UMass Annual Summer Program in Portuguese uses immersion in Portuguese Culture to learn the language

UMass Dartmouth, July 8 – August 6, 2014

The Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, in partnership with the departments of Portuguese and History, announces the 21st Annual Summer Program in Portuguese at UMass Dartmouth, July 8 – August 6, 2014. Situated in the heart of North America’s oldest and largest Portuguese-speaking community, our program provides a unique cultural environment for learning Portuguese in a richly varied natural immersion setting.

For many years, the Summer Program in Portuguese has provided an excellent opportunity for students at all levels to improve their linguistic proficiency, while learning more about the
Lusophone world, comprised of over 240 million people in eight countries on four continents and global diasporas. Intensive courses in beginning and intermediate Portuguese are
supplemented with two online only courses: “The Art of Portugal” and “Brazil: History and Culture.”

The cultural activities of the Summer Program include lectures by scholars in Luso-Afro-Brazilian studies, movie showings, concerts, a fado workshop event with international fado singers, capoeira and Brazilian folk dance classes, outings to traditional festivals, Brazilian, Cape Verdean and Portuguese restaurants, and other local points of interest. The program’s high-quality, multifaceted educational experience is made more affordable through the availability of partial scholarships. Over the years, the program has been generously sponsored by the Luso-American Foundation. The deadline for submitting scholarship applications is May 10, 2014. Scholarship applications may be considered after these dates, depending on the availability of funds. On-campus housing is available.

For more information, please contact:

  • Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture at 508-999-8255
  • Visit the Summer Program’s website – http://www.portstudies.umassd.edu/verao/
  • Visit the Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/UMDPortugueseSummerProgram
  • E-mail the Summer Program directly at verao@umassd.edu.

Music Together brings music and movement to kids across the South Coast

South Coast Music Together – A Step (and a Song!) in the Right Direction!

Music is one thing that perhaps every human being can agree on. All communities benefit from it. It touches us all at a primal level. We fill our media players, create playlists, and stream. It is multi-faceted in that it unites or divides, relaxes or excites. It compliments the visual, like film, or the kinesthetic, like dance.

In a bad mood? Put on music. Going to clean the house? There’s a playlist for that. Want to make the atmosphere romantic? There’s an artist for that. Going to run, lift weights, or do yoga? There’s a specific set of music that caters to those environments.

There is hardly an aspect of life that music doesn’t relate to. One area that it benefits monumentally, yet is often overlooked, is in personal growth. Particularly in infants and children. Programs that immerse children, as young as newly born, in music and movement have benefits that last an entire lifetime.

Kids naturally gravitate to music at the earliest of ages!

It kick-starts learning, boosts confidence in social environments, exercises the parts of the brain that are responsible for emotional development and academic learning. Humming and singing in particular, help with forming basic, fundamental speech patterns. It teaches one to focus and concentrate.

When it comes to learning a musical instrument – the body included – one may encounter stress or frustration, and learn to develop the patience and creativity it takes to outlast and persevere. Important character traits!

Movement aspects are important since it is the first method of communication, via gestures and facial expressions, infants learn before they develop language skills. It helps form a deeper connection with their bodies, creates more neural connections and stimulates brain development. Furthermore, spatial awareness heightens as a child learns to navigate about others.

These are fundamental concepts that South Coast native, Rhonda Matson, feels that individuals and the community will immensely benefit from. She is a living example of a lifetime involved with music and movement and would love nothing more than to see others enjoy similar benefits. Benefits that I couldn’t agree more with after several decades of similar experience.

These are the reasons she started up South Coast Music Together, now with four satellites, New Bedford (Wamsutta Club), Tiverton (Sandywoods Farm), Padanaram (St. Peter’s Episcopal Church), and Marion (The Yoga Loft).

Music Together is a music and movement program for early childhood development, from infant to Kindergarten and in between. Even earlier, through the “First Sounds” class, whereby the parent(s) learn to hum, sing or play instruments to form early bonds with their unborn child. In fact, much research shows that by the sixteenth week of gestation, sounds are heard.

Form bonds with your child that will last a lifetime!

Parents participate with their children and further strengthen bonds. Both get to interact with good, local folks and your child gets to further develop his or her social skills through modelling. This is not a new program, but one begun and the late 1980s and one that was so effective and successful that it is now found all over the world.

One of the fundamental tenets of Music Together, and one revisited time and again during my conversation with Rhonda, is that all people have an intrinsic, natural enthusiasm for music. It is so basic to who we are, that the thought of life, completely devoid of music, is horrifying. Imagine, if you could never listen to music again!

