City of Waco Proclaims “Baylor Freedom School Day”
- Baylor Freedom School accepts donation from the Youth Financial Literacy Foundation.
- Lakia M. Scott, Ph.D, head of the Baylor Freedom School and assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in Baylor's School of Education speaks at Baylor Freedom School finale.
- Students hold up books they have received through the Freedom School program.
Achievements lead Waco City Council to honor Baylor Freedom School on July 27 of every year
by Gabrielle White, student newswriter
WACO, Texas (Aug. 30, 2018) – Baylor University’s Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School received a proclamation this summer from the city of Waco officially making July 27 of every year Baylor Freedom School Day.
Through Baylor Freedom School’s activities and literacy initiative, students have either maintained or increased their reading abilities by two or more grade levels. Because of these achievements, the city of Waco voted to honor the Baylor Freedom School by having a Baylor Freedom School Day on July 27 of every year.
“In the past year, the Waco community has completely rallied around bettering their children and their education,” said Andrea Barfield, District 1 Waco City Council Member. “It was a privilege to honor the Baylor Freedom School program and highlight their advancements in education. Dr. Lakia Scott has done a phenomenal job transforming reading skills, and we hope to see this program influence more and more education programs throughout the city of Waco.”
In 2017, the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools launched the Waco program through a partnership with the Baylor School of Education. The Freedom School enrichment program is geared towards sixth graders, with this summer’s enrollment at 70 students. The program focuses on experiences that help prevent learning loss students often experience in the summer.
“For the duration of our program we have lived up to the initial expectation of the program by being focused on literacy enrichment,” said Lakia M. Scott, Ph.D, head of the Baylor Freedom School and assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in Baylor’s School of Education. “We engage in social action matters and create meaningful experiences for the students involved.”
This year, the program was hosted at Indian Spring Middle School, but the location changes based on where the district finds the greatest need for the literacy program. Baylor Freedom School does not know where they will be located next year but hope to expand from Waco ISD into the charter network.
“We want to expand our outreach and our impact so Waco can be best served,” Scott said.
This summer the students attended class field trips that were both educational and exciting. Students visited the Dr Pepper Museum, the Mayborn Museum Complex, World Hunger Relief Farm and the Waco Mammoth National Monument.
Along with field trips, students met with more than 50 Waco community members, including leaders with the Waco police and fire departments, Baylor professors and staff members and Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver, B.B.A. (Marketing) ’86, J.D. ’93.
Students also participated in the Children’s Defense Fund National Day of Social Action on July 18. This year’s topic was voter registration, and the students had the opportunity to travel to the Texas Capitol building in Austin. By touring the capitol building, the students gained a better understanding of the legislative processes associated with voting.
During their time in Austin, the students were presented topics surrounding issues that affect children and voted on which were most important to them, which were education, health care and gun violence. Students were then assigned essays to write on the topic they cared for the most.
“Many of our students do not travel outside the city limits, so having the opportunity to go to the state capitol was amazing,” Scott said. “This trip affirmed many of the academic enrichment opportunities that we had recently discussed in our Freedom School.”
Along with the city proclamation, the Freedom School received a donation from the Youth Financial Literacy Foundation to help implement a curriculum around financial literacy. The foundation hopes to help students learn how to invest and save money and understand the ways they interact with money daily.
The Baylor Freedom School also has received donations from the Baylor Line Foundation, the city of Waco, the Baylor chapter of the NAACP, the Alpha Phi Alpha Baylor Chapter and the Epsilon Upsilon chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Going forward, Baylor Freedom School hopes to start a mathematics curriculum and create a partnership with Prosper Waco.
“We are going to offer a mathematics curriculum in addition to all other things,” Scott said. “We recognize that literacy is our core focus, but students demonstrate academic struggle with math, and we want to bridge that gap as well.”
The next Baylor Freedom School program will be held from June 12 to July 31, 2019.
ABOUT THE BAYLOR SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco,