After launching Horizons at SCH last July with a cohort of 14 rising 1st-grade students, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy is poised to introduce a second cohort this summer and welcome back the initial class, now rising 2nd-graders. Horizons at SCH is part of Horizons, a national network of 70+ tuition-free summer programs that deliver high-quality academic and enrichment support for students. Students begin Horizons the summer after Kindergarten and return each summer through 8th grade, spending six weeks growing their literacy and math skills and building confidence through exposure to new activities and experiences.
Gerri Allen, a veteran SCH teacher, and the program's lead faculty says,
“We were incredibly buoyed by the tremendous success of last year’s students—many of whom advanced several reading grade levels during the summer program!”
Other measures of success can be attributed to the experiences the Horizons youngsters enjoyed, many of whom had never been in a classroom before as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Take-aways from their first summer at Horizons at SCH included field trips around the city (to places like the Camden Aquarium), joyful water play, and exploration of the Wissahickon woods.
Since last summer, Horizons at SCH’s first cohort of students and their families have returned to campus for community events like the Halloween “Trunk-or-Treat” in the fall and a nature hike focused on birding in the Wissahickon in March. Students and families also came together this spring to learn from a special guest, Kadeja Wexler, whose workshop, “Becoming an Author,” taught students what a writer’s journey can look like.
The need for out-of-school-time programming like Horizons at SCH provides is greater than ever. Studies have shown that pandemic-related learning gaps in literacy are now disproportionately concentrated in the early elementary grades (K-2). As students have endured shifts between in-person and remote learning, many have not had equal access to high-quality learning opportunities. Horizons programs help ensure that all students have opportunities to learn outside of school, helping close academic gaps and decrease summer learning loss, known to be one of the strongest contributors to the high school dropout rate.
On July 5, Horizons at SCH will open its doors to 32 students, primarily from under-resourced local public schools in Northwest Philadelphia. Horizons at SCH relies on corporate, foundation, and individual donor support to make this learning program possible. To that end, SCH is participating in the nationwide “Horizons Giving Day” on May 18 to give the larger community an opportunity to contribute to the literacy building, community, and JOY that are a signature part of this invaluable program. Help make a difference for these 32 students by donating the Horizons Giving Day here.
In June, SCH is hosting Kids Literacy Fun Fest filling the campus with fun for the whole family while supporting our Horizons at SCH summer program. The fest will include local children's booksellers and authors, fun activities for kids, and music by Baby Loves Disco. This first annual Kids Literacy Fun Fest will take place on Saturday, June 18, from 12 to 3 pm at 8000 Cherokee Street (SCH’s Lower School campus). All are invited and admission is free.