AIM HIGH

Rating: 4.94 stars   138 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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EIN 94-3296338
415-551-2301
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Community Reviews

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

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.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Aim high is an incredible opportunity for students, teachers, volunteers, and anyone else who wishes to be apart of the magic. I have been involved with the program for over 6 summers over a span of 14 years, and its power and inspiration continues to help me be a better educator. Aim High was my first job as an educator, and I haven't stopped since. My sister is a graduate of the program and my family has seen the benefits with both daughters as a student and a teacher. Thanks to Aim High, I feel reinvigorated every summer as an educator.

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Rating: 5 stars  

From student to volunteer to Teachers Aid. I've seen my daughter grow every summer. Aim High has been the foundation of the confidence my daughter has been able to tap into. I celebrate Aim High everyday for the confident college bound student she is today.
Thank you for the work you do . I could not have done it without you.

Elvira Gomez-Murillo

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Rating: 5 stars  

We are an Aim High family. It began about 18 years ago when my daughter started Aim High. My son went also. I became a volunteer. My husband joined the Board. My daughter became an Aim High volunteer, then high school intern, college intern, and finally teacher. She wrote her college application essay about Aim High. Her Aim High experience led her to major in Urban Studies and to become a public school teacher in a Title I school. I have mentored a number of students I have met at Aim High. One of the great things about the program is that students come from many different schools and backgrounds. They meet new people and learn how to make friends and get along. They take their Aim High experience back to school with them. The experience stays with them the rest of their lives. Aim High develops middle school students, high school students, college students, teachers and all those associated with the program.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

As an Aim High parent and volunteer, I have seen the direct short and long term results of this exemplary program for middle schoolers. Both my children are graduates of Aim High. My daughter has worked in the program as a teacher. Each summer Aim High provides academics, outdoor education, enrichment and fun! Aim High is truly diverse. It is an excellent program with excellent teachers. During the school year they provide tutoring and fun outings. And Aim High is FREE.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the lives of my children and other Aim High students I have known.

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

not do as good a job as the current administration.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

kids enjoy learning.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

exemplary

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

provide a great summer to even more kids expand their program and services.

Ways to make it better...

Aim High could accept all the families who apply.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the number of children who can benefit from Aim High and the money it takes to provide services to them.

One thing I'd also say is that...

the heart of the people behind Aim High is truly pure.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High is exactly what education should be. After an 8 hour day, our kids literally say that they do not want to go home because they want more of Aim High. In my 7 years as a professional educator at a Title I school in San Francisco, I have never seen children not want to leave school - except at Aim High. This organization is special. It instills confidence, leadership, community, friendship, growth, provides opportunities...it's a family. I began working with Aim High 3 years ago as a math teacher and eventually became a Site Director. This program is one in a million. When I imagine what a school should look like and what school should feel like for students, Aim High is my dream. Over the summer, it's my reality. This program is not only incredibly important for students, but also for the adults coming in to the field of education. I work with passionate people every day. Alec and Matt have supported me since the day I became part of the Aim High family. I have never, ever in my life, had a job where I truly felt inspired and supported by my employers and colleagues to this extent. From the founders of the organization to the incredible staff at the Central Office to the enormously talented (and growing!) group of individuals who make up our individual Aim High Sites, this is, in my opinion, the greatest educational nonprofit in existence. I am humbled and honored to be part of such an incredible team.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The professional development that Aim High provided to me as a new teacher equipped me with the tools I needed to persist and thrive in my now 10+ years as an educator. Jumping into the Aim High community with both feet allowed me to experience the strong relationship building and love of learning that results in academic and life success for students. Thanks to Aim High, I continue to improve at supporting teachers and students and am more comfortable as a leader in the area of college access for all.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have now been affiliated with Aim High for over ten years as a board member and parent of 3 teaching assistants/organizational staff for Aim High. Viewing the arc of the organization's development over the past 10 years, what most impresses me is their commitment to the on-going growth and improvement of the program through continuous and rigorous self-evaluation and bench-marking, all with relation back to Aim High's core mission and core values. Aim High is blessed with a highly professional and deeply committed leadership team that has the skills and conviction to move the organization forward and also an openness to new ideas, new collaborations and new approaches that will improve the overall outcomes for the populations they are seeking to serve.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

16 people found this review helpful

This is the seventh summer that I have seen Aim High in action and their performance remains consistently strong. The combination of a well-structured academic program with the personal development focus of the "Issues & Cjoices" curriculum and the extracurricular/enrichment offerings makes for a program that really engages students and prepares them for success in school and in their personal lives. In addition, the fact that about one-third of the Aim High faculty are themselves graduates of the program provides credible and authentic role models for the students - I think this is an important contributor to Ain High's success. Overall, I think Aim High does a remarkable job of, as one graduate so eloquently put it, "convincing me that I had a right to an education, that I had the ability to succed academically and that I had a responsibility to myself, my family and my community to get an education".

