Partnership aims to stop summer learning loss

Local YMCA and BELL to launch Holistic Summer Learning Program

NASHUA – YMCA of Greater Nashua is partnering with national educational nonprofit organization, Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL), and the YMCA of the USA on the Power Scholars Academy, a summer program that expands learning time to improve the academic achievements, self-confidence and life trajectories of elementary school students in Nashua who are performing below grade level.

The program runs from July 9 to Aug. 10 at Amherst Street Elementary, Fairgrounds Elementary and Nashua High School South.

BELL-powered programs such as this are designed to prevent summer learning loss, the greatest contributor to the achievement gap. The program is a holistic summer learning experience that blends rigorous literacy and math instruction with hands-on enrichment, social emotional development, and community engagement.

The program is powered by BELL’s comprehensive, evidence-based solution that youth organizations and school districts use to design, deliver, and measure elementary school summer and afterschool learning programs.

“We are grateful for the vision and passion of the Nashua School District leadership in partnering with the YMCA and BELL to make summer a time of learning and enrichment for kids in the city of Nashua. Together, we are going to help hundreds of students get on a path towards success,” YMCA Chief Operating Officer Joseph Manzoli said.

“I am extremely excited and elated about this partnership. The Y offers a robust academic program that will enhance our students social, emotional, and academic well-being,” school Superintendent Jahmal Mosley added.

In 2017, nearly 7,500 scholars participated in PSA in 28 states and Washington, D.C. More than 157,000 children have been served by BELL-powered programs since 1992. Evaluation results showed enrolled students gained an average of two months in literacy skills and three months in math skills. More than 94 percent of PSA teachers reported higher self-confidence among scholars, while 88 percent of parents reported that their child now has a better ability to overcome challenges.

“Increasing access to high-quality learning experiences beyond the school year helps scholars get ahead when they return to school in the fall, instead of falling behind,” BELL CEO Lauren Sanchez Gilbert said. “We are honored by this opportunity to expand learning time and empower more scholars, parents and educators this summer.”

An estimated 7.5 million elementary school students from underserved communities are performing significantly below grade level, while up to two-thirds of the academic achievement gap is due to lack of access to summer learning programs.