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“I have had the most wonderful experience with Alma del Mar. I am almost 100% positive that my children would not have thrived as much as they have anywhere else.� - Alma Parent


Alma del Mar Charter School

Dear Friends of Alma del Mar Charter School,

We are pleased to share our 2012 Annual Report.

In August 2011, Alma del Mar opened our doors for the first time. Not long ago, we were building a team of teachers and support staff, preparing our school facility, and getting ready to welcome 120 young scholars and their families to start the school year. It is remarkable to think all that has transpired since then. Our teachers and staff were extraordinary in their hard work and skill in bringing the vision of Alma del Mar to life. It was thrilling to see our scholars and their families respond to the Alma team’s efforts in such a positive fashion and with so much dedication and energy of their own.

While we have much work and many challenges ahead, we can be proud of what we accomplished in our first year. Our average daily attendance was 97.1%. On average schoolwide, our scholars grew 1.43 years in their reading level. Our second graders scored first out of 103 schools on the final Achievement Network math test. Scholars completed numerous learning expeditions in science and social studies, including visits to the Museum of Natural History at Harvard University, Tabor Academy, the Buttonwood Park Zoo, and a local wildlife sanctuary with the Buzzards Bay Coalition. With regular instruction in music, art and physical education, our scholars made excellent progress in their creative and physical development. Many attended performances by the New Bedford Ballet and the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra. Scholars and their families logged hundreds of hours of service with partners like GiftstoGive. In all of these settings, the Alma community showed our fidelity to the school’s Five Commitments: Service, Quality, Integrity, Accountability, and Persistence. We are very pleased with the support and interest Alma has received from the community. New Bedford High School students volunteered to help Alma scholars build a garden in the school’s courtyard and UMass-Dartmouth students volunteered in our after school program. We welcomed hundreds of visitors, including many teachers from other schools, to our classrooms and launched an education speakers series open to the community at large. We now enter our second year of operation with gratitude to all who helped make our first year such a success and with great hope for the future. Sincerely,

David M. Prentiss Chair, Board of Trustees

Will Gardner Executive Director

2012 Annual Report


Our Challenge Many of our scholars were born into neighborhoods where educational opportunities are limited and expectations for academic achievement are low.

The challenges of poverty – including community violence, lack of adequate food and shelter and high incarceration rates – often present significant barriers to their success.

In the city of New Bedford:

62% 82% 7% 4

of low-income third graders did not pass the 2012 MCAS exam in reading. of low-income third graders did not pass the 2012 MCAS in math. is the chance an Hispanic child has of enrolling in a 4-year college.

Alma del Mar Charter School

Student Population Comparison Alma del Mar Low-Income


Special Education


English Language Learners


Black / Hispanic


New Bedford Massachusetts 64%








Jae-lyn, third grade scholar at Alma del Mar

2012 Annual Report


Our Answer: The Alma Way Sky High Expectations:

Awesome Teachers:

Every single one of our scholars is headed to college.

Abundant Support:

30% More Learning Time:

We select the best teachers Whatever our scholars from across the country need to be successful, we and bring them to New make sure they have it. Bedford. No exceptions. Eyeglasses, clothing, We give our teachers the transportation—our staff Alma scholars know training and support they works with our parents that we refuse to accept need to excel. and community partners anything but their best to make sure our scholars effort and best behavior. We work as a crew to start each day ready to Our scholars thrive on make sure every scholar learn. challenge. succeeds.

Alma scholars spent 30% more time in school than students in the school down the street. The journey to college is long, and we know our scholars need more time to do work to get there. Scholars have art, music and physical education each three days a week.

