Horizons at Dedham Country Day School (DCD) offers a tuition-free six-week summer program of academic, cultural enrichment and social support for pre-K to eighth grade students from low-income families in the Greater Boston area. To participate, students must qualify for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program.
Having the right class composition model is one of the keys to the success of the program. Approximately one-third of the children in each class are achievers–students who are successful in school, act as role-models, and thrive on the enrichment opportunities the program offers. Two-thirds are under-achievers–students who have some potential but are under-performing in their classes and will benefit from the low student-teacher ratio. This approach, combined with the academic, cultural, and recreational components of the program, makes Horizons long-term early intervention a unique model for supplemental education.
Horizons students participate in reading, math, and science classes, as well as enrichment activities including music, science, art, swimming and other athletics and field trips. Add Literacy proficiency and math remain the core components of our program: We address critical skill gaps for students’ academic success and we deliver tangible results.
Targeted reading instruction combined with project-based STEM and theme curricula prevents the “summer slide” (summer decline in academic performance) and sends students back to school better prepared.
Enrichment activities are important to develop social, civic and other skills and interests that increase engagement, problem solving and competence in ways academics alone do not. Such activities promote higher-level thinking and perspective, leadership development and boost confidence–all while raising student aspirations and expectations for their lives.
Weekly field trips allow students to explore the many different environments of the metropolitan Boston area including the Franklin Park Zoo, Boston Aquarium, Blue Hills Reservation, Brookline Puppet Theater, Museum of Science and an urban farm.
Horizons offers a safe and nurturing social environment, providing nutritious meals including breakfast, lunch, and a snack. Transportation is provided to and from school throughout the summer. Students and families are given additional social support to improve behavioral and learning skills through an onsite social worker, special instruction in social skills and conflict resolution and the opportunity to engage with like-minded peers.
Horizons partners with its students’ schools to provide direct, individualized academic support and tutoring all year long. Educators have long recognized that in addition to facilitating the mastery of academic skills, tutoring improves self-esteem and self-confidence, reduces dropout rates and provides emotional support and positive role models.
Students who could benefit from small group tutoring are identified by Summer Program teachers and through a review of their report cards. Tutors, who are all professional certified teachers, meet with students once a week in the schools they attend at no cost to their families. It is difficult for these students to access tutoring support elsewhere because of prohibitive costs or logistical challenges.