Communities Education

Education: Horizons at Carolina Day Helps Close the Gap

Horizons at Carolina Day School Summer Program. Photo by Monica Antonazzo

By Emma Castleberry

Horizons, a program offered through Carolina Day School (CDS), works to end the achievement gap and reverse the “summer slide” for children from under-served communities in Asheville. “Programs like Horizons are so important in our beautiful city of Asheville, full of opportunity for some, but also the home of concentrated areas of generational poverty, a history of structural racism and the worst achievement gap between Black and white students in the state of North Carolina,” says Monica Antonazzo, executive director of Horizons at CDS.

Part of a national network of 64 equity-centered academic enrichment programs in the country, Horizons at CDS serves children from Avery’s Creek and Ira B. Jones Elementary Schools starting the summer after kindergarten. These students return every year until at least ninth grade, “becoming part of a powerful community that greatly supplements what parents are able to do on their own,” says Antonazzo. “Our long-term relationship with our families allows us to get to know our students on a deep level and engenders true collaboration on expanding opportunities for children in the program.”

Horizons at CDS started in 2018, and currently serves students in grades 1 to 3, with plans to introduce a new class of kindergarten students each year. The program is entirely donor-funded and CDS provides support through classroom space, use of buses and back office assistance. During the annual six-week summer program, students participate in reading, math, science experiments, art, music, hiking, swimming and field trips. Horizons at CDS also recently started offering online tutoring. “We are so passionate about Horizons at CDS because it works,” says Antonazzo. “Horizons creates opportunities for children to gain new skills and explore new interests during out-of-school time. It builds lasting connections that inspire self-confidence and a love of learning. And it creates deep relationships between communities who share the goal of breaking down barriers and expanding opportunities for more children in Asheville to succeed.”

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