MCPS Officials and Councilmember Navarro to Visit Weller Road Elementary School

WellerRoadElementaryMontgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Jack Smith, School Board President Michael Durso, and County Councilmember Nancy Navarro will visit Weller Road Elementary School in Silver Spring on Wednesday to assess the impact of the “Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL)” program.

According to a news release, the BELL program is a public-private funded data driven summer program that addresses the knowledge gap that happens during the summer months. The program is the first of its kind in the County focusing on second and third grade students.

Councilmember Navarro was “instrumental” in creating the public-private partnership between County leaders, MCPS, and the Norman R. and Ruth Rales Foundation, as well as the BELL Program, the news release stated.

“As a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and a former member of the Montgomery County Board of Education, I know that the ‘summer slide’ is real,”  Councilmember Navarro said. “Programs that reach children during out-of-school time and provide wrap-around services are essential to close the achievement gap. BELL provides students with a holistic program that not only spurs educational achievement, but also provides enrichment activities and emphasizes health and nutrition. I’m excited to see the first class of BELL scholars in Montgomery County. I look forward to tracking their success,” she said.

The five-week summer program includes MCPS certified teachers and teaching assistants. The main focus is literacy, math, and hands-on experiences. Students also participate in family activities, field trips, and learning opportunities. Breakfast and lunch are also provided. The program costs $1,430 per student and a special appropriation of $750,750 funds half the program. Funding from the Rales Foundation and other financial contributions fund the other half and will allow more than 1,000 MCPS students to participate in the program.

“The Board of Education appreciates the County Council’s and the Rales Foundation’s unwavering commitment to the students of Montgomery County Public Schools,” School Board President Durso said. “Productive partnerships like this ensure that our students receive the resources and support they need to excel academically and socially,” he said.

Officials say that the BELL Program will serve 4,200 students over four years.


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About Maureen Chowdhury

Maureen Chowdhury is a multimedia journalist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at and on Twitter at @MediaMaureen. Maureen authors the blog Sound Check on MyMCMedia.


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