First Selectman Fred Camillo has declared Friday, May 13, to be Horizons at Brunswick School Awareness & Giving Day, “to help raise awareness of the academic needs of Greenwich Public School students and to continue to seek solutions for these challenges.”
Right here in Greenwich, the pandemic has only widened the opportunity and achievement gaps for young children. The most recent United Way Needs Assessment cites that “significant economic and educational disparities exist in Greenwich” and this can result in unequal outcomes for students.
Horizons at Brunswick School — a nine-year, year-round academic and enrichment program — is dedicated to advancing educational equity in Greenwich. The program provides opportunity to K-8th Greenwich public school boys who perform at or below grade level upon Kindergarten entry and who face disparities in access to Pre-K, healthy food, summer learning, and more.
Through a balance of academics, enrichment, swimming, recreational sports and confidence-building activities, the program inspires the joy of learning with high-quality academic and cultural enrichment and builds lasting community partnerships between students, teachers, families, and schools. Essential to the success of the Horizons at Brunswick School program are three differentiating factors: An early start in Kindergarten, academic continuity through the summer months, and up to a nine-year commitment to every student.
“Horizons at Brunswick School gives students confidence, because they get an extra leg up in their academic skills during the summer,” said Horizons at Brunswick School Kindergarten co-teacher Devan Zadrozny.
“They do leave here feeling ready to tackle the next grade and feeling a lot more confidence in themselves,” Zadrozny added.
This summer, 136 deserving Greenwich public school boys will attend the six-week program. And, on six Saturdays during the school year, they will be immersed in educational programming while their families participate in bilingual workshops and receive information resources.
“We do our very best to cover all the bases,” Executive Director Marianne Ho Barnum said. “Math and reading specialists work alongside experienced teachers during our summer and school-year programs. We provide important water-skills instruction and enrichment. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are provided to our food-insecure students for nutrition, to help sustain engagement and improve results.”
There is ample evidence that Horizons has a positive impact on the boys’ academic performance. The program achieves a 96% annual retention rate and a 95% or higher in-person daily attendance rate. Horizons students gain an average of eight to 12 weeks in reading and math skills over each six-week summer session. “Horizons at Brunswick School is preparing for a summer that will make a monumental impact,” Barnum said.
Horizons at Brunswick School held its first-ever graduation for nine students at the end of last summer, and their accomplishments during freshman year at Greenwich High School prove that the program works. Of the nine students, six are now in AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), an application-based and highly selective program for students “who have great academic potential.” Several boys are also taking Honors classes.
Horizons at Brunswick School’s program is a true testament to the impact made when Greenwich Public Schools and Brunswick School team together to help improve the educational outcomes of Greenwich boys in need. With its strong commitment to community outreach, Brunswick School generously provides in-kind gifts, such as the use of its space and pool — but all operating costs are entirely funded by private philanthropy.
To make a gift to Horizons at Brunswick’s Giving Day campaign, visit: