AIM HIGH

Rating: 4.96 stars   137 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Education

Location: PO Box 410715 San Francisco CA 94141 USA

Mission: The mission of Aim High is to inspire a life-long love of learning and to instill a sense of community, opportunity, and respect so that students are prepared for success in school and in life. Aim High changes the lives of under-resourced middle school students through an enriching, and academic summer experience that leads to success in high school and beyond. We intervene at a critical stage in students' lives with a free, multi-year summer program. Empowering youth in a supportive classroom environment transforms their attitudes toward learning and unleashes their potential. Our 15 campuses are located in Northern California, where we serve 1,700 students and employ 400 teachers. Our educators reflect the neighborhoods where our students live, and many alumni are inspired to return and work for Aim High. Aim High’s incubator role for innovative teaching techniques inspires new generations of teachers and provides access to real job training and job development. Aim High also provides summer employment opportunities and career development for teachers and teens, many of whom are Aim High alums.
Results: Through high-quality summer enrichment programs, Aim High has touched the lives of thousands of low-income youth in the Bay Area, and continues to employ a diverse group of teachers - 67% of whom are people of color. Aim High's impact is significant: 99% of students say they have an adult or teacher who cares about them 95% of students can imagine themselves as successful college students 79% of students improved their math skills (based on pre- and post-test scores) 87% of students tell us they were challenged at Aim High 90% of students report they are better prepared for the upcoming school year
Target demographics: Low-income Bay Area middle school youth.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 2014: 1,700 students at 15 campuses
Geographic areas served: San Francisco, Oakland, Redwood City, East Palo Alto, San Rafael, Marin City and Tahoe/Truckee, CA
Programs: Our summer program model aims to close the opportunity and achievement gaps for low-income middle school students by offering an engaging, supportive, and tuition-free summer learning program. The Aim High experience fosters critical thinking, instills academic habits, and cultivates a love of learning. Students participate in four rigorous academic classes in the mornings: Math, Science, Humanities and Issues & Choices. Aim High classes have a low student to teacher ratio, allowing for individual attention and a focus on project-based learning. In total, students receive over 60 hours of academic instruction over the course of the five-week program. In the afternoon, students participate in activities such as art, drama, and sports. Students typically participate for three or four summers, and many return to teach in the program. Aim High continually evaluates feedback, assesses results, and shares best practices in order to deliver a high-quality program.

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I have never before felt so connected to my line of work. Aim High's vision and commitment to serving students and the community at large is inspiring and I count myself incredible fortunate to be part of such an inspiring, compassionate and dedicated organization.

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Rating: 5 stars  

This summer, I experienced Aim High for the first time working as a teaching assistant in 7th grade humanities. Upon entering the program, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had never worked closely with students before, and did not know what my experience would bring. After my six weeks with Aim High, I can truly say that becoming a part of this community changed my life and my perspective on the world. Each day, the 60 students that I worked with brought incredible energy, passion, and life to the classroom. I was so grateful for the opportunity to work closely with these students and help them make the most of their time at Aim High each day. I was awed by the way in which Aim High helps even the most reserved students to become enthusiastic about coming to AIm High each day. Aim High creates a truly magical community in which all of its members, students and adults, learn and grow from each other. As a high school student, my time at Aim High opened my eyes to so many new perspectives that I had yet to learn about. Working as a teaching assistant this summer helped me realize a passion for teaching and learning that I did not know I have, and now as a senior in high school this year I approach learning in entirely new ways. It was amazing spending 5 weeks this summer watching the students I met achieve so many incredible things in and outside of the classroom. Aim High gave me a passion for learning that I hope to be in touch with my entire life.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

Working at Aim High after attending the program as a student, gave me the opportunity to positively impact others and has helped me develop into a confident, independent, self-expressing individual.

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Rating: 4 stars  

My son attended Aim High for three summers. He was challenged, engaged, and social. It was a lifesaver as far as helping him to get ready for high school and keeping him busy with friends during those challenging summer months. He experienced the most freedom as well which helped him to feel more mature and responsible. Aim High is great at celebrating milestones and little successes. I felt they knew my son well.

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Rating: 3 stars  

I was a student at Aim High, so I can personally say what it was like, unlike the adults here who are saying how wonderful Aim High is with no experience whatsoever. In Aim High, I was bullied. I was called names and harassed a little, but the adults never noticed a thing. Why should they? The boy doing the bullying in question was so smart and funny. My first years were fun, at least, but the bullying got to me. Thats my story anyway. I know it doesn't help Aim High, so I am sorry for that.

