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PROPOSAL
SUBMITTED BY REQUEST TO
FIRST NIAGRA
EXPANDING CHILDRENS DEFENSE FUND FREEDOM
SCHOOL MODELS:
INCREASING AVAILABIL...
November 20, 2007
PROPOSAL
Submitted to: Interim Superintendent William Calla
Rochester Central School District (RCSD)
Submitted by: North E...
We also want to make clear that the lack of after-school enrichment programs is not
unique to Rochester – it’s a national ...
English Language Arts” by the New York State Department of Education. Therefore,
any proposed educational enrichment progr...
Medicaid or Child Health Plus. Twelve percent of parents showed evidence of
extreme isolation, being unable to provide an ...
Program Description
The CDF Freedom Schools program serves children and families in after-school and
summer school setting...
In Freedom School after-school programs, every child is exposed to at least 2
different books each day, five days per week...
students to actively adopt the Freedom School program – and in particular, its
emphasis on reading.
Because of its emphasi...
paint a set of child-size chairs for the brothers and sisters of babies in our local
neonatal care unit.
Along with studen...
meal they’ll receive in a given day. CDF Freedom Scholars also engage in
recreational/sporting activities, like Tae Kwon D...
Freedom School model has achieved significant effects on children’s literacy in the
Rochester Central School District.
In ...
Children’s Involvement in Violence
Survey Statement
(“in last 30 days…)
Level reported
before the
program
Level reported
a...
by the program. On their most recent review, NEAD’s CDF Freedom School
received an overall rating of 4.29 out of 5, with e...
Note: After-School programs run for 3 hours/day = 480 hours
Summer School Program Costs
Costs per child Number of Number C...
1. Partner Buy-In
Both the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Daisy Marquis
Jones Foundation are supporting the p...
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NEADProposalRCSD

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NEADProposalRCSD

  1. 1. PROPOSAL SUBMITTED BY REQUEST TO FIRST NIAGRA EXPANDING CHILDRENS DEFENSE FUND FREEDOM SCHOOL MODELS: INCREASING AVAILABILITY OF BEST PRACTICES FOR AFTER-SCHOOL AND SUMMER SCHOOL PROGRAMS Proposal submitted by North East Area Development (NEAD) and Quad A for Kids Proposal prepared by Dr. Mark A. Biernbaum Institute for Strategic Inquiry and Study (ISIS)
  2. 2. November 20, 2007
  3. 3. PROPOSAL Submitted to: Interim Superintendent William Calla Rochester Central School District (RCSD) Submitted by: North East Area Development (NEAD) Quad A for Kids Regarding: Expansion of the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School After-School and Summer programs ___________________________________________________________________ PROBLEM ADDRESSED This proposal begins to address one problem well documented in the RCSD – the relative lack of high-quality, evidence-based after-school enrichment programs. Although the District itself and several partner organizations (including NEAD and Quad A and others) do provide some after-school programming, there is a definitive and openly acknowledged need for more after-school enrichment programs. This problem was thoroughly documented by the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) in their 2000 Monroe County After-School Provider Survey (currently being updated by The Children’s Agenda). That survey found that only 12% of qualifying 5-14 year olds in Monroe County participate in any after-school program. The updated numbers, due this year, are expected to be lower, given the cut in 21 st Century Schools funding and goal shortfalls for the last 2 years at the United Way of Greater Rochester, a major underwriter of after-school programs in the City. This proposal addresses the need for such programs at the elementary level. We acknowledge upfront that even if this proposal is implemented, there will still be a substantial number of elementary school children without after-school programs in the RCSD. Therefore, this proposal does not aim to solve that problem entirely, but to advance a model, evidence-based enrichment program that has proven very effective thus far in the RCSD.
