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Summer Learning Partnership Report First Presbyterian Church & Westerly Hills Academy | Charlotte, NC


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), First Presbyterian Church, and Westerly Hills Academy. BELL is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools and community organizations to expand learning time for students in grades K-8. Its mission is to transform the academic achievements, self-confidence and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced communities. For years, First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte has partnered with Westerly Hills Academy to provide academic support, tutoring, volunteer assistance, and much more. This partnership has offered the church and the school a way to connect and serve. In 2012, BELL was first invited to provide a summer program to Westerly Hills Academy students as part of the partnership with First Presbyterian Church. In 2016, the nonprofit, church, and school again partnered to combine resources and expertise and deliver a summer learning experience aimed at helping students boost their reading skills, selfconfidence, and social skills, while encouraging healthy lifestyles and engaging parents in their child’s education. The program was hosted at First Presbyterian’s campus, which allowed them easy access to museums, parks, and other cultural experiences in Charlotte’s center city. It was provided at no cost to families; however to increase scholar attendance, First Presbyterian did ask families to pay $20, which was returned if their child missed no more than two days in the summer program. The summer learning partnership helped students strengthen the foundational reading and math skills they need to advance to the next grade and begin the new school year ready to excel.

60 K-2 165 92%

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


Average Reading Gain, in Months

Scholars did not experience Summer Learning Loss in Math


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 ✎ 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. Without them, studies show that children tend to lose academic skills, gain weight, and face increased risks of negative social behavior. Summer learning loss has been shown to account for up to two-thirds of the academic achievement gap between children from low-income families and their higher-income peers.

✎ PROGRAM GOALS BELL, First Presbyterian Church, and Westerly Hills Academy 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 Scholars were recruited and enrolled based on teacher recommendations. Priority was given to students who were performing below grade level, and all scholars were from lowincome families.

✎ PROGRAM MANAGEMENT BELL worked with First Presbyterian staff to recruit, select and train program leadership teams consisting of a Program Manager 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. Together, along with support from the church liaison, they managed logistics, attendance, and parent interactions. Most BELL program leaders are employed as school or district employees 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; assessment and evaluation; payroll and finance; distribution of curriculum and supplies; fundraising; and information systems.

✎ PROGRAM STAFFING & TRAINING The partners collaborated to identify and recruit high-performing teachers to lead academic instruction, volunteers and enrichment instructors to lead afternoon activities, and tutors to support classroom activities. Charlotte Speech and Hearing provided a therapist who assessed scholars and provided 1:1 targeted literacy instruction. Volunteers also participated in the classroom, enrichment activities, and field trips. The Program Manager and Instructional Coach participated in BELL’s comprehensive leadership training, including online e-learning (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 ✎ FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH The church contributed philanthropic support from its congregation to cover direct program costs, including expenses associated with staffing, books, curriculum, supplies, field trips, and bus transportation. The church also secured volunteers and partnerships for the program. Charlotte Speech and Hearing partnered with First Presbyterian Church and BELL to offer speech and hearing services, daily targeted literacy instruction, and a YOLA (Yoga and Language) enrichment class.


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

The BELL Carolinas team, supported by the Carolinas Leadership Council, raised philanthropic funds to support individual school programs in Charlotte from the following:

Education advocate and CMS parent

• The Belk Foundation

Dr. Donald Martin

• Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation • Wells Fargo Foundation • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Foundation, Children & Youth Fund • Snyder’s-Lance • Charlotte Knights Charities BELL raised additional philanthropic funding from national sources to develop program innovations, build local sustainability, and cover a portion of program expenses:

Tom Lambeth

Senior Fellow and retired Executive Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation 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 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

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

The Wallace Foundation


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

Leon Lowenstein Foundation

• Project LIFT

William Randolph Hearst Foundation

• Devonshire Elementary School

News Corp.

