Program To Help Homeless Students Expanding

New Horizons will be offered two additional high schools this summer.


Frederick, Md (KM). The New Horizons Frederick program is expanding. “So the big news today {Thurs} is that New Horizons Frederick is expanding their summer program to include students:from three high schools:   Governor Thomas Johnson, Tuscarora High School as well as Frederick High School,” said County Executive Jan Gardner during her public information briefing on Thursday.

New Horizons began last summer at TJ High. During a six-week period, students experiencing homelessness receive classroom instruction during the morning, and then work at part time jobs in the afternoon. “The objective is to provide support and resources to these students to make sure they graduate on time, and provide them with some work experience and provide them some money from their summer job,” Gardner says. She says 100% of the youth who participated in the program last year achieved completion and earned credit for their course work.

New Horizons Frederick is funded by Frederick County Government, Rotary Club of Carroll Creek, the Public School System, the Community Foundation of Frederick County and numerous other agencies. “I’m especially pleased that New Horizons Frederick received $35,000 for operating expenses  from Frederick County’s Community Partnership grants program which we have supported and have had support from the Council for the last couple of years,” Gardner says. “We know these grants make a big difference to people in our community and go a long way to make sure that everyone can benefit from the prosperity of our community.”

The School System says as of May 31st, there are 822 public school students who are experiencing homelessness. “It’s heartbreaking to me to think in America that we have any homeless children,” said Council President Bud Otis. “Heartbreaking being in Maryland, particularly in Frederick where we live. It’s unbelievable, isn’t it? Even one it too many, and to think we have 800-plus.”

Otis said he visited the program at Thomas Johnson High last year, and said it should be expanded to other schools.

Frederick County public schools has a 96% high school graduation rate, and that includes 69% of the homeless students. “I know that 65% of federal inmates are high school dropouts. When you hear that 69% of our homeless are  graduating, we really have a steep hill to climb,” says Dr. Michael Markoe, Deputy Superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools. “Programs like this certainly give us an opportunity to help the neediest.”

New Horizons Frederick is coordinated through the Student Homeless Initiative Program, or SHIP.  “We know that having an education is the single most important predictor of future success for a human being that really runs for the rest of their lives,” said SHIP founder Ed Hinde. “Our goal of this program is to insure and do everything we possibly can to provide these children with resources to graduate from our  wonderful school system here.”


By Kevin McManus