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Arts & Athletics


Letter from the

Executive Director & Chairman of the Board What’s in a name? Translated literally from Spanish, Alma del Mar means “Soul of the Sea.” Our name was intended to speak to the richness of our location, a historic port city, while evoking the depth to which we seek to transform our young scholars through education. Five years from our founding, “Alma” holds a lot of meaning for the scholars and adults who spend each day here working and learning. In the following pages, we invite you to explore what Alma means to the important scholars and adults who make this school what it is. We share a common mission: for all of our scholars to be on the path to college and for them

Will Gardner, Executive Director

to be service-minded leaders. Together we’ve found a number of effective avenues to work toward that mission. Each of these paths has brought new meaning to the word Alma. In just a short span of time we’ve become known for providing an exceptional education to a population that has in the past had few, if any, excellent educational opportunities. Our long waiting list and low scholar attrition attests to the fact that, to our families and the wider New Bedford community, Alma means a quality education. For the families we serve, Alma also means results. Our scholars are in many cases achieving at the same high levels as kids in more affluent communities. A glance at our roster of teachers affirms that Alma means instructional excellence. Our teaching talent only improves each year, as our experienced teachers take on greater leadership and new educators add energy and vitality to our staff crew. Since opening in 2011, we’ve more than doubled in size, from 120 scholars in grades K–2 to 280 scholars in grades K–6. With an application to the state pending for an additional 90

Chris Arnold, Chairman of the Board

scholars school-wide, we look forward to growing over the next three years to serve 450 scholars in grades K–8. To accommodate this growth, we’re building a beautiful new home on our current school site. We’re excited that we’ll be able to remain one school, under one roof, even as we continue to widen our impact. Most importantly, our new home will be a symbol of the incredibly hard work that our scholars and teachers do every day. This continued growth and impact are made possible by all of you who support us. Alma means community, and each of you has helped to form an indispensable circle of support around our scholars. Thank you for making space for Alma in your busy lives.


Will Gardner

Chris Arnold

Executive Director

Chairmain of the Board




Amazing In many schools, the student work ends up in the recycling bin at the end of the day. At Alma del Mar, we expect every scholar to do amazing work of which they are truly proud. Our scholars complete multiple drafts of essays, critiquing each other’s work in order to improve its quality. We focus on real work. First graders learn about argumentative writing and then write letters to elected officials to advocate for change in their communities. Fourth graders study the Holocaust and then explore the role of stereotypes and prejudice in society. We believe that achievement is defined not only by great test scores, but also by high quality work scholars do now.

Scholar Work Spotlight During the 2014–15 school year the Class of 2028 studied eight different forces of nature. Scholars researched haboobs, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, volcanoes, thunderstorms, tsunamis and earthquakes. They learned how natural disasters form, read reports on famous storms and practiced using scientific tools to measure the impact of the event. Scholars also built model volcanoes and constructed earthquake-proof structures. On their Fieldwork they visited the Boston Museum of Science, Blue Hills Meteorological Observatory, and interviewed individuals who lived through high impact storms. Their final product was a Field Guide to help others learn more about how these powerful forces of nature impact the world in which we live.


Haboob by Gabriel Peixoto Did you know that haboobs can last for many days or months at a time? A haboob is a massive dust storm that forms when wind pushes against the dust and sand on the ground and pulls the material up into the atmosphere. This mixture forms a huge wall of dust and sand. Sometimes winds in a haboob can exceed up to 30 miles per hour or even higher! It is common for haboobs to occur in Sudan and North America. Haboobs form in deserts and very dry places. When the haboob is over, people must clean up because this force of nature leaves so much sand and dust behind on anything and everything in its path. Your backyard can turn into a desert! Did you know that haboobs can be hundreds or even thousands or miles long?! During the Dust Bowl, in the early 1930s, there were 110 haboobs in just one spring season! Haboobs can be very dangerous to your health, home and business. These storms are powerful, dangerous forces of nature and scientists are learning more about them and what they can do.





Relationships At Alma we don’t wait around for “engaged” parents to find us. We believe that it’s our job to cultivate parental engagement. That’s why we start every year by visiting the home of every single one of our scholars. It’s a simple act of trust that forms the foundation of our strong relationships with families. In addition, our teachers communicate frequently with the adults in our scholars’ lives using the medium each parent prefers—be it by phone, text, Facebook or a written note. The result of all this communication is that our scholars get more support and are held to a higher bar, both at home and at school.

96% of our parents say Alma offers me opportunities to be involved in my scholar’s education.

It’s such a wonderful school. I’m so thrilled “ with what he’s learned and how well he’s done.

Alma del Mar is helping my son become a wellrounded student and a well-rounded person. –Alma Parent


We start the year by visiting the home of every one of our scholars.