• Huntingtowne Farms Elementary School

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

Charlotte, North Carolina:

• 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)

BELL Summer Learning Partnership Report First Presbyterian Church/Westerly Hills Academy | 2016

Program Design

The summer learning model included the following core elements:


Breakfast + Community Time

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, Courage.

✎ THEMES All summer long, scholars were encouraged to Be Extraordinary, the program’s motto. Activities focused on college- and careerreadiness, 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 6 hours per day, 5 days per week, for 5 1/2 weeks. The program started on June 20 and concluded on July 27. The daily schedule started at 8:30 a.m. and ended at 2:30 p.m. In sum, the program expanded learning time by 165 hours.

Scholars enjoyed a nutritious breakfast provided by First Presbyterian Church. 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

Scholars celebrated National Summer Learning Day by creating a pledge banner with their hand prints

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 Math Reads (Kindergarten) is a dual math and literacy program that teaches and exposes our youngest scholars to basic math concepts through fun and engaging fiction and non-fiction texts. 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 & Differentiation, and Vocabulary & Language.

Field Trips

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.

✎ 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 a Closing Ceremony celebration, at which scholars performed skits, songs, and presentations about their summer learning experience.

Enrichment Courses

Lunch & Recess

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

Enrichment Courses

After lunch, volunteers and church-organized instructors led two 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.

Art & Music


Character Education


Physical Education

YOLA (Yoga and Language)



Field Trips & Special Activities Sea Life Aquarium

Charlotte Motor Speedway

CPCC Production of Disney’s Aladdin

Charlotte Knights Stadium


Charlotte Hornets Book Bus

Community Service “Color Run”

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden


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 avoided summer learning loss in math and gained three 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.

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







+3 Months of Reading Skills

Avoided Summer Learning Loss in Math

-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.

Charlotte Speech & Hearing provided a unique enrichment class, YOLA (Yoga and Language), which combined vocabulary instruction and development with physically calming exercises.



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, highquality 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.

Parents report… 96%

Scholars are more confident in their abilities


Scholars have a more positive attitude about school


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

96% 91%

I am highly satisfied with my BELL Summer experience


I recommend the BELL Summer program to other parents

Teachers report… Scholars have more confidence in themselves


I recommend the BELL Summer program to parents


The BELL site staff model BELL's mission


Working with BELL helped me develop my professional skills

100% 0%





BELL Summer Learning Partnership Report First Presbyterian Church/Westerly Hills Academy | 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. EXCEEDED IN READING • At least 75% of scholars will demonstrate improved self-confidence and social skills.


• At least 75% of parents will report that they became more engaged in their child’s education.


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 postprogram 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 small-group, 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.

BELL Scholar Spotlight: Various BELL Scholar Various, now a third grader at Westerly Hills, was the winner of the “Super SPEED (Scholars Present Each and Every Day)” award, sponsored by Bike Source of Charlotte. He was one of 20 scholars in the First Presbyterian program who had perfect attendance during the six-week summer program. “Every morning for six weeks, Various would get off the school bus, look for the closest adult, and give them a big smile and good-morning bear hug,” said Program Manager Angie Forbis. “He knew that if he attended BELL every day, he would not only learn, but also have fun and earn the chance to win this award. When he heard his name called, he ran to the teacher who pulled out his name and gave her the longest, most endearing bear hug ever!” By making the commitment to be a “Scholar Present Each and Every Day,” Various saw both his Reading and Math scores grow! He started third grade with the skills and confidence that will help him succeed in school.

BELL Scholars in the First Presbyterian/Westerly Hills program had swimming lessons once a week at the Dowd YMCA

Partnership Checklist Summer Program Planning & Management

Academic Curricula & Supplies

Enrichment Curricula & Supplies

 

Student Enrollment & Attendance

Teacher & Tutor Recruitment

Staff Hiring & Training

Field Trips & Community Service

Parent Engagement

Assessment & Evaluation

Quality Assurance & Technical Support

Classrooms & School Facilities

Snack & Meal Service

Volunteer Recruitment & Management

Philanthropic Funding

S16 first pres partnership report final  
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