BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)

At a Glance


Dr. Tiffany Gueye
People Served: 
100,000
Year Founded: 
1992
Tax ID: 
04-3182053

Focus area(s):

After-School & Out-of-School
Mentoring
Reading/Math

Description

All children need opportunities to learn in order to fulfill their potential in school and in life.  BELL works to create high-quality learning opportunities for the children in grades PreK-8th who need them most, so that they, too, can develop the skills, interests, and determination to excel.  Research shows that a lack of learning opportunities outside of school – and in particular, a lack of summer learning opportunities – causes up to 2/3 of the academic achievement gap between children from low-income communities and their higher-income peers. 

 

BELL builds educational equality by mobilizing schools and communities and expanding learning time beyond the traditional school day and school year.  By bringing the classroom into the community, and the community into the classroom, BELL aims to redefine how, where, and when learning occurs so that every child has the opportunity to learn and engage and excel.

 

BELL delivers evidence-based programs, and trains others so that they can apply what works in their community.  BELL’s approach is based on strong partnerships with schools and nonprofits, through which we create a rich learning experience that blends rigorous academic instruction, mentorship, hands-on enrichment activities, and community engagement. 

Impact and Outcomes

BELL Summer has been scientifically proven to increase students' reading skills and parents' engagement in their child's education.
Scholars in the BELL Summer program gain at least one month or more of grade-level academic skills instead of experiencing summer learning loss. As a result, scholars return to school in the fall ready to excel.
Scholars in the BELL After School program show improvements in assessment scores, acquire new academic skills, increasing their performance in school, and narrowing the achievement gap.

Mission & Goals

BELL exists to transform the academic achievements, self-confidence, and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced communities.

Because we believe in the tremendous potential of all children to excel, we recognize them as scholars.

Our impact is driven by partnerships.  Scholar success is greatest when schools, nonprofits, and communities work together and share responsibility for their full range of academic, social, emotional, and physical development. BELL partners with schools and community organizations who recognize that by combining resources and targeting expanded learning time where it is needed most, we can collectively increase student performance and have a far greater impact on narrowing opportunity and achievement gaps than any single organization can attain acting alone. In 2016, superintendents, principals, and community partners across 30 states partnered with BELL to expand summer and after-school learning and enrichment opportunities.

BELL expands learning time to help students become scholars.  We partner with schools and community partners to bring the classroom into the community, and the community into the classroom.  Working with teachers, parents, and principals, we deliver programs that blend academics with hands-on enrichment activities, field trips, and service projects.  Our programs are designed to achieve the following goals:

·         Scholars will increase their literacy and math skills.

·         Scholars will strengthen their self-confidence. 

·         Scholars will improve their social skills. 

·         Parents will become more engaged in their children's education.

Program

The BELL Summer and BELL After School programs deliver high-quality educational experiences for at-risk students in grades PreK-8.  BELL Summer operates 6.5-8 hours per day, 5 days per week, for 5-6 weeks.  BELL After School operates 2.5 hours per day, 3-5 days per week, during the school year.  Core elements of the BELL Summer and BELL After School program models include:

  • Rigorous Literacy & Math Instruction:  To increase student achievement, BELL engages students in rigorous literacy and math instruction, delivered by high-performing certified teachers in a co-teaching model with highly-trained tutors/teachers’ assistants.  In a small-group setting, educators implement research-based literacy and math curricula aligned with state and national learning standards, and multi-cultural children’s books and other educational resources.  Curricula incorporate project-based and experiential learning activities, culturally-diverse texts, and other learning tools to make learning relevant and engaging for all students. 
  • Highly-Qualified & Trained Staff of Educators:  BELL programs cultivate a positive, supportive learning environment.  BELL carefully screens and hires teachers, paraprofessionals, and college students who share the organization’s high expectations for students.  An award-winning training program pairs internet-based “eLearning” with classroom-based training and coaching from veteran teachers to prepare staff for success.  Staff members are trained to promote a culture of excellence and achievement, setting high expectations and calling students “scholars” to demonstrate their belief in students’ potential.  Students learn in a small group environment of no more than 10 students per educator.  Programming provides opportunities for students to experience success and develop a love of learning that translates into increased school attendance and performance.  
  • Mentorship:  BELL programs strengthen students’ connections to school and learning and increase their college and career aspirations.  Emphasis is placed on developing strong, supportive relationships between young adult tutors and teachers’ assistants and scholars to increase their self-esteem and aspirations to graduate from college.  Throughout the course of BELL programs, mentors work with the same group of students and inspire students’ personal goals.  For example, during daily community time, staff talk with scholars about college and career opportunities. During “Mentor Days,” they engage scholars in service learning and connect them to their community through field trips.
  • Enrichment:  BELL helps develop students’ 21st century skills by providing enrichment courses on topics such as science, entrepreneurship, healthy lifestyles, and leadership.   Scholars engage in educational field trips, cultural celebrations, and community service and apply academic skills in solving real-world challenges.
  • Parental Engagement:  More than any other factor, including family income level, parental engagement is the greatest predictor of student success. That is why BELL involves parents in the education process through orientation activities, parent-teacher nights, and regular workshops that help parents understand their child’s strengths and weaknesses, engage in program activities, and access the resources they need to support their child’s holistic development.
  • Measurement:  BELL is a leader in using data to drive instruction.  BELL uses standardized diagnostic tests to identify scholars’ academic needs and quantify scholars’ academic gains.  An innovative, web-based assessment system prescribes individualized learning plans, and produces progress reports for parents, teachers, and principals. A suite of metrics ensures consistency and efficiency of service delivery.

