Community Redevelopment Project Brings Summer Learning Opportunities to Children in San Bernadino
SAN BERNARDINO, June 26, 2015 - National Community Renaissance (National CORE) and BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) announced today a partnership to bring BELL's evidence-based summer learning program, BELL Summer, to students at E. Neal Roberts Elementary School.
The effort aims to help children in the Waterman Gardens community access a safe and supportive learning environment that increases their self-confidence and social skills while preparing them to succeed in the new school year. BELL Summer will serve 100 children - recognized as scholars as part of the program's culture of high expectations - in grades 1-to-5.
"We are proud to partner with BELL and the San Bernardino City Unified School District in providing the children of Waterman Gardens this important, additional educational opportunity," said Steve PonTell, President and Chief Executive Officer for National CORE. "The revitalization of Waterman Gardens is about so much more than bricks and mortar, but about transforming lives and the community. BELL Summer is a big part of that."
The summer learning program will run from June 22 to July 24, from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., five days per week. It will operate at the E. Neal Roberts Elementary School, adjacent to the existing site of the Waterman Gardens community. Waterman Gardens is undergoing a $200 million redevelopment effort led by National CORE, the City of San Bernardino, and the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino.
BELL Summer is a full-day program that blends small-group academic support in the mornings with fun, hands-on, camp-like enrichment experiences in the afternoons and field trips on Fridays, including trips to the Discovery Cube in Los Angeles and to the San Bernadino County Museum. Enrichment courses include art, science, and sports & exercise. Certified teachers from E. Neal Roberts Elementary are leading the program, and are working with a team of caring adults from the school community. Students receive breakfast and lunch each day.
"Our focus is on scholars who are struggling academically," said Kris Murray, BELL's Executive Director for California. "Their moms and dads and teachers care deeply about their success, but these families just don't have resources that are consistent with what's available to kids in higher-income communities. National CORE, as they think about redeveloping a community, think about the community as a whole and recognize all of the supports that need to be in place for families to be successful. What they want to do - and what we are proud to join - is to build a community of invested parties who are working for these particular kids, are helping them find success, and are providing them with the types of opportunities too often unavailable to them."
BELL, National CORE and the community organizations share the goal of narrowing the student achievement gap. During the summer months, many children lack quality learning experiences and thus lose academic skills over the school break. Such losses accumulate year after year. Studies have shown that by the end of eighth grade, summer learning loss can account for 66 percent of the achievement gap between low- and high-income students.
About National CORE
Rancho Cucamonga-based National Community Renaissance is one of the largest nonprofit developers of affordable housing, with nearly 9,000 units across four states. Over its 22-year history, National CORE has received national recognition for its innovation and meshing of quality, affordable housing with transformational social services through its Hope through Housing subsidiary. For more on National CORE, please visit www.nationalcore.org.