Good afternoon! In this blog entry, I would like to share a wonderful program offered by our district Department of Educational Equity this past summer.
The Children's Defense Fund's Freedom Schools program was offered to scholars from our district schools. This program boosts student motivation to read, generates more positive attitudes toward learning, and connects the needs of children and families to the resources of their communities.
The CDF Freedom Schools model incorporates the totality of the Children's Defense Fund's mission by fostering environments that support children and young adults to excel and believe in their ability to make a difference in themselves and in their families, schools, communities, nation, and world. College age young adults are trained as servant leader interns to deliver the integrated reading curriculum (IRC) and adults are trained as site coordinators and project directors to provide supervision and administrative oversight.
CDF Freedom Schools program sites are safe and restorative learning spaces where:
- children are surrounded by caring adults and college age young adults from their community (at a classroom ratio of 1:10) who share their enthusiasm for learning and reading, and commit to serving them as authentic mentors;
- children read high quality books and are engaged in learning activities that are appropriate to their developmental needs and interests;
- each day begins with "Harambee!," a 30-minute activity to celebrate and affirm the value of each participant and prepare for work and learning ahead
- children receive two nutritious meals and a healthy snack each day in the summer model and nutritious snacks during the after-school program;
- parents are engaged as site volunteers and participate in weekly workshops on children’s developmental needs, civic responsibility, and other topics of interest;
- children are encouraged and supported to dream, set goals for themselves, and cultivate positive attitudes and high expectations;
- young people whose lives have been interrupted and impacted by crises receive consistent, daily service to better understand themselves, their situations, each other, and their potential; and
- families have access to free and high quality childcare
Those who participated in the Freedom Schools program offered by ISD 279 this past summer provided very positive feedback. It is program that deserves to be replicated in the months and years ahead.
Have a great weekend!