Let Freedom Ring
The Children's Defense Fund's Freedom School™ is a six-week summer educational program for school-age children. Staffed by college-age interns, the CDF Freedom Schools program provides a supportive learning environment for children—who are referred to in the program as "scholars"—with a curriculum that emphasizes reading, writing, mentoring, leadership, and conflict resolution.
CDF Freedom Schools represent one of the innovative programs the Kauffman Foundation has committed to revitalize and bring to scale so it will have a much wider reach and produce dramatic results. With Kauffman support, Kansas City's first CDF Freedom School program opened in 1995. The Kansas City movement has grown to be recognized by the Children's Defense Fund as the most successful CDF Freedom School initiative in the nation.
In 2003, Kauffman supported the expansion of CDF Freedom Schools, increasing the number of schools in Kansas City from three to seven. In addition, the Foundation funded efforts to strengthen training, dissemination, and sustainability for all CDF Freedom Schools nationally through the Children's Defense Fund in Washington, D.C. In March 2004, the Foundation made a multi-million-dollar commitment to have twenty Freedom Schools operating in Kansas City by 2008.
Available in twenty states, CDF Freedom Schools are modeled after the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964, when the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee began teaching at schools as part of the movement for civil rights and voter registration. As part of the Freedom Summer initiative, activists created 30 "Freedom Schools" in Mississippi, taught by college students and using a curriculum focused on reading, arithmetic, black history and the philosophy of social change.
In 2004, CDF Freedom Schools received the nation's first Excellence in Summer Learning Award presented by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning. The award recognizes individuals and organizations working to improve the quality and availability of summer learning opportunities for young people.
CDF Freedom School Core Values
CDF Freedom Schools strive to realize a vision based upon the following core values:
- All children can learn when they are nurtured and taught by knowledgeable and caring adults who believe in them and are committed to sharing the joys of learning.
- Children must be listened to, treated with respect, and offered opportunities to learn about their rich culture and heritage.
- Reading is one of several keys that unlocks the door to a child's potential.
- Parents are vital partners in their children's education.
|Growth of CDF Freedom Schools in Kansas City
|Multi-million-dollar Kauffman grants have allowed the number of CDF Freedom Schools in Metropolitan Kansas City to increase from three in 2002 to seven in 2003, with a goal of twenty projected by 2009. As a result, thousands of children will have access to academic enrichment programming during the summer.