CAMPUS: SCHS Horizon program reflects on progress made and success since its initiation

About a year and a half ago, SCHS’s new Horizon program was implemented for all freshmen. The program aimed to have a new look at the way struggling students are given support in their classes. It was a continuation of the current foregone program at New Valley High School, Gateway. After the Gateway program was sacked, it was continued at SCHS with a slightly different structure.

Now, at the beginning of the third semester since its implementation, Horizon teachers and heads are taking a look at the successes and challenges that the program went through.

According to the Horizon program head, SCHS math and history teacher Bradshaw Langstaff, the first challenge that the program underwent was the COVID-19 pandemic and distance learning.

“It’s hard to separate what’s been going on with the whole COVID thing because last year, we ended up doing the first year of a new program online, so it was hard to get a true picture on how it was working,” Langstaff said.

Additionally, Horizon has encountered a lack of common knowledge regarding the program’s implementation and practices.

“We have to do a better job recruiting,” Langstaff said. “There are a lot of students who could benefit from this that aren’t doing it because they either don’t know about it, or they are apprehensive about it because they see it as being isolated, but it’s not. It is all positive.”

Horizon and math teacher Paul Jacquard feels that after a year and a half, the program has successfully brought a new and exciting environment for SCHS.

“There’s a lot of students who don’t earn their credits, and they are very capable students, but they don’t really fit in with regular mainstream high school,” Jacquard said. “So it’s good to have an extra program to support those students who don’t really function as well in a comprehensive high school.”

Langstaff also feels that the new Horizon classes have been fun and inclusive environments for all students, and the result has been an expansive community of students and teachers.

“I think we open up. We become a community. We learn about each other, and each student brings their background to the community,” Langstaff said.

Academically, Langstaff feels the program has taken the last year and a half to become successful in improving the education of the students in the program. He believes many aspects of students’ overall performance have improved after being involved with Horizon.

“It’s been going really well for the students that are in the program. They have liked it. They come to school every day, and the attendance has been good,” Langstaff said. “Performance in my program has been very good, and their performance in other classes have improved.”

Jacquard is aiming for the Horizon program to have an impact on the current status quo of teaching.

“I think that the Horizon program is what it is called: Horizon. Look past the horizon. Look past the lectures and tests,” Jacquard said.

Despite early hardships, the Horizon program managed to make its way through the COVID-19 pandemic to implement itself into SCHS to help students achieve academically.

“For the school, as a whole community, we want everyone to thrive and get good scores. We want every student to succeed, so that’s what this is doing,” Langstaff said. “I think it is a good program that we can continue.”