In addition, to the primary program that caters to infants through Kindergarten, there is a Children’s Singing Circle for those aged five to nine.

Typical classes are 45 minutes (one hour for the Children’s Singing Circle) in length and “…presented as informal, non-performance-oriented musical experiences.” Groups are between 8-12 people in size, so each parent and child receives plenty of attention and feedback. Parents also get to bring home a special DVD, two CDs and an illustrated songbook for home or auto.

To get an idea of a typical class, I’ve included a video at the bottom of the article, but you can also visit for a FREE demonstration, which is scheduled periodically. Visit the website or Facebook page to keep updated. In addition, the website has testimonials, a Parents Perspective blog, a place to book South Coast Music Together for a special Birthday Party, how to register for a class, images and much, much more.

Would you like your child to have a leg up on learning? Social skills? Confidence? Want an activity that forms a lasting bond with your child? You can’t find a better place or way to do that than South Coast Music Together. You won’t find a more caring, friendly, inspirational instructor than Rhonda Matson.

South Coast Music Together
PO Box 382
Westport, Massachusetts 02791
Phone: 508-636-7426, 508-493-0355
E-mail: Rkhowarth1@yahoo.com or southcoastmt@verizon.net
Website: southcoastmt.com
Facebook: facebook.com/pages/South-Coast-Music-Together/59709212336


South Coast Music Together has 4 great locations making them easily accessible!

Ocean Explorium to offer fun hands-on activities during FREE Family Science Night

Mark your calendars for Thursday, March 20 from 5:30-7:30 pm!

Turning on the Amber Alert Notification on Your iPhone


On January 10th, 2014, 6-year old Alize Whipple was abducted by her non-custodial mother, Leeanna Wilson, from Fitchburg, Massachusetts. It was our most viral post ever on Facebook reaching over 1 million people. She was located with her mother in Shelby, North Carolina a day later.

The issue is many people living in Massachusetts did NOT get the Amber Alert notification on their phone. If you have the newest iPhone software turning the Amber Alert notification on should be fairly simple. Here are the three steps. I’m using IOS 7.0.6.

1. Click the Settings button on your iPhone.

2. Click on the Notification Center tab.



3. Scroll down towards the bottom and you’ll find a Government Alerts area. Make sure the AMBER Alerts tab is green. You’ll also have the option to turn on Emergency Alerts.



Don’t have an iPhone? Here is a good article for turning on Amber Alert notifications on other phones: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57597788-285/how-to-turn-off-emergency-alerts-on-your-phone/.

Amber Alert Official website: http://www.amberalert.gov/.

Polaroid, Acushnet Foundation, and Steere Funds to Offer $102,500 for Adult Education, Family Literacy Programs

Saturday, March 1 at 6:00 pm

Three funds of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts (CFSEMA) are once again teaming up to develop the Greater New Bedford work force by funding family literacy and adult education programs.

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for up to $88,000 from the Polaroid Fund and up to $14,500 in matching funds from the Acushnet Foundation and Steere Funds are available from the Community Foundation or its website, cfsema.org. They are due at the Community Foundation office, 63 Union Street, New Bedford, no later than 4 p.m. March 21, 2014. An Applicants Conference for agencies interested in applying for a grant is scheduled for March 4 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Community Foundation’s Board Room.

“The purpose of the project is to support adult educational opportunity, as well as to promote literacy for families with young children,” said CFSEMA President Craig J. Dutra. “To help accomplish this, the grants will support programs that help the most vulnerable people in the community build the skills and literacy that will help them reach their educational and employment goals.”

In 2006, the Community Foundation began managing the New Bedford Area grant program of the Polaroid Fund, a discretionary fund of the Boston Foundation. The Polaroid Fund will distribute up to $100,000 each year to support organizations or collaboratives that promote career advancement and economic security for Greater New Bedford residents, with an emphasis on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Adult Education (ABE and GED courses.)

This year, a total of $76,000 from the Polaroid Fund will support workforce development programming, with an emphasis on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Adult Basic Education (ABE) and General Education Development (GED) classes. Another $26,500 – $12,000 each from the Polaroid Fund and the Acushnet Foundation Fund and $2,500 from the Steere Fund – will support family literacy programs that integrate early literacy programming for children birth to three years old with ABE/ESOL and parenting courses.

