Before the pandemic hit, we were preparing to host our sixth summer of Freedom School, but we quickly had to adapt and go virtual. A focus on literacy was more important than ever as scholars had been out of a traditional classroom setting for nearly three months.
We created a 5-week summer learning program where scholars grades K-10th logged into a pre-assigned Zoom link Mon-Fri from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm. Despite the quick pivot, we enrolled 80 and had a weekly average attendance of 60.
Mornings began with an abbreviated virtual Haram- bee, which consisted of motivational songs and morning stretches. Under normal circumstances, volunteers would read a favorite book to our scholars. This year, we played pre-recorded videos of our volunteers reading. We were thrilled to be able to keep this valuable component in the virtual program!
Classes included literacy lessons provided by Scholastic, as well as intern-led activities such as music, science, cooking, arts and crafts, and fitness. Each week, interns created and distributed supply bags containing the materials scholars needed to complete their activities.
Despite the move to virtual, the program was a success! We will build on what we learned as we adapt our after school program into virtual for the near future.