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Greensboro News & Record: Summer camp highlight: BELL summer learning

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Greensboro, NC - July 11, 2013 - About 1,500 scholars from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools are getting an academic boost this summer through BELL, or Building Educated Leaders for Life.

The school system held its first BELL program last year, and the effort was so successful in countering summer learning loss and preparing students for their next grade level that the school board approved a 50 percent increase in enrollment for the program this year, Norman Black, a spokesman for BELL, said in an email. That goal moved forward with a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, he said.

For five days a week over five weeks, students receive 6.5 hours of daily literacy and math instruction, participate in enrichment clubs and take field trips, according to a news release on the school district website.

Students who participated in the program last year typically saw their standardized test performance in literacy and math improve by 6 or 7 percent, according to the news release.

"A day at BELL Summer starts with breakfast and community-building events," Black wrote. "Scholars then transition into classrooms, where certified teachers and trained teachers' assistants lead small-group instruction in literacy and math. After lunch, scholars rotate through a series of enrichment courses with themes including science and technology, creative arts and health and exercise. One day a week, the kids take field trips to local museums, universities, parks or other fun destinations."

"There's also a great program known as 'Dare to be King' and 'Dare to be Queen.' This is a leadership program just for teenagers that separates boys and girls and provides a forum to discuss teenage issues and build self-esteem and life skills," Black wrote.

BELL, a Boston-based non-profit, was established in 1992 by two Harvard law students who discovered during a community service project that the children with whom they were playing basketball couldn't read, Black said. The program has since grown to become one of the nation's largest providers of after-school and summer enrichment programs, he said. The program served more than 15,000 scholars last year.

- By Marquita Brown

Click here for the original article.

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