Two Alma educators to travel the world to fuel passion for learning


NEW BEDFORD – Two teachers at Alma del Mar Charter School were recently awarded grant funds for their proposed trips to further their learning around the content they teach.

“At Alma, we invest in our teachers not only as educators, but also as lifelong learners,” said Becca Kurie, Alma del Mar’s Development Manager and Almazing Fund Coordinator. “We enable our teachers to look beyond the typical professional development opportunities and actually explore.”

These adventures, called Almazing Fund trips, are funded entirely by a donor-supported effort to give Alma’s incredible educators the chance to experience the world around them and how it relates to their curriculum. They not only deepen the grantee’s understanding of the curriculum they teach but also fuel their passion for the content.

“We know that when our teachers get excited about the content they’re teaching, our scholars will too,” Kurie said.

The winners of Alma del Mar’s Almazing Fund grants for 2018-19 are:


  • Hanna MacDougall, Middle School Specialist


Ms. MacDougall will travel to one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Ecuador. While there, she will explore and learn about a number of topics Alma scholars learn about in Expedition class, including forces of nature, force and motion, the Earth, sun and gravity, world cultures and geography, and water scarcity. Ms. MacDougall will also visit Quito, the capital of Ecuador and home to the first UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • Melissa McLaren, 7th & 8th Grade Science Teacher

Ms. McLaren will spend time along the West Coast exploring key topics from her science curriculum. In San Francisco, she will research the 1906 earthquake, one of the most significant in United States’ history. She hopes to bring back information to engage scholars in learning how geological studies are working toward earthquake predictions. Scholars at Alma already study the layers of the Earth and earth movement over time in Ms. McLaren’s class. She will also travel to Seattle, Washington, to tour the Boeing Facility. Ms. McLaren has already found a way to connect aviation to her science curriculum; she’s excited to learn more about the engineering aspects and then share that new knowledge with scholars.

These Almazing Fund adventures will be taken during the summer of 2019, prior to the start of the 2019-2020 school year. Participating teachers commit to sharing their learning with their colleagues through a presentation or other means of dissemination.

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 about 450 scholars in grades K-8.

Posted in Alma Profiles

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