As part of our year-round, out-of-school-time approach to teaching, Horizons believes in the value of summer education, especially for low-income children. We’ve seen first-hand how a high-quality summer program can engage at-risk students with their own learning – from reading to STEM to arts to swimming.
And we’re not alone. This week, CNBC interviewed Margaret McKenna, chair of the National Summer Learning Association (and former Walmart Foundation president), along with Jim Quinn, NSLA vice chair (and retired Tiffany & Co. president) about the importance of summer learning.
Noting that the “summer slide” affects low-income students more profoundly, accounting for some 50% of the achievement gap by the time students reach 9th grade, McKenna sees summer learning as a very effective solution. In fact, she observes, “to invest in summer learning is the best return on investment.”
Her NSLA colleague Quinn agrees. He believes attributes like talent, drive, and ambition are distributed equally in society – but opportunity is not. That’s where summer education (not “summer school”) comes in. Echoing McKenna, Quinn says, “There is no better investment in education, dollar for dollar, than investment in summer learning.”
In over 50 years of successful Horizons programs, we’ve seen, through the students, families, and communities we serve, that summer learning improves how students feel about learning, about their future, and about themselves. One compelling measurement of the positive return on this investment in the future: 99% of Horizons high school students graduate from high school on time, and 91% go on to college or other post-secondary education.
See the story:
CNBC Summer Learning interview
Horizons students give Facebook a big thumbs-up "Like!"
30 Horizons students recently ventured to Facebook’s New York City office to catch a glimpse of their own future. Coming from six different Horizons programs (Horizons at Ethel Walker School, Horizons at Greens Farms Academy, Horizons Newark, Horizons at New Canaan Country School, Horizons at Sacred Heart University, and Horizons at Saint David’s School), the students were able to tour the Facebook office, meet Facebook employees, and learn about the careers they might someday lead.
The students, who ranged from third grade to high school, also got to meet Horizons National’s ambassador, Allison Williams, who told them about her long-standing involvement with, and belief in, Horizons. Students were then able to ask all kinds of questions to a panel of Facebookers moderated by Ms. Williams, and enjoyed touring Facebook’s exciting office space (including several snack stations!).
But Horizons students weren’t the only ones learning new things; many Facebook employees attended the event as well to find out more about Horizons, and about the partnership Facebook and Horizons have built together. It was the first of what Horizons expects to be quarterly Facebook visits, which will focus on specific ages and specific topics important to those ages.
When it was all over, Allison Williams summed it up best: “I cannot wait until this becomes something these students can look forward to regularly. And I love the idea of them becoming comfortable and at ease in the offices of one of the biggest companies in the world.”
She noted that when Horizons takes its students to places like college campuses and workplaces, it “sends a big message about what kind of environments WE see them in in the future. It helps them realize that it's okay for them to picture themselves on those campuses too, someday. Being able to spend time at the Facebook office? Unreal. We get to encourage them to dream BEYOND college – and that's amazing.”
All of us at Horizons thank Allison for her help, and thank Facebook for inviting our students in to see, to dream, and to imagine what their future can be.