Points of Pride

  The Superintendent and School Committee declared June 2014 as “Celebrating Success Month” in the New Bedford Public Schools. Students, parents, teachers, principals, and other members of the community submitted ideas about great things happening in schools across the city.


The following is a representative sample of our “points of pride,” along with other highlights of the 2013-2014 school year.


• The New Bedford Public Schools developed an ambitious District Accelerated Improvement Plan, approved by the State. It includes clear improvement targets for student performance in English Language Arts and mathematics, and increased accountability for results at all levels.

• The New Bedford School Committee approved a $116.4 million budget for next year, which both maintains existing services and includes new investments, such as a district-wide elementary literacy program and targeted improvements at state-identified “Level 3” schools to jumpstart their acceleration toward achievement gains.

• The turnaround of New Bedford High School, led by a dynamic administrative team and a committed group of teachers on the redesign team, emphasizes rigorous academics in a safe, positive learning environment. The plan calls for all students to graduate college and career-ready, with a choice of five academic “majors,” and more Advanced Placement offerings.

• The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded the district $2.4 million over three years to support the turnaround plan for New Bedford High School.

• The New Bedford School Committee adopted more rigorous high school graduation requirements, aligned to new MassCore college and career readiness standards.  The Committee also approved new policies related to home schooling and entrance age requirements, among other policy changes.

• The turnaround plan for Parker Elementary School includes a longer school day, a new summer program, new curriculum resources, teacher training and support, and a Family Resource Center to engage parents and the community.

• Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, universal breakfast and lunch will be available at no cost to all students in all schools, regardless of family income levels. The district was selected to participate in a new federal program to provide healthy meals to all students and save families money. [Press Release]

• The district’s first citywide survey of parents, staff, and community members will provide an annual measure of community perceptions and satisfaction with the schools.  [Press Release]

• The State awarded the New Bedford Public Schools a “Birth to Third Grade” grant to support a more aligned and coordinated community-wide approach to early childhood development.

• This spring, the English Learner Education Department launched the ELL Alternative and Accelerated Language Development Program through a Gateway Cities grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education. The program serves students in grades 7-12 on Saturdays and during April vacation and is staffed by educators from New Bedford and other districts, the Immigrants' Assistance Center, and Northstar Learning Center. The program will extend into the summer, including college field trips and a focus on career and college pathways.

• The district’s Technology Services Department developed a technology plan for the upgrade of the computer network infrastructure, Wi-Fi capabilities, security camera monitoring system, VoIP phone system, interactive classroom technology, and intercom system for New Bedford High School. The department also worked with a district team to enter into arrangement with Dr. Irwin Jacob's Mobile Technology Learning Center (MTLC) at San Diego State University to develop a technology plan for the high and middle schools.

• Sgt. William H. Carney Memorial Academy launched the Student Hero Initiative, a program that features a monthly “young hero” for students to research, study, and create a portfolio project.

• In October 2013, many New Bedford schools participated in International Walk to School Day, a partnership with Mass in Motion New Bedford to address childhood obesity and promote student health, wellness, and fitness.

• Two 4th grade students at the William H. Taylor School – Mia Hoaglund-Moniz and Nevaeh Goncalo – led a campaign to collect food and supplies (more than 200 items) to donate to a local animal protection group.

• Mrs. Elaine Santos’ 5th grade class at the A.J. Gomes Elementary School coordinates an annual school-wide food drive for local food banks. This year, the class collected about 55,000 items, helping to feed hundreds of families in need.

• Students in Steve Nowell’s 8th grade English Class at Roosevelt Middle School presented “Roosevelt Remembers” at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Dartmouth. The live presentation featured students portraying characters from works of literature about the Holocaust.

• New Bedford High School sophomore CamRon Frazier earned a Presidential Volunteer Service Award for his extensive community involvement over the past four years, including more than 1,000 of volunteer hours to GiftsToGive and other local non-profits. [Press Release]

• The New Bedford High School Robotics Club earned second place among 100 teams in the National SeaPerch Challenge, held in Mississippi in May.

