Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL)

An Evidence-Based Practice


Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL) was established to provide low-income children with learning opportunities during the summer months, when many disadvantaged students fall behind in their academic progress. BELL targets not only educational achievement but also social and emotional development, by introducing students to positive role models and mentors, encouraging parental engagement, and building participants' self-esteem.

Today, the BELL Summer program provides educational experiences 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 5-6 weeks over the summer. Students participate in math and literacy classes, physical activities, community service projects, field trips, and guest speaker series. BELL has also expanded to offer the BELL After School program, which provides students with intensive individualized instruction in math and literacy. The After School program engages students for 2.5 hours a day, 3-5 days a week, for up to 30 weeks.

Goal / Mission

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

Results / Accomplishments

A random assignment study of the effectiveness of BELL found that participating students gained about a month's worth of reading skills compared to their non-participating counterparts, a statistically significant achievement (p=0.04). The program is also associated with statistically significant increases in how often parents encouraged their children to read (p=0.04) and how often parents read books to their children (p=0.02).

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Experience Bell
60 Clayton Street
Dorchester, MA 02122
(617) 282-1567
Education / Student Performance K-12
Education / School Resources
Child Trends
Date of publication
Aug 2006
Date of implementation
Geographic Type
Selected communities in the U.S.
For more details
Target Audience