Freedom School is a summer program that supports scholars and their families through five essential components: high quality academic and character-building enrichment; parent and family involvement; civic engagement and social action; intergenerational servant leadership development; and nutrition, health, and mental health (Children’s Defense Fund). Freedom School encourages all scholars to excel and believe in their ability to make a difference in themselves and in their families, schools, communities, country, and world with hope, education, and action (Children’s Defense Fund).
Freedom School empowers scholars with rich, culturally relevant activities and high-quality books that instills in them a love of reading to help them avoid summer learning loss, while deepening scholars’ understanding of themselves and all they have in common with others (Children Defense Fund).
Each one of our Freedom School sites serves a particular school or community area. Please click here to learn if your child attends one of the schools or lives in one of the communities that we traditionally serve. Each site provides an inviting environment for scholars. A traditional Freedom School site has a fellowship area for scholars to gather for group activities such as Harambee!, meals, and some afternoon enrichment activities; and classrooms for scholars to participate in morning curriculum activities.
Each Freedom School classroom is decorated to create a fun and encouraging atmosphere to promote the overall Freedom School theme of, “I can make a difference.” Each day, the classroom’s lesson information, which includes the focus skill and objectives, is posted for scholars to review.
Site Coordinator (SC) – Leader of overall site logistics.
Site Administrative Intern (SAI) – Administrative and classroom support.
Servant Leader Intern (SLI) – Classroom leader.
Jr. Servant Leader Intern (JSL) – (Not available at all sites) – Additional site and classroom support.
Freedom School scholars begin their day with Harambee!. Harambee! is a Kiswahili term that means “pull together,” It is a chance for scholars and staff to get the day started with enthusiasm. Harambee! includes: a read aloud with a community reader (parents/guardians are welcome to serve as a community reader), a motivational song, cheers and chants, and announcements.
The IRC is a culturally responsive curriculum developed by the Children’s Defense Fund. The goal of the curriculum is to help readers and non-readers fall in love with the books (Children’s Defense Fund). It includes weekly activities to help staff and scholars reflect on the following weekly themes: Self, Family, Community, Country, World, and With Hope, Education and Action (Children’s Defense Fund).
We welcome scholars who have completed kindergarten through eighth grade. We are currently unable to provide Freedom School to rising kindergarten students. We provide scholars with an inclusive, safe-place filled with cultural and literacy rich summer fun.
Our college-level interns, Servant Leader Interns (SLIs), are trained intensely on the Freedom School curriculum, classroom management and conflict resolution. However, we do not provide professional teaching certifications to our SLIs. If parent(s) believe their child(ren) with a severe physical, mental, or emotional/behavior condition might not be the best fit for this program, we can provide a list of alternate summer programs that best fits their needs.
Previous scholars who have aged out of the Freedom School summer program and are now in high school may be eligible to participate in the Freedom School Partners (FSP) Academy. FSP Academy is a program that engages high school students with previous Freedom School experience in a year-round developmental program focused on:
Leadership, professional, and character development
Post high school navigation, college readiness and career preparation
Scholars in Freedom School are separated according to level. Level Is are currently in grades K-2, Level IIs are currently in grades 3-5, and Level IIIs are currently in grades 6-8. Classrooms and field trips/afternoon enrichment activities are separated according to these levels.