Our History - The Story of Horizons Greater Washington


The Beginning

Horizons Greater Washington began in 2000 as an affiliate of Horizons National, with 16 children, as a partnership between H. D. Cooke Elementary School and Maret School. This unique partnership is built on the premise that effective public-private collaboration will ultimately yield improved performance and long-term educational success for students.


In January 2008, Horizons welcomed a second partner school, Bancroft Elementary School. In May 2009, Horizons expanded to a second host school, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School, and thus begun planning for the expansion to Horizons Greater Washington. November 2009 marked the incorporation of Horizons Greater Washington and in February 2010, Norwood School agreed to serve as the third host school partnering with a Montgomery County public school.

"Summer 2013 re-enrollment was 90%"


Most students join the Horizons community as rising 1st graders and stay with the program through middle school. Continuity of enrollment is a critical component of the program and families are encouraged to make a long term commitment. As a result, our retention for summer 2013 re-enrollment was 90%.

The Future

In 2010, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary, a milestone that allows us to continue to look to the future. We recognize the time has come to broaden the scope of our program and open our doors to an even larger population of at-risk youth. Productive discussions are underway with a number of independent schools in the District with the goal of opening new sites in future summers.

Horizons National

Horizons was founded in 1964 at New Canaan Country School (NCCS) in New Canaan, CT to serve children from low income families of lower Fairfield County. Years of successful growth prompted the need to measure the program’s effectiveness, and in 1981 Dr. Edward Zigler from Yale University’s Center for Child Development and Social Policy conducted a formal evaluation of Horizons at NCCS.

The resulting report substantiated that Horizons made a significant and unique contribution to the lives of the children it served. The highlights of the report included:

  • Horizons positively affects children’s attitudes about learning
  • Horizons positively affects attendance rates during the regular school year
  • Horizons prevents a summer decline in math, and that this advantage is maintained during the following
    school year
  • Students use special school services less after attending Horizons

Based on the results of the evaluation, Dr. Zigler urged the expansion of Horizons to additional independent day schools. For the full report, click here (link to research section).

In 1993, spearheaded by the efforts of the Executive Director, Lyn McNaught, Horizons at New Canaan Country School received a grant to replicate the program. The Headmaster of NCCS, Nick Thacher, then sent a letter to NAIS member schools and Horizons board members Sally and Tony Grassi volunteered to visit the schools that expressed interest in the program. By 1997, Horizons National Student Enrichment Program, Inc. was formed with its own 501(c)(3).

While required to adhere to a common set of principles, each Horizons Affiliate program is reflective of its local community and encouraged to identify its own objectives.

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Horizons Affiliate Locations

  • New Canaan Country School, New Canaan, Connecticut
  • The Harley School, Rochester, New York
  • Radcliffe Creek School, Chestertown, Maryland
  • St. Richard’s School, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Rumson Country Day School, Rumson, New Jersey
  • Colorado Academy, Denver, Colorado
  • Holy Innocents Episcopal School, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Norfolk Collegiate School, Norfolk, Virginia
  • Chesapeake Bay Academy, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Maret School, Washington, D.C.
  • Greens Farms Academy
  • Salisbury School, Salisbury, Maryland
  • Savannah Country Day School, Savannah, Georgia
  • Brooklyn Friends School, Brooklyn, NY
  • Portsmouth Catholic Elementary School, Portsmouth, VA
  • Dedham Country Day School, Dedham, MA
  • St. Philip's Academy, Newark, New Jersey
  • Warner/University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
  • Kellogg Community College, Battle Creek, MI
  • Monroe Community College, Rochester, NY
  • Nazareth College, Rochester, NY
  • Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT
  • St. David’s School, New York, NY
  • Woodward Academy, College Park, GA

Students caught in the achievement gap are six times more likely to drop out of high school and have a 51% chance of being unemployed. The achievement gap costs the nation $260 billion per year in healthcare costs, and decreased lifetime earnings. 


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Horizons Greater Washington in a 501(c)(3) organization operating in Washington, DC. Copyright © 2014 Horizons Greater Washington.

Our work would not be possible without the generous support of individuals like yourself. Support Horizons DC today!