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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Aim High

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Educational Services, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Our mission at Aim High is to create life-changing opportunities during the summer and beyond. Our community: NURTURES the promise and potential of middle school students from low-income neighborhoods. PREPARES students for high school setting them on the path to college and future success. INSPIRES the next generation of teachers and educational leaders. Our vision is to close the opportunity and achievement gaps in Northern California through our transformational summer learning program. We envision every middle school student having access to joyful summer learning, inspired and innovative teachers, and the support they need to succeed in school and life.

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 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.

Community Stories

172 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Blessing of Baba” is the driving force in our lives.
Started with baby steps and now with the support of many like minded people we are running two schools for underprivileged children.
Being associated with them for more than ten years, we followed series of steps to convince them about education and its importance. http://saikapyar.in

Advisor

Rating: 5

I became involved with Aim High about 1 year ago after I experienced the Aim High Magic after a Visiting Day. These events are an opportunity for Aim High graduates to share their stories and how the free summer enrichment program was impactful to their lives.

The particular story I heard was about a young man from a challenging neighborhood with limited support at home. Through grit, determination, and opportunities like Aim High this individual was the first to attend college and is planning to become a doctor.

This magic story, among others, is proof that the Aim High Magic is real, and these efforts have a beneficial impact on our society.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been fortunate to work with Aim High through their Young Leaders Board, and have witnessed their magic first hand. Helping low income middle school students continue their education throughout the summer, Aim High enables students to connect with corporations through Career Days. Their staff is amazing, and the true passion for their mission is genuine.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We LOVE Aim High! This is our daughter's 3rd summer there and we couldn't be happier. She actually looks forward to summer so she can attend. Not only does she like the summer program, she also likes that they do a lot of outside activities throughout the year (like bowling, movies, etc). Also, She got a lot of help from the friendly staff preparing for her high school entrance exams and applying to high schools. She was accepted to the high school of her choice (with honors!) and we attribute that to Aim High. Thank you Aim High!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been an Aim High student for 3 years now. While most kids look forward to hanging out at home during the summer, mine looks forward to attending Aim High. I love that Aim High has many fun events throughout the year. Also, the help she has received applying for high schools has been a lifesaver to me. Thank you Aim High for having great office staff and amazing teachers!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Aim High is truly one of the best non-profits I've had the opportunity to work with. They are passionate about what they do and stand behind their mission 100%. When working with the staff and students, it is easy to see the high quality and caliber of support in their impact. Whenever someone is looking to volunteer for a non-profit, I recommend Aim High every time.

Sam B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found out about Aim High a year ago and immediately understood the importance of this organization in the Northern California community. I chose to get involved with Aim High for many different reasons. They collect solid data on their programming that makes me confident that their impact is far-reaching. The Aim High community is a great group that sticks around because they have all been affected by the "Aim High Magic," which is a very real and very touching aspect of the organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Aim High was essential to my success as a student and pre-teen. Coming from a public middle school, one-on-one attention was rare and extracurricular activities were disappearing. At Aim High I was given the opportunity to engage directly with teachers and young-adult mentors on a daily basis. Creative activities beyond the classroom were just as important as academics. Most of all, Aim High provided a community where each student was recognized for their individuality and encouraged to express themselves. I'm so grateful for Aim High and am honored to continue to support the program.

1 Sophia A.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

AimHigh does an amazing job of working with students, empowering them, building their self confidence, and coaching them on soft and hard skills to set them up for success.

Jacqueline T.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I can attest to the transformative power of Aim High’s work. They are a positive force to be wreckened with! Support them!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am from San Fransicso and I graduated Aim High after three summers. Aim High has helped me step out of my comfort zone since it is a comfortable place where I know that someone is always there to help me and listen to me. I even returned back to Aim High to become a volunteer, a teaching assistant, and a teaching intern. Whether I was a student or a member of the staff, I was always welcomed with happy faces and people offering to help me to the best of their ability. Thank you Aim High.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm writing as a parent of a child who benefitted greatly from participating in the Aim High program during the summer. It gave her confidence, and also made sure she was better prepared and focused on going to college. Her teachers and friends in the program have made a life long impact. Aim High has also been helpful once she was in high school to identify scholarship opportunities and ongoing learning. The outreach of the staff and teachers is amazing.

1 David I.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have served on the board of Aim High for two years, and have constantly been amazed with the quality of the organization. The program is rooted in a culture of support and high ambitions, which I've found to be prevalent at all levels of the organization. I've also been very pleased with the organization's efficiency. Dollars go very far with this group, and it couldn't be for a more worthy cause. I couldn't be more enthusiastic about Aim High: great people + great culture + great model + great need + great execution = great results.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Aim High was just two years old, serving about 70 students on the Lick-Wilmerding High School campus, when I arrived as the school's head in the summer of 1988. It has been a great privilege to be involved with this extraordinary program for the past 28 years and to marvel at its growth -- first partnering with San Francisco's Urban School, then with SFUSD and to become an independent non-profit organization in 1998 that now serves over 2,200 students at 18 campuses. Throughout, the "Aim High Magic" has touched thousdands of deserving young people and hundreds of aspiring (and inspiring) teachers. Having witnessed Aim High enriching, indeed shaping, so many lives over the years, it is a pleasure to serve on its board, and my wife and I continue to designate Aim High as our #1 philanthropic beneficiary. Al Adams, Head, Lick-Wilmerding High School 1988-2011

