Our Sisters’ School is a tuition-free independent middle school for underserved girls in grades 5 to 8 from the greater New Bedford, Massachusetts, area.  Our Sisters’ School provides an 11-hour extended school day to achieve our goals of educating young women in a safe and stimulating environment while developing confidence, passion and enthusiasm for learning.

Faculty and Staff

  • Full-time teachers: 4
  • Part-time teachers: 2
  • AmeriCorps volunteer teachers: 4
  • Visual & Performing Arts teachers: 3
  • Remediation specialists: 3
  • Full-time administrative staff: 3
  • Part-time administrative staff: 1
  • Development full-time: 1

Volunteers

  • Board of Trustees: 19
  • Advisory Council: 36
  • Volunteers: over 150 with 4,000 hours

Financial Information

  • Funded by individuals, foundations and grants since 2008
  • Tuition-free: every student receives 100% scholarship assistance
  • Extended school day: 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM
  • Annual cost per student: $15,000
  • Operating budget for FY15: $982,000
  • 83% of the budget funds student programs
  • Massachusetts laws prohibit single-sex schools from receiving state or federal funding

Alumnae Enrollment

  • Summary: 33% attend independent schools, and
  • 67% attend vocational or other public schools.
  • Bishop Stang High School* (4)
  • Bristol County Agricultural High School (2)
  • Fairhaven High School (1)
  • Falmouth Academy* (1)
  • Lincoln School* (1)
  • Masters Regional Academy (1)
  • Milton Academy* (1)
  • New Bedford Public High School (3)
  • New Bedford Vocational Technical School (24)
  • Old Rochester Regional High School (1)
  • Phillips Academy Andover* (1)
  • St. Andrew’s School* (1)
  • St. George’s School* (1)
  • Tabor Academy* (2)
  • Wheeler School* (2)
  • *All graduates attending independent schools were awarded full academic scholarships.

Student Demographics

  • 67 students in grades 5 through 8
  • 4:1 student-teacher ratio
  • African American: 9%
  • Asian Pacific: 2%
  • Cape Verdean: 34%
  • Caucasian: 20%
  • Hispanic: 21%
  • Middle Eastern: 2%
  • Native American: 4%
  • Portuguese: 8%

Program Overview

Extended School Day: Our 11-hour school day begins at 7:30 AM and ends at 6:30 PM.  Academic instruction is interspersed with fitness, sports and extracurricular activities.  Study hall rounds out our day; during this time students may receive academic coaching to bolster their success.

Philosophy: Our Sisters’ School believes that students benefit from an extended school day, small class size, experiential learning opportunities, inspirational speakers, advisory and physical activity incorporated into the school day.  From entrance in grade 5 to the completion of grade 8, students typically reach or far exceed their grade level in reading and math testing as specified by Stanford 10 Testing. Our Sisters’ School employs GMADE and GRADE assessments twice annually to monitor individual student achievement.

Academic Courses of Instruction: All students at Our Sisters’ School participate in the following academic courses: Humanities (incorporating social studies and English language arts), Science and Math.

Extracurricular Programming: Our Sisters’ School students are provided with additional courses including: creative writing, construction, foreign language, health, music (flute, piano, clarinet, guitar and chorus), public speaking, visual arts, advisory, robotics, internship programming, debate and chess.

Sports:  All of our students participate in sports including basketball, soccer, tennis and lacrosse.

Sustained Silent Reading (SSR): All students and staff read for 45 minutes each day in a silent school atmosphere. Modeled after research and work done by Stephen Krashen, Janice Pilgreen and others, we are seeing gains in reading fluency and levels for all students.

Experiential Learning: Our Sisters’ School students learn to sail through an educational partnership with the Community Boating Center of New Bedford. The Buttonwood Park Zoo, The Lloyd Center for the Environment, and the Trips For Kids organization also provide frequent and consistent hands-on learning experiences for all students through their science and art classes.

Advisory: All students and staff are included in advisory groups where topics designed to enrich the overall community’s social and emotional awareness are discussed.

Community Meeting: This all-school gathering occurs three times a week. It is a place for announcements, accolades, celebrations, skits and songs. Positive role models and leadership opportunities are encouraged and celebrated.

Morning Speaker: Our mission is not only to educate but also to inspire our students.   Students hear inspirational life stories from members of the greater New Bedford community twice each week.

Parent Involvement: Parents participate by supporting staff through attendance at academic conferences, monthly PTO meetings and by completing required volunteer hours.

Community Service: All students are required to participate in community service activities. They complete between ten and fifteen hours annually.

Facts

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