Drawing inspiration from the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, Freedom Summer Collegiate is working towards educational equity by collaborating with partner programs to bring the nation’s most promising future academics to students who face significant obstacles on the road to college. We recruit, train, and fund doctoral candidates to provide transformative summer seminars to college-bound high school students in underserved communities.
Think about the classroom in which your brain was pulsing like a heart. Where discussion, analysis, and ideas came alive. The seminar that changed your life. Where you realized what learning could be.
In places where college remains a distant opportunity and daily test-taking drills deaden learning, few students imagine that school can be an empowering experience. That it might blow your mind is hard to understand. We want every student to know what this feels like, because a love of learning is essential to success in college and beyond. We bring the experience of excellent college seminars to high school students in some of the most underserved parts of the country. They leave our courses with a taste of the intellectual opportunities available on the best college campuses in the world, all without having to leave their hometowns.
Each student enrolls in two courses--one in the humanities and one in the sciences. Seminars ask students to rise to the challenge of college level work, but lessons are paced and scaffolded with high school students' grade-level in mind. With the guidance of our teachers, students read complex texts, debate important ideas, analyze critical issues, and interpret real-world data. Through a combination of group work, project-based learning, and individual instruction, students gain the skills necessary for college success. Thinking comes first, but we serve students’ immediate needs, as well, by training teachers to translate that thinking into ACT score increases. The focus is not, however, on skills that boost a few points but those that prepare students to succeed long-term in college and careers. The most important result by far, though, is that students leave our courses inspired to become life-long learners, problem solvers, and agents of positive change in their communities and the world.
In order to ensure that we are recruiting the most knowledgable, passionate, and qualified teachers possible, we provide fellowships to the nation’s most promising doctoral candidates. With the support of our staff, they develop an exhilarating seminar according to their expertise, a course in which students read and think, debate and analyze, critique and create--a course that offers the very best of what authentic learning can be. Teachers are learners too: Freedom Summer Collegiate is one of the only summer programs in the country that is specifically meant for doctoral students. They gain hands-on experience in course design, lesson planning, classroom management, and high-impact instruction, all skills that will help them stand out in today's increasingly competitive academic job market.