The Horizons Model

Horizons Greater Washington

At the heart of every Horizons community is a partnership among independent schools and/or colleges, local public schools, and the Horizons program.  Beginning in the summer after kindergarten, Horizons students spend six weeks each summer on independent school and college campuses engaged in a program that blends high quality academics with cultural enrichment and confidence-building activities. Given an opportunity to attend for nine consecutive summers, Horizons students grow in skills and confidence, returning better prepared to their own schools each fall.

Horizons Greater Washington launched in 2000, with 16 children, as a partnership between H. D. Cooke Elementary School and Maret School. In January 2008, Horizons welcomed a second partner school, Bancroft Elementary School. In May 2009, Horizons expanded to a second host school, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School. In February 2010, Norwood School agreed to serve as the third host school, partnering with Rock Creek Forest Elementary School in Montgomery County.

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Each program hires its own lead teachers from public and private schools to work side-by-side with high-school- and college-aged Horizons Assistant Teachers, using project-based teaching methods that excite and engage students. There is no standard curriculum; instead, educators are given the freedom to teach in an environment that encourages them to be creative. The result is that students gain an average of two to three months in reading and math skills each summer.  Each Horizons student also learns how to swim, building confidence and a desire to achieve inside and outside the classroom.

The gap in academic performance between low-income and higher-income students in the metro D.C. area is one of the highest in the nation. Only 60 percent of the region’s low-income youth graduate from high school. Only one in three goes to college.

Horizons helps students beat these odds. 99 percent of Horizons Greater Washington students graduate from high school, and 91 percent go to college!

Horizons programs transform the lives of students caught in the achievement gap, giving them the tools and support to become successful and confident college-bound students. Each Horizons program becomes an integral part of the host school’s culture and makes a lasting impact on the school and its surrounding community. The first Horizons program was launched in 1964 in Connecticut. Today there are 52 Horizons programs spread across 17 states.

Click here for more information about Horizons National.

For more information about Horizons Greater Washington, click here or contact:

Renée Stikes

Executive Director

Horizons Greater Washington