FAIRFIELD, CT - Sacred Heart University, in affiliation with Horizons National, will bring 32 low-income students entering first and second grade from Bridgeport Public and Cathedral Education Cluster schools to its campus for six weeks in the summer of 2012. The hope is that these students, many of whom are the first in their families to step onto a college campus, will be inspired by their summer days at Sacred Heart to set high goals for their education.
As a new program in the Horizons National network, Sacred Heart will address summer learning loss, a phenomenon in which low-income children fall behind in reading and math skills in the summer, while middle-income students keep pace or jump ahead. This contributes to an achievement gap, leaving some low-income kids as much as three years behind by fifth grade. However, the students at Horizons at Sacred Heart University will actually gain reading and math skills this summer, and even learn to swim.
“Research shows that children who don’t have the opportunity to continue learning over the summer fall behind academically,” said John J. Petillo, Ph.D., president of Sacred Heart. “We are happy to work with Horizons to help ensure these young people make progress academically, socially and physically and learn to value the benefits of education. This is an excellent way to put our facilities to use during the summer.”
The program at Sacred Heart will be modeled after the very successful Horizons at Greens Farms Academy. For over a decade, Horizons at Greens Farms Academy has served more than 200 children from the Bridgeport public school community – improving their academic skills, helping them succeed in school and developing them into community leaders.
Sacred Heart will provide in kind use of its campus and administrative services, while local and national philanthropic support will enable the students to receive a tuition-free summer enrichment program. This transformative program is offered on the campuses of independent and post-secondary schools across the country. Through Horizons, public and private schools and universities create partnerships unique to their community. The Horizons model blends high-quality academics with arts, sports, cultural enrichment and confidence-building activities. All Horizons students learn to swim, making enormous gains in self-confidence that spill over into the classroom.
“We are excited to welcome Sacred Heart University to the Horizons family,” said Lorna Smith, CEO of Horizons National. “Horizons at Sacred Heart University will become our 24th program and our third hosted on a college campus.”