Horizons at Warner Expands Summer Learning Opportunities to Better Support Rochester Students in Wake of COVID-19

Horizons students playing outside

The COVID-19 pandemic has created countless challenges for K-12 schools and summer learning providers. But some local programs are partnering this summer to remain connected to and support Rochester children during a time of schools closures and social distancing.
Horizons at Warner at the University of Rochester and six other local summer programs are partnering with the Education Success Foundation and EnCompass: Resources For Learning to provide academic and enrichment opportunities and resources, as well as social and emotional support, to the students and families that they continue to serve each year. Together, the partners view this challenge as an opportunity to collaborate on a shared mission of improving and expanding out-school-time support for youth from the City of Rochester.
Horizons group photoNormally, the students participating in Horizons at Warner would spend six weeks in meaningful learning experiences on the University’s River Campus, but the program will move to remote learning during the summer months.
This year, students will likely face even more challenges—not just summer learning loss, but potentially a whole semester’s worth, explains Julia Postler, executive director of Horizons at Warner. In this uncertain time, one thing is clear: the opportunity gap that these summer learning providers work so hard to close is at risk of becoming even wider.
“Rochester students are relying on Horizons now, more than ever—not only to strengthen their academic skills, but also to bolster their resilience and outlook during this crisis and beyond,” says Poster. “Horizons remains committed to supporting our families through this pandemic and continuing to prevent learning loss and develop social and emotional skills during the summer months.”
Since this health crisis began, the Rochester partnership has come together—virtually—as a community aimed at meeting the short-term and long-term academic, social and emotional, and basic needs of Rochester students in order to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
Elements of the collaborative summer programming for Rochester students include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Weekly distribution of project-based learning materials that students and families can engage with at home.
  • Delivery of virtual academic, social-emotional, and enrichment content.
  • Tutoring and office hours for teachers to support students and families with completing remote learning work.
  • Emergency outreach for families to meet food insecurity needs.
  • A multi-agency collaboration focused on meeting technology needs for remote learning engagement.
  • A shared needs assessment tool and outreach plan for supporting families.
  • An outreach team that uses specified metrics to increase student and family engagement through a cycle of continuous improvement.
  • A shared platform for data collection and analysis.
Horizons students in River Campus lab
Horizons at Warner is a six-week, tuition-free, summer academic enrichment program serving over 150 students in kindergarten through eighth grade from the Rochester City School District. One of 62 Horizons National affiliates, Horizons at Warner was the first to be located on a university/college campus. For the past nine summers, Horizons at Warner has been located at the Warner School of Education. Learn more about Horizons and the many ways to support the program.
Media Contact: Theresa Danylak
(585) 275-0777; (585) 278-6273 (cell)

Tags: COVID-19, Horizons at Warner, Julia Postler, summer learning