Beyond School Bells (BSB) is an initiative of Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (NCFF). The mission of NCFF is to create positive change for Nebraska’s children through community engagement. As Nebraska's Statewide Afterschool Network (SAN), BSB focuses on supporting Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) for children in grades K-12 across Nebraska, which provide hands-on, engaging learning opportunities for students outside of the regular school day.
Why Go Beyond?
The research is clear – when young people regularly participate in high-quality Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs), we see improvements in the core A, B, Cs of school success:
Attendance goes up
Positive Behaviors increase (and negative behaviors go down), and
Course work (and grades) improve.
Expanded learning opportunities (ELOs) have the potential to be the great equalizer in American education. Regular participation in high quality before and afterschool learning, and enriching summer school programs have been shown to help low-income students succeed academically on par with their more affluent peers. These programs, characterized by strong school-community partnerships, can also help high-performing students stay engaged and achieve even greater levels of understanding. In short, high-quality ELOs are for everyone - and the benefits they create are critical to Nebraska's future economy. ELOs don’t replace the traditional school day, but bring in a second shift of caring adults to enhance that learning, help students who need extra attention thrive and enrich the experience for students who crave more than an 8-3 day can give them. Beyond School Bells is dedicated to improving access to and quality in Nebraska’s ELO programs by building partnerships and addressing state and local policy that affects these vital initiatives. We watch the national scene, make recommendations, pull the right people to the table, and support ELO system-builders and educators as they strive to build an educational system that better serves all Nebraskans.