Give us a call:

1-408-806-9467

The Freedom School Story

The Children’s Defense Fund’s (CDF) Freedom Schools® program is a six-week long summer enrichment program with 3 hours of reading per day. The program helps children fall in love with reading, increases their self-esteem, cultivates positive attitudes toward learning, and reduces summer reading loss—one of the major challenges affecting poor and working-class children. With the help of a researched-based curriculum that is based on culturally responsive books that reflect their own images and caring and supportive college students that serve as teachers, Freedom Schools successfully address summer reading loss and a related decrease in students’ motivation to read.

 

In addition to offering high-quality academic enrichment, CDF Freedom Schools supports children and families in the areas of parent and family involvement, civic engagement and social action, intergenerational leadership development, and health -- physical, mental, and nutritional. With the support of caring adults and communities we will aid our children’s successful journey into adulthood.

The scholars we serve at the CDF Freedom Schools are primarily children who are members of underserved families. Attending our school is FREE for all families and children 5-18 are eligible. We create a fun learning environment in every classroom where the child-to-teacher ratio is 10:1.

The teachers at Freedom Schools, our next generation of leaders, are college students and recent college graduates. We invest in them by providing them training at the annual Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institute that is held at the CDF Alex Haley Farm in Clinton, Tenn. and at facilities in Knoxville, Tenn. We call our teachers Servant Leader Interns (SLIs) and the knowledge and experience they receive at the Training Institute prepares them well to teach the program and advocate for children.

Our site in East Knoxville will host 60 scholars, 6 Servant Leader Interns, and a Site Coordinator. Our Blount County site will have the same number of scholars and staff. The site at Maynard Elementary will host 50 scholars, 5 Servant Leader Interns, and a Site Coordinator. One Project Director will be responsible for all three sites. Scholars will have two meals and one snack per day, one field trip per week, and a variety of afternoon activities including robotics, STEM, money management, debate, financial literacy, public speaking, physical fitness, and art.

Kiara & Scholar.HEIC
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 Our Staff 

Executive Director: 

Denise J. Dean is passionate about and committed to the betterment of children. She uses her corporate experience and elementary teacher experience in service to creating a high-quality educational and developmental experience for your children. 


Freedom Schools Literacy Curriculum Consultant: 

Evetty Satterfield has championed youth for over 10 years! She holds a Special Ed degree from Alabama A&M University and a Masters in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. She has served in various capacity with Children's Defense Fund Freedom School for a total of 9 years. She believes that the key to educating our scholars are educators who are able to love our kids unconditionally and remove any and every barrier for them to achieve success.

Knox County - East Knoxville &

Blount County - Rockford

 

 

Site Coordinator:

T'Aisa Hobdley

 

 

 

TBD x 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Servant Leader Interns: 

 

 

Jamarcus Dunn


 

 

 

 

Naomi Shumpert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bessie Walker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia Watson 

 

 

 

TBD x 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Team & Site Test Managers (STM):

 

TBD

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Testimonials

SERVANT LEADER
INTERNS

SITE COORDINATORS

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Assessment

Data

Results

East TN

Freedom Schools®

  2022 Assessment Data



  • 84% of children, improved or maintained their 
    instructional reading level.

  • 100% of parents say 

      their child

  • is a better reader

  • has more confidence 

  • believes they can make a difference

  • 100% of parents say they

    • are more likely to volunteer in the community.

    • better understand how to help their child be successful.

    • will be more engaged in child's school work.
       

  • Children participated in social action to address Climate Crisis by planting fruit trees at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center.

East TN

Freedom Schools®

  2021 Assessment Data



  • 79% of children, improved or maintained their 
    instructional reading level.

  • 100% of parents say   their child

    • is a better reader.

    • has more confidence. 

    • believes they can make a difference.

    • has learned ways to resolve conflicts.
       

  • 100% of parents say they

    • better understand how to help their child be successful.

    • plan to be more engaged in my child’s school work next year.

  • Children participated in social action with a panel discussion on Youth Justice with School District leaders.

East TN

Freedom Schools®

  2019 Assessment Data



  • 86% of children, improved or maintained their 
    instructional reading level.

  • 90% of parents say their child 

    • is a better reader. 

    • believes they can make a difference.
       

  • 90% of parents say they

    • they will be more engaged in child's school work.
       

  • Children participated in social action Against Gun Violence and demonstrated self-empowerment.

East TN

Freedom Schools®

  2018 Assessment Data



  • 100% of children, improved or maintained their 
    instructional reading level.

     

  • 90% of parents say their child

    • has more confidence.

    • is more likely to vote.

    • is a better reader. 

    • believes they can make a difference.

    • will be more engaged in child's school work.

  • 90% of parents say they

    • better understand how to help their child be successful.

    • plan to be more engaged in my child’s school work next year.
       

  • Children participated in social action to increase Voter Participation and demonstrated self-empowerment.

East TN

Freedom Schools®

  2017 Assessment Data

  • 84% of children, improved or maintained their 
    instructional reading level.

     

  • 100% of parents say  their child

    • is a better reader.

    • has more confidence. 

    • is more likely to vote.

    • believes they can make a difference.

    • has learned ways to resolve conflict

  • 100% of parents say they

    • better understand how to help their child be successful.

    • will be more engaged in child's school work.
       

  • Children participated in social action by Protesting Against planned Cuts to SNAP/EBT with a  march on Gay Street & Market Square.

Kaitlyn
Sierra
Lexi