Impact

BELL’s impact is evident through student achievement, school performance, and community engagement.

·         Increase Student Achievement:  As of 2016, BELL is reaching 15,000 high-need scholars in school districts and communities around the country.  In BELL Summer and BELL After School, scholars are improving their literacy and math skills, according to standardized diagnostic tests.

·         BELL has conducted two independent, random assignment studies of the BELL Summer program.   The studies demonstrated that students enrolled in BELL Summer increased their reading and math skills. 

·         In 2015, scholars gained 2-3 months’ of grade-level academic skills in the five- or six-week BELL Summer program.  As a result, they entered the next grade more ready to succeed.

·         In the 2015-2016 BELL After School program, scholars gained additional literacy and math skills.  As a result, scholars improved their mastery of concepts in literacy and math.

·         Improve Students’ Attitude Toward School and Engagement in Learning:  Last year, more than 80% of BELL scholars demonstrated an improved attitude toward school and learning.

·         Replicate with Quality:  BELL continues to serve additional scholars every year, while consistently meeting or exceeding the goal of scholars gaining one or more months of grade-level academic skills. 

·         Increase Parental Engagement:  Independent evaluation results show that parents of BELL scholars read more frequently with their children at home and attend more school-related events than parents of children who do not participate in BELL programs.

Growth Plan

BELL seeks to expand its impact to reach more scholars, schools, and communities, and to set the standard for quality and outcomes for extended learning programs throughout the country.  In the first phase of its growth plan (2007 – 2011), BELL expanded its programs to serve thousands of students across five states and developed a public-private partnership model, strong teams, and scalable systems to drive its next growth phase (2012 – 2014).  Now, to further advance its mission, BELL is raising the $16.8M in growth capital to reach at least 30,000 more students across more than 250 schools in nine states over the next three years.  Growth capital will enable BELL to pursue expanded enrollment, further increase its impact and evidence base, and strengthen its capacity as required for long-term sustainability.

In addition to its direct impact on students, families, and schools, BELL seeks to validate a new model for using extended learning experiences to increase student achievement and turn around low-performing schools.  The organization’s success will help unlock new public funding for evidence-based models and increase access for high-need students to the high-quality educational experiences currently unavailable in struggling communities.

BELL seeks to invest $16.8M in growth capital from 2012 – 2014 to achieve the following goals:

  • Sustainable Growth:  Expand  impact to reach an additional 30,000 students (total) over the next three years.  It seeks to establish its summer learning program in three new states, including North Carolina and California.  It also seeks to further expand its programs in current regions.  In doing so, it seeks to further increase student achievement, turn around low-performing schools, and advance long-term sustainability.  
  • Impact & Evidence Base:  Strengthen BELL programs and outcomes by adding science and health curricula to help students get ahead of the curve; generate additional, strong, and independent evidence of impact on student and school performance; and disseminate best practices to increase the quality of summer learning programs throughout the country.
  • Capacity:  Expand ability to deliver world-class programming at scale by leveraging information technology to refine core systems; strengthen communication activities;  and inform local and national efforts to strengthen summer learning policy.

Location of Sites

List of locations

To make a contribution to a program site:

  1. Click on the "Make a Contribution Now" button and include the name, city and state of the program you would like to support, in the "notes" text box on the organization's donation form, if available.
  2. If a "notes" or "designation" box is not available, write the city and state on your check in the "notes" section or call the national office to designate your contribution to a local program site.

Locations in the following states:

California

Massachusetts

Maryland

North Carolina

New York

Financials

Most Recent Budget

Year Ended:

2017

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$0
Foundation Grants: 
$7,452,456
Government Funding: 
$10,909,680
Contributions from Individuals: 
$475,000
Special Events: 
$0
Program Services Fees: 
$0
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$18,837,136

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$13,383,839
Occupancy: 
$412,763
Travel & Entertainment: 
$502,500
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$877,225
Telephone & Communications: 
$318,250
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$3,017,559
Other Expenses (Description): 

Total Expenses: 
$18,512,136

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain/Loss: 
$325,000

Prior Year Actuals

Year Ended:

2016

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$0
Foundation Grants: 
$7,412,697
Government Funding: 
$12,152,858
Contributions from Individuals: 
$580,915
Program Services Fees: 
$0
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$9,941
Special Events: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$20,156,411

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$14,191,677
Occupancy: 
$555,310
Travel & Entertainment: 
$505,701
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$813,119
Telephone & Communication: 
$357,856
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$3,412,308
Total Expenses: 
$19,835,971

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain / Loss: 
$320,440

Major Funders

Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

Leon Lowenstein Foundation

NewsCorp

New York Life Foundation

Scott Cook & Signe Ostby Foundation

Wallace Foundation