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Montgomery County 3rd and 4th graders improved reading and math skills in new summer learning program

Contact:Jaime Crespo


ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 9, 2017 - An academic and enrichment program launched last summer for 1,045 rising 3rd and 4th grade students from eight Montgomery County Title 1 elementary schools produced gains in reading and math skills, new test results show.Through 2019, the program is expected to expand to serve 4,200 Maryland students.

Created in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery County Council and BELL, the summer learning program is designed to close the achievement gap among at-risk students who lack access to quality summer learning programs and enrichment experiences. 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.

Participating students, recognized as scholars in the program, gained an average of 1.5 months in reading skills and 2 months in math skills in the five-week program, the equivalent of 15 percent and 20 percent of a school year. The results are based on a computer-adaptive STAR Assessment administered at the beginning and end of the summer program. In addition, 91 percent of teachers reported increased self-confidence among scholars. Also, 91 percent of parents reported increased involvement in their child's education, and 93 percent reported that their child has a more positive attitude about school.

The full-day, five-week summer program provided literacy and math instruction along with experiential learning in science, art, technology, and performing arts. It was delivered at no cost to families thanks to the support of the Norman R. Rales & Ruth Rales Foundation.

"For many of our Montgomery County students, the alternative would have been the summer slide, with many losing two months of reading and math skills," said Damon Johnson, BELL executive director. "BELL's summer program blends both academic and enrichment activities to boost scholars' grades and self-confidence. This model has a positive ripple effect that empowers scholars, families, and teachers, while revitalizing the community as a whole."

About BELL

BELL is a national leader in evidence-based out-of-school time learning programs for K-8 students. Founded in 1992, BELL serves approximately 14,500 scholars in public schools across the country through its summer and after-school programs. BELL expands out-of-school time education to close the achievement gap among children living in under-resourced communities through partnerships with schools, school districts, and other youth-serving organizations. Visit www.experienceBELL.org for more information.

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