Outcomes are derived from a compilation of school data: attendance records, grades, disciplinary records, drop out statistics and in some cases, standardized test scores. Freedom Center staff set academic goals with each youth, monitor their progress at school and provide support to achieve those goals. This may include matching up the students with tutors. Youth and Family Staff document goals and progress for each youth, keeping logs and journals of attendance, school data, home visit logs and other evidence of service provided to youth and their families.
Highlights of the programming reveal dramatic outcomes in student academic standing, first generation access to higher education, substantive character development and a unique blending of community based values of service, discipline, humility and the importance of hard work. Specific results of our work include:
1. Academic and Leadership Outcome: With only one year of programming, 94% of our students demonstrate improved writing skills, 93% increase homework completion, 90% improve respect for peers, and all demonstrate increase in concern for community issues and engagement in meaningful civic activities. Based on longitudinal data from our summer 2006 pilot program, 95% of the Oakland youth participants demonstrated increased grade point averages, decreased absenteeism and decreases in disciplinary referrals. 75% of the students assumed leadership roles in the fall.
2. Ethical Leadership Conduct and Character Development
1) Commitment to the development of self-control
2) Learning how to learn and lifelong learning
3) Developing the ability to report and understand the thoughts and feelings of another, while simultaneously having the ability to understand your own thoughts and feelings.
3. Character Development: The Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center, following the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. focuses on personal change through participation in social transformation. When one does this, the need for personal change becomes self-evident and individuals begin to excel in academics and citizenship. Students reduce television time, increase reading time, keep a journal, and write poems and speeches throughout the year.
4. Community Uplift: Oakland neighborhoods benefit from youth, school and community transformation. Through connection with the serious study and proactive principles of nonviolence, youth participants undergo specific character and conduct changes which in addition to changing individual students, also alter school climate and uplift our communities. Students conduct door-to-door campaigns, poetry and speech reading in local coffee shops and community events. Staff conduct home visits to 100% of parents of the youth in the leadership cohort.
5. Family Cohesion: Families directly benefit from developing strong relationships with diverse MLK staff assisting in navigation of school relationships and in home-life changes that may be needed to support student academic improvement (data reveals decreased TV and video time, increase in reading at home, eating meals together, making things with their hands, practicing culture and deep/meaningful conversations in the home).