Dear Families, Faculty and Community,

What an incredible summer we've had! Our program has grown to four classrooms and 67 children, all of whom spent six weeks reading, swimming, making art, and much more this summer at the beautiful San Francisco Friends School campus. 

After a nutritious breakfast, Horizons' students began each day  with a Morning Circle in their classroom. Daily literacy followed, including individualized, bilingual reading support for our most struggling readers from Reading Specialist Amalia Medina-Glover. Throughout the day, students also studied money, animals, energy, food, changemakers - you name it! Afternoon electives such as cooking, woodworking, podcasting, music, art, and dance completed our academic program.

A highlight of the summer, even for those reluctant in the water at first, were swim lessons at Mission Pool and the Embarcadero YMCA. All students improved their comfort level and swimming skills, and their newfound confidence and sense of possibility helped them as they took risks, asked questions, and pushed themselves in the classroom, even when the task at hand seemed impossible.

Field trips rounded out the Horizons experience, giving extra depth and meaning to the concepts students studied. The lower grades learned about murals with Precita Eyes, and the upper grades played with science at the Exploratorium. All classes enjoyed visiting the Roxie Theater and the California Academy of Sciences.

Although most of the time our students were having too much fun to realize they were learning, the academic progress that they made was significant. Across all four grades, students advanced in their reading and math skills instead of falling behind, as most low income students do during the summer months without access to a high quality learning program like Horizons.

Many thanks to Horizons' staff, volunteers, and families, to the San Francisco Friends School for hosting the program, and to  each and every one of you for making the program possible with your participation and generous support!
Watch our video
Get Inspired with Horizons' Summer 2017 video!

Watch our Summer 2017 video, created by Program Coordinator Eliza Kingsley-Ma, to immerse yourself in the experience of being a Horizons  at SFFS student!
David helping a kindergarten student in the pool
David helping a kindergarten student in the pool
My Summer of Community Engagement with Horizons at SFFS

By David Rupright

  "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world"        - Nelson Mandela 

One word that has particularly stuck with me after this summer working with Horizons at SFFS is 'engagement.' At Horizons we find ways for the kids to increase their engagement with both their learning and with the Horizons and Mission District communities. Throughout the program's six weeks the curriculum prepares students academically for the upcoming year, while increasing their awareness of the world and their place in it. This focus was driven home this year by our 2017 theme: "Every minute a chance to change the world."

In the third week of the program, Kindergarteners and 1st graders went on a field trip to Balmy Alley, one of the Mission's oldest mural alleys, and then designed and created their own colorful mural based on the summer's essential questions and themes. A local artist taught the students about the movements, activists, and stories painted in each of the alley's murals. Topics ranged from El Salvadorian humanitarian priest ├ôscar Romero to the current housing and gentrification issues prevalent in the city, and particularly the Mission. 

These are big, big topics for such young children to grasp, but to engage the kids with these topics in age appropriate ways provides opportunities for them to see themselves in a different way, value their space and culture, and grapple with the challenges and forces that shape their environment and their lives. I believe we all can benefit from stepping back for a moment and thinking about when and how we engage with our communities in positive and productive ways. While my own involvement with Horizons this past summer was just seven weeks, I hope that I will be able to return to see the program and the kids grow over time and continue to explore how we all fit into the ever-changing communities of our own neighborhoods, city, and the wider world.

David Rupright is a member of the San Francisco Friends School Class of 2012. David graduated from Lick-Wilmerding High School in 2016 and will begin his second year studying Secondary Teaching at Northwestern University this Fall. 
Student painting
Diversifying Learning Opportunities with Electives

A team of teachers, volunteers, and paid art professionals came together to enrich our students' academic day with electives this summer. Each child took classes with Nagata Dance, culminating in a performance for their parents at Back to Horizons Night. Many students painted, sketched, and drew in an art elective with Marisa Graham. Second and third graders made music with percussionist Javier Cabanillas and kindergarteners cooked tamales and pizza, made wood sculptures, and played soccer with SFFS faculty volunteers. A small group of third graders even produced their own podcast! Expanding their learning through electives was definitely a highlight of our students' summer.
Thank You, Volunteers!

Our summer would not have been possible without the energy, love and dedication of our 14 high school volunteers. These youth, most of whom are SFFS alums, arrived to program early and stayed late, providing support to Horizons' teachers and students from the reading rug to the swimming pool. They served as soccer teammates, first aid administrators, lab partners, role models, and much more. And our volunteers love working with us - as Sashi Govier put it, "E ver since my first day at Horizons I have felt a natural, welcoming ambiance that has helped me discover my place as a volunteer here."  We can't thank these young leaders enough for spending their summer with us!

Science with fish
Super Scientists

One of our program's biggest strengths is the quality of hands-on science instruction, thanks to support and materials from UCSF's Science and Health Education Partnership. Kindergarteners learned about animals and habitats through their observations of fish (both alive and dead!) and a visit from a friendly chicken named Peaches.  First graders studied colorful plates of fruits and vegetables and grew plants from seeds.  The second grade's science focus was energy. Carefully attired in lab coats and goggles, they worked with boiling water, food coloring, and balloons as they studied how different types of energy interact. And in the third grade, scientists looked at electricity and magnetism - visitors to their classroom might have stumbled upon students whose hair was sticking up from static electricity, or students constructing a full set of circuits. We're grateful to our dedicated teaching staff for making science come alive at Horizons this summer!

Minions_ visit
Horizons is Family

Each summer, it is a joy and an honor to work with Horizons at SFFS' wonderful parents and families. This year, parents and siblings joined us for field trips and other events, provided special treats like snow cones and hamburgers, participated in panels and focus groups, and even brought Universal Studios' "Minions" for a dance party on the SFFS yard!
Horizons at San Francisco Friends School | 415-565-0400 | |