Celebrating the success of the local Excel Beyond the Bell program, County Executive Isiah Leggett today joined Montgomery County Recreation, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and the Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families at the Germantown Community Recreation Center to highlight accomplishments of the program introduced in the fall of 2011 as part of Leggett’s Positive Youth Development initiative.
Due to its success to date, Leggett has proposed expanding the program to include summer programming and an additional school in the fall. It currently operates in five middle schools – Argyle (Wheaton), Roberto Clemente and Neelsville (Germantown), Forest Oak (Gaithersburg) and Loiderman (Silver Spring). The program operates four days a week at three of the schools and two days a week at two schools. The long-range plan is to expand to all 38 middle schools in the County.
“Our partnership with the Collaboration Council and MCPS ensures that our students have the extra enrichment they need in a safe, nurturing environment after the academic school day ends,” said Leggett. “This very successful program has served more than 750 youth during the 2012-13 school year, and our ultimate goal is to make it available in every middle school in Montgomery County.”
The Excel Beyond the Bell partnership is charged with creating a system of high quality out-of-school time programs in the County that leads to academic success and positive youth development. Under the program, students receive after-school recreational and social programming, academic support, hot nutritional meals and bus transportation home. Excel Beyond the Bell is open to any student from the five participating schools. Activities include recreation; career exploration; leadership and civic engagement; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education; creative arts; and health and wellness.
Following are some of the highlights of this year’s Excel Beyond the Bell program:
• More than 760 youth from five middle schools participated in out-of-school activities that included designing and building cars and lie detectors, drawing their favorite heroes and heroines, participating in cooking contests, performing onstage through dance and theatre productions, and developing team spirit through sports.
• In recognition of providing quality STEM after-school programming in Maryland, two Argyle Middle School students were invited to be youth ambassadors and present on Capitol Hill about the importance of after-school programs at the “Breakfast of Champions” event hosted by the Afterschool Alliance.
• To learn more about cyber bullying, more than 100 families from Clemente Middle School recently participated in the IBM-sponsored Family Night for children and families.
• More than 36,800 hot meals have been served so far this year to these and other students participating in out-of-school time programs.
In addition to the celebration at the Germantown Recreation Center, a second celebration will take place on May 7 at 6 p.m. at the Mid-County Community Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Rd., Silver Spring. Both celebrations feature activities that highlight the year-long student accomplishments, a proclamation presentation, and a recognition and awards ceremony.
For more information about the Excel Beyond the Bell program, call 240-777-6870 or visit www.excelbeyondthebell.org.
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