Appleton's CDF Freedom School Macon
Appleton sponsored its first Freedom School in 2017. This intensive six-week summer reading and enrichment program developed by the Children’s Defense Fund targets children living in underserved and impoverished communities who need to improve their reading skills and is offered free of charge to all attendees. In conjunction with the Macon-Bibb School System, Appleton's program emphasizes improved third grade reading scores and the pivotal transition by the end of that grade from learning-to-read to reading-to-learn. Appleton hosts fifty 1st - 3rd graders and delivers a curriculum rich in culturally-appropriate books that explore history, civic engagement, and social justice and encourage Freedom School scholars to make a difference in their families, their community, and the world. The CDF curriculum is enriched locally with activities in studio and ceramic art, science, dance, creative writing, math, music, chess, step, drama, and field trips to community landmarks and points of interest. Freedom School Macon is delivered with the assistance of college students, known as Servant Leader Interns, and supported by master teachers, enrichment instructors, nearly one hundred volunteers, and the Appleton Missioner. The program would not be possible without generous support from The Episcopal Church, Church Planting and Redevelopment - Mission Enterprise Zones; the Ministry Innovations Fund of the Diocese of Atlanta; the Episcopal Community Foundation of the Diocese of Atlanta; the Community Foundation of Central Georgia; the USDA Summer Feeding Program; Appleton program grants; family foundations; private donations from individuals, churches, and clergy groups; and the use of facilities at St. Paul's Episcopal Church and the St. Francis Art Center. Ongoing funding for Freedom School is solicited above and beyond Appleton’s annual program grant budget and requires year-round planning and implementation to cover the cost of $1,800 per scholar.