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Alma del Mar Opens in New Building
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Below is an article from South Coast Today, posted Monday, August 22 ...

NEW BEDFORD — 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.

The new building earned high grades from parents waiting early for the doors to open and their children to enter the building.

“I feel great,’’ said Roselyn Amaro, the mother of a third grader and a seventh grader. “It’s a lot bigger.''

Maria Amaro, whose son attends sixth grade, said she appreciates that the school is “more strict’’ and that students wear uniforms.

“I’m in love with the school,’’ said Erin Peixoto, who has children in the second and fifth grades. “To me, it’s a very calm feeling, because I know they’re safe.’’

Early in the school day, students in grades K-4 attend “morning routine,’’ where they have a few minutes of quiet reading to set the tone for the day and to shake off any nerves or distractions.

Gardner told the students Monday that with the “excitement and privilege of getting to use a new school building’’ comes responsibility.

Following his lead, the students recited a pledge. “I promise to take good care of our new school building. This is our school.’’

Gardner said the new building was a credit to the hard work of students and staff. The institution may have changed but the school’s goal to put students “on the path to college and challenge them to become service-based leaders’’ remains.

“We get right into learning on day one,’’ he said. “This is still Alma. We have the same expectations, despite the excitement.’’

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