The achievement gap between students from under-served communities and their more affluent peers is already at 6 months by kindergarten and, without intervention, will continue to widen. Research clearly demonstrates that children who do not read on grade level by 3rd grade are more likely to drop out of high school. Summer learning loss is a major contributor to the achievement gap and the current pandemic has only widened this divide.
For this reason, BLBB Charitable is investing in the start-up of Horizons at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and Horizons at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. Both programs launching summer 2021 are affiliate programs of the award-winning, impactful Horizons National. Horizons’ K-8th grade public school students attend a high-quality 6-week summer learning program on the campus of an independent school and receive additional support during the year. In small classes led by experienced teachers, students dive into a curriculum with a rich focus on reading, STEM, and art. Swimming and other confidence-boosting activities break down barriers to success and expose children to new opportunities. Children join Horizons the summer before kindergarten and return each year through 8th grade, building lasting relationships with their teachers and peers, and developing life skills essential for success.
Horizons began in the Greater Philadelphia region in 2013. With the launch this summer of these two new programs, Horizons will double its sites in the region and has the total capacity to serve over 500 students. Horizons SCH will partner with Philadelphia public school Henry H. Houston Elementary School, where fewer than 16% of students are proficient in math and fewer than 28% are proficient in reading. Horizons at Cristo Rey will partner with Philadelphia public school Kenderton Elementary, where fewer than 5% of students are proficient in math and fewer than 15% are proficient in reading. SCH and Cristo Rey are investing in the long-term success of these students and their families, who must commit to the program through the beginning of high school.