FEBRUARY 11, 2014 BY MICHAEL NEWSOM/UM COMMUNICATIONS
Horizons is an initiative of the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement.
“We appreciate the United Way’s support of the program and look forward to another fantastic summer at Horizons,” said Emma Tkachuck, UM Horizons director. The one-time funds will be used to expand the program to three classes – kindergarten, first and second grades – this summer, Tkachuck said.
Horizons is an educational enrichment program serving students who might not otherwise have such opportunities. For six weeks every summer, Horizons students improve their reading and math skills, learn how to swim at the campus pool and take art lessons at the UM Museum. This is the state’s first Horizons program and one of the first housed at a major research university. The program goal is to eliminate summer learning loss.
Children start Horizons after kindergarten and are invited to participate for at least nine consecutive years. Horizons works with a variety of community and campus partners to provide an enriching and educational summer experience.
“Provost Morris Stocks initiated this important community project, and many others from campus and town have made contributions,” said Stephen Monroe, UM assistant dean of liberal arts. “It is wonderful to now receive the support of the United Way. We are very grateful.”
The Horizons program has its own professional lead teachers from the Oxford School District. Teachers have freedom to teach in an environment that encourages them to be creative, resulting in students gaining an average of two to three months’ worth of math and reading skills during the short summer program. Students are also taught to swim, which helps them build confidence and a drive toward achievement that will help them both in and away from the classroom.