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About Us BELL is a non-profit organization that partners with schools to expand learning time in the summer and after school. Its mission is to transform the academic achievements, self-confidence, and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced, urban communities.

Our Approach At BELL, all children are “scholars.” They gain academic skills through data-driven, small-group instruction. They gain self-confidence by experiencing success in the classroom, and through a wide range of enrichment activities. They experience science, the arts, and the community around them. BELL’s programs are designed to help students who are performing below grade level and who otherwise lack learning opportunities outside of the school day and year. BELL works closely with school leaders to deliver expanded learning experiences that are aligned with school-year priorities and Common Core standards. By combining public and private resources, BELL and its partner schools are able to deliver and sustain high-quality learning opportunities for the scholars who need them most.

Our Impact BELL’s programs work. An independent random-assignment study found strong evidence of impact that the BELL Summer program increases the academic achievement of elementary school students while increasing parent engagement. Assessment data from summer and after school programs show that scholars gain skills in the summer, and learn at a faster rate than their peers during the school year. Since 1992, BELL has expanded learning time for more than 100,000 students in schools throughout the country. In 2014, BELL is working in CA, MD, MA, NJ, NY, NC, and OH. Through a partnership with the YMCA of the USA and its national network, BELL is also serving scholars in AL, CO, CT, FL, MN, TX, and Washington, DC.

Report Card, 2013-2014

12,828 Scholars Served

K-8 Grades Served

96 School Partners

+2.4 Months, Reading +3.9 Months, Math Average Summer Learning Gain, Scholars Entering BELL Below Grade Level

89% Parents reporting that BELL Summer increased their child’s self-confidence

91% Parents reporting they are more engaged in their child’s education because of BELL



BELL Summer is a robust learning experience that helps scholars gain core skills, transition effectively from grade to grade, and develop an interest in learning. BELL Summer operates up to eight hours per day, five days per week, for five to eight weeks. Academic instruction is reinforced by hands-on enrichment courses and projects, field trips, and community service projects.

BELL After School provides tutoring and enrichment activities to equip scholars with the skills and attitude needed to succeed in school. The program operates during the school year for up to three hours per day, three to five days per week, for up to 30 weeks.

Scholars Served

Evidence & Measurement

BELL serves students in grades K-8 who are performing below grade level. School and district partners generally set eligibility criteria based on test scores, grades, or other performance measure. When starting BELL’s programs, scholars are performing 1-2 years below grade level, on average.

A random-assignment study conducted by the Urban Institute showed that BELL Summer increases student achievement and parent engagement. BELL also collects data from computer-adaptive assessments and surveys, which each consistently show an increase in scholars’ performance. BELL scholars gain academic skills, increase their self-esteem, an improve their attitude toward school and learning.



Parent involvement is a key part of BELL’s approach. BELL involves parents in the expanded learning experience through orientations and events, “Bring Your Parent to School” day, workshops, regular communication from teachers, and daily reading logs for scholars.

BELL partners with schools that serve large populations of disadvantaged students. School leaders collaborate with BELL to set program goals, and they also provide inkind contributions such as classroom space, utilities, janitorial services, breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and, if necessary, bus transportation.


Public & Private Partnerships

Certified teachers from partner schools, aspiring teachers from local colleges and universities, and community educators work together to deliver BELL’s program models. Principals help identify and recruit high-performing teachers to lead academic instruction, while BELL recruits and hires additional staff from the community. Programs are led by a Program Manager and Instructional Coach.

BELL raises philanthropic funding from local and national sources to cover a portion of program expenses. School and district partners contribute cash and in-kind resources to support program expenses, drawing from federal, state, and municipal programs such as Title I, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and Community Development Block Grants.

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About BELL