Expeditionary Learning Alma del Mar is an Expeditionary Learning School. Expeditionary Learning is a diverse national network of schools that share best practices in curriculum design and meaningful work. Alma second graders explored how habitats help animals survive. They studied the local bullfrog and then became experts in an atypical frog breed. This Expedition took them to the Lloyd Center for the Environment and the Harvard University Herpetology Lab, which has more than 40,000 frog specimens from around the world. Their work culminated in a gallery exhibition for the public at the Buzzards Bay Coalition. Scholars also created frog cards featuring illustrations and narratives about the frog they studied. They donated proceeds from the sale of cards to support local wildlife conservation efforts.


Alma del Mar Charter School

During 2012, more than 700 teachers applied to join the Alma team.

We picked the best six.

Kyla Spindler

First Grade Lead Teacher; Math Department Chair Hometown: Dartmouth, MA Alma Mater: Pomona College What is your connection to New Bedford? I was born in New Bedford and grew up in the South Coast region. I’ve worked at different galleries and restaurants downtown and have really enjoyed watching and being a part of the city’s rejuvenation. Working at Alma has been a great opportunity for me to contribute to the betterment of my community.

What is unique about teaching at Alma? Alma is a unique place to teach because the staff is so small and supportive. I get constant feedback from my colleagues and from administration that helps me to grow as a professional and to serve my scholars as best I can. The people who work here are passionate, innovative individuals who always have the scholars’ success in mind and work together to make changes and solve problems quickly. What is your aspiration for your scholars? I teach to help my scholars develop strong basic academic skills, the ability to think critically, and the sense of joy and pride that come with learning. When they’ve graduated from high school, my aspiration for my scholars is that they will have the skills to determine their own futures and be successful in whatever they choose.

2012 Annual Report



Our Five Commitments Service I will actively contribute to my school and larger community with a spirit of cooperation, volunteering my time and talents to help others.


I will do my best work every day and reach for high standards of academic achievement and character.


I will be truthful and respect myself and others through my actions and my words.


I will take responsibility for my conduct and actions, always striving to hold myself to high standards and encouraging those around me to do the same.


I will not give up when faced with challenges. I will ask for help when I need it. I recognize that real learning takes time and effort.

Rolandria Justice Principal “As a school community, we talk about the Five Commitments on a daily basis. As a result, our scholars are embodying these values through their words and actions, both in school and out.”


Alma del Mar Charter School

Meredith Segal, Director of Operations and Student Services “Before scholars begin their Alma experience, we conduct a one hour home visit with every family. At that visit, scholars and their parents read the Five Commitments together. These values are an integral part of every day at Alma del Mar.”

Alma in the Community Alma families have

completed thousands of hours of service through Family Days of Service.

Alma scholars and parents have sorted clothes for local children in need at GiftstoGive, picked crops at Sharing the Harvest, and made care packages for our troops overseas. Through Expeditions, scholars have raised money for local conservation efforts and grown fresh produce for food pantries.

At Thanksgiving and Christmas, scholars prepared holiday meals for families in our community.

2012 Annual Report


A Day in my Life as an Alma Scholar


6:39 AM

Board Bus

7:20 AM

Arrive at School

7:30 AM


7:40 AM

Silent Reading

8:00 AM

Morning Meeting

8:20 AM

Phonics Instruction

9:00 AM

Guided Reading Group

9:45 AM

Physical Education

10:30 AM


11:55 AM

Lunch and Recess

12:40 PM


1:25 PM


2:30 PM


3:10 PM

Closing Circle

3:30 PM

Homework Club

4:00 PM


Free transportation is provided for all scholars. I shake hands with Mr. Gardner. Whole grain blueberry muffin, orange, and milk We read books of our choosing. My crew shares highlights from our trip to Tabor Academy. My table group sorts words based on initial sounds. We work on our fluency while reading Magic Tree House. I win a medal for my performance in the 100-meter sprint. I learn new ways to make the number nine. Asian salad with cucumber, pineapple chunks, and milk. We complete our paintings in the style of Picasso’s Blue Period. We create brochures convincing settlers to come to America. I edit the work of my partner during writers’ workshop. I give a shout-out to my classmate for showing integrity. A college tutor helps me with my homework. We go to Community Boating to learn to sail.

