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COFO Memorandum: Overview of Freedom Schools

Files

Title

COFO Memorandum: Overview of Freedom Schools

Description

A three-page memo sent to Mississippi Freedom Summer Project applicants detailing what to expect for the Freedom School and curriculum.

Subject

Mississippi Freedom Project
Council of Federated Organizations (U.S.)

Creator

Council of Federated Organizations (U.S.)

Source

MarkLevyCollection.Box3.Folder6

Publisher

Queens College Department of Special Collections and Archives (New York, N.Y.)

Date

1964-05-05

Date Created

2010-11-29

Rights

This material may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). We welcome you to make fair use of the content accessible on this website as defined by copyright law. Please note that you are responsible for determining whether your use is fair and for responding to any claims that may arise from your use.

Format

3 Images
JPEG

Extent

562176 bytes
562176 bytes
272384 bytes

Language

English

Type

Text

Spatial Coverage

Jackson (Miss.)
32.28748,-90.20171

Text

Memorandum
COFO
1017 Lynch St.
Jackson, Miss.
May 5
TO: MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM SCHOOL TEACHERS
FROM: Miss. Summer Project Staff
RE: SUBJECT: Overview of the Freedom Schools
The purpose of the Freedom schools is to provide an educational
experience for students which will make it possible for them
to challenge the myths of our society, to perceive more clearly
its realities, and to find alternatives, and ultimately, new
directions for action.
Just what forms this educational experience will take will vary
from school to school and from teacher to teacher. We will not
be able to provide all the facilities, materials and personnel
we would like. This is a fact of our whole operation, and we
are used to it. But we hope the curriculum will be flexible
enough to overcome them. _
The Freedom Schools will consist of
25 to 50 students. It does not now
to secure buildings for residential
working in day schools in churches,
The kinds of activities you will be
three general areas: l) academic work,
2) cultural activities, 3) leadership
hope that these three will be integrated into one learning
experience, rather than being the kind of fragmented learning
and living that characterize much of contemporary education
How this integration can occur will be suggested by the materials
we will be sending you and by the orientation period.
Since the students academic experiences should relate directly
to their real life in Mississippi, and since learning that
involved real life experiences is, we think, most meaningful,
we hope that the students will be involved in the political
life of their communities. As the day's schedule below
indicates, the students will work in various kinds of political
activity in the evenings. The way students will work in various
kinds of political activity in the evenings. The way students
can participate in local voter registration should be worked
out by the teachers and local COFO voter registration staff
at a meeting before the opening of school. The teachers will
be free to participate in these activities with the students,
although you may need the time to prepare lessons, etc., and
thus will want the local staff to supervise the students'
canvassing, etc. It may also be the case that on some evenings
the teachers or students will plan a special event and thus
the students will not do political work on that night. Or it
may happen that the need for canvassing for a special event
will cause local staff to ask for part of the students' day
for this purpose. It is important that voter registration-staff
and teachers stay in close touch with each other so these things-
can be worked out. An average day's schedule might look like
this: Earl morning (7-9): Concentrated individual work on
areas of students particular interest or need. Morning
(9-12 or l): Academic curriculum Afternoon (2-4 or 5):
Non-academic curriculum (recreation, cultural activities and

-2-
some tutoring). You will have to bear in mind that it is too
hot in the afternoon for much concentrated work. Evening.(7-9
or so): Work with voter registration activities, or special events
like a visiting folk singer) on evenings when no political work
is needed.
The development of a weekly schedule and a daily lesson plan will
be left to the teachers and students of the school. All teachers
will be at their school's site at least a week before the schools
Open July 7. This week should be used primarily for planning by
the teaching group, as well as recruiting students and making
community contacts. We will try to balance the schools' personnel
so that various skills will be represented by different members of
the teaching team.
The fact that you will do the actual development of a plan for
each day means that you will have to be creative, resourceful,
and flexible, To aid you in your task, we will be supplying you
with the following material, either in the mail or at orientation:
1. Curriculum Guide for Freedom Schools, by Noel Day. This doc~
cument will be your basic teaching material. It contains six
units of study centered around values and social change. Each
unit contains suggested content materials and teaching methods.
It will be possible for you to center some of the writing and
reading teaching around the subject matter of the units, and
discussion will help students grow in public speaking ability.
2. Case studies are being prepared by various people. Some of
these will relate directly to the curriculum suggested by the
Curriculum Guide, some can be used as supplementary material.
The Case Study Outline will explain how to use these studies.of
various problems related to civil rights and political change.
3. Papers on the teaching of science, math and remedial reading
and writing (also short papers on teaching arts and crafts,
dramatics, etc.)
Science will not relate directly to the subject matter of the
curriculum guide, but it is important that students receive
both a feeling for-what real science is (which they do not
receive in school) and tutorial help in specific scientific
areas of study if they show interest. Any teachers who know
this area should come prepared to do some special work with
a few students and to handle a class session or two on a
general "wonders of Science" theme. The paper you will receive
will give further ideas.
Math is an area of real difficulty for many students. Try to
secure 11th and 12th grade (and earlier) math texts for use
in tutoring. It will be difficult to develop class sessions
around this subject, since students' abilities will vary
greatly. The paper on teaching of this subject will help
you see an approach for a classroom situation.
Remedial reading and writing work will be needed by nearly
all students. Reading aloud is suggested in the Curriculum
Guide as are some theme topics. Students should be encouraged
and guided in doing outside reading. Writing should be discussed
with students individually with tutorial help directed toward
writing improvement.

-3-
4. A paper on Leadership Development by Charlie Cobb will contain
suggestions of the kinds of skills students should develop and
suggest how these can be integrated into daily activities.
5. A paper suggesting recreational and cultural activities for
students will be available.
IT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL THAT YOU STUDY THESE MATERIALS
CAREFULLY AND BRING THEM SOUTH WITH YOU. THEY WILL BE YOUR
GUIDE FOR THE SUMMER. YOUR TIME HERE IS LIMITED AND YOU MUST
PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. We will NOT be able
to replace curriculum materials if you fail to bring them with
you.
we are glad you will be with the Mississippi Movement and hope
that you share our excitement about the possibilities that the
summer holds for real growth for you and Mississippi's young
people.

Original Format

Memorandum
Paper
8.5 x 11 inches (215.9 x 279.4 mm)

Citation

Council of Federated Organizations (U.S.), “COFO Memorandum: Overview of Freedom Schools,” Queens College Civil Rights Archives, accessed May 17, 2022, http://archives.qc.cuny.edu/civilrights/items/show/91.

Geolocation