who we are

Closing the opportunity gap to address the achievement gap.


The Problem We Want to Solve
Inequitable access to high-quality academic and enrichment opportunities in the summer substantially contributes to the achievement gap for low-income children.

The Future We Want to Create
We envision a future in which all Bay Area children have summer learning opportunities that help them develop the skills, confidence, and inspiration to reach their potential and make a positive impact in the world around them.

Our Mission
Horizons at San Francisco Friends School provides a transformational summer learning program that leverages a unique public/private partnership to close the opportunity and achievement gaps for low-income K-8 public school students.

National research has found an alarming disparity between school age low‐income youth and their more affluent peers when it comes to summer learning. Children from low-income families are more likely to experience cumulative “summer learning loss”— falling behind on reading and mathematics skills over summer break as a result of limited access to high-quality summer programs, while kids from higher income families make gains. In fact, studies indicate that half of the socioeconomic achievement gap in 9th grade can be attributed to summer learning loss that occurs in elementary school.


That's why Horizons at SFFS provides a free academic and enrichment summer program for low-income children in San Francisco's Mission District, featuring:

  • A full-day academic and enrichment program for six weeks each summer

  • A 5-to-1 student to teacher ratio

  • Two reading specialists who provide individual literacy support

  • An Academic Program Director who prepares the summer curriculum and supports instructors

  • A curriculum and instructional lead who ensures the highest quality for Horizons' curriculum

  • Pre- and post-summer assessments that track progress

  • Nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snack

  • Swim instruction three days a week

  • Art, music, dance, and other enrichment activities

  • Weekly field trips to cultural sites around San Francisco

  • Fall, winter, and spring events, which maintain a year-round connection with the students and support continued academic enrichment

  • Ongoing communication throughout the school year between Horizons and SFUSD public and charter school staff to ensure students are progressing academically

National data shows that summer learning loss is one of the most significant causes of the achievement gap between lower and higher income youth.
— San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Families
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Our History

A first for the West Coast.

Started 1964 in New Canaan, CT, Horizons National is a free summer learning program serving low-income public school students at independent schools and university campuses across the nation. Over consecutive summers from kindergarten through eighth grade, children in the program are challenged academically, socially, and physically,  all towards the end goal of combatting summer learning loss - a major contributor to our nation’s achievement gap.

Currently there are 56 affiliates of Horizons National in 19 states serving more than 5,000 deserving young people each summer. Horizons at San Francisco Friends School is the first Horizons program on the West Coast. Started in 2014, Horizons at SFFS has grown to six classes of 17 students each, with plans to add a new class each year until the program serves 153 students in the Kindergarten through 8th Grade.

Horizons at SFFS' first kindergarten class, Summer 2014

Horizons at SFFS' first kindergarten class, Summer 2014