A nonprofit founded in 1992

BELL Summer Narrows the Achievement Gap

BOSTON - October 3, 2012 - BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), a nonprofit provider of expanded learning opportunities, announced evaluation results that showed students participating in its summer learning programs gained academic skills and narrowed the achievement gap.

Students who participated in the 2012 BELL Summer showed significant gains in both literacy and math. Thanks to rigorous, small-group academic instruction and enrichment, BELL "scholars" boosted their test scores by 9% in both reading and math, and avoided summer learning loss.

"This evidence shows that scholars in BELL Summer left the program with skills they did not have coming into the program," explains Dr. Lauren Gilbert, BELL's Vice President of Program. "It shows that the time and effort we invest in continually improving program quality and working closely with school and district partners is driving strong scholar achievement. It shows that expanding learning time in BELL programs narrows the achievement gap."

The 2012 Summer program saw 8,756 scholars participating at 65 schools and one church nationwide in Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, NC, Detroit, Newark, NJ, New York City, San Jose, CA, San Rafael, CA, Spartanburg, S.C., Springfield, MA, and Winston-Salem, NC. A teacher survey showed 88% of scholars improved their self-confidence while a parent survey reported that 87% of scholars improved their attitude toward school.

BELL's summer learning programs are delivered in partnership with schools and school districts in under-resourced, urban communities. They are funded by a combination of public and private funds, including grants from Walmart and the Social Innovation Fund as well as Title I funding. BELL programs combine rigorous academic instruction literacy and math, as well as hand on enrichment activities designed to help increase academic and social achievement. Participants work toward three major goals: improved academic performance, enhanced self-concept and self-efficacy, and increased social skills. BELL programs also increase parental and community engagement in the learning process.

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