New Horizons

Hilliard Horizon Elementary School is amazingly diverse, which offers students the opportunity to gain a range of perspectives. Indeed, the 625 students are from 15 different countries and speak 16 different languages. But many of the students whose families lived in poverty lacked opportunities to participate in activities after school like their middle-class peers. To provide these critical opportunities to their students, the teachers partnered with community organizations to develop New Horizons, a before- and after-school effort that has been a great success.

Now students can choose from 100 different enrichment courses including computer coding, cake decoration, cooking, robotics Legos, creativity, cricket, and oceanography. And, a before-school program Power Hour provides academic help on specific skills with small group instruction.

Ninety-seven percent of teachers work in the before- or after-school program. Parents run almost 25 percent of the programming offered in the two programs. The results are wonderful with math and reading scores rising, thanks to the programs.

In addition, students now feel like they have a place where they belong. They are safe and secure at a school where people care about them and want them to succeed. That is a win-win outcome for students who deserve the support.