Horizons launching pilot summer learning program in Pocomoke
WORCESTER CO., Md. – A popular academic summer program is expanding to Pocomoke City this year. Horizons Salisbury, now known as Horizons Delmarva, is partnering with Worcester County Public Schools to launch its new pilot location at Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church.
“We have measured that our students do on average an entire letter grade better through out the school year than their peers. Our students also have a 99 percent high school graduation rate,” says Joe Laque, the Executive Director for Horizons Delmarva. “So this summer we’re launching our first Worcester County based site in Pocomoke with an initial class of fifteen first graders.”
The organization prides itself in offering academic driven opportunities to low income students for six weeks each summer. “They get time in the classroom where we have hands on activities in STEM subjects but we also take them and we have field trips, out of class experiences,” says Laque.
Laque says Pocomoke presents an opportunity to try and prevent something called the summer slide which is when academic achievement falls behind while kids aren’t in school. “So when looking at bringing in a service that helps address the academic achievement gap that is mainly income driven related, of course looking at a location where we have the most students to serve.”
Worcester County Public Schools tells 47 ABC they’re excited about this partnership because Horizons has a strong track record in improving academic success among students.
“We liked the fact that they really do have a strong emphasis on making sure the students who need it most are really getting the summer programs,” says Tamara Mills, the Coordinator of Instruction for Worcester County Public Schools. “They are great about tracking their students through out the year so with a small program like they have, they are able to really stay on top of the students academically, take a look at their grades and assessments through out the year between that and what they are offering in the summer.”
“We’re very excited to see the growth in these student and to see the Worcester County school students start to demonstrate the same kind of results that Wicomico did,” says Laque.
Laque says, amidst this pandemic, Horizons is preparing for ways to adapt the program to distanced or virtual learning if needed. They say the expansion into Worcester will not change what they offer in Wicomico.
They’re currently accepting online referrals or applications which are first come first served. The Pocomoke site is open for students currently in Kindergarten going into First Grade.