Beyond School Bells, part 1: Our mission

Over the course of six weeks, the Nebraska Children blog has invited Jeff Cole, Associate Vice President of School-Community Partnerships for Beyond School Bells, to write some guest posts sharing his program’s work.

NebraskaChildren_BSB_final_Jan2016Beyond School Bells (BSB) started 15 years ago with support from the Charles Stuart Mott Foundation. Since then, it’s grown into a multi-organization partnership – and a big part of Nebraska Children’s cradle-to-career approach to helping communities support Nebraska’s youth. It has been my honor to lead this work over the past nine years.

BSB recognizes that the hours outside of the school day are just as important as time spent in the classroom, whether it’s in the hours following the end of the school day or the loss of learning that occurs over the summer months.

Our goal, then, is to encourage partnerships, collaboration, and policies at the state and local levels that support high-quality, sustainable afterschool and summer programs – what we call Expanded Learning Opportunities, or ELOs – for youth living in some of our state’s most challenging educational environments. Through this work, our intended result is to help kids improve school attendance, positive behavior, and academic performance and become less likely to engage in high-risk behavior.

Recently, we developed a series of videos that we use to help explain these important programs, which I’ll be sharing over the course of my guest blog posts. The first video I’m highlighting provides an overview of BSB and our work promoting ELOs across the state. Watch it now:

With summer upon us, I also recommend checking out a second video that offers a deeper dive into summer learning loss: In 2014, we partnered with NET and its State of Education in Nebraska series to air a program focusing on summer learning. In this hour-long program, I facilitated a discussion with national and state leaders about the importance of summer learning programs. You can watch the whole episode here.

I hope you enjoy these videos and will check in with us over the next six weeks as we explore Beyond School Bells and its important work with developing the potential of every young person in our great state.

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation supports children, young adults and families at risk with the overall goal of giving our state's most vulnerable kids what they need to reach their full potential. We do this by building strong communities that support families so their children can grow up to be thriving, productive adults.

Posted in Middle Childhood, Uncategorized

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