On Wednesday, July 16, the 96 students enrolled in Horizons at Foote took part in swimming, music, drama, STEM, sewing, recess and reading—and that was just in the afternoon.
That morning, they had ballet, computer coding, more STEM and hands-on activities that developed new skills and confidence: learning place value with the help of rubber duckies; researching and answering questions about sea creatures; and considering art as activism with the help of the Newbery Medal-winning novel The One and Only Ivan.
Now in its fifth summer, Horizons at Foote has expanded to grades K–5. The six-week program gives low-income New Haven public school students a full-scholarship experience that draws from Foote’s educational philosophy and the Horizons National program. Classes are led by teachers from Foote and New Haven Public Schools and are supported by more than a dozen young Foote alumni and former faculty who serve as interns or volunteers. All funds for the program come from grants and individual donations, many from the generous Foote community.
Each summer, Foote’s Horizons program has added new offerings to meet the needs of its growing student body. New this year: ballet with instructors from New Haven Ballet; ceramics with Foote art teacher Mike Golschneider; STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) with alumnus Nicholas Carpenter ’19 and students from Hopkins School; music with Foote alumni Jonathan Nazario ’10 and Lily James ’14; field trips to coastal marshes, the Connecticut Science Center and Yale University Art Gallery; and service learning projects, including collecting personal care products for the homeless and baking brownies for St. Ann’s Soup Kitchen.
“The goal is to give children experiences they would not ordinarily have, but also to help them find what they are passionate about,” says Jaime Perri, executive director
of Horizons at Foote. “We are always looking long-term toward college and careers, so with each child we are trying to find something that speaks to them.”
Nationally, students enrolled in Horizons gain an average of two to three months of academic growth in math and literacy over the summer—a reversal of the “summer slide” that boosts academic achievement. Assessments have shown that Foote’s Horizons students are solidly within that national average, says Jaime.
One look at Horizons at Foote’s exciting schedule and those gains begin to make perfect sense.