Joy Torchia, Kauffman Foundation
Ed Shelleby, CDF
Sarah Brewster, media relations representative
Evaluation Shows Program Improves Students' Reading Ability, Strengthens Relationships with Family and Community
KANSAS CITY, MO (Sept. 2, 2008) — Today, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation released the results of its multi-year evaluation of the Kansas City CDF Freedom Schools® Program providing concrete evidence that the CDF Freedom Schools model helps children achieve academically and improves their reading skills, develops strong character and strengthens their relationships with family and community. The evaluation, funded by the Kauffman Foundation and conducted independently by Philliber Research Associates, also demonstrated benefits to the teachers (servant-leader interns) and host sites of the program.
"We are proud to support the CDF Freedom Schools program," said Gloria Jackson, Kauffman Foundation program director. "The evaluation by the Philliber Research Associates only underscores why this program is so important and we are excited that we have been able to help the Kansas City CDF Freedom Schools program grow to 19 sites this year."
"We started the CDF Freedom Schools program in Kansas City in 1995 to do our part to ensure a level playing field for all children. These results validate that effort and prove that every step we take to improve the lives of children improves the lives of all of us," said Marian Wright Edelman, President of Children's Defense Fund."This success never would have been possible without the crucial and sustained financial support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The entire CDF Freedom Schools program, which now extends to 60 cities in 26 states, is indebted to their foresight and generosity."
The evaluation, which was conducted among the Kansas City-area CDF Freedom Schools over a three-year period between 2005 and 2007, found that:
- Students who participated in the Kansas City CDF Freedom Schools significantly improved their reading abilities when compared to students who did not participate in the program.
- Continued participation in the Kansas City CDF Freedom Schools program increases the impact on reading achievement: scholars who participated for at least three years increased their reading skills by 2.2 grade equivalents, compared to 1.4 for those who participated two years and 0.2 for those who participated only one year.
- Scholars demonstrate positive character development from participation in the program, in contrast with comparison students.
- Parents observed an improvement in scholars' attitudes towards learning, cultural appreciation, conflict resolution, responsibility and social adjustment.
The study included 18 CDF Freedom Schools sites in Kansas City, which enrolled a total of 3,274 children over the three-year period. Information was provided for 42 percent of the children or about 2,033 scholars.
The Children's Defense Fund is a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked for 35 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. Since 1995, the CDF Freedom Schools program has provided free summer and after-school reading and cultural enrichment programs for children across the country. Through partnerships with community-based organizations, foundations, local businesses and civic leaders, the program has provided culturally relevant and literacy-rich learning opportunities for more than 70,000 children. This year, the program operated in more than 60 cities serving nearly 9,000 students across the country.
With the Kauffman Foundation's support, Kansas City's first CDF Freedom School program began in 1995. In 2003, Kauffman supported the expansion of the CDF Freedom Schools program, increasing the number of schools initially in Kansas City from three to seven, and helped fund efforts to strengthen the CDF Freedom Schools program nationally. In March 2004, the Foundation made a multi-million-dollar commitment to have 20 CDF Freedom Schools programs operating in Kansas City by 2008.
The vision of the Kauffman Foundation is to foster "a society of economically independent individuals who are engaged citizens, contributing to the improvement of their communities." Its support of the CDF Freedom Schools program is part of its multi-million dollar commitment to math, engineering, technology and science education in the Kansas City area.
About the CDF Freedom Schools
Inspired by the civil rights activities of the 1964's Freedom Summer, CDF Freedom Schools
are an inventive, creative approach to summer educational enrichment designed to serve children in urban communities. The schools use teaching techniques that nurture both the mind and the spirit, and feature an activity-based curriculum that strongly emphasizes reading, writing, multi-generational mentoring, and leadership. For more information about the Kansas City CDF Freedom Schools
Initiative, visit: www.kcfreedomschools.com or call the program office at 816-231-9669. For more information about the national CDF Freedom Schools
program, visit: www.childrensdefense.org/site/PageNavigator/Freedom_Schools