October 8, 2009 — BOSTON — When does a week equal a month? This summer, scholars in the BELL Summer program mastered more than one month of academic skills during every week of the five-week academic and enrichment program. As President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan continue to underscore the benefits of longer school days, a longer school year and more academic programs throughout the summer, BELL™ (Building Educated Leaders for Life™) is honored to congratulate our scholars on the dramatic academic progress they showed this summer.
Now in its seventeenth year, BELL helped more than 3,200 students, whom BELL calls “scholars,” to gain an average of 6.4 months of reading skills and 5.6 months of math skills this summer. On average, students typically lose 2–3 months of academic skills during the summer months. Known as summer learning loss, this backsliding in skills is often more pronounced in the under-resourced communities that BELL serves, and is a major contributor to the achievement gap. However, scholars in the BELL program not only reversed the effects of summer learning loss, but posted significant gains averaging six months of academic skills.
“Our scholars have taken a leap forward in their educational progress; mastering the same amount of academic skills this summer as most students do in a half-year of school,” said Dr. Tiffany Cooper Gueye, CEO of BELL. “We are very proud of our scholars who, with the support of their teachers, tutors and parents, have set and achieved ambitious academic and personal goals this summer.”
BELL Summer is scientifically proven to help students, most of whom enter the program 1–2 years behind grade-level, to learn at a faster rate than their peers and begin to close the achievement gap. This year, BELL Summer served students in under-resourced communities in Baltimore, Boston, Detroit and New York City, with new sites in Charlotte (North Carolina), and Flint and Saginaw (Michigan). These programs are having a significant and positive impact in the communities that BELL serves. For example, during the past school year, 15 of the 30 elementary schools to successfully advance out of “needs improvement” status in New York City partnered with BELL as part of their overall school improvement strategies.
Many of the scholars who attended the BELL Summer program will have the opportunity to continue their extraordinary academic achievements this fall through BELL After School. BELL plans to partner with more than 50 schools in Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Michigan, and New York City, with new school partnerships in Connecticut, New Jersey, Providence (Rhode Island) and Prince George’s County (Maryland).
Last year, rigorous pre- and post-assessments demonstrated that students in BELL After School outpaced national norms, learning at an accelerated rate relative to their peers. Whereas most students gain six months of skills during a six month period, BELL scholars gained more than eight months of reading skills and more than ten months of math skills.
For more information about how to enroll your child in the BELL After School or Summer programs, please visit www.bellnational.org or call 800-305-0671.
About BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life):
BELL, founded in 1992, is one of the nation’s leading providers of quality after school and summer learning programs. It is committed to enhancing the educational achievements, self-esteem and life opportunities of children living in under-resourced communities. BELL serves more than 11,000 children annually in schools throughout Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Flint (Michigan), New York City and Saginaw (Michigan). Please visit www.bellnational.org for more information.
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