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Charlotte-Mecklenburg READy Scholars Grade-Level Reading Partnership Charlotte, North Carolina 2016

Summer Learning Partnership Report Partnership Design This report describes the summer learning activities and outcomes of a partnership between BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). BELL has partnered with schools and community organizations to expand summer learning opportunities in Charlotte since 2009. Encouraged by consistent and strong program quality and student outcomes, in 2015 the school district invited BELL to deliver its grade-level reading program, READy Scholars, to help scholars achieve proficiency as defined by North Carolina’s Read to Achieve legislation, while also building their self-confidence and social skills, encouraging healthy lifestyles, and engaging families in their child’s education. Third graders who did not pass the End-of-Grade reading test and select second graders who were not proficient in reading participated in the 2015 program. In Summer 2016, the READy Scholars program was expanded to include additional rising second- and thirdgraders who were identified as benefiting from intensive support in reading. The BELL/CMS summer learning partnership helped students strengthen the foundational reading skills they need to advance to the next grade and begin the new school year ready to excel.

Focus on the Growth Mindset This summer, BELL program staff and scholars focused on cultivating a growth mindset. In a growth mindset, scholars believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for short- and long-term achievement. BELL’s culture of high expectations, staff modeling, and transforming mistakes into positive learning opportunities are some of the strategies used to strengthen scholars’ growth mindset. End-of-program surveys suggest that this approach is resonating with scholars, as 89% of parents reported that scholars showed improved abilities to overcome challenges, and 88% of teachers reported that scholars exhibited a growth mindset.


Scholars Served


Grades Served

120 81% +2

Total Hours of Summer Learning Average Daily Attendance Average Reading Gain, in Months


Teachers reporting that scholars increased their self-confidence


Parents reporting that scholars enjoyed their summer learning experience


Parents reporting they became more involved in their scholar’s education

“The Core Value I like the most is teamwork. I like to help others. When I am confused about something, other people here help me. It feels good to help others.” – Zamariah, rising 4th grader

Program Overview ✎ ABOUT BELL BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools and community organizations to expand learning time for students in grades K-8. Our mission is to transform the academic achievements, self-confidence and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced communities. Because BELL believes that all children can learn, we recognize students as “scholars.”

✎ THE IMPACT OF SUMMER LEARNING Summer learning activities play an important role in a child’s academic success, as well as their social, physical, and emotional development. Studies show that, without summer learning activities, children tend to lose reading and math skills, gain weight, and face increased risks of negative social behavior. By the time a child completes the 8th grade, summer learning loss can account for up to 2/3 of the academic achievement gap between children from low-income families and their higher-income peers. This partnership was designed to mitigate summer learning loss for the participating scholars.

✎ PROGRAM GOALS BELL and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools worked together to eliminate the summer opportunity gap, accelerate students’ reading achievement, and close the achievement gap. Students were called “scholars” to demonstrate high expectations and were encouraged to “Be Extraordinary,” the program’s motto. Program goals included:  Increase scholars’ literacy skills and help them avoid summer learning loss.  Strengthen scholars’ self-confidence & social skills.  Increase parental engagement.

✎ SCHOLARS SERVED Scholars were recruited and enrolled based: (1) Third graders who failed the End-of-Grade reading test and who chose to participate in the READy Scholars program in order to have a chance to be promoted to the fourth grade with their peers based on additional assessments; (2) First and second graders who were struggling in their reading skills who were recommended by school leaders and faculty.

The school district facilitated the enrollment process by distributing information about the program, and initially enrolling scholars eligible for the program. BELL supported enrollment by creating and collecting parent agreement forms, creating scholar files, clustering scholars, and maintaining communication with parents.

✎ PROGRAM MANAGEMENT BELL worked with CMS to recruit, select and train program leadership teams consisting of a Program Manager, Program Assistant, and Instructional Coach. The Program Manager was responsible for setting and fulfilling program goals, supervising staff, and engaging parents. The Instructional Coach served as the primary academic officer, overseeing assessment and ensuring instruction remained consistent with curricula and program goals. The Program Assistant managed logistics, attendance, and parent interactions. Most program leaders are employed as school or district employees during the school year. Additional leadership staff members were included at each site this summer: Testing Coordinator, EC Specialist and ELL Specialist. BELL was responsible for delivering the summer program model, managing quality, and measuring outcomes. The national nonprofit leveraged its capacity for program design & planning; scholar data management; staff recruitment, hiring & training; assessment & evaluation; payroll & finance; distribution of curriculum & supplies; fundraising; and information systems.

