We have the brain. We have the mind. We’re smart, we’re strong, and we can do anything. We learned it in Freedom School. We can do it if we put our mind to it.
-CAMREN, CDF FREEDOM SCHOOL SCHOLAR
The CDF Freedom Schools program addresses the whole child by supporting their academic, social and emotional needs. A multiyear assessment of CDF Freedom Schools showed that the program has a statistically significant, positive effect on children’s reading skills, attitudes toward learning, and belief in themselves and in their ability to make a difference in the world around them.
The biggest cause of the achievement gap is summer learning loss. According to the National Summer Learning Association, summer learning loss during elementary school years accounts for two-thirds of the reading achievement gap between low-income children and their middle-income peers.
The CDF Freedom Schools prevent summer reading loss and narrow the achievement gaps. In 2021, most scholars (84%) maintained or gained instructional reading levels and did not experience summer learning loss; more than half improved their instructional reading levels by the end of the program.
Findings from studies of the impact of CDF Freedom Schools show that scholars gain an average of eight months of reading skills, with those entering the program below grade level achieving an astounding 1.2 years of reading gains.
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.
For children without access to books, summer reading loss can be 3x worse than the average.
Our scholars enjoy 3 Hours of instruction every day for the six-week program
On average, children have read 12.6 books during the participation in the CDF Freedom Schools program
During the 2022 summer, we sent home close to 3,000 books with our scholars to continue their journey of reading and learning!
Children showed positive changes in all five competencies of social and emotional learning (SEL) skills. Children responded that CDF Freedom Schools helped them to:
Accurately assess their strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a growth mindset.
Successfully regulate their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations.
Take the perspective of and empathize with others.
Communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, seek and offer help when needed.
Make constructive choices about personal behaviors and social interactions.
The CDF Freedom Schools program encourages scholars to embrace their cultural history and reinforces confidence in their abilities to create positive change in the world. CDF Freedom Schools scholars participate in book discussions and social action projects that address topics such as fairness, voting rights, education and health access, and conflict resolution.
As a result, CDF Freedom Schools surveys completed by scholars and their parents find that the children were ready to participate in social action, demonstrated self-empowerment, developed conflict resolution skills, and became more engaged in academic activities after participation in the CDF Freedom Schools programs.
Each year in July, CDF Freedom Schools scholars across the country unite for the National Day of Social Action.
GOALS FOR NATIONAL DAY OF SOCIAL ACTION:
The purpose is to let the children lead. Allow them to open the hearts and minds of adults for the purpose of listening to the voices of our children today.
The intersectionality of the topic(s) we are addressing and their impact on the community.
The topic(s) we are addressing to the community to persuade others to do their part.
Communities to support and prioritize justice related to our topic(s) because of its direct tie to children’s futures.