We did it! Horizons at CA Summer 2020 was a success in the midst of a COVID-19 global pandemic. Of course, it wasn’t our usual summer of swimming, in-person field trips, gathering for meals in the cafeteria, tae kwon do, and the many other activities we usually get to do during the summer. We got creative and made it work as best as we could under the circumstances. The main goal for this summer’s program was authentic connection. Having been through an intense spring of quarantine and shelter in place, Horizons at CA wanted to provide students and families with a sense of community—with teachers, with students, with families.
While the students greatly missed the ‘usual’ summer activities, they were incredibly grateful to be able to participate in Horizons. We did our first three weeks online with tremendous success—lots of engagement and excitement throughout all of our classes. The following three weeks, a few classes were able to come to campus in person, while others kept the programming going online. Thanks to our incredible staff, the students were engaged and excited to have the continual Horizons connection.
How we made it work
We were able to provide reading support with our reading specialist team; we had two mental health counselors who did social-emotional lessons with students; we did art, yoga, and nutrition; pre-recorded physical education; and of course all types of academic activities, including a robust STEAM program through collaboration with the JEKL Foundation (a project of a CA alumni parent, Toi Massey). Our field trip Fridays took students to various parts of the globe. From Pixar to the San Diego Zoo, to Audubon and outer space, we had a wide variety of field trips for students, which they thoroughly enjoyed.
Another important component of our program this summer was learning about what it means to be a good role model for others and how to overcome racism and inequality. The Sixth and Seventh Grade team did a lot of work around social activism and the Eighth Grade students took a deep dive into the topic of immigration—why it happens, how it looks here in the United States, what types of problems immigrants face, what is DACA, and a variety of other topics. I was able to see their presentations in person and was very impressed with the level of research that they did in such a short amount of time.
Overall, it was a packed summer. While we don’t know what lies ahead, we can be sure that sweet, long-lasting memories were made this summer and that our resilience and ability to be flexible will allow us to persevere, no matter what.