Horizons’ award-winning program builds brighter futures for low-income children in the Greater Boston area. The Horizons academic program begins in prekindergarten and serves its students throughout their educational careers, helping them build self-confidence and realize their full potential. Designed to prevent summer decline and close the opportunity and achievement gaps, over 10 successive summers, the program;
- improves academic performance and motivation
- increases self-esteem by developing fundamental life skills such as learning to swim
- provides extensive enrichment experiences through a variety of activities including the arts and weekly field trips
Why We Do It
Summer Learning Loss and the Achievement Gap
“Over half of the ninth-grade achievement gap between lower and higher income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities during the elementary school years.” Alexander et al., Lasting Consequences of the Summer Learning Gap, April 2007.
Massachusetts has the highest reading achievement gap in the nation.
Futures At Risk
Students are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma if they do not read proficiently by third grade.
At-risk children who do not receive a high-quality early childhood education are more likely to be placed in special education, drop out of school, become a teen parent, or be arrested for a violent crime—and they are much less likely to attend college.
Lives At Risk
Swimming is a life-saving skill that many low-income children fail to acquire. In predominately minority communities, the youth drowning rate is 2-3 times higher than the national average.
Most students come to Horizons not knowing how to swim and fearful of the water. Overcoming this fear and learning to trust qualified instructors also builds their self-esteem and encourages risk-taking in the classroom.
How We Do It
Unique Early Childhood Programming
The Horizons six-week summer academic program provides enrichment activities and ongoing year-round support.
The continuum of commitment to the same students over nine years begins in prekindergarten.
Horizons at DCD is a public/private partnership offering students access to the academic and recreational facilities of Dedham Country Day School.
All students receive swimming instruction.
Research-Based and Evaluation-Driven Curriculum
The Horizons program is aligned with current school reform plans and standards.
Our curriculum and pacing are developed by reading specialists.
Continuous feedback-gathering and evaluation include student-level data review conducted throughout the year.
Holistic Approach to Learning
Students engage in project-based learning with professional math and reading teachers in small classes (5 students to 1 teacher).
Academics are complemented by swimming instruction, exercise/athletics, art and music programming and weekly field trips of academic or cultural significance.
Parents and members of the community are actively involved.