Everybody Alma is a public school, open to any and all kids in New Bedford. Our kids don’t have to take a test in order to apply and their enrollment is not contingent upon any requirement of their parents. Our scholars live anywhere from the tip of New Bedford’s North End down to the end of the peninsula of the South End. They are representative of the wider population of this diverse city in terms of their ethnic background, socioeconomic status and disability status. How do we ensure success for ALL of our scholars, including those with disabilities or major obstacles to their ability to learn? We start by building a crew of teachers who take responsibility for every scholar in the classroom. Then we make sure that every Alma teacher has the data they need to immediately pinpoint where each scholar needs help. Finally, we set aside the time and the resources to make sure that scholars who need additional support get it immediately.

Student Body Profile 17% 23% 20%

Students with Disabilities

First Language not English

New Beford 38%


English Language Learner


76% 79% 8% 6% 14% 18% 22% 25%



20% African American

29% White


44% Hispanic

Alma del Mar





Arts & Athletics The arts are not extras; they’re essential. Scholars receive music instruction twice a week beginning in kindergarten. By third grade very scholar is learning a stringed instrument. Alma scholars study great painters such as Rothko, Van Gogh and Warhol, and then create works in their style. Scholars in the Class of 2028 traveled to Boston to view Janet Echelman’s public installation work on the Rose Kennedy Greenway and then returned to Alma where they created public art of their own. Physical education prepares children to be physically and mentally active, fit and healthy...for life. Alma scholars learn and improve upon a variety of motor skills used in team sports and lifetime sports. They also improve upon physical fitness and learn teamwork and problem solving skills. Most important, physical education provides scholars with an outlet for releasing tension and anxiety. Physical education improves self-confidence and self-esteem for scholars.

Scholar Work Spotlight: Chloe Canterbury





Excellence No one defines the Alma experience for our scholars more than our incredible teaching team. What does teaching at Alma mean? It means being part of a crew where everyone is dead serious about the mission of putting our scholars on the path to college. At Alma we have a strict “no divas” policy. Our teachers know that their own success and the success of their scholars depends on strong teacher collaboration. Our teachers meet with colleagues to analyze data, rehearse questions with each other for upcoming reading lessons and put their heads together to find solutions for the challenges our scholars face. Alma teachers stand out; not only because they get great results with the scholars in their classroom, but because they improve each others’ practice in the process. And while they uphold a sense of urgency about scholar achievement, our teachers find ways to have a lot of fun, both in and out of the classroom. This is a crew that is remarkably good at creating costumes, plays loud music before opening the doors each morning and is fiercely competitive at kickball!

Alma added a fifth grade in 2014-15 and will add a sixth grade in 2015-16 to grow to 284 scholars. We plan to grow to at least 450 scholars within the next 3 years. In anticipation of enrollment growth, Alma hired 10 strong teachers over the summer to build upon our incredible crew of 22 returning teachers from 2014-15.

Staff Spotlight: Elizabeth Leiwant, Director of Academic Support

I have been at Alma del Mar since we opened our doors in 2011. I started as an associate teacher and ran the after school program. The next year I was promoted to Lead Teacher, then Literacy Specialist, and now I am the Director of Academic Support. At Alma I have been able to develop my skills and my capacity for three main reasons: autonomy, support, and accountability. Throughout my time at Alma I have been given the autonomy to do what I thought was best for scholars and for staff. I have always been trusted to design curriculum, to use my judgement to resolve difficult situations, and to make decisions about instruction. I am also consistently supported by other staff in the building. This support takes many forms-consistent feedback from my manager and colleagues that has allowed me to develop my instructional and leadership skills, getting advice on how to address the needs of individual scholars, and sometimes, a ride home or borrowing a phone charger. I can also count on the people in this building to keep me accountable. I know they will hold me to my word, push me to reconsider and deepen my

thinking, and most importantly, to ensure results for our kids. 12

30% of Alma scholars receive additional academic or behavioral supports






This past year we chose to have our scholars take the more rigorous statewide PARCC test. Data will be available in November 2015. Alma scholars relish a challenge and we are excited for the opportunity to be PARCC pioneers!


Math Interim Results



% of Scholars Proficient or Advanced (Scored >80%)

80% 60%

Schoolwide Test Score Average

40% 20% Q1










ELA Interim Results


100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0%









At Alma we administer grade wide internal interim exams to measure scholar progress in literacy and math. In 2014 we significantly raised the bar for scholars by increasing the difficulty of our interim exams. Our scholars persisted through the more difficult questions and their scores climbed significantly over the course of the year.