Alma del Mar Charter School

Every class is named after the year the scholars will graduate from college. Every classroom is named after its teacher’s alma mater. Our kindergartners are the Bates and Texas Lutheran Classes of 2029. Every year, Alma scholars visit a college preparatory high school or a college campus. Last year, scholars visited Tabor Academy and Harvard University.

Every Alma scholar will graduate from college.

Our Creed: We are Alma scholars. We are here to gain knowledge. We are all headed to college. We never give up. We work as a crew. Every day we grow smarter. Every day we improve. 2012 Annual Report


Our Results At Alma del Mar, we focus on results. From daily learning targets to long-term goals, our scholars and teachers map the path to success.


97% 1.43 97%

Alma del Mar’s ranking of 103 schools on the final Achievement Network math assessment 2011-2012 average daily attendance (compared to 92.7% in New Bedford)

Average years of reading growth achieved in 1 year Percent of kindergarteners ending the year at or above grade level in reading

When scholars walk into school each day, they see a chart displaying their growth in reading levels.


Scholars, teachers, and parents celebrate together as scholars progress toward their goals.

Alma del Mar Charter School

Fiscal Year 2012 Financials Income Tuition (MA Department of Education)


Private Support Funding


Government Grants & Funding (other) Nutrition Funding

$293,830 $65,647

Student Programs & Miscellaneous Fees $4,343 Interest / Investment Income

Total Income Expense



Personnel Costs


Other Student Services


Administrative Costs

Instructional Services

Operation & Maintenance of Plant Other Fixed Charges

Community Services

Total Expense

2012 Annual Report


$291,293 $160,150 $22,487 $9,924



Our Funding Alma del Mar is a public school authorized under Massachusetts’s charter school law. As such, we receive part of our funding from public dollars, and we must raise the remainder from private donations. The cost of educating Alma scholars this past year was approximately $13,500 per pupil, excluding capital and start-up expenses. The state funding we received was $11,500 for each student. This left a funding gap of $2,000 per pupil, half of which was covered by federal and state grants; the other half was generously donated by private donors and foundations.

Alma del Mar is committed to providing the highest quality educational experience to our scholars in the most cost effective manner possible. In addition to rigorous study in literacy and math, we provide our scholars with a broad and rich curriculum in science, social studies, art, music and physical education, along with free transportation, nutritious breakfasts and lunches, other health and social support services, and an afterschool enrichment program that is free for all low-income scholars. In short, we do all this by combining the public funding we receive with an investment of $1,000 per student from private donors.

With your support, we are able to offer low-income children in New Bedford an education that is equal to (our teachers would say even better than!) the quality of the very best private or public schools in the country.

The Cost of Educating an Alma del Mar Scholar for One Year

$1,000 $1,000

State Funding Federal Funding Your Support


Alma del Mar Charter School


Your Impact $1,000 $500 $250 $100 $25 $1

Educate a scholar for a year A computer with software A fieldwork expedition to Harvard A musical instrument Two high quality non-fiction texts Another cup of coffee for a hardworking teacher

Please contact us to discuss opportunities to sponsor a whole class or a special project.

2012 Annual Report


Founding Donors Individuals Anonymous Jonas Akins Benjamin B. Baker Talbot Baker, Jr. William and Mary Jean Blasdale Mark & Elizabeth Bono David Cabral Joyce Calnen Karyn Campbell Steven Derossi Peter Dewalt James & Carol Dildine Priscilla Ditchfield James Dolan Joe Dow Darren Fredette Seth & Dorothy Garfield Amanda Glinski Guillermo Gonzalez Marguerite Graham Rupert & Jennifer Grantham David & Maria Harrington Frederic and Johanna Hood William Hutchinson Martha Kay Dennis Keefe Lucy Keefe The Kendall Family Judith Li Arthur & Christina Lynch James Mathes

