Freedom Schools are best understood in the context of the long struggle for freedom, voting rights, and quality education that began during slavery utilizing alternative education methodologies.
- The Hannah Freedom School is a full day six-week summer literacy enriichment program for low income children of color in grades 2-8. Begun in conjunction with Cornerstone Community Church, the program currently operates out of Bayside MLK Academy in Marin City, but is open to children from throughout Marin. Because of its proven effectiveness in increasing reading proficiency and motivating children to become excited about learning, Hannah is exploring ways that the Freedom School model might be incorporated into schools year round.
What makes freedom school so effective?
High Quality Academic Enrichment
Because Freedom Schools believe that reading is the key to unlocking a child's potential , reading and language arts are at the heart of the Freedom School experience. Using an integrated reading curriculum, Freedom Schools devote the entire morning to exploring award winning culturally rich literature to help children fall in love with reading and stave off summer reading loss.
Hannah Freedom School scholars are taught by college-age interns. Referred to as Servant Leader Interns,. SLIs come together in Tennessee with 2,500 other youth leaders from around the country to attend the Ella Baker Child Policy Institute where they develop teaching skills and awareness of issues surrounding their local community. SLIs act as learning facilitators and mentors to children who are anxious to interact with instructors that look like them.
Emphasis on Culture, History, and Social Justice
Culture, history, and social justice are emphasized in the books and literature used in the Integrated Reading Curriculum (IRC). Activities and field trips are used to reinforce lessons introduced during IRC. Hannah Freedom School wants students to see themselves in the reading material and know that they too can make a difference.
Parents as Learning Partners
Freedom Schools recognize parents as important partners in educating their children. Parents are expected to participate in school activities and attend weekly workshops to learn more about successful parenting, setting and achieving family goals, and becoming advocates for their children's education.
Small Class Size
All Freedom Schools are required to maintain a 1:10 teacher pupil ratio. We believe the small class size, a research- based curriculum, and a culturally responsive approach, all contribute to helping children improve reading fluency and comprehension.
From the high energy morning assembly known as Harambee that is replete with singing, cheers, chants, and affirmations, to the afternoon activities that include art, music, STEM, sports, performance arts, and more, Freedom Schools make learning an exciting and fun experience.
Children who maintained or gained instructional reading levels and did not experience learning loss.
Children who Increased instructional reading level by six months or more.
SLIs who enter education related careers after working at Hannah Freedom School.