KCC to begin first Horizons National program in Michigan

Kellogg Community College will be the first school in the state to offer a Horizons National summer learning program serving low-income public school students, and one of the first schools in the nation to offer the program without a private school anchor.

KCC, in partnership with the Battle Creek YMCA and Battle Creek Public Schools, will begin the first of an annual summer session of the “Horizons at KCC” program for at-risk youth on June 18. The program will run through July 27.

As part of the program, 15 youth going into first grade in the fall will attend interactive classes in literacy and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) each morning and will participate in swimming or field trips each afternoon.

Classes will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each weekday, with mornings at Fremont Elementary School and afternoons spent swimming at the Battle Creek YMCA or on field trips in the community.

Wanda Miller, an adjunct instructor at KCC and director of the “Horizons at KCC” program, said the purpose of the program is to “prevent summer learning loss in at-risk youth, helping these students maintain or gain knowledge to be on par with their peers the next fall.”

The plan for the “Horizons at KCC” program is for the same group of students to return each summer through their eighth grade year. Beginning next summer, two additional cohorts of 15 students going into first grade will be added to the program each year, meaning in nine years the program will be a true K-8 summer program encouraging kids to see themselves as lifelong learners and future college students from the start of their education.

Cathy Hendler, vice president for instruction at KCC, said each group of 15 students will be instructed by a lead teacher, an assistant teacher and up to three teaching assistants.  Additionally, a reading specialist will work individually with the students on literacy skills.

“Each student will get a lot of attention,” Hendler said. “The instruction is going to be very interactive and very engaging to help these children get excited about learning.”

“It’s project-based learning,” Miller said. “There’s a low teacher-to-student ratio, the kids are required to swim at least three days a week, and they’ll engage in enrichment activities throughout the community.”

Miller added that daily field trips to the local library, arts and music centers and Kellogg Community College’s Battle Creek campus, along with swim days at the YMCA, will get the kids out of the classroom and round out their summer education.

The “Horizons at KCC” program is made possible by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For more information about the program, contact Director Wanda Miller at millerw@kellogg.edu or visit www.horizonsnational.org.