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BELL and Salem Public Schools Partner to Expand Summer Learning Opportunities for Students

Salem, MA - June 19, 2013 - Today BELL announced a new partnership with Salem Public Schools to deliver an arts-themed summer learning experience to up to 160 students in grades 1-5. By expanding learning time for these students, BELL and Salem Public Schools seek to strengthen their literacy and math skills, prevent summer learning loss, and prepare participants for success in the new school year.

"We are very excited to partner with BELL with us as we work to help every Salem child to become a successful learner," said Dr. Steve Russell, Superintendent of Salem Public Schools.

The summer learning program, BELL Summer, will combine small-group literacy and math instruction in the morning with hands-on art and physical fitness activities in the afternoon. Enrichment courses will introduce students, called "scholars" in the program, to artists' tools, materials, and processes as they learn about and emulate master artists, practice dance forms such as hip-hop and jazz, and perform in improvisational and dramatic theater. Each Friday, students will participate in field trips, community service projects, and other educational activities. Program outcomes will be measured using computer-adaptive assessments.

"Summer learning opportunities like BELL Summer close the opportunity gap and narrow the achievement gap," explains Sue Bonaiuto, Ed.D., BELL's Executive Director. "Through our partnership with Salem Public Schools, we look forward to delivering a fun, engaging, and creative learning experience that improves the academic achievements and self-confidence of Salem students."

The BELL Summer program will operate for eight hours per day (8:00 am - 4:00 pm), five days per week, for four weeks, beginning on July 15 and ending on August 9. Parents may contact principals for more information. The program will be hosted at the Nathaniel Bowditch School.

Several community partners will play roles in the summer learning initiative. The Massachusetts Cultural Council and Massachusetts After School Partnership are providing curricula and staff training, while the Peabody Essex Museum provides additional training to help program staff incorporate the arts into all aspects of the program. The Museum will also host field trips, as will the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly and the DeCordova Museum in Lexington. The Salem YMCA will provide theater teachers, support physical fitness activities, and host a Field Day.

BELL and Salem Public Schools are sharing the cost of the program, with BELL raising philanthropic support from local and national sources and the school district allocating part of its summer school budget. BELL will manage program operations. Program staff will consist of teachers from Salem Public Schools, who will work in a co-teaching environment with teaching assistants from other local colleges and universities to lead academic instruction. BELL will also recruit and hire enrichment instructors from the community to lead art and physical fitness activities, as well as Program Managers.

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