Young Warriors Summer Learning Program

Our summer program emphasizes personal and intellectual growth in grades K-8. The structured program includes a variety of instruction in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), with in-class activities, creative arts enrichment, and off-campus trips. Both in and out of class, students are encouraged to try new things, adopt healthy lifestyles, consider different points of view, and take an active role in a community that celebrates learning and values inclusion.

The summer program is based on the following guidance:

STAAR Curriculum

Beginning in spring 2012, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAARTM) replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). STAAR assessments have been designed to focus on readiness standards, which are defined as Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that are not only essential for success in the current grade or course, but also important for preparedness in the next grade or course. STAAR measures the academic performance of students as they progress from elementary to middle and high school.

Project-Based Learning (PBL)

Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they are studying. Research has proven that PBL students remember content for longer periods of time and are better prepared at problem solving. Students perform better in tasks that emphasize understanding and application of knowledge, rather than simple regurgitation techniques. Unfortunately, many struggling public schools have not been able to implement this progressive education technique in the classroom. Because of this, students continue to fall behind in this country's great education divide.

McSherry-Jones Model of Innovative Science Instruction

While arts instruction is being de-emphasized in the public school curriculum, the McSherry-Jones model of innovative science education suggests that using creative arts in a structured science curriculum is the key to restoring students' curiosity and love for science. McSherry-Jones concluded that imagination is the greatest tool for memorization. Giving students the chance to be creative while providing a core science curriculum is a win-win in the classroom.

Freedom School Philosophies and Core Beliefs

The core beliefs and educational philosophy that guide Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools programs are:

  • All children are capable of learning and achieving at high standards.
  • Culture and community conditions influence child learning.
  • Appreciation and knowledge of one's culture engenders self worth and the ability to live in community with others.
  • Education, teachers, and mentors are transformative agents.
  • Literacy is essential to personal empowerment and civic responsibility.
  • Effective teaching requires planning, creativity, and implementation, with reflection and processing.
  • Learning communities that offer a sense of safety, love, caring, and personal power are needed for transformative education.
  • Classroom discipline and management are integral parts of instructional practice.
  • Parents are crucial partners in children's learning and need supports to become better parents.
  • As citizens, children and adults have the power to make a difference in their communities and be advocates for themselves.

At CDF Freedom Schools programs, children are valued, celebrated, and given opportunities to learn the pleasure of reading and improve their ability to read, while connecting to their culture, developing self-discipline, having fun, and participating in community service and social action. CDF Freedom Schools programs are nurturing environments that promote children's strengths and abilities; and are not remedial nor oriented around a child deficit model.

CDF Freedom Schools programs are living monuments to the heroes and heroines who worked to achieve the promise of Brown v. Board of Education. Well run enrichment programs like CDF Freedom Schools boost the academic achievement of low-income and minority students; and help prepare them to compete in academically strong and diverse student populations.