OFF TO A STRONG START Our Kindergarten scholars scored in the



percentile in reading*

Our 1st Grade scholars scored in the



percentile in reading* *On the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, a nationally normed standardized achievement test






Alma receives funding from the state through tuition and from individuals, foundations and corporations through grants and donations. Careful fiscal management has allowed us to faithfully support our academic programs while building up enough equity to invest in a permanent home.

FY 14–15 Expenditures 15%

Facility and Other Fixed Costs





17% Student Services

Balance Sheet

Profit & Loss

As of June 30, 2015

July 2014 through June 2015 Income

Assets Cash and Cash Equivalents




Accounts Receivable


Government Grants & Funding


Prepaid Expenses


Nutrition Funding


Due from Related Parties


Private Support Funding


Fixed Assets


Student Programs & Misc. Income




Interest / Investment Income




Current Liabilities Accounts Payable



Accrued Expenses/ Accrued Payroll


Personnel Costs




Administration Costs


Instructional Services


Other Student Servies


Operation & Maint of Plant


Current Equity Unrestricted Equity




Other Fixed Charges


Net Income


Community Services


Total Equity








COMING SOON! We are thrilled that our scholars will soon have a new home. Our new building will have:

ter School

Entry Perspective

Lots of small group rooms, specially designed so teachers can meet with small groups within close proximity of the main classroom. A gallery of scholar work featuring high quality final projects and art work.






A separate cafeteria large enough to accommodate our growing population and equipped to serve nutritious meals our scholars need.











Millwork Bench


























Administration Circulation Community / Shared Core Academic/ Classrooms Mechanical / Support Special Education Toilet Rooms




Community Thank you to the following individuals, organizations, and foundations that have generously supported Alma Del Mar in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Individual Donors Adelaide Griswold Amy & Corey Santos Andre Gardner Anne Tinker & John Henderson Annette Ewing Anonymous Anthony R Sapienza Arline & Roy Enoksen Armand & Patricia Fernandes Barbara & Carleton Burr Jr Barbara Cook Barry & Sherry Leiwant Bertram Zarins Bill & June Swanson Bill & Kate Marvel Blaine & Claire O’Connell Bob & Linda Lane Bob & Vickie Cunningham Bob Unger Brian & Robin Hicks Carolyn Ozcan Chad Brubaker & Lean Camara Charles & Christina Bascom Charles & Kathy Carter Charles Platt Chris & Patricia Arnold Cynthia Redel & Michael Esposito Daniel & Joyce Louise Calnen David & Vicki Croll David Cabral

David Gilbertson & Carolee Matsumoto David Prentiss & Lucy Iannotti Deborah & Robert Daigle Deborah Elfers Dennis Keefe Drew & Lynne Nahigyan Ed & Barbara Haddad Elizabeth Chapin & John Grummon Ernest Mudarri Haddad Frank & Barbara Resnek Frank & Nancy Fletcher Geraldine Burr Guillermo Gonzalez Hans & Ann Ziegler Hanumara Chowdri Happy & Henley Webb Heidi & Arthur Huguley Ives Nathan Jack & Nancy Braitmayer Jaime Ann Singhal James & Carol Dildine Jan Baptist Jane & Peter Rioux Jeanne & Breck Eagle Jim & Bess Hughes Jim & Kris Tomlinson Joanna Ross & James Forrest John & Linda Sweeney John Pannell & Mary Warlop

Jonas Peter Akins

Nathaniel Katin-Borland

Joseph Bruno, Jr.

Paul Sullivan

Josephine Sittenfeld

Peter Wallace

Karyn & Ben Campbell

Prentiss & Polly Higgins

Kathryn Dinneen

Priscilla & Allan Ditchfield

Kathy & Derek Melven

Rachael Kolb

Kathy Minnock

Randall & Elizabeth Kunz

Larry & Barbara Bedell

Randolph & Nancy Stainer

Lawrence & Charlotte Oliveira

Ray & Helen Killian

Loretto Crane

Richard & Kate Bernier

Lucile Pillow Hicks

Robert Booth & Bronwen Cunningham

Lucy Keefe Marjorie Greville Mark Bono & Elizabeth Gilbert-Bono Mark Rasmussen Martha Kay Mary & Jim Faughnan Mary & John Hodgson Mary & Sackett Cook Mary Jean & Bill Blasdale Maryanne Waldman Matt & Dee Downey Mel & Dite Platte Melissa & James Bride Michael & Jane McHenry Michael & Sally Lemelin Michael Baldwin Nan Johnson

Robert Evans Robert Kramer Russell & Laurie Fearing Sallie & Steve Barker Sandra & William Hewitt Scott Chappel & Isabelle Stillger Sheila Powers Converse Steven & Martha Cary Shuster Susan Passoni Terry Aufranc Timothy Dyer Toby Baker Tom Quinlan Tony Zane Trudy Kingery Will & Laura Gardner

Nancy & Michael Shand Nate Bekemeier

Foundations & Corporations George H. & Jane A. Mifflin Acushnet Foundation

Community Foundation of Southeastern MA

Joseph Abboud Manufacturing

Prudential Foundation Matching Gifts

AdM Booster Club

Crane Foundation Inc.

