The Center for Adolescent Literacies is co-hosting Teaming Up for Literacy with the United Way of Central Carolinas and the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 from 9 a.m. to noon at UNC Charlotte. Adult Mentors/Tutors will participate in literacy training led the Center and children will participate in the Play 60 obstacle course presented by the Panthers. We will come together at the end to kickoff summer reading!
This summer marks the fifth year that the Center for Adolescent Literacies at UNC Charlotte will conduct research of the Freedom School programs in Charlotte, North Carolina. This work began in 2009 with a two-site pilot study followed by a 10-site study in 2010, a 15-site study in 2011, and a 10-site evaluation in 2012. Additionally, the Center led a study at the Freedom School site in Bennettsville, South Carolina in 2010. This evaluation examines the program’s effect on the reading performance of K-8 students (Scholars) served by Freedom School Partners in Charlotte, and has consistently shown that the majority of student Scholars in enrolled in the program maintain or grow in their ability to read.
Created by the Children’s Defense Fund, the Freedom Schools program engages children in grades K-122 in a six week summer program designed to prevent the “learning loss” that students (known as Scholars in the program) typically experience over the months when school is not in session, as well as to have a positive impact on children’s character development, leadership, and community involvement. The CDF Freedom Schools program provides enrichment with the stated goals of “helping children fall in love with reading, increase[ing] their self-esteem, and generate[ing] more positive attitudes toward learning.” CDF reports that more than 80,000 children have participated in Freedom School programs since its inception in 1995. In the Summer, 2012, there were approximately 11,500 Scholars in Freedom School programs in 83 cities and 25 states including Washington D.C.
In Charlotte, CDF Freedom Schools are hosted by Freedom School Partners, a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1999 that is dedicated to serving at-risk students and families living in poverty. FSP’s mission is to “engage, educate and empower children to succeed in school and in life through quality, year-round educational enrichment programs.” Freedom School Partners began hosting Freedom Schools programs in 2004 at one location serving 100 scholars. Through nine years of growth, in 2013, Freedom Schools expanded to 19 sites. FSP partners with community groups, faith-based organizations, colleges and universities, and corporations, which provide volunteer and financial support.
K-8 Reading Performance Research
This research builds on a pilot evaluation study conducted during the summer 2009. The 2009 study showed that approximately 57% of Scholars grew in their ability to read as measured by the Frustration level of the Basic Reading Inventory (BRI; Johns, 2008), while 29% maintained their reading proficiency and just under 14% declined in reading proficiency. Summer 2010 and 2011 findings extended that research and the findings were similar in nature. Nearly 90% of Freedom School Scholars grew or maintained in their ability to read as measured by the BRI. Furthermore, important data was gathered in 2010 regarding students’ attitudes towards the reading component of Freedom School with the overwhelming majority demonstrating positive attitudes towards the program (as determined in an analysis of the Scholar interviews). Data from the summer 2012 evaluation shows that 63% of Scholars showed gains as measured by the BRI while 29% maintained and 8% declined.
This summer marks the fifth year that the Center for Adolescent Literacies will conduct research on the reading performance of K-8 students in the Freedom School programs in Charlotte. A team of assessors will conduct pre- and post-assessments at 10 Freedom School sites in Charlotte. In addition to this ongoing research, the Center is conducting two additional studies. This work is led by Dr. Bruce Taylor and Dr. Crystal Glover of the Center for Adolescent Literacies.
Level IV High School Study
Freedom School Programs is piloting a Level IV Freedom School program for high school students at the UNC Charlotte site. The Level IV program will engage approximately 10 students in grades nine through 12 in reading and literacy activities but also help them develop leadership skills. The research will examine the Level IV Scholars perceptions and experiences with the program through interviews with the Scholars. It will also include interviews and surveys of the program leaders. This study is led by Dr. Adriana Medina of the Center.
Freedom School Intern Research
In July, 2013, the Center will launch a new facet of the Freedom School research by investigating the impact of the program on those who serve as interns (known in the program as Servant Leader Interns). Most interns are college students, and this research will examine how serving as a Freedom School intern influences their thinking about college, choice of degree programs, and career choices. This research will include a survey and will be followed with selected interviews and case studies of interns who enter the teaching profession to see how their work as interns influenced their decision to enter the teaching profession and their teaching practices. This research will be conducted by Dr. Bruce Taylor, Dr. Susan Harden and Dr. Crystal Glover.
The Service Learning 101 Professional Development Workshop is hosted by the UNC Charlotte Urban Youth and Communities Minor program faculty and the Center for Adolescent Literacies. The workshop is for small teams from partner schools and, as space allows, teachers from other schools. Schools are invited to bring a five-member team of up to five teachers and school leaders to learn about implementing service learning to engage and support student learning at their schools. Participants will receive $100 stipends in addition to workshop materials, lunch, and certificates of participation from the Center for Adolescent Literacies.
Evan Goldberg, the Coordinator for Service-Learning, School Safety, Mock Trial and Civic Engagement at the Alameda County Office of Education, located in the east San Francisco Bay, will lead the workshop. Mr. Goldberg has managed a number of service-learning, school safety, and character education initiatives, including two School Community Violence Prevention grants, Project Heart, Head, Hands.
The Center for Adolescent Literacy is partnering with the United Way of Central Carolinas and The Carolina Panthers for this tutor/mentor partner event. Project 1,000 tutors and mentors along with the children with whom they work will join us at UNC Charlotte on June 18 between 9 a.m. and noon. The kids will work with the Panthers while the tutors and mentors participate in training. Details coming soon.
The Center for Adolescent Literacies at UNC Charlotte has partnered with the United Way of Central Carolinas to provide training to tutors, mentors, and readers in the Project 1,000 initiative. Recognizing that students spend just 20% of their time in the classroom and 80% outside the classroom, the United Way understands the role that afterschool and out-of-school efforts play in children’s academic success. Visit the Project 1,000 website for more information about how to get involved.