  4. 4. We also want to make clear that the lack of after-school enrichment programs is not unique to Rochester – it’s a national issue. Our partner in this effort is the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), and expansion of after-school programming is one of their main advocacy priorities nationally. Additionally, local community partners like the United Way of Greater Rochester, the Rochester Area Community Foundation, the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, and the Greater Rochester After-School Alliance (GRASA) are all invested in expanding available, evidence-based after-school programs, as is the District itself. BACKGROUND INFORMATION The context in which the RCSD operates is important to acknowledge and is salient to the Freedom School model being proposed. Although Rochester is 73rd in city size in the U.S., it is 11th in child poverty and 21 st in murder rate. Eighty percent of the District’s students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch based on family income. The Federal Reserve Board is now in the process of completing a study, the Concentrated Poverty Initiative, which selected the 16 U.S. cities with the highest rates of concentrated poverty, and unfortunately, Rochester was one of those cities. These facts have a profound effect on the functioning of the RCSD – they are a reality that RCSD staff and faculty deal with everyday. Any program that is proposed for implementation by the RCSD must take this picture of urban poverty into account – meaning that any new program implemented in the District must be designed for and proven effective in school districts existing in amidst high levels of urban poverty and crime. The RCSD also has a specifically identified curricular need in the area of English Language Arts, having been previously sited as a “District in Corrective Action for
  5. 5. English Language Arts” by the New York State Department of Education. Therefore, any proposed educational enrichment program for the RCSD should incorporate a strong focus on enhancing literacy. TARGET POPULATION The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom School model was developed explicitly to “provide opportunities for children and families in communities where quality and academic enrichment programming are rare, cost prohibitive, or non-existent...CDF targets low-income and minority children because children of poor families are more likely to grow up in literacy and language poor environments” (Children’s Defense Fund). Thus, there is a strong match between the poverty conditions the RCSD operates in, the population the RCSD teaches, and the need in the RCSD for enhanced ELA programming. Data from NEAD’s 2007 Freedom School Summer program are illustrative of the target population for this proposal. This information is based on the 143 applications filled out for the Freedom School Summer program. Seventy-three percent of Freedom Scholars were African-American, 15.4% were Latino, 2.8% were White, 4.2% identified as biracial, and 3.5% selected “other.” Similar to the District as a whole, 75% of Freedom Scholars reported receiving free or reduced price lunches. Single parent homes were more frequent – nearly 70% of Freedom Scholars are growing up with only one parent. Approximately 40% of parents reported being unemployed, and 30% reported having only a high school diploma, a GED, or less. Fifty percent of these children live in households with 5 or more people, 33% live in households with 4 or more children, and 50% have household annual incomes of $20K or less. Fifteen percent of Freedom Scholars reported having ADD, depression/anxiety, conduct/behavior problems, autism, or some other developmental delay, with 9% reporting an actual diagnosis of learning disability. Over 50% of these children had not seen a doctor in the previous year – not even for a physical, and close to 80% had not seen a dentist in the previous year either. Twenty percent reported having no health insurance at all – not even
  6. 6. Medicaid or Child Health Plus. Twelve percent of parents showed evidence of extreme isolation, being unable to provide an emergency contact for their child. A small number of families did not have an address to report. A small number of applications for the program were clearly filled out by children, rather than parents. This is indeed a high-poverty, at-risk population characteristic of exactly the types of children that the CDF developed the Freedom School model to serve. These data also parallel, in large part, data for the RCSD as a whole. History: CDF Freedom School Programs In 1964, Marion Wright, future founder and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund, participated with other young leaders in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. During the Project, Wright and others conceived of the idea of “freedom schools” to take their civil rights message to African-American communities throughout the state. College-age volunteers traveled throughout Mississippi to teach African-American students for 6-8 weeks using curriculum designed to promote equality, enhanced self-identity, learning, social activism and community engagement. Children, young people, and adults attended these “freedom schools,” where they received reading instruction, voter education, health benefits, and other simple rights that they had previously been denied. In 1995, Marion Wright Edelman reinvigorated these basic concepts, and with the help of expert researchers and educators, and a renewed and pronounced emphasis on literacy development, created the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Program. The program is now an integral part of the CDF’s “Leave No Child Behind” mission. In 2006, 8,000 children were enrolled in Freedom School programs nationally, at over 102 sites in 49 different cities and 24 states. The program has spread rapidly – there was a 70% increase in the number of participating sites between 2003 and 2006, indicating high demand, due both to the program’s characteristics, and CDF’s vigorous evaluation research (supported by the Kellogg Foundation), which has consistently indicated high levels of program effectiveness.
