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Summer Impact Report 2016 BELL’s mission is to transform the academic achievement, self-confidence, and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced communities. For over 25 years, we have pursued this important mission by working closely with schools and nonprofit partners to expand learning time. We serve students who struggle academically, and who lack access to quality summer learning programs. 2016 was a banner year for BELL, and our national footprint is now larger than ever. Thanks to our community of parents, educators, partners, and supporters, we served 14,272 PK-8 scholars at 135 sites in 28 states. Summer learning plays an integral role in a child’s academic success, as well as in their social, physical, and emotional development. Studies show that without it, children lose reading and math skills, and face increased risks of negative social behavior. Summer learning loss has been shown to account for up to 2/3 of the academic achievement gap between children from under-resourced families and their higher-income peers. BELL programs consist of small group academic instruction in reading and math, enrichment activities, field trips, and community service. Programs typically operate for 5-10 hours per day, 4-5 days per week, for 5-7 weeks.

14,272 PK-8 135

Scholars Enrolled

Grades Served

Number of Sites


Average Reading Gain, in Months


Average Math Gain, in Months*


Teachers reporting that BELL developed their professional skills


Teachers reporting that they would recommend BELL to parents


Parents reporting that their child enjoyed BELL


Parents reporting that their child is more prepared for school in the fall

In 2016, we measured outcomes against 3 goals: • Scholars will gain at least 1 month of reading and math skills. • 8 out of 10 parents will report that their child is more prepared for school in the fall. • 8 out of 10 teachers will recommend BELL Summer to parents.

* Direct service programs


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). A gain of one month, then, is equal to what an average student learns in 10% of a school year.

Assessment data from the end of BELL Summer show that scholars gained an average of two months of reading skills and three months of math skills. Scholars’ academic growth demonstrates that participating in summer learning activities has a positive impact on achievement and eliminates summer learning loss. The data also suggests that summer learning opportunities may have the greatest academic and social impact on scholars who are struggling in school and who lack access to the camps, travel, and other enrichment experiences that play a formative role in the development of children from higher-income families.

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

+3 Months of Math Skills

-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 Soluations. 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 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. In addition, scholars demonstrated a increased resilience and determination to succeed.

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 the program 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.

PARENT & TEACHER SURVEY RESULTS Parents report: Scholars are more confident in their abilities


Scholars have a more positive attitude about school


Scholars showed improved abilities to overcome challenges

89% 97%

Scholars enjoyed the BELL Summer program


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


I am highly satisfied with my BELL Summer experience


I recommend the BELL Summer program to other parents

Teachers report: 91%

Scholars have more confidence in themselves


Scholars exhibited a positive growth mindset

I recommend the BELL Summer program to parents


Program staff are diverse and reflect scholar diversity

93% 90%

Working with BELL helped me develop my professional skills





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S16 summer impact report (national)  
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