Horizons at Warner is committed to improving the quality of life and breaking the cycle of poverty for our families by providing ample academic support and enrichment opportunities that guide our students through high school graduation and beyond.
We are able to do this by establishing meaningful connections throughout the community, starting with the Rochester City School District and John James Audubon School No.33, the institution from which we recruit the majority of our Kindergarten students. The remainder of our kindergarten students are recruited via our partnership and the students’ roots with the Greater Rochester Summer Learning Association (GRSLA).
On a larger scale, we are proud to derive support from the sustainable community of learning established by Horizons National, through which affiliates from across the nation, in public, private or secondary schools, colleges or universities, support one another in building long-term relationships between their families, teachers, staff, and the community at large.
Gaps of Opportunity, Resources, and Achievement
Today’s students from marginalized communities are forced to deal with gaps of opportunity, resources, and achievement. Given the current state of the City of Rochester with 54% of children in Monroe County living in poverty and 99% of Rochester City School District children qualifying for free lunch, the City of Rochester ranks in the nation’s top three mid-size cities in poverty. This makes it much more difficult for students from the Rochester City School District to obtain experiences that support their success and achievement in high school, college, and the workforce.
Summer Learning Loss
Research demonstrates that students, especially from 3rd to 8th grade, the age-range at the core of our program, lose anywhere from 20-50% of the math and reading skills that they learn during the school year over the two months of summer vacation.
This phenomenon is called summer learning loss, and it is one of the primary causes of the persistent academic achievement gap that exists for the student population we serve. We are able to combat this challenge by providing students with outstanding staff, curriculum, and enrichment opportunities for six weeks out of their summer.
Without programs like Horizons, under-resourced students experience a substantial and cumulative erosion of reading and math skills that can ultimately leave them years behind their peers. Horizons at Warner has become a valuable asset in providing an extended learning to students who would not otherwise have opportunities for summer enrichment like vacations and summer camp.
Our program is determined to provide the things that increased funding in education, summer school, and recreation programs have not been able to; quality academic experiences that enrich a student’s life over the course of consecutive summers.
We believe in fostering strong relationships through the development and impact of a curriculum deeply rooted in best practices and educational research at the Warner School of Education.
Nationwide, each affiliate of Horizons National administers pre- and post-STAR reading and math assessments to students during the first and last weeks of program. Pre-assessment allows our teachers to customize the learning experience on a student-need basis, and post-assessment reinforces this by not only revealing student progress in each area, but by giving insight into how we can improve program design in the future.
In addition to this, Horizons at Warner began assessing student reading levels by delivering the Fountas and Pinnell Literacy test in 2018. Each student is evaluated on an individual basis by one of our seasoned NYS-certified teachers to determine at which F and P reading level they begin the summer, using leveled books administered by our in-house literacy specialist. At the end of the summer, the student is evaluated once again by the same teacher to determine growth.
On average, we see an improvement by 1 to 3 reading levels in our students. Keeping true to our mission, these 1-3 levels will account for all and more of the percentage of summer learning loss that we know our students would face without this kind of academic intervention, and leave our students five to six months ahead of where they would have been without Horizons.
“What makes Horizons unique is that we are in it for the long term, staying engaged with students and families year after year.”
~Jane Stoddard Williams, Horizons National Board Chair
Dymere is just one of the 150 students who attend Horizons each summer. Like most of our students, Dymere has returned every summer since kindergarten. We have watched him change from a mischievous little boy into a fine young man. He and his mother believe the experiences at Horizons at Warner have contributed greatly to his transformation.
“Horizons is a very fun program. You do lots of works that helps you when you go to school…. Horizons is very different from real school. We read every morning, and I get to choose what books I read. Horizons helped me become a better reader, because we read a lot…. I will be back every summer. I can’t wait to see my old friends and meet new ones each summer. I can’t wait to help out the little kids when I get older. I’m going to stay until I pass ninth grade and then I want to work there. When we start the day with everyone at Horizons doing HorizNshone and we sing our Horizons at Warner song, I feel like I am with family.”
Danasha, Dymere's mother, says...
“The Horizons at Warner teachers and staff have helped Dymere to become sensitive to others’ feelings and develop an awareness of his actions and how they affect others…. My kids look forward to going each summer and when camp ends, they cry. They feel a sense of belonging there. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the program.”