A program at a Dallas ISD school in east Oak Cliff is teaching kids about the value of literacy and life experience this summer.
At Pease Elementary, instructors are encouraging wide-eyed students to develop curiosity and eagerness to learn, The Dallas Morning News reported.The program is modeled after civil rights efforts during the Freedom Summer of 1964 in Mississippi.
Created by the Children’s Defense Fund, the national program is working to engage young people of color to instill confidence, inspire them, and hopefully close the achievement gap. CDF Freedom Schools launched 1995 under CDF Founder and President Marian Wright Edelman, but the For Oak Cliff Freedom School at Pease Elementary, is the first in Dallas, according to The Morning News.
Jabari Ford, 18, is one of the instructors helping out at the school this summer.
“I’ve developed a passion for these kids that I’ve never had before,” Ford told The Morning News.
Ford reads stories to a classroom of children and leads them in games and learning activities.
“Our goal is to try to get them motivated to want to read. What we do more, we do better.”
“Those kids see a guy who looks like them, who thinks this is cool; he likes books, he likes math, he wants to design cars one day,” Ford told the newspaper.
Because students lose academic memory over the summer, Dallas ISD is hosting 500 programs around campuses this summer. Almost half of those programs are dedicated to reinforcing students’ learning from the previous year and broadening their horizons.
“Our goal is not to teach kids to read — that’s not what we do,” program director Vernessa Gipson told The Morning News. “Our goal is to try to get them motivated to want to read. What we do more, we do better.”