SOURCE: BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)

October 15, 2008 10:00 ET

BELL Summer Program Helps Students Gain an Average of Five Months of Academic Skills

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - October 15, 2008) - BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) today announced the academic achievement results from its BELL Summer program. Over a six-week period, students gained an average of five months of academic skills, and displayed significant gains in social skills development. The academic achievement data were based on standardized testing as well as teacher and parent feedback. The BELL Summer program, which serves primarily elementary school students in under-resourced communities in Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, New York City, and Springfield (Mass.), provides tutoring, mentoring and social skills development over an average period of six weeks.

BELL students, called "scholars," receive tutoring in reading and math, as well as enrichment activities to help them develop higher self-esteem. The BELL Summer program helps scholars continue to progress academically and personally, rather than backslide in their educational progress as many students do in the summer months. In addition, as a Supplemental Educational Service (SES) provider, BELL provides afterschool tutoring to eligible students under Federal No Child Left Behind legislation. Through private and public funding, BELL's programs offer more extensive, more robust and more effective tutoring and enrichment services than any other provider.

Using grade-equivalent scores, BELL can relate scholars' academic achievement scores to the typical performance of students in specific grades tested in a given month of the year. As such, achievement gains during the BELL Summer program can be equated to the number of months of academic skills gained. Scholars in the BELL Summer program gained, on average, 5.0 months of reading skills, while also demonstrating, on average, gains of 5.4 months of mathematics skills.

BELL also surveyed teachers and parents for their impressions of student progress in terms of self efficacy and social/communications skills. Teachers (90%) and parents (87%) both reported that scholars had improved self-confidence. Scholars showed an improved attitude towards school, according to 87% of parents. In addition, 87% of parents said that BELL made their child more excited to learn, while 89% believed that BELL improved their child's attitude towards learning.

Parent engagement in school is a critical success factor for every school community. BELL hosts regular events throughout the six-week program to provide opportunities for parents to engage in the education of their children. More than two-thirds of parents (69%) attended one or more BELL event, with 18% engaging with their children at three or more events. As a result of the BELL Summer program, 85% of parents reported that they felt more engaged in their child's education.

One of the most important aspects about BELL is that scholars and parents enjoy the experience and embrace the program for years to come. Following the six-week program, 96% of parents said that their child enjoyed BELL, and 95% expressed their satisfaction with the program. In addition, 94% of parents indicated they would sign-up their child for BELL again (4% were undecided) and 96% would recommend BELL to other parents.

About BELL

BELL, founded in 1992, is one of the nation's leading providers of quality afterschool and summer educational programs. It is committed to enhancing the educational achievements, self-esteem and life opportunities of children living in low-income, urban communities. BELL serves more than 11,000 children annually in schools throughout Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, New York City and Springfield, Mass. Please visit www.bellnational.org for more information.

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