Aim High

Rating: 4.94 stars   139 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

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  

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  

1 person found this review helpful

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  

I have taught with Aim High for 2 summers. The quality of collaboration and investment of teaching and site director staff is outstanding and makes for an empowering and creative teaching environment. The Aim High magic is real and keeps me coming back. Students really get the opportunity to find their creative outlet and explore what inspires them.

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

Aim High has been a part of my heart since 2001 when I began working as a TA. It did not take me long to realize how special of a program it was, one that truly brought "magic" to middle school students' summers. Aim High's fun and challenging classes combined with memorable assemblies and field trips are just a few things that set it apart from traditional summer school. And though academics is a huge focus of the 5-week program, Aim High also realizes the importance of social emotional learning, especially during the formative middle school years. Classes like Issues & Choices help students learn and reflect about themselves and the person they want to become. Graduates who return to volunteer and later teach just goes to show how much of a impact Aim High has had on their lives!

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

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.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

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

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

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

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!

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

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.

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