Learning can’t afford to take the summer off

Summer is a golden opportunity for under-resourced students. Access to the Freedom School experience can reduce or eliminate the academic achievement gap, a key factor in these students’ long-term success.

  • According to the National Summer Learning Association, summer learning loss during elementary school years accounts for two-thirds of the reading achievement gap between under-resourced children and their middle-income peers.
  • Most children in poverty are disproportionately affected, with cumulative reading losses of 2.5 to 3 months every summer, while their more affluent peers make slight gains.
  • According to research from Read Charlotte, if a child is not reading on grade level by the end of first grade, he or she has only about a 10% chance of reading on grade level by the end of fourth grade. Children who are not reading at grade level by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
  • Freedom School Partners focuses not only on academic progress, but character building, community engagement and health and wellbeing—serving the whole child, as well as supporting his or her family.

Students of color are hit the hardest by summer learning loss

  • In 2015, the average reading score for white students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 4th and 8th grade exam was 26 points higher than black students. Math scores were similar.
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students will average seven months of learning loss. But black students may fall behind by 10.3 months, Hispanic students by 9.2 months and low-income students by more than a year. Researchers estimate that this would exacerbate existing achievement gaps by 15 to 20 percent. (McKinsey & Company)

We are changing that story

Thanks to the commitment of our site partners, local organizations, businesses, community funders, volunteers and individuals, thousands of scholars have received essential educational and socio-emotional skills during the summer that help them throughout the school year. And the relationships formed through FSP lead to real, sustainable change and increased opportunities to develop social capital in every community we touch.

Partnerships are making a difference:

  • In 2020, multiple locations hosted the FSP 2020 R.E.S.P.O.N.S.E. (Reading and Enrichment for Scholars Plus Other Needed Supplies and Essentials) Program which served 1,200 scholars weekly.
  • In 2021, community partnerships sponsored 10 Freedom Schools across Charlotte and served scholars both in-person and in virtual classrooms.
  • In 2022, community partnerships sponsored 12 Freedom Schools throughout the Charlotte region, with the support of more than 1600 volunteers and 94 summer staff.

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Together, we can equip a generation of Charlotte-area scholars with the tools they need to succeed in school and in life. The good news is that we can all play a part. Donate to the mission. Volunteer your time. Register your students.