Horizons programs narrow the nation’s achievement gap between low-income students and their more economically advantaged peers. That gap is typically 6 months when a child begins Kindergarten, and grows to almost 3 years by fifth grade, making it nearly irreversible by middle school. Most of that gap is accumulated over the summer months, and is due to the disparity in summer experiences. The majority of low-income students lack enriching, constructive summer activities. They lose academic skills, inspiration, and motivation, returning to their school in the fall further behind their higher-income peers. Elimination of summer learning loss is critical for the future of individual students, but is also an urgent societal issue. A 2009 McKinsey study estimated the cost of the achievement gap as “the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession” with costs in the trillions of dollars attributed to “the underutilization of human potential.” A 2007 study in the American Sociological Review reports that the academic achievement gap between low-income and middle-class children in the U.S. is an average of six months in Kindergarten and nearly three years by fifth grade. By high school, children from low-income families will be six times more likely to drop out. As adults, they will have a 51% chance of being unemployed.”
In an effort to provide impactful and personalized academic enrichment experiences to all Horizons Newark scholars we offer The Saturday Academy. The Saturday Academy is a free yearlong program for Horizons Newark scholars in grades k-8 that offers courses in Writing, Reading, Math and STEM. With no homework or tests, these courses offer fun and interesting approaches to learning that don’t always find their way into the traditional classroom. Saturday Academy scholars meet for 12 Saturdays during the school year; each session is from 9am – 12:30pm.