  7. 7. Program Description The CDF Freedom Schools program serves children and families in after-school and summer school settings via an evidence-based curriculum focused on literacy, youth development, cultural competency, civics, and community activism. The program has 5 central pillars: 1. Integrated Reading Curriculum (IRC) Experts from the Children’s Defense Fund recommended literature for all grade levels of participating students, and the selected books are now purchased directly from CDF, and are organized into a carefully designed, age-appropriate curriculum. The literature that is selected must enhance vocabulary development, provide positive role models, demonstrate civic engagement and activism, be culturally relevant, and be appealing to the target population. In the 2000 Monroe County After-School Survey mentioned previously, CGR found that most programs reviewed did not have a standard curriculum. In the Freedom School model, not only are the texts pre-selected, but they come embedded in a evidence-based curriculum with lesson and activity plans included. CDF has done this to make Freedom Schools as easy as possible to implement. The IRC is embedded within a larger pedagogical system that continuously emphasizes the importance of reading. When students first arrive at the program, Harambe! Begins. Harambe includes vigorous chanting, singing and dancing, and helps children celebrate who they are and practice the interplay of words, phrases and rhythms. After Harambe concludes, the first literacy exposure occurs when all children are read a story in circle time.
  8. 8. In Freedom School after-school programs, every child is exposed to at least 2 different books each day, five days per week (for a total of 40 books per month). Sometimes these books are read-aloud by a Servant Leader (counselor), sometimes students read to one another or alone if able, and activities are designed to follow-up on each reading exposure, exploring new words and ideas through various methods, including acting-out parts of the stories or using the story as a discussion spring- board for more general topics of interest, like humanitarianism and civil rights. All of the five pillars of the Freedom School model can be found in the books selected, creating a holistic pedagogy and curriculum that starts and ends with literacy learning. 2. Intergenerational Servant Leadership Development Key to delivery of the Freedom School program is the modeling of intergenerational servant leadership. Each participating site must recruit both high school and college-level student leaders to actually deliver the program. College student servant leaders from all over the country must attend the Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institute Workshop, an intense 10-day training conducted by the Children’s Defense Fund at the Alex Haley Farm. High school servant leaders are trained by local program staff and supervised by the college-levels student leaders. All servant leaders are thoroughly trained in classroom management, delivery of the Integrated Reading Curriculum, music therapy, and minority cultures and histories. Mentoring is explicit in the Freedom School model. Site Coordinators mentor Senior Servant Leaders (college students), Senior Servant Leaders (SSLs) mentor Junior Servant Leaders (JSLs; high school students), and the JSLs and SSLs act as mentors to the children. Mentoring is also embedded in the Parent and Civic Engagement pillars, discussed below. Observations of our servant leaders by a trained developmental psychologist indicated that students form strong, affectionate bonds with their older peers—likely a key factor in engaging students to learn. We are now collecting data on the development of these relationships, as we believe they are central to enticing our
  9. 9. students to actively adopt the Freedom School program – and in particular, its emphasis on reading. Because of its emphasis on Intergenerational Servant Leadership, the CDF Freedom School model also has a second target population: high school students who serve as Junior Servant Leaders. NEAD currently runs 2 Freedom School After-School programs, at schools #3 and #34. Right now there are 33 Junior Servant Leaders participating in the program, and more are being trained. The Children’s Defense Fund has followed the experience of the Servant Leaders closely, as has NEAD. Their survey data indicates that Servant Leaders gain significant increases in terms of ethnic affirmation and belonging, and male Servant Leaders in particular demonstrate significant positive increases in their attitudes towards serving their communities. Thus, benefits of participation in CDF Freedom Schools for this second target population do not just include training and support in delivering a curriculum, mentoring, and working with children – but also have specific and positive effects on servant leaders themselves. The student-to- Servant Leader ratio in CDF Freedom Schools is 10:1. 