RCMA provides quality childcare and education to children living in rural poverty, including the children of migrant families throughout Florida.
At RCMA, it makes the dreams of children in migrant working and low-income families their focus. That means making sure anything that impacts their learning is taken care of. From early childhood education to health care assistance to supplying Wi-Fi hotspots and tablets for homework, it takes a holistic approach that cares for the entire child, including a helping hand for their parents.
“I have been with RCMA for 20 years and the principal for the last 14 years,” said Mark Haggett. “I am originally from New York, where I grew up on a dairy farm. I am the youngest of eight and I am a career changer because I started teaching in my 30s here at the school.”
RCMA School opened in 2000 along with a sister school in Collier County, RMCA Immokalee Community Academy.
“Our charter was written to serve the migrant and low-income farmworker families in these areas, Wimauma, Ruskin and Balm,” Haggett said. “RCMA serves children of these families through Migrant Head Start and Head Start programs. We have several centers in our area which are the feeders of our kindergarten classes. We are a true community school providing wraparound services to our families. We serve K-8 scholars with an enrollment of 344.”
Many of RCMA’s scholars graduate with high school credit in either algebra, algebra and geometry or computer coding.
“We have a robust sports program with significant hardware in our trophy case,” Haggett said. “We are also a dual language school that currently runs K-4, adding a grade level each year. We are well known and well respected in our district for our program and model.”
Over the last 56 years, RCMA has worked hand in hand with families to help them leverage their strengths and overcome the challenges seasonal migrant work presents for the education of their children. With their collaboration, over 40,000 children have made quality education a reality.
“The sense of community is what drew me here and what draws most here,” Haggett said. “We have many teachers and staff who have similar longevity with the organization as mine. We wrap our arms around this community and make sure that they are protected, represented and respected. We consistently outperform schools with similar demographics and often those with a smaller percentage of Latino scholars. We are very proud of this.”
If you would like to learn more about RCMA, you can visit www.rcma.org.