teachers in a positive and cooperative relationship lives up to the ideals of the charter system. Perhaps most importantly, the order, respect and scholarship inculcated in every classroom and in every student will ripple through the community for years to come. At Alma del Mar, residents and city officials alike can take solace that those precious district dollars are spent wisely.

Alma del Mar is a welcoming school, and it takes no more than 10 minutes visiting a first-grade classroom to observe 6-year-olds demonstrating critical thinking and growth in a disciplined, respectful and nurturing environment. Understanding that the high level of ELL students soon become former ELL students delivers on a charter’s highest promises.

A protective 4th grader Kiera Valentin, 9, assures her little sister Alyssa Rodriguez, 5 kindergarten, that everything will be alright on their first day of school at the Alma del Mar's new school on Belleville Avenue in the north end of New Bedford.   PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES/SCMG

PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES/SCMG

Alma del Mar opens in new building in New Bedford North End – Standard-Times, 8/23/16

Summer ended for Alma del Mar Charter School students Monday as they walked through the doors and into a new chapter in school history.

The new school year began in a new school at 515 Belleville Ave. The 43,000 square foot building will allow the school to expand future enrollment into eighth grade and to serve 360 children. This year, the school has 320 students in grades K-7.

 

The school replaces the previous location at the former Ottiwell School at 26 Madeira Ave. The old school, located adjacent to the new one, will be demolished to provide playing fields for students and neighborhood children and to add space for the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament.

Students entered the building in lines at the school’s front and back entrances, where they were greeted with handshakes and personal welcomes from executive director Will Gardner and director of curriculum and instruction Elizabeth Leiwant.

Students of Alma Del Mar Charter School head to voting booths Tuesday afternoon. MICHAEL SMITH/STANDARD TIMES SPECIAL/SCMG

Students of Alma Del Mar Charter School head to voting booths Tuesday afternoon. MICHAEL SMITH/STANDARD TIMES SPECIAL/SCMG

‘Everyone gets to vote’ in mock election at Alma del Mar in New Bedford – Standard-Times, 11/3/15

It was just like a real voting precinct at the Alma del Mar Charter School on Election Day.

Six students sat at a table checking names and addresses before directing voters to 24 colorful cardboard booths. The votes were cast into ballots divided by grades at one end of the gym.

“Welcome to the elections. Please check in at the table,” said Alisia Cubero, 6, shaking hands with the students and staff coming in to vote at noon.

It was a lesson in American democracy, complete with counting the ballots and a winner being declared.

Alma del Mar breaks ground in New Bedford’s North EndGroundbreaking ST – Standard-Times, 9/18/15

An “unimportant” event occurred at the Alma del Mar Charter School Thursday in the city’s North End, near the feast grounds.

That’s how the school’s executive director, Will Gardner, characterized the groundbreaking ceremony that took place at the school at noon, attended by local officials and others. Standing on dirt where the school’s parking lot and playground used to be, with construction equipment in the background, Gardner spoke about the new school that will be built and is expected to open in late fall of 2016.

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Alma del Mar Students Travel Back in Time to Learn Lessons – Standard Times, 10/16/14

In two Grade 3 classrooms at Alma del Mar Charter School, students imagined what it was like crossing the ocean to escape tyranny and make a life in a new land.

The students are creating a brochure to let pilgrims know about the pros of traveling to America in the 1620s to escape the King’s rule.

bilde

Independent candidate for governor lays out job-creation plan – Standard Times, 9/23/14

McCormick spent an hour touring Alma del Mar charter school in the North End, looking over students’ shoulders and answering more than a dozen questions from the school’s fourth-graders.

The candidate expressed his admiration for the public posting of individual test scores and grade-level achievement, described by school officials as a means of “accountability” and “holding ourselves to a higher standard.”

 

ELL Students: Off the ‘backburner,’ now front and center – Standard Times, 9/7/14

Kristina Soprano, the English Language Learner Coordinator and a teacher at Global Learning Public Charter School, is a lot busier these days. Soprano said more teachers at the school have been telling her that they have a student who has a hard time reading, and that they know at home the family speaks Spanish.

 

who makes the grade

 Parents learn who makes the grade at New Bedford charter school – Standard Times, 11/20/13

 “Berta and Mario Herrera won the lottery Tuesday night. Their daughter, Melissa, was picked in a random drawing out of 150 applicants for one of 27 open slots for next year’s kindergarten class at the Alma del Mar Charter School.”

thumbnail Build a new playground? No sweat – Standard Times, 7/20/13

 “Two days of hot and sweaty work will be rewarded by a school year of play for students at Alma del Mar, where volunteers started building a brand new, high-end playground Friday.

‘I feel happy because… we will actually have a playground, not just gravel and soccer balls. We don’t have to just play with grass,’ said incoming second-grader Joscelyne Russell, 7.”

