Rochester, NY has a strong Summer Learning Association presence, which helped make it possible to have 420 low-income students participating in high-quality summer learning programs in 2012, up from 135 students in 2009. The dramatic scale-up in the number of children served by summer learning programs was made possible by the leadership of the Rochester community at the national level, as they built a framework for integrating the Horizons summer learning model into institutes of higher education.
Summer learning programs in Rochester that focused on on the literacy skills of young students included Elementary Academic Intervention Summer School and the Rochester Summer Scholars Grade 3 Summer Enrichment Program. As noted above, Rochester also has a strong Horizons summer learning program, an evidence-based, 6-week program focused on closing the achievement gap for low-income, K-8 urban school children. Over the course of the program, students in each grade completed a community service project and had access to 25 literacy tutors from SUNY Geneseo.
Students in the Horizons program gain 2 to 3 months of reading and math skills every summer; 95% of program graduates complete high school on time, and 90% of program graduates go on to college. In 2012, program participants represented 50 schools, and had a 98% return rate and 96% daily attendance rate for the 6 weeks. The program has been operating for 18 years in Rochester at the Harley School, and there are now Horizons programs at Monroe Community College, Nazareth College, and the University of Rochester, with further expansion to other area colleges in the planning phases. This expansion is possible due to community support, with assistance coming from the local colleges, RCSD, the United Way, community foundations, private donors, and Horizons National.
Rochester also celebrated Summer Learning Day, incorporating the Horizons 2013 Official Kick-off Picnic and a book donation. On Monday, June 17th from 6-7:30 p.m. students and families celebrated the 19th season of Horizons with an entrepreneurial focus, as students at all grade levels began to study the overall theme of the “business of books.” And as part of the New Book Fridays initiative, every child was given a book to start their own library.