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Hello Qwertyboy, Thank you for your honesty. Every review helps Aim High to get better and we are the type of organization that wants to get better. I am so sorry your experience with Aim High was so unpleasant. If you feel comfortable and would like to tell us more about your time in our program, I would be happy to speak with you to understand your experience better. We welcome all feedback and appreciate your openness. If you are comfortable please feel free to give me a call, 415-660-7197 or email mnieto@aimhigh.org so we can understand your story better and hopefully make the Aim High experience better for all students. Thank you again for your honesty, Maya Nieto Aim High Central Office

Rating: 5 stars  

I'm so grateful that Aim High exists: it provides such a vital service & community for middle school kids. The folks at Aim High are dedicated to offering rigorous, yet flexible curriculum, the teachers work incredibly hard, and the result is a space for students to explore intellectually and socially during the summers. I've been lucky enough to collaborate with Aim High on curriculum development, and have been blown away by their commitment to the students. I have no doubt that kids who attend Aim High are more prepared for high school and college than their peers.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High is a Summer Enrichment program unlike any other. While Aim High receives some credit (still not enough) for the amount of work it does for the children it serves, it also does a supreme job of developing rising educators.

I joined as a Teaching Intern fresh out of High School. Aim High's teaching model is a unique one; teachers are split up into teams of either two or three, with one Lead Teacher and an Intern and/or Assistant. This model provides a plethora of benefits. I teach a class called Issues and Choices, in which we create a classroom culture that promotes College and Career Awareness, as well as Social Emotional Learning (bullying, empathy, goal setting, problem solving, etc). The very nature of our class requires forming close connections with our kids. One of the benefits of our teaching model is there is a teacher in every classroom that every student can relate to. Not every person likes every person; this extends to the classroom. Not every student is going to relate to me, its a simple reality. By having two other talented people teaching with me, we can guarantee that connection, and in turn the student buy-in.

I spent the first two years as an Intern, learning closely from an AMAZING Lead Teacher. Aim High provides an environment where young folks who care can jump in, gather best practices, and explore the world of educating our undeserved youth. Seasoned teachers are able to not only share their ideas, but improve upon them with profound support. I have a not-unique story when it comes to Aim High. When I started, I was an International Relations major, dabbling in education. After two summers at Aim High, I transferred schools and became a Child Psychology major. The amount of bright, talented individuals that Aim High has lured into education from other fields is innumerable. I personally know one Civil-Engineer-to-Dean-of-Students, and am introduced to countless others every summer.

Aim High's success goes beyond the summer classroom. They create and prepare rising educators, and veteran teachers bring new tools and techniques to their school year. In this way, they not only benefit the students they serve during the summer, but likely thousands more.

It is easy for me to say that stumbling upon the Aim High family nearly seven years is one of the defining moments of my life. Please help ensure another 29 years of Aim High serving our communities.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand it (that's where you come in!), both in terms of scale and perhaps an implementation of a year-round support system.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High is like no other non profit I know. They truly honor their mission and vision and create a safe space for young people to learn, grow and feel like a part of a community. What makes Aim High so unique is their commitment to academic excellence, culturally relevant curriculum and a holistic approach towards youth development. I have worked in a variety of educational setting and no where else have I felt as supported and encouraged to grow as a teacher than I did at Aim High. For both the students and teachers, Aim High is something we look forward to all school year, that one place where we can feel nurtured and inspired to be our best.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High is a life changing experience for students growing up in the concrete. Every summer, hundreds of students interact with passionate teachers, critical subjects, and build confidence and new friendships. Because middle school years are some of the most challenging, Aim High is a wonderful academic program that helps students become into young adults. As a Lead Teacher for the past two years, I've been able to work with young minds and see how much Aim High impacts their life. I honestly believe Aim High transforms students lives forever, because school should be fun and challenging at the same time. This is the mission and magic of Aim High and I'm so happy that I get to be a part of this amazing program.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High is a life-changing experience, both for the students who participate in the program and for the team of teachers, volunteers and supervisors who support them. I first came to Aim High as a brand new teacher (full of common first-year teaching anxieties). I received so much support, both from central office and from my site supervisors, that I felt prepared and confident to go in and lead the classroom on the first day. Each summer that support and sense of community continues to grow, which I believe is directly reflected in the number of team members who decide to return summer after summer. Our students also return summer after summer, as Aim High provides them with a sense of community and belonging, and with the academic confidence they need and rightfully deserve. There is something truly magical about being able to create such a special environment among staff and students in such a short period of time, but those involved with Aim High can attest that magic is not only real, but contagious.

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