PROVIDENCE, R.I., March 17, 2017 –BELL was chosen by the city to provide a 5-week summer learning and enrichment program for 420 elementary students this year. This is BELL’s first summer program deployment in the state and instantly expands its footprint in the New England region.
According to the mayor’s press release, more than 60 percent of students in the city suffer summer learning loss in reading and more than 50 percent in math. Mayor Jorge Elorza described the city’s increased investment in summer learning as key to improving students’ academic and social emotional skills for lifelong learning and success.
“We must remember that students spend only 20 percent of their waking hours inside of a school. The other 80 percent of your time, you spend outside of the school and there’s as much proof from learning and growth in that 80 percent than the other 20 percent. So, we want to make sure we are investing in that.”
As he directly addressed middle-schoolers in attendance, the mayor described summer learning as an opportunity to get ahead in their classrooms and on their career paths. “We see it as an enrichment experience to add on to the greater experiences the students are getting throughout the school year. That’s why we are committing to increasing high-quality summer learning for youth across the city.”
After a highly-competitive selection process, BELL was selected along with three other non-profit organizations to provide the programs at no cost to families. BELL will deliver over 150 hours of extended learning, blending rigorous academics with engaging enrichment activities to help scholars make measurable academic gains. BELL will expose scholars to enrichment experiences to boost self-esteem and develop leadership, communication, and collaborative skills.
“Research tells us that summer learning loss is a real thing and a real problem,” Mayor Elorza said. “Many of our kids here in Providence fall behind during the summer months, because for one reason or another, our parents don’t have the same means to send our children to summer enrichment programs.”
The mayor also described the positive economic impact the summer programs will have on the Rhode Island economy. “As part of this initiative, we will work closely with our partners to create job opportunities for high school students as well. This summer, these programs will be hiring over 20 Providence public school department high school students to serve as teaching fellows and counselors to younger students.”