3. Civic Engagement and Social Action Likely due to the program’s history of emergence during the Civil Right’s struggle of the 60s, CDF Freedom Schools emphasize engagement with the community and social activism. All students attending a Freedom School program engage in multiple civic engagement projects and take social action in their community on key issues. Students automatically participate in all of the Children’s Defense Fund advocacy initiatives, include their Social Day of Action and voting rights campaigns. They also participate in multiple community service projects. During the last school year, some of our students engaged in an active letter-writing campaign to local officials regarding the level of gun violence in their neighborhood and the negative impact it had on their lives. Students also volunteered time to help
  10. 10. paint a set of child-size chairs for the brothers and sisters of babies in our local neonatal care unit. Along with students all over the country, our students have also joined the Children’s Defense Fund’s campaign for child health care coverage. Some of our students became youth representatives on an urban renewal project that is currently underway. One of the themes that students repeat every day, as part of their opening activities is: I can and must make a difference in my self, my family, community, country, and world. Therefore, character development is tied intimately to social responsibility and personal interconnectedness in the Freedom School model. 4. Parent and Family Engagement Monthly meetings are organized for parents, and parents are mentored in fundraising for the program and their schools, and are supported in their social activism and community engagement. They also participate as site volunteers. The existing Freedom School Parent Group has organized to such an extent to elect officers. Freedom School Parent Groups serve as excellent drivers of increased neighborhood social capital in some of our poorest neighborhoods – places where increased social and economic capital are needed the most. They therefore serve a vital community function. NEAD invests a great deal of time and resources in the development and support of the parent group. During our summer program, 85% of parents attended parent meetings. These meetings provided opportunities for neighborhood parents to get together informally and discuss issues central to them and their children and community. Information arising from these meetings proved invaluable to staff at NEAD, an organization focused on community development. 5. Nutrition, Health and Mental Health Through a partnership with Foodlink, all of our students are offered a healthy snack and hot meal as part of the program. For some students, this may be the only hot
  11. 11. meal they’ll receive in a given day. CDF Freedom Scholars also engage in recreational/sporting activities, like Tae Kwon Do, dance instruction, and other traditional sports. The program attempts to model making healthy food choices, and staying physically fit. And, as mentioned earlier, the daily program starts with the vigorous Harambe!, 30 minutes of chant, song, and dance, which help children positively direct their physical and mental energies before engaging in structured learning activities which require sustained attention, like the Integrated Reading Curriculum. CDF Freedom Schools also place a strong emphasis on mental health and personal wellness. Students engage in music therapy, led by their trained Servant Leaders. Small group discussions focus on difficult topics like exposure to community violence, racism and self-esteem, family difficulties, drug abuse in their communities, other others. Students receive quality facilitation and support during these oftentimes intense discussions by their trained Servant Leaders. Outcome and Program-Level Data Evaluation is built-in to the CDF Freedom School model. In addition, NEAD participates in other evaluation efforts, as discussed below. Fourth grade CDF Freedom School Scholars made greater gains on New York State’s English Language Arts exam compared to their counterparts who did not participate. Sixty-six percent (66%) of Freedom Scholars achieved one grade level advanced on this standardized exam at the end of a year of Freedom School, compared to only 32% of non-Freedom School fourth graders. The
  12. 12. Freedom School model has achieved significant effects on children’s literacy in the Rochester Central School District. In addition, at the start of program participation, only 37.7% of Freedom Scholars indicated “I love to read,” and only 30.2% reported reading one new book each week. By the end of their participation in Freedom School, these percentages had significantly increased, from 62% indicating they had read a new book in the past week, to nearly 60% endorsing “I love to read.” Thus, the Integrated Reading Curriculum not only significantly increases literacy skills, it also clearly significantly increases students love for and engagement in reading. Other indicators of program success: Children’s Self-Development Survey Statement: Percent of students endorsing statement during the first week of the program (n = 53) Percentage of students endorsing statement during the last week of the program (n = 53) Percent Positive Change I help other people 47% 79% +32% I am a peacemaker 34% 68% +34% I act responsibly 42% 83% +41% I can work out my problems 60% 76% +16% I can do many things well 51% 85% +34%