✎ PROGRAM STAFFING & TRAINING BELL collaborated with CMS and host sites to identify and recruit high-performing teachers to lead academic instruction, Camp Invention instructors to lead afternoon activities, and teaching assistants to support classroom activities. Program Managers and Instructional Coaches participated in BELL’s comprehensive leadership training, including online elearning (BELL University), webinars, and classroombased training. With assistance from BELL, they took the lead in training program staff, including teachers and teaching assistants, who also completed e-learning courses. Training focused on the summer learning program model, utilizing assessment data to drive instruction, effective teaching practices, collaborative teaching, and behavior management.


Public & Private Funding

BELL Carolinas Leadership Council


Claire Tate, chair Education advocate & former Executive Director of Partners in Outof-School Time (POST)

The school district contributed funding and in-kind resources, including utilizing classroom space, utilities, janitorial services, and daily breakfast and lunch. The school district also provided daily bus transportation to and from the program for scholars who needed it.

✎ BELL BELL raised philanthropic funding from local and national sources to cover a portion of program expenses for BELL in other locations throughout Charlotte. A local Leadership Council also supported fundraising in North Carolina. No local philanthropic dollars were raised specifically for the CMS READy program. BELL raised philanthropic funding from national sources to develop program innovations, build local sustainability, and cover a portion of program expenses: •

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

The Deerbrook Charitable Foundation

New York Life Foundation

The Wallace Foundation


News Corp.

Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Checkers

• • •

Molly Griffin Community advocate and former member, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) Board of Education Cammie Hauptfuhrer Philanthropist and community advocate Jason Lackey Market Executive and Senior VP, Carolinas Alliance Bank and CMS parent Lisa Lackey Education advocate and CMS parent Tom Lambeth Senior Fellow and retired Executive Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Dr. Donald Martin Professor of Education, High Point University and retired Superintendent, Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools Chris Meade Founder and CEO, Genetipetz LLC; retired Executive Director of NPower (now Apparo) Charlotte Region Walter McDowell Chair, Business for Education Success & Transformation North Carolina (BEST NC): retired CEO for NC and Va., Wachovia Corp.

BELL Carolinas Program Partners

In-Kind Partners •

Jean Cochrane Community advocate and First Presbyterian Church BELL Summer program volunteer

Charlotte, North Carolina:

Central Piedmont Community College

• Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools: READy Scholars (Read to Achieve grade-level reading)

Charlotte Knights

Promising Pages

• Devonshire Elementary School

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library


• Huntingtowne Farms Elementary School

United Way of Central Carolinas

• Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School

Discovery Place

• Project LIFT (Allenbrook Elementary, Ashley Park Elementary, Statesville Road Elementary, Ranson Middle) • First Presbyterian Church/Westerly Hills Academy

Contact Us Jerri Haigler Executive Director, Carolinas (704) 706-7122

Durham, North Carolina: • East Durham Children’s Initiative at Eastway Elementary

Greenville, South Carolina: • OnTrack Greenville (United Way of Greenville County and Greenville County Schools)

ON THE COVER: BELL’s rising 4th grade scholars enjoyed the music and magic of Disney's Aladdin at Central Piedmont Community College. Following the performance, scholars ate lunch in the college gym, enjoyed a water-bottle rocket demonstration by the STEM Department in the quad, and toured the Advanced Manufacturing building. Sites used the story of Aladdin in their literacy time, writing prompts and core value discussion.

BELL/CMS Summer Learning Partnership Report Charlotte, North Carolina | 2016

Program Design ✎ CORE ESSENTIALS & VALUES The READy Scholars program is designed to serve students who are performing below grade level and who lack access to high-quality learning opportunities outside of school. The model is guided by principles of effective summer learning, including (1) a culture of high expectations; (2) partnerships to magnify impact; (3) an exceptional learning environment, including a 1:10 staff to scholar ratio; (4) teaching excellence; and (5) relevant & engaging learning experiences that broaden scholars’ educational horizons while developing 21st Century skills. Scholars and staff were expected to model core program values: Excellence, Collaboration, Learning, Respect, Courage.

✎ THEMES All summer long, scholars were encouraged to Be Extraordinary, the program’s motto. Activities focused on college- and career-readiness, healthy lifestyles, and community engagement were woven into academic and enrichment programming. During College Pride Week scholars learned about the college experience and how success in school is connected to success in life.

✎ PROGRAM SCHEDULE The READy Scholars model delivered academic and social enrichment for 6 hours per day, 4 days per week, for 5 weeks. The program started on June 22 and concluded on July 28. The daily schedule started at 8:00 a.m. and ended at 2:00 p.m. In sum, the program expanded learning time by 120 hours. The summer learning model included the following core elements: Breakfast + Community Time: Scholars enjoyed a nutritious breakfast provided by the district. After breakfast, scholars participated in team-building activities to build social skills and strong relationships with peers and staff. Literacy Instruction: Certified teachers led three hours of literacy instruction each day. BELL equipped teachers with a powerful toolkit of teacher’s guides, scholar workbooks, access to technology and assessment data, and professional development to prepare them for delivering the greatest academic impact in a concentrated summer learning program. Content was scoped out to provide educators with details on whole group, small group, and individualized instructional methods in a rigorous, engaging, and scholar-centered learning environment.