-Organizations can request up to $15,000 for the nine-month period from April 1 to Dec. 31, 2014, for projects that:

  • Mitigate barriers to learning such as cultural and language differences,transportation and childcare issues, and fragmentation of available services.
  • Advocate for public policy changes that increase provider capacity, create employer incentives to offer workplace literacy programs, and increases state and local funding.
  • Advocate for greater private and employer investment in worker education.
  • Support programs integrating early literacy programming for children birth to three years old with ABE/ESOL and parenting courses.
  • Protect the cultural context and bonds of a community by preserving and supporting neighborhood based programs providing access to literacy and ABE/ESOL classes.
  • Address gaps in programming and provider services. Encourage programming for all stages of adult learning, from adult basic education to preparation for successful enrollment in post-secondary education and training.
  • Support capacity building of programs that meet one or more of the objectives listed above.

Early Literacy Program applications can also request up to $15,000.

The Greater New Bedford region faces numerous workforce challenges, including high unemployment, an average income significantly lower than the state average, a substantial percentage of residents who do not speak English as their primary language, and low education levels.

Since early 2008, unemployment in New Bedford has climbed steadily, with the December 2013 unemployment rate of 12.7% still being one of the highest of any area in the State of Massachusetts and nearly double the state average of 6.7%. More than a third of New Bedford area residents speak a language other than English at home, compared to the state average of about a fifth.

According to the UMass Center for Policy Analysis, “Much of the SouthCoast’s labor force consists of low skilled workers with low levels of education. This is especially true in Fall River and New Bedford, although many of the region’s suburban towns also have average educational attainment levels that are below the state averages.”

In order to achieve viable workforce development and work readiness in this region, a range of programming and supports are needed for New Bedford’s population. Non-English speakers need to become proficient enough in English to achieve their educational goals and perform well in the workplace. Adults without high school diplomas need ready access to pre-GED and GED classes. GED recipients need help bridging the gap between learning on the high school level and participating successfully in post-secondary education environments. Immigrants need access to citizenship classes and information about worker’s rights. Service providers need support to increase their effectiveness and capacity. Employers need incentives and information that enables them to fully participate in worker education programming. And community organizing efforts need support to secure increased local, state and federal funding commitments.

Three Community Foundation Funds – Polaroid, Acushnet Foundation, and the Steere Fund – are once again teaming up to offer $102,500 in funding for workforce development and family literacy programs in Greater New Bedford. Attached is a press release; we hope you will run it as often as possible before the March 21 deadline.

5th annual Ocean Explorium FREE program focuses on girls and young women in “Real Life Science”

STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for girls and young women starts in March (Ocean Explorium FB)

The Ocean Explorium announces the fifth annual program aimed at promoting the “STEM” fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to girls and young women. Beginning in early March, the Girls Interested in Real Life Science (GIRLS) after-school program will run for ten weeks, giving the Leading Señoritas of Roosevelt Middle School/Northstar Learning Centers an immersive, intensive learning experience. The GIRLS program is made possible through the generosity of the Women’s Philanthropy Initiative – a special program of the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts.

New this year, a single speaker will share her experiences, from studying science to finding a career. On Wednesday, March 12, Heather Marshall, a University of Massachusetts School for Marine Science and Technology Graduate Student, will talk about her recently completed voyage with the research vessel OCEARCH to the Galapagos Islands. A marine biologist specializing in the study of sharks, Ms. Marshall is also co-founder and resident scientist for the Gills Club, a group that works to connect girls with female marine biologists in the field.

According to Ocean Explorium Executive Director Abbey Spargo, “We are extremely pleased to be able to run the GIRLS after-school program for a longer period of time and incredibly grateful to the Women’s Fund for their support of the 2014 GIRLS Program. This additional focus makes the GIRLS after-school program a richer, more in-depth experience. While we are only offering one evening event for the public, we are certain that Heather Marshall’s talk on her shark research will be well-received. Through her work with OCEARCH, Ms. Marshall has been able to work with sharks and other large marine fish in ways that most scientists cannot access. This is particularly impressive since Ms. Marshall is still a graduate student and has many more years to conduct cutting-edge shark research. We look forward to sharing her experiences and passion with the young people in our community.”

The presentation by Ms. Marshall is free and open to the public. Learners of all ages are encouraged to attend, especially middle and high school students and their families. Doors will open at 6:00 PM on March 12, with a special OCEARCH Science on a Sphere® program at 6:15PM. The talk will begin at 6:30 PM.

The Science on a Sphere® is generously provided by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Superintendent to Meet with Parents on High School Turnaround Effort

new-bedford-high-school-logoAt the February meeting of the New Bedford School Committee, Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin provided an update regarding the work of the New Bedford High School Redesign Team and announced two meetings at which she will meet with parents to talk about the high school turnaround plan.

As a follow-up to recent meetings with students, the Superintendent will hold two parent meetings at the New Bedford High School Family Engagement Center at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 27, 2014 and at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, March 3, 2014.

