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The Higher Learning Program

Summer Themes | Local And Global Travel | News And Events


Higher Learning's active, hands-on approach moved youth beyond the familiar both locally and globally in order to nurture a desire for life long learning.

In addition to sharpening academic skills beyond the standard school curriculum, Higher Learning's programming integrated important 21st century skills like team work, creativity, ingenuity, and global awareness (along with reading, writing and speaking) in the context of real life situations. These experiences equipped students with knowledge that served them well in both the classroom and the real world.

Youth who complete the Higher Learning Program will develop:

  • A habit of thinking, inquiring, and challenging taken for granted assumptions
  • A sense of responsibility to themselves, family, and community
  • An understanding of the relationship between personal experiences and collective social issues
  • A better understanding of their relationship to the United States and the world
  • A sense of empowerment to ensure positive, civic minded life choices
  • Communication, foreign language, team building, thinking and reasoning skills

Target Population

Higher Learning served youth ages 11-17 in the Maryland area, particularly those in Carroll County where the program was located.  We also served the Baltimore area. We emphasized the needs and experiences of low income students and minority students.

The Summer Program

Time and Duration

Higher Learning's two four week summer sessions ran Monday through Friday 9:30am-3:30pm. The program continued on Saturdays during the school year.

Curricular Activities

In Summer Session I, students develop 21st century skills within the context of a core curricular theme. The summer theme for 2013 was Media and Pop Culture. Our theme for 2014 was World Cultures and Traditions.

In our 2014 session, students explored cultural traditions and practices around the world from food, music and entertainment to language and religion.  They  discovered the differences that make people interesting as well as the similarities that should bring us together.  They also participated in Common Ground on the Hill, where they took classes in the creative and artistic arts.

In Summer Session II, our 14-17 year old participants had the opportunity to travel internationally.  Our most recent destination was Rabat, Morocco. We've also traveled to Nicaragua and Mexico.  Each trip, students experienced a social justice themed travel seminar!


The program fee was $35 per student per year for those who qualify for free/reduced price meals. For others, the fee was on a sliding scale based on income level.

No family was turned away because of inability to pay.

Click here for Higher Learning registration information.

The Saturday and Semester of Service Program

Time and Duration

During the school year, the Higher Learning program took place on Saturdays or school holidays.

Curricular Activities

The nature of the Saturday program changed from year to year.  Students had a range of lessons including foreign language, creative writing, and chess.  They have also been able to travel to a different destination each week. Examples include: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, CenterStage Theater, and the Maryland Science Center. We also offered a Semester of Service (SOS) where our students partnered with McDaniel College students on different service projects at various locations throughout the term.  The SOS events counted toward our students' school service hours required for graduation.

Further, we took students on college tours each year to learn more about different schools and college life and preparation, and our students attended a leadership conference.


Costs were minimal and varied from being free to a maximum of $35 for low income students, depending on the activity.

No family was turned away for inability to pay.


The Baltimore Program

From 2010-2013, Higher Learning extended its program to youth in the city of Baltimore beginning with those under the supervision of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services.  Partnering with the Baltimore City Day and Evening Reporting Center (DERC),  the Higher Learning Baltimore Juvenile Services (BJS) program served youth ages 12-17 who have been referred to them by the courts for remediation.

The mission of the DERC is to guide and support at risk youth in Baltimore who are part of the Maryland Juvenile Justice system. Their goal is to reduce recidivism and opportunities to re-offend by providing close supervision, educational programming, and alternatives to criminal behavior.

Higher Learning has also partnered with The SEED School of Maryland to serve their students.  The SEED School is a public boarding school located in Baltimore city.  Higher Learning serves as a summer program option for their students, and SEED students travel with us internationally.

Support Us



Higher Learning Inc. Programming Comes to an End

Read about Higher Learning's Changes and Transitions

Our Newest High School Graduates!

Find out which Higher Learning students - now alums - graduated in 2015!

Meet the 2014 Higher Learning Student Award Winners!

Read about the award winners from Summer Session 2014

Higher Learning Travels Abroad!

Higher Learning high school students visit Rabat, Morocco!

Higher Learning's Partners

Read about our partnership with Common Ground on the Hill and many others!


2015 Annual Report

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