Instruction was organized into three parts: • Lesson Opener & Read Aloud: Teachers introduced the day’s lesson and text before dividing scholars up into three small groups. Scholars with similar academic needs were grouped together. • Reading Stations: Scholars rotated through three reading stations: Small-Group Instruction: Teachers led short, engaging lessons focusing on specific phonics and text structure skills using Common Core-aligned curricula by Scholastic and best practices for reading development and early literacy. Technology Station: Scholars completed digital lessons on laptops or tablets. Independent Practices: Scholars focused on elements such as antonyms, synonyms, prefixes, and suffixes. Working together, they completed short reading and writing activities. • Games & Intervention Pull-Outs: Scholars played literacy games or engaged in other hands-on learning while teachers and teaching associates led interventions for struggling readers. Lunch & Recess: Scholars spent 45 minutes eating a healthy lunch and engaging in organized physical activity during recess. Enrichment Courses: After lunch, scholars participated in fun, hands-on enrichment activities designed to foster critical 21st Century skills like teamwork and leadership. This year, BELL and CMS partnered with Camp Invention to provide an engaging, interactive STEM-focused enrichment curriculum for the READy Scholars. (For more information, see the feature story on the next page.) Field Trips: Each week, scholars participated in on- and offsite field trips that blended learning and enjoyment. Such trips support scholar learning by exposing scholars to diverse ideas, people, and places, and nurturing increased empathy, tolerance, and critical-thinking skills.

“My daughters would come home excitedly and talk about all of the wonderful activities they did and how they had so much fun. The test scores reflected growth by my scholars and the closing ceremony celebrated the achievements of each scholar this summer.”- Michelle, parent 2 of two BELL scholars

✎ FAMILY ENGAGEMENT Family involvement was a key component of the program, and staff members provided updates to parents on their children’s progress and challenges through phone calls, progress reports, and a mid-program Open House. All parents were invited to attend the Program Orientation and the Closing Ceremony, at which scholars shared their work in the Scholar Gallery and presented information about their summer learning experience.

Field Trips Discovery Place | Freedom Park | Movies Central Piedmont Community College | Library NASCAR Hall of Fame | Kate’s Skating Rink Adventure Landing | Carolina Raptor Center

Special Events Charlotte Hornets Book Bus Charlotte Checkers Interactive Presentation Field Days | Scavenger Hunts | Carnivals 3

Community Service Projects | Guest Speakers

Spotlight on Camp Invention BELL and CMS were pleased to welcome Camp Invention to the summer program partnership this year to provide their highly-regarded STEM enrichment curriculum. Designed to reflect the spirit of innovation, Camp Invention nurtures a child’s curiosity into big ideas through an immersive curriculum that encourages creativity and innovation. The program reinforces the traditional school year with STEM activities that are inquiry-based and handson. BELL scholars learned about solar energy and physics by making small, robotic bugs called “cric-o-bots”; conducted chemistry experiments by making their own “slime”; disassembled outdated electronic devices to make their own creations; and designed their own eco-friendly theme parks. The scholars at Barringer Academic Center had an extraspecial learning opportunity when Dr. Eric Fossum - inventor of the CMOS active pixel image sensor, professor of engineering at Dartmouth College and an inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame - visited the BELL site to share the story of how his childhood interest in technology and business led to his successful career. (see photo above) In addition to creating a sense of wonder and love of learning in scholars, Camp Invention provided invaluable professional development for the enrichment instructors, giving them new strategies for student engagement and practical ways to encourage scientific inquiry and critical thinking.

Scholar Achievement ✎ ACADEMIC GROWTH Gains in reading skills are an important indicator of student success because they provide a measure of how much a student has progressed up the proficiency ladder at a time when most children are not engaged in structured learning activities. A full grade level contains ten months of skills development (i.e., based on an average school year of learning from September – June). To put it another way, a gain of one month is equal to what an average student learns in 10% of a school year.

Assessment data from the end of the READy Scholars program show that scholars gained an average of two months of reading skills. Scholars’ academic growth suggests that participating in summer learning activities could have a positive impact on academic achievement and eliminate summer learning loss. The data also hints that summer learning opportunities may have the greatest impact on scholars who stand to benefit the most: those who are struggling academically and who need more time-on-task the most.

Teachers utilize formative assessments from the start of the summer to understand each scholar’s learning needs and to inform individualized learning plans.