Superintendent Durkin strongly encouraged parents of NBHS students to attend one of the upcoming meetings, “I very much would like to meet with you to talk to you about the future of New Bedford High School,” said Superintendent Durkin.

In additional remarks, the Superintendent added, “Our success depends on everyone at every level working together toward common goals. That means we need parents to be partners alongside teachers, administrators, and indeed, students themselves.”

Translators will be on hand to assist with the Spanish, Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole languages.

The Superintendent also praised the work of the New Bedford High School Redesign Team, a team of sixteen high school teachers who have volunteered to help spearhead the redesign of New Bedford High School. The Redesign Team is tackling a number of specific action items including:

  • Reviewing the graduation requirements and making recommendations to ensure NBHS students have the same requirements as other students and better positioning them to attain post secondary opportunities.
  • Researching potential career pathways and building clear articulation agreements with institutions of higher learning including Bristol Community College and others that enable students to receive college credit for certain high school coursework.
  • Developing a student interest survey which will be distributed to NBHS students to solicit their feedback and help determine which courses are of great interest as well as those they would like an opportunity to enroll in.
  • Reviewing the school’s existing program of studies and examining its scope and sequence to ensure it is both rigorous and that students are taking courses in the correct order leading up to their graduation.
  • Discussing the new Advisory Program in which each student will be assigned a staff member along with a small cohort of fellow students for their four-year high school journey. They will focus on supports that will keep them on track academically and share advice on making the best choices that will enhance the culture of the school and sustain a safe, productive learning environment for all who attend and work at NBHS.
  • Reviewing the scope of the potential two-week summer academy for rising 8th graders that will prepare them for a successful freshman year. The academy would focus on mathematics, writing, and the necessary skills to help navigate the early months of high school and beyond. The academy would culminate with a student work showcase and a local trip experience to celebrate this new phase of the student’s educational career.

You’ve Been Fired. I Don’t Need To Do This.


Here is a letter from a New Bedford High School teacher to Mayor Jon Mitchell in response to his letter ‘Were I Permitted to Speak.” 

Mr. Mayor,

I’m confused. Your words and your actions are not matching up. You make statements that contradict what is being told to us.

You see I have attended all the meetings regarding this subject, required meetings, volunteer meetings, school committee meetings, etc. each and every time it has been the teachers that have been told that we must be replaced, that we aren’t what the city needs to move forward. We are being kept in limbo.

We are being required to write a letter of intent to stay. We soon will be instructed as to how to reapply for our jobs. It’s my job! I have held it for some time. I have never had a bad evaluation. I do what is required of me and more. I have professional status and I’m tired of being treated in such a non-professional manner by the leadership of New Bedford Public Schools.

Sir, this means you! You are allowing your teachers to live this every day. You cannot respect me. Your actions say this! I choose to teach the children of my city. I give to my city everyday. I try to do what is required of me yet the rigor I attempt to provide falls on deaf ears. I am not respected by the students I try so hard to serve. They do not try to improve. They tell us, “you’ve been fired. I don’t need to do this”, and more.

You sir have approved the cuts that have been made to my school. 52 teachers are no longer with us – 52! Where did the number 30 come from? I could go on.

Retirement choices are being made by frightened people that are afraid of loosing everything. This is not the system I started with. Yes I am angry, at you, at EVERY member of the school committee, at member of this community that have no clue as to what it means to teach, as people with an axe to grind….. I demand that this terrorism stop. I will do that at a ballot box. I will not support anyone that doesn’t support teachers. I do not need to be told that by my union or anyone. I am very capable of thinking independently.

I am not a lemming! As long as I have breath left I will continue to fight for my kids and my school. I AM NEW BEDFORD HIGH SCHOOL!

New Bedford Educators Association’s Response to Extended School Days at Level 4 Schools

by Louis St John
by Louis St John

There has been some confusion about the length of the school day at the Hayden-McFadden and Parker Schools that the New Bedford Educators Association (NBEA) would like to address.

Those are both Level 4 schools, meaning they function under some different rules than most district schools. They also receive additional resources to help students meet performance goals.

At both schools, the contract has been modified so that teachers work a longer day for additional pay. The contract spells out how that extra time is used, leading with classroom instruction and including individual planning time, common planning time and professional development.

This year, the NBEA and the district agreed to restructure how the extra time is spent. While the district’s turnaround plan originally asked for two-and-a-half hours of additional instruction time for students, we actually agreed to more – three hours.

