The Pine Bluff School District will continue Freedom Schools after-school and summer programs at First Ward School.

A public announcement​ ​and​ ​ribbon​ ​cutting will be held at 1 p.m.​ ​Thursday,​ ​Oct. ​5, at First​ ​Ward, 1300​ ​W.​ ​Fifth​ ​Ave.

The after-school program will begin Monday, Oct. 9. Participants will receive homework and academic support, college student mentorship, community exposure as well as snacks and dinner, according to a press release.

“Freedom Schools successfully prevented summer learning loss for 120 at-risk youth from the PBSD during the summer2017 school break,” according to a press release.

Students in the 2017 summer program enhanced 2-5 levels in their reading and comprehension abilities, according to a press release.

Through partnerships, youth were also exposed to learning and enrichment opportunities that otherwise may not have been possible, according to a press release.

Partnerships include Arkansas State Parks, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and What’s Next Pine Bluff?.

This program will also employ area college students to provide them with real-work, mentorship and leadership experience.

The PBSD’s Freedom Schools after-school program will operate using the Children’s Defense Fund’s national program model including the Integrated Reading Curriculum.

Details: Zach​ ​Lewis,​ ​director,​ ​​ or​ 870-209-0076.