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BELL/EDCI Summer Learning Partnership Report Durham, North Carolina 2016

Summer Learning Partnership Report Partnership Overview This report describes the summer learning activities and outcomes of a partnership between BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) and the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI). BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) exists to transform the academic achievements, selfconfidence, and life trajectories of children living in under resourced communities. We pursue our mission by collaborating with schools, school districts and community partners to provide high quality summer and afterschool learning experiences at no cost to families. Because we believe in the tremendous potential of all children to excel, we recognize them as scholars. Since 2010, the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) has worked to improve outcomes for children and families living in a distressed, 120block area of East Durham referred to as the EDCI Zone. EDCI provides children and families in the EDCI Zone with a pipeline of high quality services that begins at birth and continues through high school. EDCI’s vision is for all children in the EDCI Zone to graduate from high school, ready for college and career. In 2016, BELL and EDCI combined resources and expertise to deliver a summer learning experience to 60 elementary-school children living in the EDCI Zone. The program focused on helping students boost their reading and math skills, selfconfidence, and social skills, while deepening parents’ engagement in their child’s education. The program was hosted at Eastway Elementary School and was provided at no cost to families. Scholars from Eastway Elementary, Y E Smith Elementary, and Maureen Joy Charter School participated in the program. Each school resides in the EDCI Zone. The summer learning partnership helped scholars - particularly those who were struggling academically – strengthen the foundational reading and math skills, self-confidence, and resilience they need.

59 K-2 140 84%

Scholars Served Grades Served Total Hours of Summer Learning Average Daily Attendance


Average Reading Gain, in Months


Average Math 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

Program Overview ✎ ABOUT THE COMMUNITY Public schools in East Durham have long ranked among Durham’s lowest performing schools. At the two public elementary schools located in the EDCI Zone, Y E Smith and Eastway Elementary, less than 25 percent of students read at grade level, and a third or less perform on grade level in math. One hundred percent of students at both of these schools live in poverty.

✎ 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 end of eighth grade, summer learning loss can account for up to two-thirds of the academic achievement gap between children from low-income families and their higher-income peers.*


✎ PROGRAM MANAGEMENT BELL worked with EDCI and school leaders 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. All three staff members are employed by Durham County Schools during the school year. BELL was responsible for delivering the summer program model, managing quality, and measuring outcomes. The national nonprofit leveraged its capacity for program design and planning; scholar data management; staff recruitment, hiring and training; payroll and finance; distribution of curriculum and supplies; and information systems. The two partners collaborated on fundraising and assessment/evaluation.

BELL and EDCI worked together to eliminate the summer opportunity gap, accelerate students’ reading achievement, and close the achievement gap. Program goals included:  Increase scholars’ literacy and math skills.  Strengthen scholars’ self-confidence and social skills.  Increase parental engagement.

✎ SCHOLARS SERVED The BELL/EDCI summer program was offered to 60 first and second grade students attending three schools in the EDCI Zone (Y E Smith Elementary, Eastway Elementary and Maureen Joy Charter School). EDCI serves all three schools and has close relationships with students, families, teachers, and administration. In addition, EDCI has an agreement with Durham Public Schools that allows EDCI Parent Advocates to access students’ academic data and records. Working with BELL staff, EDCI Parent Advocates used this information, as well as conversations with teachers, to identify students who could benefit the most from the BELL Summer program, specifically students in the lower quartile (25 percent and below) in reading and math.

✎ PROGRAM STAFFING & TRAINING BELL collaborated with EDCI and school staff to identify and recruit high-performing teachers to lead academic instruction, enrichment 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 e-learning (BELL University), webinars, and classroom-based 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.

* 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.

Public & Private Funding ✎ EAST DURHAM CHILDREN’S INITIATIVE ✎ DUKE ENERGY FOUNDATION ✎ N.C. GLAXOSMITHKLINE FOUNDATION BELL and EDCI were honored to receive a Ribbon of Hope grant to support STEM enrichment in the summer program.

✎ BELL BELL raised additional 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 • Target • News Corp.

In-Kind Partners • Eastway Elementary School • Maureen Joy Charter School • Y E Smith Elementary School

BELL Carolinas Leadership Council Claire Tate, chair Education advocate & former Executive Director of Partners in Out-of-School Time (POST) Jean Cochrane Community advocate and First Presbyterian Church BELL Summer program volunteer Molly Griffin Community advocate and former member, CharlotteMecklenburg 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

• Book Harvest

Chris Meade Founder and CEO, Genetipetz LLC; retired Executive Director of NPower Charlotte Region

BELL Carolinas Program Partners

Walter McDowell Chair, Business for Education Success & Transformation North Carolina (BEST NC): retired CEO for NC and Va., Wachovia Corp.

Charlotte, North Carolina: • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools: READy Scholars (Read to Achieve grade-level reading) • Project LIFT • Devonshire Elementary School • Huntingtowne Farms Elementary School • Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School • First Presbyterian Church/Westerly Hills Academy

Durham, North Carolina: • East Durham Children’s Initiative

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

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

BELL/EDCI Summer Learning Partnership Report Durham, North Carolina | 2016 Breakfast + Community Time:

Program Design ✎ CORE ESSENTIALS & VALUES The BELL Summer program is designed to serve scholars 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 and 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, and 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 BELL Summer program delivered academic and social enrichment for 7 hours per day, 4 days per week, for 5 weeks. The program started on June 28 and concluded on July 28. The daily schedule started at 9:00 a.m. and ended at 4:00 p.m. In sum, the program expanded learning time by up to 140 hours. The summer learning model included the following core elements:

Scholars enjoyed a nutritious breakfast provided by partner schools. After breakfast, scholars participated in team-building activities to build social skills and strong relationships with peers and staff.