Imagine our surprise, then, when we learned through the press that Superintendent Pia Durkin had informed Hayden-McFadden and Parker School parents that their children will receive three-and-a-half hours of additional instruction, with the last half-hour taken out of teacher planning time. That meant no individual planning time on Fridays, even though teachers at Hayden-McFadden were specifically told they would have individual planning time every day.

What’s more, the extra half hour is set for Friday afternoons, with students to be dismissed at 2:30 pm on those days. That is precisely the time the teacher work day is supposed to end as per the contract. The schedule doesn’t even leave five seconds for teachers to safely dismiss their classes and make sure students board their buses for home.

Let me be clear. Teachers routinely work many hours beyond the contractual work day to grade papers, plan lessons and communicate with parents and students. Some teachers come in by 6:30 in the morning, while others don’t leave until 6 at night. All teachers take work home in the evenings and on the weekends. But at least they have some control over when and where they do that additional work.

With the new schedule the district has created, teachers at the two Level 4 schools – who already work a substantially longer school day – are being forced to “volunteer” extra time after school on Fridays to make sure their students leave the premises safely.

The district’s grant application for funds to help pay for the redesign plan states that the NBEA is on board with the changes, though in fact we had not been consulted about this new schedule and have not yet reached an agreement about the changes in bargaining.

We called a meeting with teachers from both schools on August 19 and had a strong showing. They were unanimous in asking the NBEA to let the district and community know that they are caring professionals who are working hard to help their students succeed. But they have a simple request for the school administration.

Honor our agreements.

  • Bargain with us in good faith at the table, not in the press.
  • Don’t make promises to parents that affect teacher working conditions until you have reached an agreement with the teachers.
  • Show us the same flexibility and consideration that we have shown the district in implementing changes at our Level 4 schools.

Lou St. John
President, New Bedford Educators Association

The Benefits of a Buttonwood Park Zoo Membership

by Amanda Lawrence

As a mom, I am always looking for great ways to entertain and enlighten my son without bankrupting myself, and recently, I found one such way after spending an afternoon at The Buttonwood Park Zoo. Since my son and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit, I decided that membership to the BPZ would be a fantastic investment in family fun! One which would guarantee to offer a different adventure every time we visited! You and your family just might feel the same.

Not only will your kids enjoy unlimited trips to the zoo, but your wallet will, as well! Think about it, for a family of four, say two adults and two children, the price tag of a single days admission to the BPZ is about $18 (food, rides, souvenirs, etc.). For a typical family that goes to the zoo four times, that’s $72 a year, base. If you are not a New Bedford resident you’re looking at about $24 a day, equating to somewhere around $96 per year! However, if you become a Buttonwood Park Zoological Society member, like us, your family is charged a flat rate of $55, saving New Bedford residents around $17 a year, and non-New Bedford residents about $41! And as a bonus, your membership money goes right back into funding the zoo and its programs!

Basic monetary savings aside, as a member of the BPZ, your family will be treated to free, year round animal access, discounted rates on zoo birthday parties, and invitations to members-only events! Additional perks include:

  • 10% Discount at North Woods gift store
  • Special online notices of Zoo programs and events
  • Reciprocal Benefits at more than 140 Zoos and Aquariums across the United States

That’s right, kids! Flash your membership card at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston or the Stone Zoo in Stoneham and get 50% off your admission! And if you’ve been thinking about taking a trip to The Museum of Science, go for it! Because as a member of the BPZ, your family will get free admission there, too! And who doesn’t love free science?!


So, to recap, not only does your membership allow you to experience a full year of fun, adventure, and great discounts (locally and otherwise), but your membership dollars also help to support the Zoo’s conservation and education programs! It’s win/win for everyone!

What are you waiting for? Head on over to the BPZ today, and snag the membership that best fits you!

  • Family: Includes up to two adults named on membership card and their children under the age of 18 – $55.00.
  • Grandparents: Includes up to two adults named on card and their grandchildren under the age of 18 – $55.00.
  • Individual: One adult named on membership card – $45.00.
  • Student: One student named on membership card (requires copy of valid student I.D.) – $40.00.
  • Senior: One adult age 62 or older named on membership card – $40.00.

Plus you may add guests to any category for an additional $10 per guest.

**Please note that the guest must be accompanied by an adult named on the card.

The Zoo accepts MasterCard and Visa at the front gate for ticket purchases and MasterCard, Visa and Discover at the Café and Gift Shop.

Summer Hours: March – September: 9:00am – 5:00pm, daily (with the last admission at 4:15pm)

For more information and updates on the zoo, be sure to check out their website and give their Facebook a ‘like,’ and stay in the loop!


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