Horizons at San Francisco Friends School is a public/private partnership offering a summer program that addresses the achievement and opportunity gaps of high-need children in the Mission neighborhood through their elementary school careers. The heart of Horizons is an exemplary academic program that supports a cohort of students in reading, writing, math, and science, paired with swimming lessons, field trips, sports, and enrichment activities in the performing and visual arts.
A growing body of research shows that a long summer without any academic involvement contributes to the achievement and opportunity gaps between students whose parents can afford summer camps, classes and activities and those whose parents cannot. Students not reading at grade level by third grade are unlikely to graduate from high school, and low-income students enter kindergarten already behind in literacy skills due to disparities in opportunity, vocabulary, and nutrition. Without summer learning opportunities like Horizons, the gap grows every summer to almost three years by fifth grade. On average, Horizons students advance two to three months in reading and math skills each summer and develop a lasting love for learning.
San Francisco Friends School launched the first west coast Horizons program in the Summer of 2014 to help address the city’s critical need for more quality summer learning programs and to provide opportunities for Mission neighborhood children to succeed academically and reach their full potential. The program has added a class of students each summer, and will continue to do so until Horizons is K–eighth grade.
Our goal is to create a joyous, inclusive, inspiring, and educational program where students have a strong sense of belonging and in which they feel happy and safe, and are excited to challenge themselves and learn new skills. We hope other independent schools on the West Coast will adopt the model in coming years, increasing the access to high quality summer programming and academic enrichment for underserved children in our communities.
Laura Medina Quintanar
Horizons at San Francisco Friends School
250 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
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