Literacy Instruction:

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. Each content area 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. Certified teachers led 90 minutes of literacy instruction using curricula drawn from Scholastic’s Comprehension Clubs and Guided Reading Program. Instruction focused on the priority skills critical for student success: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Curricula incorporated stories of contemporary figures and their journeys of struggle, perseverance, transcendence, and transformation and was organized around four social justice and learning platforms – define the self, become resilient, engage others, and build capacity – which provided a framework for scholars to chart their own development. Writing activities helped scholars become capable, confident writers. The curriculum was based on the six traits of writing – Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Presentation.

BELL Summer Program Daily Schedule

Representatives from the Durham County Sherriff’s Department spoke with BELL scholars.

Math Instruction:

Certified teachers led 90 minutes of math instruction using curricula with targeted intervention modules to build conceptual understanding, problem solving, and mathematical skills. Scholastic’s Do The Math helped scholars develop the skills they need to compute with accuracy and efficiency, the number sense they need to reason, and the ability to apply their skills and reasoning to solve problems. It incorporated eight research-based instructional practices for scholars who need additional support: Scaffolded Content, Explicit Instruction, Multiple Strategies, Gradual Release Routines, Student Interaction, Meaningful Practice, Assessment and Differentiation, and Vocabulary & Language.

✎ FAMILY ENGAGEMENT Family involvement was a key component of the BELL program. Staff members provided regular updates to parents on their scholar’s progress and challenges through phone calls, progress reports, and a midprogram Open House. All parents were invited to attend the program Orientation and the Closing Ceremony, at which scholars performed skits, songs, and presentations about their summer learning experience.

Lunch & Recess:

Scholars spent 45 minutes eating a healthy lunch and engaging in organized physical activity during recess.

Enrichment Courses:

Enrichment Courses YOGA

After lunch, Enrichment Teachers and Teaching Assistants led three 45-minute enrichment activities each day. Enrichment courses were designed to foster critical 21st Century skills like teamwork and leadership, increase self-confidence, and expose scholars to new subjects, opportunities, and career paths — particularly those that relate to the STEM fields.

Marbles Kids Museum

Field Trips:

Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Each week, scholars participated in 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.

Reader’s Theater STEM

Field Trips

Museum of Life & Science (The Museum of Life & Science also hosted an on-site “field trip” at the BELL site)


Scholar Achievement ✎ ACADEMIC GROWTH Gains in reading and math 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. Teachers utilize formative assessments from the start of the summer to understand each scholar’s learning needs and to inform individualized learning plans. Assessment data from the end of the BELL Summer program show that scholars in the BELL/EDCI program gained an average of one month of reading skills and one month of math skills.

This summer, BELL 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.

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.

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 76% of parents reported that scholars showed improved abilities to overcome challenges, and 100% of teachers reported that scholars exhibited a growth mindset.







Skills Gained, in Months

+1 Month of Reading & Math Skills





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



“My grandkids were very eager to get up and go to the program. They had fun doing yoga, going on field trips and leaning the ‘respect rap.’ ” Grandparent of BELL Scholars

“My son has more confidence and ability to express ideas. He really enjoyed the BELL program.” - Parent of BELL Scholar


✎ 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 BELL Summer 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 BELL Summer 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 BELL Summer 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.



My scholar is more confident in their abilities


My scholar has a more positive attitude about school


My scholar shows improved abilities to overcome challenges My scholar enjoyed the BELL program


The BELL program helped me become more involved in my child's education

100% 95%

I am highly satisfied with the BELL program


I would recommend the BELL program to other parents

Teachers report: Scholars have more confidence in themselves


I would recommend the BELL program to parents


Program staff are diverse and reflect scholar diversity


Working with BELL helped me develop my professional skills


Scholars exhibited a positive Growth Mindset

100% 0%





BELL/EDCI Summer Learning Partnership Report Durham, North Carolina | 2016

Impact Measurement The BELL Summer program sought to produce the following outcomes: • Scholars will gain at least one month of academic skills, on average, instead of experiencing summer learning loss. MET • 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 Common Core standards. Scholars completed both the STAR Reading and STAR Math 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 smallgroup, data-driven instruction.

✎ 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.

Marilyn Foote-Hudson, executive director of the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation of North Carolina, visits the BELL program at Eastway Elementary.

BELL/EDCI scholars enjoyed their field trip to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Partnership Checklist Summer Program Planning & Management

Academic Curricula & Supplies

Enrichment Curricula & Supplies

Student Enrollment & Attendance

Staff Recruitment

Staff Hiring & Training

Quality Assurance & Technical Support

Field Trips & Community Service

Parent Engagement

Assessment & Evaluation

Classrooms & School Facilities

Snack & Meal Service

Volunteer Recruitment & Management

Philanthropic Funding

Transportation to and from program site

S16 durham partnership report final  
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