The 2020-21 school year was marked by significant disruption in nearly all aspects of life, including in education. At Alma, our teachers, school staff, families and scholars all worked incredibly hard to support one another amidst the challenges. We helped families get internet access, distributed hundreds of chromebooks and reading materials, and together we navigated a completely new way of teaching and learning.
We are proud of the ways our scholars, teachers and families were resilient and determined to move forward, including by taking the state MCAS in May 2021. These results, released Tuesday, confirm what we already knew: consistent, in person learning is essential for so many of our scholars, and the many disruptions caused by the pandemic resulted in significant unfinished learning for scholars.
- 43% of our scholars earned Proficient or Advanced on the ELA MCAS
- 22% of our scholars earned Proficient or Advanced on the Math MCAS
- 20% of our scholars earned Proficient or Advanced on the Science MCAS
Despite the many disruptions, Alma teachers found ways to keep getting great books in the hands of their scholars, and that shows in the only slight decrease in ELA passing scores compared to previous years. This is an indication that strong, content-focused reading instruction, using high-quality literature, leads to enduring gains in reading.
These results also reflect what was evidenced in the internal academic data that we collected last year. Taken together, these two data are informing our plans to accelerate academic progress for each scholar.
“We are focused on high quality, accelerated instruction because we know that all of our scholars are capable of achieving at high levels and that all of them deserve to be doing complex, meaningful work,” said Alexa Teevens, Alma’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
We continue to have high expectations for all scholars and are committed to providing them each with the support they need to succeed. As such, this year, we have intentionally designed our program to provide our scholars with instruction that will drive academic acceleration, including strategies such as the following:
- Prioritizing time in our daily schedule for every scholar to receive targeted interventions to support them in accessing grade-level content
- Piloting new Singapore Math curriculum to strengthen the vertical alignment across grades
- Investing in additional external professional development and coaching resources for teachers across content areas to continue to develop as curricular experts
- Using internal PD time to concentrate on supporting teachers with curriculum revisions with a lens toward acceleration
- Providing heavy coaching and data analysis for K-4 Guided Reading to ensure scholars continue to enter middle school with strong foundational reading skills
Last year, Alma enrolled nearly 800 children — who come to Alma from across New Bedford through a lottery — in grades K-8. They represent the racial and socioeconomic diversity of the city: 61% of Alma scholars identify as Latinx, 14% identify as Black, and 81% met the “high needs” criteria as determined by the state. English Language Learners and Former English Language Learners make up 43% of the school’s population.
Alma del Mar’s full MCAS results, as well as the statewide passing rates, are below:
|ELA% Exceeding or Meeting||Math% Exceeding or Meeting|
|Alma del Mar||State||Alma del Mar||State|
About Alma del Mar Charter Schools:
Alma del Mar Charter Schools operates two charter public schools in New Bedford. The schools are tuition-free. Alma’s mission is to put every one of our scholars on the path to college and to challenge them to be service-minded leaders. We achieve this mission by providing a demanding and supportive education to every scholar who walks through our doors. Alma features a longer school day, a longer school year, high expectations for all scholars, and outstanding teachers from across the country. We currently serve nearly 950 scholars in New Bedford.