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BELL Recognized for Blended Learning Project of the Year by Training Magazine

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BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) |

BOSTON – December 10, 2008 – BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) has been recognized by Training Magazine for developing the Blended Learning and Performance Project of the Year for its e-learning and professional development program. The honor was given as part of the magazine’s Technology in Action (TIA) Awards, which were the feature in its November/December issue as well as the focus of a November awards program in San Jose, California. Rolled-out in June 2008, the BELL program represents a best-of-breed, integrated training program that helped BELL train summer teachers and teacher’s assistants in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner. BELL provides summer and afterschool tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programs to students in under-resourced communities. BELL’s students, called scholars, gain an average of five months of academic skills during the summer program; and 100 percent of students in the afterschool program advance to higher levels of proficiency. Due to the nature of school calendars, BELL has a very small window of time in which to recruit and train a geographically-dispersed staff of new teachers and teacher’s assistants. The training team, led by Matthea Marquart and Zora Rizzi, devised the e-learning and professional development program to enable staff to master foundational content and concepts via a Web-based training tool; with a subsequent in-person training delivered by the training team. Prior to their in-person training, teachers and teacher’s assistants were required to complete 13 e-learning modules. The Web-based trainings introduced BELL’s program, policies and curricula while providing content specific to each of BELL’s geographic regions. Using text, graphics, animations and audio and video content, the e-learning program challenged learners with scenarios and quizzes based on real-life situations that have occurred in prior years of BELL’s summer program. In the subsequent classroom training, trainers built on the participants’ prior knowledge from the e-learning activities to provide opportunities for participants to demonstrate their knowledge, clarify any questions, create learning communities, and provide participants with the opportunity to put what they had learned into context. BELL prides itself on the rigorous instructional program and assessment methods we use in our classrooms, said Dr. Tiffany Cooper Gueye, CEO of BELL. It is absolutely essential that we prepare our teachers and teacher’s assistants with the best training possible, helping them develop and hone the skills necessary to meet the challenges in the classroom as we strive to help every child reach their full potential in life. Not only was the new e-learning program very effective in meeting the needs of teachers and teacher’s assistants, but it also proved to be a very cost-effective initiative. By reducing the number of days needed for classroom training from three days to one day, the online training program reduced the cost of classroom training by two thirds; yielding savings on trainers’ time, training facility rentals, catering and printing. The development of BELL’s e-learning system was funded by several capacity-building grants, and was made possible by the generous support of several foundations and individuals, including The Atlantic Philanthropies and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Because the development of the program was a one-time cost funded by a capacity-building grant rather than the organization’s operating budget, this was an extremely cost-effective project. As a nonprofit organization, one of our greatest commitments is to ensure that our resources are dedicated primarily to serving the needs of our scholars, said Gueye. The development of this blended learning solution exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit of BELL, as the team created a cost-efficient solution that enabled us to give our staff a robust professional development opportunity. I am incredibly proud of their efforts. About BELL BELL, founded in 1992, is one of the nation’s leading providers of quality afterschool and summer educational programs. It is committed to enhancing the educational achievements, self-esteem and life opportunities of children living in under-resourced communities. BELL serves more than 12,000 children annually in schools throughout Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, New York City and Springfield, Mass. Please visit for more information.

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BELL, Building Educated Leaders for Life