The East Tennessee Freedom Schools (ETFS) program primarily serves members of underserved families who might otherwise not have access to books. The program is free to participating children. Our scholars range from Kindergarten to 9th grade. During our six-week program we provide two meals and one snack per day, four field trips, and a variety of afternoon activities.

ETFS' curriculum, daily activity schedule, staff training, and organization follow the Children’s Defense Fund’s (CDF) Freedom Schools® model and guidelines. Freedom Schools® successfully addresses summer learning loss and the related decrease in students’ motivation to read, with the help of (1) a research-based curriculum that focuses on culturally responsive books reflecting students’ own images and (2) caring and supportive college students who serve as teachers called Servant Leader Interns (SLIs). Our SLIs are academic achievers who choose to be role models. We know that our well-researched curriculum and bounty of books, activities, and field trips are important. We also know they are not sufficient. The SLI/scholar relationship infuses our youth with a special kind of hope; the SLIs give our scholars a view into what is possible. We know it is hard to be what you cannot see.

A fun learning environment is created in every classroom, where the child-to-teacher ratio is 10:1. We invest in our staff and SLIs by providing them training at the annual Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institute held at the CDF Alex Haley Farm in Clinton, TN.

The first ETFS site opened in 2017 at Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Academy. We currently serve children at three sites--Maynard Elementary and Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Academy in Knox County, along with Rockford Elementary in Blount County.

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East Tennessee Freedom Schools



The East Tennessee Freedom Schools (ETFS) program primarily serves members of underserved families who might otherwise not have access to books. The program is free to participating children. Our scholars range from Kindergarten to 9th grade. During our six-week program we provide two meals and one snack per day, four field trips, and a variety of afternoon activities.

ETFS' curriculum, daily activity schedule, staff training, and organization follow the Children’s Defense Fund’s (CDF) Freedom Schools® model and guidelines. Freedom Schools® successfully addresses summer learning loss and the related decrease in students’ motivation to read, with the help of (1) a research-based curriculum that focuses on culturally responsive books reflecting students’ own images and (2) caring and supportive college students who serve as teachers called Servant Leader Interns (SLIs). Our SLIs are academic achievers who choose to be role models. We know that our well-researched curriculum and bounty of books, activities, and field trips are important. We also know they are not sufficient. The SLI/scholar relationship infuses our youth with a special kind of hope; the SLIs give our scholars a view into what is possible. We know it is hard to be what you cannot see.

A fun learning environment is created in every classroom, where the child-to-teacher ratio is 10:1. We invest in our staff and SLIs by providing them training at the annual Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institute held at the CDF Alex Haley Farm in Clinton, TN.

The first ETFS site opened in 2017 at Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Academy. We currently serve children at three sites--Maynard Elementary and Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Academy in Knox County, along with Rockford Elementary in Blount County.