Rating: 4.96 stars 137 reviews
Issues: Children & Youth, Education
Location: PO Box 410715 San Francisco CA 94141 USA
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.
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Guided by research, Aim High's program was developed to address three critical but often overlooked factors in what it takes to improve educational outcomes for under-resourced students. Specifically, Aim High focuses on summer, middle school, and teacher professional development.
First, summer matters. Research shows that summer learning loss disproportionately negatively impacts students who are less well off. While improvements in school-year education are necessary to improve the outlook for all students, they are not sufficient to close the achievement gap between upper and lower income students. Aim High combats summer learning loss and attempts to narrow this achievement gap through its free academic and enriching summer learning program.
Second, middle school matters. Research shows that success in middle school is a strong predictor of a successful transition to and ultimate graduation from high school. Aim High's multi-year program, offered to students in the summers before their 7th, 8th, and 9th grade years, promotes success in middle school and a successful transition to high school. Aim High hopes to reach middle school students that are statistically at risk for dropping out of high school, support them and set them off on a high school graduation trajectory.
Third, teacher professional development matters. Research shows that more experienced teachers are generally better teachers, and that access to professional development opportunities is strongly tied to how long teachers remain in the profession. Every summer, Aim High provides weeks of training and development opportunities to the over 400 teachers that it employs, and gives those teachers an opportunity to hone new skills during the summer months so that they may be employed during the school year for the benefit of all of their students, not just their Aim High students.
Aim High is a model for targeted intervention to improve the educational outlook for under-resrouced students. It deserves your support and deserves to be replicated.
This organization has it all--it brings joy and a love of learning to the students it serves, provides an engaging, supportive and creative environment for teachers and volunteers, proven data-driven results, thoughtful and smart leadership, and most of all it has so much heart. This is an organization to support, admire, and love.
I have worked with students in Aim HIgh for over 20 years and have seen amazingly positive results. Aim High has changed the lives of many students and teachers for the better. Aim High is a great program that teaches kids how to learn and teaches new teachers how to teach. I am proud to be a part of Aim High.
7 people found this review helpful
I have worked with Aim High for over 15 years. Each year I am amazed by the diversity of backgounds that are represented in the community. The mix of teachers and students is wonderfully diverse and adds a richness to the experience, no matter what it is. Each Friday of Aim High I am exhausted from the work but satisfied by the accomplishment. Working at Aim HIgh has been a very rewarding experience for me and has informed my teaching greatly.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
all of my teaching. Working with such a diverse group of students and teachers has helped me review my practices and has made me a better teacher.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
continue to make it larger, and find easier ways to fund it.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
the positive energy that seems to surround it.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
change public education.
Ways to make it better...
I had more time with the students. The program goes by quickly and it seems that at times we just get started together and the summer is over.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
Funding, year after year.
One thing I'd also say is that...
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every week
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Aim High stands alone in what they do for middle school students and their families in the Bay Area. I cannot say enough about the magic that infuses all that happens on an Aim High campus summer after summer. Students gain confidence and pride in their academic work, their abilities, and themselves. It's impossible to overstate the impact this program has had, and will continue to have, in the lives of SF youth and their parents and caregivers. Educators are given the tools they need to succeed, while important connections are forged for students with local schools, community organizations, and corporate partners, all eager to be involved in changing lives through shaping a life-long commitment to learning. I am so proud to be a supporter and friend of Aim High, and will be rooting for Aim High students, families, and educators always!
I am a school social worker and former teacher. I work with middle school students in San Francisco and have seen lives changed by this amazing summer program. Students blossom during the five weeks they spend at Aim High. They come back to school with stories of exploration, new friendships, new interested, increased motivation, and smiles on their faces.
I wish every student I worked with during the academic year could experience what they call the "magic" of Aim High.
I have been involved with Aim High for the past six years, first as a Teacher and now as a Site Director. As an educator, Aim High has been a great source of inspiration and motivation. Friends would often ask why I never took summers off since summer vacation is often considered a "perk" of a teacher's schedule. The truth is that I didn't take summers off because I found my summers at Aim High to be very invigorating and refreshing. I had the freedom to be creative with developing a curriculum that was project-based with lots of hands-on learning opportunities. I worked with a group of educators who were dedicated to social justice and committed to instilling a love of learning and curiosity in our students. It was very rewarding to be part of the many "ah-ha" moments that our students would have over the summer. The sense of community at Aim High kept me coming back every year. Now as a Site Director, I really appreciate the opportunity to support new teachers in developing skills and discovering best practices. Taking charge of the program logistics has also been a great learning opportunity for me. Summer after summer I continue to feel invigorated by the impact that Aim High has in the lives of our students and our staff. The level of student engagement and support at Aim High inspires students to develop a new confidence in themselves. It challenges them to try new things and take their learning to new levels. Staff members are also inspired by their experience at Aim High. They form meaningful relationships with students as mentors. They see how their hard work has an important impact in the lives of students and their families. Many staff members decide to pursue education as a career based on their experience at Aim High. I feel very lucky to be part of such an amazing organization.
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By giving teachers the skills and experience to positively influence the lives of this group of children at such a critical age, Aim High not only gives those children who attend their summer program better odds of successfully completing high school, but also lets Aim High teachers keep the momentum going as the continue to use their skills during the school year to help students.
I worked as a 7th and 8th grade teaching intern for Aim High last summer. It was my first out of college job and I am so happy that it was. Being a part of Aim High gave me extended experience teaching, mentoring, and building relationships with students that I had not previously been exposed to. Working at Aim High strengthened my desire to work in education.
It really is magical!
I have worked at AIM High for the past two summers and they have been incredible. There is truly something amazing about the energy that is present at the AIM High campuses during the summer. The teachers are enthusiastic and love the work that they do. And that energy rubs off on the kids as well. The kids really get into their learning and their activities because of the relationships that they have with their teachers and with each other. AIM High is great because it helps kids continue their growth academically over the summer, which better prepares them to start the new school year, but the true "AIM High magic" lies in the fact that the kids really look forward to coming to a place where they are loved and a place that they enjoy! AIM High holds a special place in my heart and I can't wait to go back this summer!
Magic is real at Aim High, where students, staff and community members come together to enact the CORE values each summer, year after year -- Community, Opportunity, Respect, and high Expectations.