• New Bedford High School junior Dyllan Almeida was selected to participate in the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Diversity Visitation Program. Dyllan, a JROTC Company Commander, spent three days at the Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, to experience all aspects of cadet life.

• Ms. Jodie Braun’s sixth grade students at Normandin Middle School wrote original poems after reading works by famous poets in order to analyze the elements of poetry.

• In April 2014, sixteen students from New Bedford High School's JROTC advanced to the finals of the JROTC Academic & Leadership Bowl, sponsored by the College Options Foundation. The JROTC – established in 1881, the oldest continuously running high school corps of cadets in the country – won the New England pision of the competition and was one of only 17 schools nationwide to send both an academic and a leadership team to the finals. [Video]

• Middle school teachers participating in a new Academic Language Study Group, met regularly to discuss Mastering Academic Language by Debbie Zacarian.

• The Grade 3 team at Gomes Elementary School launched SPLASSH – “Students Pursuing Learning and Achieving Successful School Habits.” Every Thursday, teachers volunteered their time to engage 25 students in after-school activities to strengthen academic skills in math and literacy, particularly to improve MCAS performance.

• Lori Silveira, a 4th Grade teacher at Betsey B. Winslow Elementary School, trains and supports her colleagues in the use of Study Island, an online academic engagement program. Ms. Silveira also leads a weekly after-school “Geo Club” for students and coordinates a Geography Bee, whose winner is entered into a statewide competition.

• During the Roosevelt Middle School’s “Roosevelt Cleanup Day,” students, staff, parents, and community members cleaned up the South End of New Bedford. Together, the school community, led by health teacher Debra Dixon in partnership with community organizations, collected 283 garbage bags full of trash – about 2.2 tons.

• Upperclassmen at Trinity Day Academy learned about the history of New Bedford – specifically, the whaling industry – in a new, year-long Humanities class. Co-taught by veteran teachers Sue Silva and Norma Belay, the class encompassed study in English, social studies, and the arts.

• Students at Trinity Day Academy are constructing 20 wooden window boxes for the Neighborhood Working Group (NWG) of New Bedford. The school’s effort, led by faculty member Tyronne Pina, is part of The Flower Power Project, a community beautification project for homeowners and renters on Acushnet Avenue and Sixth Street.

• Students on Trinity Day Academy’s behavioral, school-wide “Honors level” recently put into practice the life skills of budget planning, project management, and also interior design.  The students brought the school’s “Honors Lounge,” badly in need of a makeover, from design concept to completion. 

• New Bedford High School and Whaling City Junior/Senior Alternative are two of only seven schools across the country selected to participate in “Undroppable,” a social media campaign and full-length documentary film project about perseverance to graduation. Led by Warley Williams III, the 13 students video blog about their experiences and participate in an annual essay contest.

• Rebecca Alves is a kindergarten teacher at the Hayden McFadden School but assumes many roles beyond classroom instruction, including spearheading the school’s redesign grant application to the State. Rebecca has been diagnosed with a rare disease, Devic’s disease (also called Neuromyletis Optica), and started a non-profit organization, Rare Disease Awareness Network (RDAN) in 2012. She has testified at the State House and organized blood drives and health and wellness fairs to raise awareness about rare diseases.

• Tzy Jiun “June” Tan, an AFS Exchange Student from Malaysia attending New Bedford High School as a senior this year, has made presentations in each of her classes about her Chinese/Malaysian culture. 

• Casimir Pulaski Elementary Magnet School of the Visual and Performing Arts established “Learning With and Through the Arts,” a monthly display of student learning, which includes student integrated arts performances before an audience of parents, students, and staff.

• 8th grade ELA students at Keith Middle School participated in an international letter exchange with 8th graders at Agematsu Junior High School in Japan. Their teacher, Ms. Margo Moore, said the pen pal project is “an excellent way to build global respect and understanding between young people.”

• The Keith Middle School Band earned a bronze medal at the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) competition in April. Participation in the band grew by 30% this year over the previous year.

• At the Music in the Parks Festival in Holyoke, the All-City Middle School Marching Band earned an overall rating of “Excellent,” with the highest point total the ensemble has received in almost a decade.

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