Summer school teaches low-income children

A summer program to keep low-income children from falling behind their classmates has students hitting the books.

The children say they don’t consider it summer school.

“It does feel like fun cause sometimes we go outside and play and do a lot of stuff but we earn it,” said 8-year-old Franky Borges.

Miss Elaine's art class tackles literacy and math and in Miss Val's computer class, 8-year-old Andy Rubi is learning about mammals.

“Our focus is essentially academics. Our kids don't know that,” said Julia Lipton, director of programs.

A June report from the Rand corporation shows that the summer learning loss disproportionately affects lower-income children. It also shows the achievement gap between low and higher income children only gets bigger after summer.

The study points to programs like the non-profit horizons summer enrichment program to prevent what's called the "summer slide."

“If you have a parent working two to three jobs and trying to make ends meet you're gonna have a really hard time giving the time and energy it takes to provide that enrichment for the kid,” said Lipton.

Not only do students learn reading, math and science at the summer program, they also learn art, music, and another key component for horizons students -- swimming.

Educators here say most of the children come to them not knowing how to swim.

“It’s usually close to 95 percent that they've never been near the water,” said Kiki Sweigart, the site director.

Once they've learned it, they're not only safer near the water, but more confident in the classroom.

“The idea is that if you can conquer water, you can conquer anything in life,” Lipton said.

Horizons students are admitted to the program starting after their kindergarten year. So far, 98 percent return every summer until ninth grade.

The cost to them: $25 for six weeks.