Just Give

Ramsey McCluskey Family Foundation

Kendall Family Foundation

Amelia Peabody Foundation

Daily Good

RS Evans Foundation Sidney A Swensrud Foundation

Eastern Charitable Foundation

Leonard & Hilda Kaplan Charitable Foundation

BayCoast Bank Boston Foundation

Enable Hope Foundation

Louis Calder Foundation

Box Tops for Education

French Toast

Ludcke Foundation

Braucher Family Fund

George H. & Jane A. Mifflin Memorial Fund

Ludes Family Foundation

Bristol County Savings Bank Foundation


Helen E Swanson Fund

CHT Foundation

Island Foundation

Club Madeirense S.S. Sacramento Charitable Foundation

JB Fernandes Memorial Trust I

Lynch Foundation Orville Forte Charitable Foundation Patrick Carney Foundation Perry V Haines Foundation

St. Aidan’s Chapel Stop & Shop Strategic Grant Partners Target The Harbor Oaks Foundation The Seymour H. Knox Foundation, Inc The Upstream Foundation Travelers Community Connections Photos by Josephine Sittenfeld

Alma del Mar Board of Trustees Christopher Arnold is the co-founder of Educational Directions Incorporated, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Chris launched his independent school career of more than two decades as teacher, coach, and dorm parent at the Pomfret School in Pomfret, Connecticut. Following this, he served in many positions at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts and Lakeside School in Seattle, Washington. Chris capped his independent school experience as head of the upper school at Heritage Hall in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Janice (Jan) Baptist has forty years of experience advancing and defending the ideal of equal opportunity, access and student success in higher education. In 2009, Jan retired from Bristol Community College after 36 years of service as the Director of Disability Services and the Assistant Director of the SSS/Quest for Success Program. She now teaches as an adjunct faculty member in the Psychology and English departments.

Mary Jean Blasdale, a graduate of Smith College, began her career with New Bedford’s first Head Start program. She worked with the Whaling Museum for more than thirty years, serving as Collections Manager, Curator, and now Trustee. Mary Jean has been President of the Board of the Grinnell Mansion for Congregate Living and is now President of the Board of Rotch-Jones-Duff House.

David Cabral, MBA, is Principal at Five Star Surgical and Five Star Manufacturing. Bronwen Cunningham, MBA, worked in financial services at Fidelity, served on the Board of the Wellesley ABC program and of Babson College, and serves as a mentor and coach for students at Babson.

Jeanne Eagle, MBA, holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MS from the University of Minnesota. Jeanne has 35 years of experience in the food, agribusiness and biotechnology industries in various management and consulting experiences. Jeanne served on the Board of Directors of the Schwartz Center for Children for ten years and is on the Board of Trustees of Meeting Street in Providence as well as Alma del Mar Charter School. Jeanne also volunteers with All Hands Volunteers in Mattapoisett.

Martha Kay, M.Ed., is former Principal of Gomes Elementary School and serves on the Board of Directors of GiftstoGive. Lucile (Cile) Hicks received a Masters of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School in 1986, after spending several years teaching high school math and science in San Francisco and Philadelphia. She served for 16 years in the Massachusetts House and Senate and was a member of the Joint Committee on Education.

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

Bob Unger served as the Editor / Associate Publisher for the SouthCoast Media Group, most recently as the Editor of The Standard Times, before retiring in 2015. Mr. Unger is Chairman of the Board for Leadership SouthCoast, as well as a Board member / Co-Founder for the SouthCoast Alliance, committee member for New Bedford’s Economic Regeneration team, and a Board member for the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association.

Advisory Council Chad Brubaker

Jim Hughes

David Prentiss

John Camera

Dennis Keefe

Mark Rasmussen

Karyn Campbell

Jay Lanagan

Ralf Rho

Barbara Cook

Judith Li

Maria Rosario

Priscilla Ditchfield

Rob Massoud

Anthony Sapienza

Ed Haddad

Carolyn Ozcan

James Dildine 19

Learn. Lead. Serve. Succeed.

Profile for Becca

Alma del Mar Charter School 2014-15 Annual Report  

Alma del Mar Charter School's 2014-15 annual report. Alma del Mar serves 280 scholars in grades K-6 in New Bedford, Massachusetts

Alma del Mar Charter School 2014-15 Annual Report  

Alma del Mar Charter School's 2014-15 annual report. Alma del Mar serves 280 scholars in grades K-6 in New Bedford, Massachusetts