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the hgih school graduation rates and college matriculation rates of the graduates and the commitment to the program of graduates who return in high numbers as teachers.

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

be struggling with the same issues that leadership now faces - how to scale the organization without compromising quality of the program.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the leadership of the organization by experienced educators so that the program is thoughtfully designed and implemented.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

highly dedicated to the students and to their communities.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

build organizational capacity to be able to serve more students during the summers and also to continue to support its graduates as they move through high school and into college.

Ways to make it better...

we had the resources to serve the qualified students (about 300) we had to turn away simply because of a lack of sufficient funds. We wouldn't need $10 million - anout $500,000 would have done the trick.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

(1) the need to raise about $2 million on an annual basis withourt any significant public funding and (2) the need to sustain the quality of the leadership team for another 24 years.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Aim High is a program that is highly scaleable and highly cost-effective that has a dramatically positive impact not only on its students but also on the underserved communities where it locates it summer sites.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

I have a broad perspective on Aim High because I have served on the Board for about 5 years, two of my children have worked as teaching assistants in the summer, and a number of our employees' children have participated in the summer program. Aim High is an extraordinarily effective program that is meeting a critical and life-changing need (educational enhancement) for the most underserved members of our community. Aim High has demonstrated its success at providing the skills and motivation necessary for its students to graduate high school and matriculate at college. As one student put it: "Aim High is the place where I learned that I had a right to an education, I had the skills necessary to get an education and I had a responsibility to myself, my family and my community to get an education".

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the success of its graduates in high school and college and the enthusiasm and commitment of its graduates for the program as demeonstrated by their returning to teach in the program.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the professionalism and commitment of the Aim High staff which has resulted in the continuous expansion and improvement of the program.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

extraordinary. The administrative staff combines deep expertise in the needs of middle school children with unflagging enthusiasm for the program. Many of the volunteers are graduates or parents of graduates who think Aim High changed their lives.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand its program dramatically - immediately changing the lives of literally thousands of children - while ensuring that it had the resourses to maintain program excellence and ensure financial stability.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

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

Aim High consistently proves itself worthy of its strongly positive reputation around the Bay Area. From families to teachers, from students to district administration, people recognize that Aim High makes an enormously positive difference to its participants' lives, it opens doors to opportunities, and it does so in a refreshingly caring way. Academic rigor meets strong community values at Aim High. Teachers and students come away from the program with strengthened confidence and hope.
After 30 years in the field Aim High continues to move forward in its efforts to serve Bay Area families. Funding is wisely spent to give students a broadening summer experience.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I had two of my children attend AIm High. It is a great summer program that allowed each of my children to explore themselves, their community while being exposed to wonderful summer academics. It gave my son and daughter confidence during those middle school and early teen years. One of my children worked in the summer program many years and Is now a 4th grade public school teacher in a school with students of high needs. She often describes how she has used many tools that she learned at Aim High. It has changed my children's lives and mine. I should add that after I saw the change in my children's attitude toward school I became an Aim High board member. Thank you Aim High!

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Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High provides a small-knit and caring community for underserved Bay Area youth. At Aim High, students become scientists, writers, mathematicians, they learn to rock climb, sail, or dance. The best measure of Aim High's success is the number of students who return to the program year after year, even long after they graduate.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

I have been an Intern at Aim High for 4 summers. I have helped Master Teachers and led my own Math and Humanities class. These summers have been, by far, the most enjoyable and rewarding of my life. I have connected with students, hopefully inspiring them to take their educations seriously and to enjoy learning. Ever year I look forward to going back to Aim High and seeing all my old students and the excited new students. When I see my students come back to the program to be TAs, I know that Aim High is doing something fantastic.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing students return to the program as TAs and Interns, seeing students go to great colleges and thrive.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

working with fantastic teachers who care deeply about their students.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

inspiring.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

focus more on running the organization, and spend less time on fundraising.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

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