Horizons Uses Summers for Academic Gain
The six-week summer session for our PreK-8 students allows them to make academic gains instead of losing skill in reading and math between school years. Students grow up with the program, returning each summer. Student retention rate is very high, which is critical to our success since research shows that the longer a student participates in an enrichment program, the greater the impact of that program on a student’s life. Further, our curriculum is infused with important social and emotional concepts that are helping our students develop the persistence, self-confidence and social competence to succeed in an increasingly competitive and complex world.
- Each student benefits from over 200 hours of academic instruction and enrichment each summer
- Horizons at GFA students gain an average of three months in reading and math during the summer while students without access to summer enrichment lose 2-3 months skill, with below grade level students gaining as much as to 4.5 months in reading and math
- All students learn to swim
- 4:1 student-teacher ratio
- 97% attendance rate
- Average 97%* student and 81%* faculty retention rate year-to-year, building a unique, close-knit community
* Five-year averages
Horizons Starts Early
Horizons at GFA begins in PreK since studies have shown that stuents who attend preschool have higher educational achievement at age 14 and are more likely to graduate from high school than children who did not attend preschool.
Horizons Builds Literacy
The switch from learning to read to reading to learn is made in the fourth grade. Students who are not proficient readers by third grade struggle in school, fall behind, frequently have low self-esteem associated with their lack of success in the classroom and are four times more likely to drop out of high school. A disproportionate number of students who are not proficient readers by third grade are from lower income families of color.
Horizons Builds Social and Emotional Skills
Horizons at GFA’s individualized curriculum encompasses social emotional learning (SEL) concepts that allow our students to improve their attitudes about themselves and their education, reinforces positive social behavior, improving their educational outcomes.
A typical day in our summer program starts with a nutritious breakfast followed by a morning of academics. After lunch and recess, students have a stimulating afternoon of enrichment activities. Fridays are reserved for fun and educational grade-level field trips that complement the work being done in the classroom. At the end of each summer our Summer Celebration brings together our entire community to celebrate the achievements of the students.
During the school year, students return to the GFA campus for Saturday Academy. In addition to learning critical writing skills and continuing our focus on literacy, Saturday Academy’s year-round link maintains the connection between students and teachers and is an important factor in our high student retention rates and strength of community.
Swimming and Enrichment
All Horizons students learn to swim. Becoming a proficient swimmer is an important life skill that builds confidence and a desire to achieve. Further, swimming is a skill that many low-income children do not have the opportunity to acquire. Nearly 70% of African American children and 58% of Hispanic children have low or no swimming ability. In predominately minority communities, the youth drowning rate is 2-3 times higher than the national average. Many students that come to Horizons are very fearful of the water. Successfully overcoming this fear builds self-esteem which has a positive effect in the classroom as well.
Enrichment activities are vital to develop skills and interests that increase intelligence and competence in ways academics alone do not. Enrichment at Horizons includes music, science, art, athletics, and field trips. These activities promote higher-level thinking, develop leadership abilities, provide perspective and boost confidence and raise student aspirations and expectations for their lives.