Logo for: Horizons Greater Washington

Norwood School

Horizons Greater Washington's Partnership with Norwood School

Norwood's Supply Drive and Day of Service 2024

History

Horizons' third site was launched in 2010 as a partnership between Norwood School and Rock Creek Forest Elementary. The program began with 15 first graders and added a grade each year. Each summer, Norwood donates use of its classrooms in the Middle School to Horizons' 5-week academic enrichment program. Today, the majority of our students who attend the Norwood site are students of Rock Creek Forest, Rolling Terrace Elementary, Rosemary Hills Elementary, Silver Creek Middle School, and several other local schools. All Horizons' programming is free for our families and we provide all meals (breakfast, hot lunch, and snacks), curriculum supplies, and transportation each program day from Gwendolyn Coffield Park. In Summer 2024, we look forward to serving 140 K-8 students at our Norwood site from June 28 through August 2.

Impact

Access to our transformative educational experience breaks the cycle of academic disparity and empowers underestimated students to reach their full potential. How?

  • Expanding horizons through dynamic learning experiences: We offer a five-week summer program and 18-week Saturday Academy that combine academic enrichment, social-emotional learning, and exposure to a variety of engaging activities. In total, Horizons provides over 300 hours of programming - a 30% increase to the hours that students attend school.
  • Bolstering mental health and wellbeing: We know that all youth have been navigating challenges to their mental health since pre-pandemic and are continuing to struggle in the pandemic's aftermath. Through our partnership with the MECCA Group LLC, we provide a licensed mental health counselor two days per week at the Norwood site during our summer program.
  • Centering fitness, safety, and fun through swimming: Drowning deaths disproportionately impact the community Horizons serves. Our Norwood site students swim 3x per week at Montgomery College with guided, certified swim instruction. Beyond learning a new sport and a life-saving skill, our youngest swimmers master a Learn-to-Swim curriculum, our middle school students build their fitness and skills with swim team workouts, and our 9th graders participate in lifeguard training.
  • Creating a sense of belonging within academics: With a 5:1 student to staff ratio, our program tailors educational experiences to meet the unique needs of each child, fostering a critical sense of belonging and empowerment.

Horizons Works:

Horizons students experience chronically absent rates of only 16%, in stark contrast to the 43% chronically absent rate among students in the District of Columbia Public Schools. Chronic absenteeism - missing 18 days in a school year - has contributed to falling school achievement, deteriorating mental health due to social isolation, and increased youth violence during school hours (ProPublica 2024). Chronically absent students are less likely to read on grade level, more likely to be suspended in middle school, and more likely to drop out of high school (Attendance Works 2023). That is not the case for our students.

Ways to Get Involved

We are grateful for the longstanding partnership and support Horizons has with Norwood! Join us in creating a community where every child has the opportunity to thrive. Here are four ways to get involved:

  • Support the Supply Drive: Culminating on April 27 at Norwood's Day of Service event, the month-long Supply Drive will support the costs of our literacy and English Language Arts curriculum through donating books off Horizons' Amazon Wishlist. To learn more about the event, please click here.
  • Support the 2024 Reach for the Stars Gala: Our annual benefit will be held on October 4, 2024 at the National Museum for Women in the Arts! Interested in joining the Gala Committee or know a potential corporate sponsor? Please reach out to Executive Director Mike Di Marco.
  • Become a guest speaker: We're always looking for local subject-matter experts to serve as guest speakers and enrich our curriculum. This summer, our rising ninth graders will focus on two themes: entrepreneurship and journalism. They'll learn what it takes to start and sustain a business as well as how to create a well-sourced podcast. Do you know someone who can share their real experience with these themes? Let Mike know here.
  • Build and sponsor a field trip experience: Do you work on a team that can help teach middle school or rising ninth graders a skill that would benefit them in high school or beyond? Want to share what you and your colleagues do and how you chose your career? Consider hosting a field trip! Show off your company and help our students connect what they're learning in the classroom to real world applications! Interested? Send a note to Mike!