Horizons has a long history of program evaluation, including three studies out of Yale University. Over each six-week summer session, students of Horizons summer programs show consistent gains in reading and math of 2-3 months, as measured by pre-post standardized assessments. Furthermore, when you consider the opportunity-cost of underserved students who would have experienced summer learning loss without our programs, Horizons students fare 5-6 months better than other youth in their demographic – not just reversing the “summer slide,” but instead sending children back to school ahead of where they were in May.
In addition, evaluations consistently find that over one six-week summer session, Horizons students: improve social skills; improve self-confidence and motivation; have greater willingness to try new things; improve school-year attendance; develop greater interest in nutrition; learn to swim; and have high satisfaction with the program.
In 2017, Horizons at NCC students:
- Gained an average of 5.3 months of growth in reading (K - 4th grade students).
- Gained an average of 1.2 months of growth in math (all 3rd and 4th grade students).
- Gained an average of 2.7 months in math for students who tested below grade level at the beginning of the summer.
- Celebrated a 97% average daily attendance rate.
- Retained 81% of the time.
According to the RAND corporation, the academic advantage for students with 20 or more days of attendance in a voluntary summer program after the second summer translated to 20-25% of typical annual gains in math and reading.
High School Graduation and College Enrollment
High school students from low-income families drop out of school at a rate roughly six times that of their peers from higher-income families. According to the Connecticut State Department of Education, only 75% of the students who received free or reduced price lunches graduated from high school on time in 2014, compared to 92.2% of their wealthier peers. Horizons students are beating the averages and 99% of our high school seniors graduate from high school. Not only are they graduating from high school - they are going on to college, and most are the first in their families to do so. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2013 the college enrollment rates for low-income, recent high school graduates was 46%. In contrast, 96% of Horizons graduates in the class of 2017 enrolled in college or post-secondary training.
Because Horizons at NCC is embarking on its sixth summer and has grown one grade level at a time, we do not yet have an individual program high school graduation rate to report.
Nearly 70% of African American children and 58% of Hispanic children have little or no swimming ability, which puts them at a greater risk for drowning. In predominately minority communities, the youth drowning rate is 2-3 times higher than the national average. Most students come to the program not knowing how to swim and are fearful of the water. Our team of instructors and lifeguards ensure that all of our students learn to swim. In Summer 2017, Horizons students swam four times a week at our partner pool SwimSeventy in Norwalk. There is a strong emphasis on water safety, such as survival floating and resting strokes. When Pre-Kindergarteners enter Horizons usually none can swim, but in Summer 2017 ALL of our students made progress in their swim skills - and, this confidence spills over into the classroom. 27% percent of our students did not know how to swim at the beginning of the summer, and 100% of those students had learned how to swim by the end of the summer. Additionally, we saw great improvement by advanced swimmers by the end of the program: 16% were advanced swimmers vs. 1% at the beginning of the summer.