+2 Months of Reading Skills

Skills Gained, in Months

-2 Months of Summer Learning Loss Experienced by Disadvantaged Students Without Summer Learning Opportunities* -2






* Sources McCombs et al. (2011). Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning. Rand Education & The Wallace Foundation. Cooper, Harris (2003). Summer Learning Loss: The Problem & Some Solutions. ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary & Early Childhood Education.


✎ SELF-CONFIDENCE & SOCIAL SKILLS Scholars’ academic success requires self-efficacy skills, determination, and social skills, including an ability to communicate clearly and work well with others. Teachers and parents consistently reported that scholars’ participation in the READy Scholars program helped them make important gains in these areas. Such a positive impact can be attributed to a culture of high expectations, high-quality staff, a small scholar to staff ratio, and an individualized learning environment.



Teachers and parents consistently reported that the READy Scholars program was of high quality and met or exceeded their expectations. Teachers reported that the program structure and resources helped scholars achieve the goals set forth for them. They also reported that working as a teacher in READy Scholars helped them develop their professional skills. Parents reported that the model boosted their involvement in their child’s education – an outcome that is proven to have significant long-term impact on student achievement in school and beyond.

Parents report: 88%

Scholars are more confident in their abilities


Scholars have a more positive attitude about school


Scholars enjoyed the READy Scholars program The READy Scholars program helped me become more involved in my child's education


I am highly satisfied with my READy Scholars experience


I recommend the READy Scholars program to other parents


Teachers report: 93%

Scholars have more confidence in themselves I recommend the READy Scholars program to parents


Program staff are diverse and reflect scholar diversity

96% 91%

Working with BELL helped me develop my professional skills

0% 7





PwC volunteers spent time weekly reading with scholars at Cotswold Elementary. At the end of the summer, they organized a field day and carnival to celebrate success.

Impact Measurement The READy Scholars program sought to produce the following outcomes: • Scholars will gain at least one month of reading skills, on average, instead of experiencing summer learning loss. EXCEEDED • At least 75% of scholars will demonstrate improved self-confidence and social skills. EXCEEDED • At least 75% of parents will report that they became more engaged in their child’s education. EXCEEDED To measure performance against these outcomes, program leaders used the following tools:

✎ COMPUTER-ADAPTIVE ASSESSMENTS Teachers used STAR Enterprise Assessments, by Renaissance Learning, on a pre- and post-program basis. The assessments are built for measuring progress against rigorous standards. Scholars completed both the STAR Reading assessments. The multiple-choice assessments, administered via computer, laptop, or tablet, “adapt” based on scholar responses to assessment questions. For example, if a scholar selects the correct answer, the next question becomes more difficult; if the scholar answers incorrectly, the next question becomes easier. The adaptive quality of these assessments enables staff to hone in on the specific learning needs of each scholar. It also allows staff to group scholars according to common needs and deliver small-group, data-driven instruction.

✎ READ TO ACHIEVE STATE TESTS In addition to BELL’s assessment activities, third grade scholars who failed the end-of-grade reading test and who participated in the READy Scholars program were given a second chance to pass the Read to Achieve test and advance to the fourth grade on time.

✎ ATTENDANCE DATA BELL managed scholar enrollment and tracked attendance data in an online Scholar Management System powered by Scholars were expected to attend at least 80% of the time, given the strong positive correlation between learning time and academic and social outcomes. Program leaders integrated enrollment and attendance data with staffing and quality indicators to optimize the learning environment.

✎ TEACHER SURVEYS Partners used a teacher and teaching assistant survey instrument to assess program implementation and efficacy from the perspective of instructional staff. Teachers and teaching assistants completed the anonymous survey at the end of the program, which included questions regarding scholars’ progress, training, curricula, program staff and service, and parent engagement.

✎ PARENT SURVEYS Partners employed a parent survey instrument to assess parent observations of scholar improvement, program quality, and parent satisfaction. Parents completed the anonymous survey on-site during the final week of the program. 4

BELL/CMS Summer Learning Partnership Report Charlotte, North Carolina | 2016

Partnership Checklist Summer Program Management

Academic Curricula & Supplies

Enrichment Curricula & Supplies

Student Enrollment & Attendance

Staff Recruitment

Staff Hiring & Training

Field Trips & Community Service

Parent Engagement

Assessment & Evaluation

Classrooms & School Facilities

Snack & Meal Service

Philanthropic Funding

Public Funding & In-Kind Contributions


 

Scholars Served

Average Daily Attendance

Barringer Academic Center












Grand Oak



J. H. Gunn



Lawrence Orr



Lebanon Road



Nathaniel Alexander









Winding Springs





Scholar Enrollment & Attendance

*Scholars were recruited from all elementary schools in the district



S16 cms ready partnership report final  
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