Innovation Lab


Our impact and innovation team is testing and refining new program and partnership features.  As we work with new schools and community organizations and adapt expanded learning to community needs, we build our expertise and capacity to better meet scholars' academic, social, and emotional development needs.  After developing innovations in our direct-service programs, we share knowledge and best practices so that partners can use them, too. 




english language learners

BELL trains partners to employ research-based instructional strategies and supports in order to  differentiate instruction for ELL scholars. 

Sheltered Instruction Framework:  Partners use BELL’s English Language Learner toolkit to scaffold instruction, which helps scholars complete tasks at their level, experience success in different ways, and become confident learners.

Clear Language Objectives:  Because language development is most profound when instruction combines the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, all four language objectives are practiced in an integrated manner every day.

Cultural Relevance:  Partners deliver culturally relevant and theme-based curriculum that draws upon scholars’ prior knowledge and background to connect learning to real-life. 

Cooperation:  Activities promote scholar interaction and support the development of language and learning of concepts and content. 



blended learning

BELL helps partners harness technology to supplement academic & enrichment activities with high-quality, personalized online curriculum options. 

Math Missions by Khan Academy supports the development of core mathematical skills and reinforce mathematical thinking.   

i-Read by Scholastic helps scholars in grades K-2 build a love of reading and foundational skills, and is a part of BELL’s grade-level reading approach. 

Reading A-Z helps scholars strengthen their phonics skills, fluency, and vocabulary

Vocabulary A-Z exercises scholars’ higher-level thinking skills using vocabulary strategies to discern word meaning. 

Raz-Kids makes reading accessible and fun for scholars through songs, nursery rhymes, and poetry in English & Spanish. 




coding with khan academy

We partnered with Khan Academy to bring Intro to JavaScript to summer learning programs across the country.  Over the course of the summer, scholars are introduced to computational thinking – how to solve problems by breaking them down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable problems.  The Khan Academy coding curriculum also allows scholars to work collaboratively in pairs, and has opportunities for scholars to have “free time” and use what they’ve learned to work on free-form coding projects.

Coding allows for reinforcement of math concepts, sharpens logic skills, and provides scholars with an opportunity to enhance their digital literacy.  By teaching coding, we are helping scholars participate in a global economy, become more comfortable with our new digital world, and challenge themselves to think about the world differently.  Scholars better understand the technology that they are using at home, at school, and on their phones and tablets.  By developing and testing their own coding skills, scholars also get a taste of a potential college or career path.