Horizons students enroll in PreK and return each year through Grade 12. In partnership with GFA, PreK-8 students attend a six-week summer program of small classes led by professional, nurturing teachers. Students engage with an individualized curriculum emphasizing reading, writing and math. Enrichment activities, including swimming and music, expose students to new opportunities. Throughout the school year, Saturday Academy provides academic and social continuity while reinforcing the student-Horizons relationship. The program assists students in navigating high school and college through a combination of year-round tutoring, mentoring, and one-on-one college counseling.
Why We Do It
Connecticut continues to have among the worst achievement gaps in the nation. Bridgeport is the largest city in the state and the lowest-performing school district. The dream of a quality education is out of reach for far too many Bridgeport children. These are a few of the difficult realities facing Bridgeport public school students:
- Skills Loss: The academic skills of low-income students regress an average of two months during the summer because of limited access to summer learning and enrichment. Over time, these students fall behind their more affluent peers — as much as three years behind by the fifth grade.
- Low Graduation Rate: Only 55-60% of freshmen in Bridgeport public high schools graduate.
- Lack of College Readiness: Of the high school students that do graduate, only 20% are prepared for college.
- Impact: Students caught in the achievement gap are six times more likely to drop out of high school and have a 51% greater chance of being unemployed.
What Does Horizons Offer?
- Six weeks of intense academic instruction, enrichment, and swimming instruction each summer
- 11 Saturdays of literacy training and enrichment programming during the school year
- 4:1 student-teacher ratio in grades K-8, 2:1 in preK
- 1:1 academic support and college counseling for high school students
- Students, teachers, volunteers and staff form a close-knit community with high expectations for attendance, participation, and individual effort and achievement
- Early and long-lasting intervention is directly related to academic success in later years, so Horizons starts in preK and has a five year retention rate of 97%
Horizons at GFA Outcomes
- PreK-8th grade students gain an average of three months in reading and math each summer
- Students build confidence, motivation and aspirations
- 100% of 8th graders enter high school
- 100% graduate from high school
- 98% of 2014 – 2016 Horizons high school graduates attend either a two or four year college
Horizons at GFA successfully reverses summer learning loss and transforms the futures of Bridgeport students by providing experiences that improve academic performance, build confidence, raise aspirations and instill a life-long love of learning.