On Thursday, July 29 at noon, 61 students were recognized for completion of the New Horizons Academy at Frederick High School. The program is operated by Frederick County Public Schools in close partnership with the Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership (SHIP) of Frederick County.
2021 was the 5th year of the New Horizons Academy, a five week program that provides an opportunity for youth experiencing housing instability to receive academic and life skills instruction. High school students can receive credit for courses required to graduate and are awarded a $600 stipend for completing the program.
This year’s program was expanded from previous years to include rising 9th graders. The program also heavily emphasized art as a form of expression by engaging the nonprofit, Story Tapestries. This group brought in qualified arts instructors to explore video, stop motion animation, and other unique mediums with the students.
This was also the first year that peer mentors were engaged. Six students who had previously completed the program returned to this year’s academy to assist current students and support their educational and emotional goals.
According to the US Department of Education, there are over 1.5 million public school students nationwide who experience homelessness each year. In June 2019, there were 158 unaccompanied homeless youth enrolled in Frederick County Public Schools. SHIP works to improve the lives of Frederick County’s most vulnerable youth who are experiencing homelessness.