About Horizons

Horizons is a transformational, community-centered program proven to close the achievement and opportunity gaps for low-income children.  A national network of locally vested programs, Horizons offers a high-quality learning experience outside of the traditional school year that supports academic achievement and healthy youth development.

The Horizons Approach     
Students attend a 6-week summer program on the campuses of independent schools, colleges and universities, and receive additional support throughout the year.  In small classes led by professional teachers, students dive into a rich curriculum with a 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 to the program each year through 12th grade, building lasting relationships with their teachers and peers, and developing life skills essential for success. 

Horizons transforms the way students see themselves and their world.  Their reading and math skills improve significantly.  They return to school excited to learn.  They graduate from high school and go on to attend college or other post-secondary training.  With the skills to navigate their world and a network of support behind them, Horizons students embrace a more expansive view of what’s possible.

The Challenge

All children deserve the opportunity to succeed.  For the more than 32 million children living in low-income families, this is often not the case.  Today’s low-income children face even greater obstacles to educational opportunity and economic mobility than earlier generations did.  It is harder to find a path out of poverty without a college education or technical training, yet: 

  • Low-income students are six times more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to enroll in college, and less than one third of them will enroll in college.

  • A 6th grade student who misses more than 20% of class, whose teacher reports poor behavior, or who fails math or English is 70% more likely to drop out. 

  • The current high school dropout rate is a primary contributor to stagnating U.S. economic mobility and results in over $300 billion in lost wages, taxable income, and health care, welfare and incarceration costs.

  • School budgets are tighter than ever, providing less per-pupil funding for kindergarten through 12th grade than they did six years ago – often far less.   At a time when states and the nation are trying to produce workers with the skills to master new technologies and adapt to the complexities of a global economy, this decline in state educational investment is cause for concern.  
    (Report by Michael Leachman & Chris Mai, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Most States Funding Schools Less Than Before the Recession, 10pp, Revised May 20, 2014)

  • Summer learning loss is a primary cause of the persistent academic achievement gap.  Without programs like Horizons, low-income students experience a substantial and cumulative erosion of reading and math skills each summer.

Watch this video to learn more about summer learning loss.

Student Impact

“Horizons had a huge impact on my life.  It allowed me to dream, to think big, to aspire.  It let me see beyond my everyday world.  Aside from my parents, Horizons had the greatest influence on where I am today personally and professionally.”
Joe Chan, Co-Chair, Horizons at Brooklyn Friends School Board of Trustees, Horizons Graduate 

Horizons transforms the way students see themselves and their world.  Their reading and math skills improve significantly, and they return to their schools excited to learn.  They graduate from high school and go on to college or other post-secondary training.  Horizons students develop life skills like commitment, persistence, and the drive to give back.  With the tools to navigate their world, Horizons students embrace a more expansive view of what’s possible, and travel a path of success that allows them to achieve their goals.

At Horizons, we collect a lot of information about our students and we use data as evidence for continuous improvement.  Since 1995, Horizons National has worked closely with third-party evaluators and education data companies, including Yale University, Amplify, and Renaissance Learning, to assess the effectiveness of the program.  Key findings demonstrate that Horizons students, who represent a broad range of learning styles and ability, achieve success in school and beyond.

Results show:

  • Consistent gains of 8-12 weeks grade equivalence in reading and math over each 6-week summer session
  • High school graduation rate of 96%
  • Increased school attendance, and improved self-esteem

Student Impact Chart (Green)

Community Impact

Horizons establishes lasting partnerships and builds strong learning communities between public, private elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities.

“Horizons gives our students hope to believe in their dreams and the tools to realize them.  Horizons touches more than the lives of the students, it touches their families and their communities.  This is the opportunity that all of our students should have.” 
Theresa Pena, member, Denver Public School Board of Education

We are committed to changing the outcomes for low-income children by providing support and opportunities that propel them on a path of success in school and life.  Consistent, long-term support and a student and teacher retention rate of over 80% ensures students become part of a sustainable community of learning where children and their families build lasting relationships with their teachers and peers.  

Horizons engages community leaders and establishes meaningful partnerships with community organizations and public school districts to fulfill our long-term commitment to supporting students.  The need to improve the educational experience and open up opportunities for low-income students creates demands for Horizons programs in communities across the country.  To meet this demand our focus is in two areas: 

  • Strengthening existing Horizons communities by deepening our existing partnerships and forging new ones to better serve our students. 
  • Expanding to new communities.  In the next three years, Horizons seeks to more than double the number of students served, with the goal of having enough sites to serve 10,000 students.  

The Horizons Network Community

Community Impact