Registration is open for Tech’s summer 2022 Elinor Ross CDF Freedom School for K-4th graders

COOKEVILLE – The Elinor Ross CDF Freedom School, sponsored by Tech’s College of Education, is a free, six-week summer literacy and cultural enrichment program for young learners in Putnam County.

Tech’s Freedom School is a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® partner. In 1973, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) was founded and is a private, non-profit organization supported by donations, foundation, corporate and government grants.

Planning is underway for this year’s program that starts Wednesday, June 8 on the campus of Tennessee Tech. Online registration is now open. The closing celebration is Friday, July 15.

The students, currently in grades K-4th entering 1st-5th in the fall, will enjoy reading/literacy activities, engaging afternoon experiences in the arts, sciences and fitness, weekly field trips to interactive learning centers   and family-oriented events. Children whose families qualify for free/reduced lunch programs are eligible for Freedom School.

“The Freedom School model is tried and true,” said Professor Janet Kesterson Isbell, Executive Director of the Ross CDF Freedom School. “We use the Children’s Defense Fund’s critically acclaimed national curriculum and all staff undergo national and local training in the Freedom School model.”

“The vision of the program is a nation in which the American dream is a reality,” continued Isbell. “The mission is to leverage literacy with a diverse community of children to continue learning with fun summer activities, increase love of learning and foster in children the belief that they can make a difference in their world.”

In addition to the Freedom School’s dedication to providing daily access to high-quality, diverse children’s literature, the participants are given free books to take for their home libraries. They have hands-on projects and engaging activities every afternoon throughout the six-weeks. The children are also served healthy meals and snacks each day.

Supporters of the program include the family of the late Professor Elinor Ross, for whom our Freedom School is named.

“Professor Ross was a tireless champion of education, reading and literacy,” said Associate Professor Amber Spears, Program Director. “Her legacy has allowed the College of Education to offer the Freedom School experience to our local children.”

Since the beginning of the Freedom School in Cookeville local/regional businesses, organizations, and individuals have generously partnered with the college to support and enhance the program. The experience has illuminated the importance of intergenerational relationships of kids, their families and their community.

“The community’s contributions and volunteerism imbody the spirit of the Freedom School creating memorable experiences for children and their families,” concluded Spears.

For more information, to register a child, or to find out how to support your local Freedom School, please visit, email, or call 931-372-3124.

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