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BELL and Browne Middle School Partner To Expand Learning Time in Chelsea, MA

 

CHELSEA, MA - September 3, 2013 - BELL launched a new partnership with the Joseph A. Browne Middle School in Chelsea, Massachusetts. The partnership is designed to transform the school's extended day model by integrating small-group academic instruction with relevant life-skill, leadership, and enrichment opportunities to boost students' English language arts and math skills and school engagement. Up to 140 of the school's fifth grade students will participate in BELL's program, which begins at 1:40 and ends at 4:00.

The expanded learning time in the BELL model will differ from the school day learning by offering smaller adult to student ratios and applying a response-to-intervention approach to building academic skills. It provides greater capacity and flexibility to differentiate instruction to student needs. The model also provides young adult mentors as Teacher Associates to lead enrichment activities and help students stay on track all year long. In sum, BELL and Browne Middle School will expand learning time by 20%.

Principal David Liebowitz commented, "Both the extended learning time and the partnership with BELL are designed to intentionally boost learning and boost student growth. We have set a schoolwide performance goal for the 2014 MCAS at a median student growth in the 60th percentile. This is ambitious and we are counting on a seamless extended day program, as well as improved assessment, instruction, and climate at Browne to make this achievement boost possible."

The program model will start with a snack, followed by academic instruction, ending with enrichment activities and student choice time. Teachers work toward a weekly goal of delivering at least four hours of academic instruction, and have the flexibility to design and deliver lessons within the daily schedule. Teachers will utilize research-based literacy and math curricula. Enrichment activities will include structured physical fitness, visual art, science, and life and community skills curricula by Generation On and others, in 10-week units. Scholar outcomes will be measured using STAR Enterprise assessments, computer adaptive assessments administered at the start, middle, and end of the school year. BELL will also utilize school assessments and Achievement Network data to drive instruction.

During the first month of the program, program staff will set aside time during the week to provide support for 5th graders who are starting their first year at the Browne Middle School. Staff will help them acclimate to their new school environment, the new middle school routine of changing classrooms, and the longer school day. Scholars will be grouped according to academic needs, including the needs of English language learners.

"This is an exciting partnership for BELL," said Sue Bonaiuto, BELL's Executive Director. "The team at Browne is determined to provide relevant, inspiring, and successful instruction that propels student growth and engages and energizes students and families. We look forward to getting to know and working with every student, every family, every day to provide the best school experience possible."

The program starts on the first day of school, August 28, and ends on June 20, the last day of school. It operates every day of the week except Tuesday, a weekly professional development day for Browne teachers. The program team will consist of a Site Manager to lead implementation, a Lead Teacher to support academic instruction, seven teachers from the Browne Middle School and community, and seven teaching associates from nearby colleges and communities. The school is providing funds from a state expanded learning time grant, while BELL is raising grant funds from local sources to help pay for the initiative.

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About BELL

BELL helps schools expand learning time for students in grades K-8. Its mission as a nonprofit organization is to transform the academic achievements, self-confidence, and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced, urban communities. To BELL, all children are scholars. BELL serves 12,000 scholars, partners with 75 public schools, and employs and trains 1,800 teachers and tutors in CA, MD, MA, NJ, NY, and NC. For more information, visit www.experienceBELL.organd follow us on Facebookand Twitter.

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