Mount Airy City Schools officials are excited about how well meshing the system’s third grade Read To Achieve summer reading program with Freedom School is looking in preliminary data for the 17 students involved.
The second year of the Freedom School program held its graduation in the Jones Intermediate School Media Center Friday morning.
Freedom School Spokesperson Lee Hunter explained the Read To Achieve Summer Reading Camp, which was implemented to meet the State literacy mandate, was combined with Freedom School with the third graders receiving their own classes geared around seven different intervention strategies to meet each student’s needs.
Hunter said the Beginning Of Grade (BOG) testing given these students predicted only 15 percent would pass their End Of Grade tests at the conclusion of the school year. She said the system’s third grade team made adjustments with only 17 still in need of interventions as indicated by alternative state assessment tools.
She said current, raw data indicates all but four of the summer camp students exited the hybrid program with passing scores to increasing the rate of success to 93 percent on those third graders who will be going into the fourth grade this school year.
“To see this is exciting. We are very proud,” said Hunter. “This has been a success with the way we hybridized it with Freedom School.” Hunter indicated participation in Freedom School events appears to have served as added incentive for the third graders, along with strategic placement with appropriate mentors. She also credited the efforts of summer reading program teachers Sally Reece and Lisa York.
Earlier, Hunter explained to parents that Freedom School methods were created in 1964 during the civil rights movement on the conviction everyone should have the same opportunity for education. The morning songs and dances use Swahili terms such as “harambee” which means a community working together. She credited the energy of the program’s college level and junior interns who work with the Freedom School scholars.
“We have more than doubled the amount of scholars from the program last year (to 137), said Hunter to the parents and families filling the media center. “This pep rally is what gets your kids out of bed in the mornings. Our day, every morning, this is how we begin.” She asked parents to concentrate on their children’s faces to see the excitement over education brought about by the school.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-415-4739 or on Twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.