A New Routine – Standard Times, 9/6/11

“At 7:20 a.m. on Thursday morning, the front hall of the Alma del Mar charter school hummed with barely-suppressed anticipation.

Will Gardner, the school’s executive director, stood at the front door, keeping an eye out for students; Principal Rolandria Justice and some of the school’s teachers waited in the hall behind him.”

Alma del Mar School charts new course for city education – Standard Times, 8/16/11

“The school’s name translates to “Soul of the Sea,” and if this school is a boat, its founder wants its students to know one thing:

“There are no passengers here; we’re all crew,” said Will Gardner, founder and executive president of Alma del Mar.”

Even in summer, Alma del Mar Charter School focused on mission – Standard Times, 7/19/11

“School doors don’t officially open for another month, but several hundred members of the Alma del Mar community recently came together for a second Family Day of Service.

The first was held this spring at Gifts to Give in New Bedford. This time, at the Sharing the Harvest Farm at the Dartmouth YMCA, students, family members, and school staff transplanted seedlings, picked vegetables, and pulled weeds to support the operation of the farm, the mission of which is to feed the hungry.”

Alma del Mar Students get a jump on their duty to serve – Standard Times, 4/17/11

“Alma del Mar, the city’s new charter school, has yet to open its doors — or even nail down a location — but it held its first all-school event Saturday with a day of service at GiftstoGive, a local nonprofit.

The students from the school’s founding kindergarten, first- and second-grade classes, along with their families and school staff, spent a couple hours at GiftstoGive, cleaning toys, assembling puzzles and decorating paper to wrap birthday presents.”

New Charter School Aims for Learning Expeditions – Standard Times, 3/1/11

“The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted Monday to grant a charter to the Alma del Mar Charter School, a planned 360-student, K-8 school that will open in New Bedford this fall.

The school will start with 120 students across three grades — kindergarten, first and second — and will expand to its maximum size over six years, according to information on the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website.”

Our View: Approve new charter school for New Bedford – Standard Times, 2/20/11

“If we believe that competition brings out the best in people, then we all should hope that the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approves a proposal for the new Alma del Mar charter school of New Bedford.

Proposed by a group of local leaders, Alma del Mar would be the second charter school in the city and would serve 360 children up through grade 8. It was one of 14 charter school proposals endorsed last week by state Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester.”

Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner to Recommend 17 New Charter Schools Across the Commonwealth – Massachusetts Department of Education, 2/17/11

“Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester today announced he will recommend that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education grant 17 new charters this month to groups seeking to open schools in Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lynn, New Bedford, Salem and Springfield.”

Founders of proposed charter school to hold information sessions at Immigrants’ Assistance Center – O Journal, 1/14/11

“While prospect founders of the city’s second charter school wait for their last hurdle to be cleared next month, the parents of about 200 children have already expressed their interest in enrolling them at the new Alma del Mar school, according to its Lead Founder William Gardner.”

At Charter School, “Mr. O” Stands Out – Standard Times, 1/4/11

“Victoria Souza, a ninth-grader at the Global Learning Charter Public School, admitted she hasn’t always loved school as much as she does now.  ‘Mr. (Hugh) O’Mara was my 8th grade teacher last year. He changed my life so much I can’t even explain all of the things he has helped me with,’ Victoria wrote.”

Our View: Consider this Charter – Standard Times, 8/19/10

“A plan to create a new charter school in New Bedford was one of 42 proposals submitted this month to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the highest number of applications for state charters since 1997, the education department announced this week.

The Alma del Mar Charter School Founding Group, led by Fairhaven resident Will Gardner, plans to open a 360-student, kindergarten-through-Grade 8 school that will create service-oriented leaders who are on a path to college, according the group’s application.”

New K-8 Charter Proposed for New Bedford – Standard Times – 8/19/11

“A plan to create a new charter school in New Bedford was one of 42 proposals submitted this month to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the highest number of applications for state charters since 1997, the education department announced this week.

The Alma del Mar Charter School Founding Group, led by Fairhaven resident Will Gardner, plans to open a 360-student, kindergarten-through-Grade 8 school that will create service-oriented leaders who are on a path to college, according the group’s application.”

A Charter Voyage: Will Gardner & Alma del Mar – The Second Shift, 11/1/10

“Will Gardner and I first met when he applied to become a Campus Director in early 2007. From that first conversation his heartfelt commitment to youth and his thoughtful and determined yet somehow easygoing approach to his work had me thinking he could do great things as an educational leader. He led Citizen Schools at the Keith Middle School in New Bedford, Massachusetts after working for 5 years as an elementary teacher – originally as a Teach for America corps member, in Greenville, Mississippi.

Will and I caught up by phone this week – and by no means has the man been standing still. He left the Keith and Citizen Schools to join Harvard’s School Developer Program and earn his M.Ed. in School Leadership. His master’s project? Alma del Mar – what he hopes will soon be New Bedford’s newest charter school.”

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