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Expanded Learning Groups Pledge Over $600 Million Dollars to Boost Middle School Education

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Washington, DC-November 10, 2015-Over the next five years, 20 education-based organizations from across the nation will collectively invest more than $620 million to enhance learning for over 1.3 million 5th, 6th,7th and 8th graders through the new Expanded Learning Middle School Initiative. The announcement will be made at the White House today at its Next Gen High School Summit, a national conversation on transforming high schools to better serve 21st century high school students.

"It comes down to opportunity," explained BELL CEO Tiffany Gueye. "For students to succeed in high school, they must have access to opportunity to discover their interests, strengthen their skills, and become engaged and motivated learners. The summer months are an important opportunity to boost the achievement of middle school students and to enable them to begin their freshman year ready to excel."

BELL's expanded learning partnerships serve more than 14,000 "scholars" annually, including more than 9,000 in grades 5-8 who are either transitioning into middle school, already in middle school, or preparing to enter high school in the fall.

Data shows middle school students who take part in expanded learning programs are more likely to reach their full potential:

· Student participants show 2.5 times more interest in STEM fields

· 71% of students who participate graduate from high school on time, compared to 59% of their peers who do not participate

· 61% of the students who participate enroll in college, compared to 41% of students who do not participate

Every 26 seconds a student drops out of school. Data supports the value of focusing on middle school students in order to impact attendance, grades, test scores and behavior in middle school, which educators say predict students' performance in high school and their odds of graduating.

Twenty organizations, in collaboration with After School Alliance, created The Expanded Learning Middle School Initiative. These include:

After-School All Stars

Aim High

BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)

Citizen Schools

Classroom, Inc.

Every Hour Counts

ExpandED Schools

Family League of Baltimore

Harlem RBI

High Jump

Higher Achievement

Horizons National

Middle Grades Partnership

STEMconnector®/ MillionWomenMentors®

National Center on Time & Learning

Partnership for Children & Youth

Spark

● Sprockets

YMCA of the USA

Their $620 million investment over the next five years is supported by corporate and philanthropic donations, including funding from foundations, individual supporters, and some existing public grants. But, the consortium says, to ensure all middle school children are fully prepared to participate in a true 21st century high school experience, public funding is necessary to scale evidence-based best practices and programs.