by Christine Morin, Chief Growth & External Affairs Officer, City Year and Partheev Shah, Vice President, Partner Solutions, BellXcel
As students across the country head back to school, they are returning to the classrooms having lost, on average, one month’s worth of learning. This challenge is even worse for children living in areas of concentrated poverty who lose approximately two months of reading skills. In fact, two-thirds of our country’s ninth-grade achievement gap in reading is due to summer learning loss. The cumulative effect of summer learning loss is holding back too many children from achieving their potential in school and in life—a loss for not just these students, but for our country’s future.
City Year and BellXcel are developing a new collaborative partnership because we know that for students to succeed in the classroom and beyond, they need access to engaging and rigorous opportunities for academic and social-emotional growth throughout the entire year. BellXcel has a longstanding track record of providing high-quality summer learning programs, and City Year has decades of experience providing academic and social emotional supports for students throughout the school year. Individually, we have delivered strong results for students and schools. Together, we know that we can achieve even more.
Both BellXcel and City Year understand that learning happens through relationships and that students thrive when they feel supported and connected to their learning community. Our organizations share the foundational belief that every child can succeed; at the same time, we recognize that the support delivered by our individual organizations can’t fully meet all the needs of our students. We are building a partnership to better serve students, families and schools who otherwise may not have access to quality learning opportunities during the summer months.
In spring 2018, City Year AmeriCorps members in Boston and Providence connected with students and families to ensure that they were aware of the opportunity to participate in BellXcel’s evidence-based summer program. BellXcel Summer engages students, called scholars within the BellXcel program, in pre-K to eighth grades in immersive, full-day learning experiences. Its program model combines academics with fun hands-on enrichment activities, field trips and service projects to build a wide range of academic and social-emotional skills, which improve school-readiness and instill a love of learning.
City Year is working to ensure that the students most in need “grow up with City Year,” receiving the necessary academic and social-emotional supports as they progress from elementary to middle to high school. Through a partnership between City Year and BellXcel, our hope is that students attending high-need public schools can harness the summer months to build on the critical skills developed with support from City Year AmeriCorps members and teachers during the regular academic year. By improving access to enriching learning and engagement opportunities throughout the calendar year, students will be better positioned to start each school year strong and ready to succeed.
We look forward to sharing learnings from our early work together and uncovering the right combination of year-round supports that will help students to develop the mindsets and skills needed to thrive throughout their academic and life journeys.
Partheev Shah joined BellXcel in 2016 to lead its expansion efforts, designing business development strategies and enlisting new partners to deliver BellXcel Summer and Afterschool across the nation. Prior to BellXcel, Partheev was at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, where he assisted grantees in developing and executing growth plans, improving program quality, and strengthening organizational capacity. Partheev also spent three years as a management consultant at Huron Consulting Group, advising higher education and healthcare clients on operational and strategic issues. Partheev earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
Christine Morin is Chief Growth and External Affairs Officer at City Year where she leads the enterprise-wide integration of City Year’s growth, scaled revenue strategies and marketing & communications. In this role, she is focused on ensuring that City Year is resourced and positioned to scale its impact to significantly increase the number of students on track to high school graduation, prepared for college and career. Prior to City Year, Christine served as the founding Director of the International House of Blues Foundation- Orlando, an arts education program for middle and high school students, and she was the Art Administrator for House of Blues. Christine earned her Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and Bachelors in Sociology from Florida State University.
Editorial Note: This post was originally posted in September 2018. It was updated on March 28, 2019.