On Monday, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved a request for Alma del Mar Charter School to expand its enrollment by 90 students.

The five-year-old school had its charter renewed without conditions last year.

The additional 90 seats will bring Alma’s chartered enrollment up to 450 students from its originally approved 360 students. The additional students will be added over the next several years by creating new sections of students in grades K-1, and by adding additional students to existing classrooms of subsequent grades.

“We’re thrilled to be able to increase our impact in New Bedford by serving a greater number of families,” Executive Director Will Gardner said. "It will be especially exciting to be able to admit scholars off of our waitlist who are siblings of our existing scholars. Many families have waited a long time for this opportunity.”

Alma will enroll new kindergartners for the upcoming the school year at its annual public lottery, held at the school today. Approximately 500 applications have already been received for the next school year. Any students who do not receive a spot through the lottery will be assigned a place on a waiting list.

In response to the expansion approval, the school plans to enroll an additional group of students off this waiting list in March and April, with siblings receiving preference for any available seats.

In a memo to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Commissioner Mitchell Chester pointed to significant improvements in Alma scholars’ performance on the latest PARCC tests as one indicator of Alma’s successful academic program. These measures were used to help determine Alma del Mar’s status as a “Proven Provider,” which is required by state law for a school to be considered for additional seats.

--Alma del Mar Release