  13. 13. Children’s Involvement in Violence Survey Statement (“in last 30 days…) Level reported before the program Level reported after the program Amount of violence reduction How many fights? 23 students say at least one 7 students say at least 1 16 fewer fights How many time tease, harass another student 17 students say at least once 6 students say at least once 11 fewer incidents of verbal violence Children’s Attitudes Towards Parents and Adults Survey Statement Number before program who answered “agree” or “strongly agree” Number after program who answered “agree” or “strongly agree” Positive change in attitude My family has clear rules 39 agree 46 agree 5 more students agree I can ask my parents for help when it’s important 43 agree 48 agre 5 more students agree I have other adults I can go do for help when it’s important 43 agree 53 (100% in program) agreee 10 more (100% of program participants) agree NEAD is also participating in the Youth Program Quality Assessment (UPQA) project being conducted by the Children’s Institute. The YPQA was constructed to measure several aspects of a program, including the safety of the environment, how supportive the environment is for children, how much interaction children are involved in, and encouragement given for goal-setting and self-reflection
  14. 14. by the program. On their most recent review, NEAD’s CDF Freedom School received an overall rating of 4.29 out of 5, with especially high scores in interaction and support. NEAD believes that data from instruments like the YPQA are essential in monitoring and improving program effectiveness. Towards that end, NEAD has contracted with a Developmental Psychologist to integrate additional program evaluation components. By endorsing the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School model, the Rochester Central School District would be embracing a model with proven academic and personal effectiveness. Brief Budget Narrative In anticipation of making a formal presentation to the District regarding the Freedom School Expansion Proposal, we provide here some per child costs associated with CDF Freedom School After-School and Summer School program. We are also presenting the summer school costs because NEAD, Quad A for Kids, and the Children’s Defense fund strongly suggest that full-year programming is the most beneficial. Please note that these figures include salaries for Site Coordinators, and stipends for our Senior Servant Leaders, as well as training costs and curriculum/materials costs. After-School Program Costs Cost per child Number of Number Costs per day/per child Weeks of days $2,000 32 160 $12.50 per day/per child
  15. 15. Note: After-School programs run for 3 hours/day = 480 hours Summer School Program Costs Costs per child Number of Number Costs per day/per child Weeks of days $1200 5 25 $48 per day/per child Note: Summer school programs run for 8 hours/day = 200 hours Full Year Program Costs Costs per child Number of Number Costs per day/per child Weeks of days $3200 37 185 $17 per day/per child Therefore, an elementary child in the RCSD can receive year round Freedom School programming for a total cost of $3,145. CONCLUDING REMARKS NEAD and Quad A for Kids would like to propose a gradual expansion of the CDF Freedom School After-School and Summer programs into each District elementary school over the next 3 years. Plans are currently underway to offer the After-School program at School No. 33. Both community partners are working actively to find business partners to assist with this expansion, and are pursuing grant funding as well. The Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School program has:
  16. 16. 1. Partner Buy-In Both the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation are supporting the program. New, corporate sponsors are being added. 2. Contextual Correctness The program is specifically designed for poverty environments and to enhance literacy. 3. Proven Results Students who participate improve significantly in English language arts, attitudes towards parents and adults, and self-perception. 4. Cultural Relevance The program uses a curriculum and training materials that are extremely culturally sensitive. 5. Community Buy-In City residents whose children have participated in a Freedom School are involved and organized. We therefore submit the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School Program to the Rochester Central School District as an ideal after-school and summer enrichment program.

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