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CDF-Freedom Schools ®

The CDF Freedom Schools model supports children and families around five essential components: high quality academic enrichment, parent/family involvement, social action/civic engagement, intergenerational leadership development, and physical/mental health; all of which mirror RFDC’s mission and goals.  The model fosters supportive environments where children and young adults believe in their ability to make a difference in themselves, their families, schools, communities, nation, and world.  Freedom Schools program sites are safe and nurturing learning spaces where children are valued and celebrated, where strengths and abilities are recognized and appreciated, where children are encouraged to set high expectations and develop self-discipline, where there is an abundance of enthusiasm for learning, where children learn to understand themselves and connect to their culture, and where parents and community members are engaged in the success of children and families.  The Program boosts student motivation to read, generates a positive attitude towards learning, and connects the needs of children and families to the resources of their communities.

A Day At CDF-Freedom Schools ®

Although Freedom School has a foundation in education and academics, it is unlike any school the children we serve have even attended.  Freedom Schools acknowledges and uses the unique cultural dimensions of the scholars, families, and communities we serve.  It considers the  culture and language of scholars including slang and colloquialisms and uses these to empower students and build their knowledge through introduction of new ideas and skills.  Freedom Schools values student voices and ideas and incorporates  these into classroom instruction.

Freedom Schools is held Monday-Friday from 8am-3pm. 

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• Close Achievement Gap 

• Decrease Summer Learning Loss

• Cultivate Love of Reading & Learning

• Inspire Social Action 

• Foster Appreciation of Self & Others Culture


• Provide Support 

• Knowledge of Resources 

• Inspire Community Engagement 


• Build Intergenerational Leadership 

• Workforce Skill Development 

• Inspire Civic Engagement

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Program Sites







Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools ®

For 8 years, RFDC has served as a CDF Freedom Schools sponsor site in Sacramento. In 2021, we again hosted the single largest Freedom Schools site in the nation, serving 415 scholars. Freedom Schools provides a rich literacy-based learning experience that fosters an “I Can Make a Difference” attitude in the scholars we serve and the staff who facilitate. Freedom Schools uses an award-winning standards aligned Integrated Reading Curriculum to expose scholars to new concepts, ideas, and ways of looking at the world, while building their literacy, comprehension, and writing skills. Each day, Freedom Schools begins with Harambee, giving scholars the opportunity to celebrate themselves and each other while building community. Scholars then transition to Integrated Reading Curriculum, where they read specially selected books with diverse characters, that lend themselves to critical thinking and related creative activities. Scholars then participate in Afternoon Enrichments including STEM, arts, sports, life skills, cultural exploration, and more. Each week, scholars take part in social action activities and field trips that broaden their horizons and help them see the impact they have on the community and world around them. We are looking forward to bringing Freedom Schools back to Sacramento, serving 560 scholars in the summer of 2022. If you are interested in joining or supporting Freedom Schools as a funder, staff member, or scholar please contact us.

CDF Freedom  Schools ® Components

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