Darcy Murtz Mary Ellen Newby Elaine Ostroff Sheila Powers Converse David Prentiss & Lucy Iannotti Mark Rasmussen John Sandoff John Sasko Martha Shuster Kristina Tomlinson John Vasconcellos & Bill Barr Ann Webb Valerie Westen

Foundations and Corporations Acushnet Foundation Bristol County Savings Bank Charitable Foundation Club Madeirense Dominos Pizza George H. & Jane A. Mifflin Memorial Fund Greater New Bedford Allies for Health & Wellness, Inc. Greater New Bedford Physical Therapy Henry H. Crapo Foundation Island Foundation, Inc. Jim and Bess Hughes Fund Kittansett Club Law Office of Amanda Glinski Leonard & Hilda Kaplan Charitable Foundation Patrick Carney Foundation Seymour H. Knox Foundation, Inc. Upstream Foundation

A very special thank you to our in-kind donors.

As a result of your generosity, our scholars have wonderful items including a baby grand 16

piano, an upright piano, and countless high quality books. Alma del Mar Charter School

Founding Community Partners Alderbrook Farm AmericaReads ArtWorks! Buttonwood Park Zoo Buzzards Bay Coalition Club Madeirense Community Boating Center, Inc. Expeditionary Learning GiftstoGive Harvard University Herpetology Lab Immigrants’ Assistance Center Lloyd Center for the Environment

Mayor Scott Lang New Bedford Ballet New Bedford City Council New Bedford Symphony Orchestra NorthStar Learning Centers PACE Head Start Schwartz Center for Children Sharing the Harvest Community Farm SMILES Mentoring Teach for America - Massachusetts University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Working Waterfront Festival

We greatly appreciate the service of all our mentors and volunteers!

You have made a profound difference in the experience of our scholars.

2012 Annual Report


Board of Trustees Mary Jean Blasdale worked at the Whaling Museum where she currently serves as a trustee. Mary Jean is past President of the Board of the Grinnell Mansion for Congregate Living and is current President of the Board of the Rotch-Jones-Duff House.

David Cabral, MBA, Treasurer, is President of Five Star Surgical and Five Star Manufacturing, a manufacturer

of surgical instruments. David is also Managing Partner at Zenith Ventures, LLC and owner of Five Star Surgical, Inc. David formerly served as Production Manager at Johnson & Johnson.

Karyn Campbell, CFA, is a former Managing Director of Capital Advisors Group, Inc. She has served on the National Board of Directors of Citizen Schools.

Martha Kay, M.Ed., is former Principal of Gomes Elementary School. She also serves on the Board of Directors of GiftstoGive.

Judith Li is a former Director of Strategy for Teach for America, consultant at McKinsey and Company, and Project Manager at Partners HealthCare. She is currently pursuing her MBA at Harvard Business School.

James Mathes founded SMILES Mentoring, the largest mentoring organization in the SouthCoast region. For

nearly twenty years, James served as President of the New Bedford Chamber of Commerce. In 2004, James was recognized by the Standard Times as "SouthCoast Man of the Year."

David M. Prentiss, JD, Chairman, is CEO of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra as well as a lecturer in Political Science at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth.

Mark Rasmussen, MPP, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Buzzards Bay Coalition. He received his Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard and BA from Boston College.

Kris Tomlinson obtained her B.A. from Tufts, her M.A. in East Asian Regional Studies from Harvard, and an M.A.T in Elementary Education from Lewis and Clark University. She is a long-time member of the Marion community.


Alma del Mar Charter School

“Alma del Mar is, by far, the city’s best place to learn.” - Alma Parent

2012 Annual Report


Learn. Lead. Serve. Succeed!

Alma del Mar Charter School 26 Madeira Ave New Bedford, MA 02746 Phone: 774-206-6827 | Fax: 774-206-6833

2012 Annual Report