HawkisLanding

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a Board Member, I write this Top-Rated review with pride and commitment. As a mission driven organization that continues to thrive after 30 years of service to the community, Aim High continues to elevate and innovate as the Gold Standard for free summer learning and enrichment!!! This past summer Aim high served 2181 students, provided summer jobs for 524 staff and graduated 509 rising 9th graders.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Aim High promotes, supports and develops academic development, social and emotional intelligence for under-served urban youth, aspiring teachers and educational leaders.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a student I benefitted from the tightknit community and compassionate teachers at Aim High who cared about making a genuine connection with the students, investing in us and our dreams, passions, and untapped abilities. What I loved especially about the program was its philanthropic atmosphere, promoting a communal give-and-take dynamic, where graduates of the program could come back as volunteers and give back to a program that provided so much. I returned to Aim High as a teacher, and got to sit on the other side of the desk with students, embodying the Aim High values, and invest in and watch the growth of so many bright, vivid and dynamic young minds. It was just as enriching and rewarding as my experience as a student. There truly is Aim High Magic to be felt when being part of this program. I wish every student in need could take advantage of this opportunity.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Aim High is an organization that stands out amongst the crowd. As a new board member, I was drawn to serve because Aim High is changing lives for students, teachers and broader communities. In the summer of 2016, we served over 2,200 students and employed over 500 educators across 17 sites in the Bay Area. 500 Aim High students graduated this year and we are proud to have successfully transitioned them from middle school to high school.

As a board member, I see that Aim High is highly efficient and a well-run organization. The passion and leadership of the Aim High staff is evident in everything they do. Whether it’s crafting a stimulating yet fun curriculum for students or ensuring a high return on investment for donors, the staff is thoughtful and purposeful in their decision making. I strongly encourage new donors, teachers, parents, local school districts and students to get involved.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Celebrating 30 years of service to students from lower-income neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area, Aim High is peerless in terms of the impact it has. It serves over 2100 students every summer, graduating over 500 of them to a successful transition to high school. Employing over 500 paid staff each summer, it is one of the largest teacher professional development programs in the Bay Area. By employing graduates of the program as teachers, it encourages the next generation of teachers and leaders, and creates a cycle of improvement in the communities that it serves. More than an "education" non-profit, Aim High truly does provide life changing opportunities during the summer and beyond, for its students, their teachers, and the neighborhoods that the live in.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

It is with pride and humble gratitude that I have been a part of the Aim High family for 15 years. I started as a site director in Chinatown. During that summer, we were to celebrate a mile-stone year of my Co-Director, Matt Reno. As I interviewed students, teachers and parents for anecdotes and appreciations about Matt, I'll never forget what Deborah (an intern at the time) told me. She said, "Matt Reno saved my life. I was an Aim High student but got side tracked and wasn't going to return. I was getting into trouble, failing out of school, and disconnecting from my family. Matt came and found me and encouraged me to return. I got back on track and haven't lost site of what's important to me since. He is why I graduated, became a TA and am now a teacher here." This is one of many Aim High stories. All of which are a testament to the incredible families Aim High serves, the fantastic teachers Aim High employs and the tremendous impact Aim High makes while building community. Congratulations on 30 years, Aim High!! We will all benefit from many more!

1 tallboy

Board Member

Rating: 5

My first introduction to Aim High was many years ago when it was operating under the auspices of Lick Wilmerding High School. I watched the program in action one day, and was stunned by the high quality of the program. I am an independent school educator, experienced in evaluating curriculum and the way it is delivered by teachers. What I saw that morning, delivered free to under-served middle school children, equaled, and in some areas, surpassed the very best middle school independent programs. The specific markers I looked for were all there: teachers skillfully calibrating their methods, minute by minute, as the lessons proceeded; intensely engaged students accepting the challenge of stretching themselves so that they were creating the knowledge, finding the answers, instead of being told them. I watched happy kids in a nurturing community realizing that learning is self empowering. So when Aim High became an independent not for profit organization, I became a board member.
Since that time Aim High has grown to serve 2,200 students. And, by diligent, data-based evaluation, both internal and external, has consistently refined and improved the program. Moreover, by intentional, carefully considered strategies, Aim High has managed its growth, not only to serve more children, but also to grow continually stronger as an organization with ambitious plans to expand to 6,000 students by 2020.
Research tells us that middle school is critical. Research also tells us that children in low-income situations fall behind academically in the summer. Thus Aim High's focus is exactly where it should be: an exemplary summer program of academics and youth development for under-served middle school children.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with a great many non profit organizations, and I can say with no reservations that Aim High is the best run of them all. Every minute of contributed work by volunteers, and every dollar given the organization goes directly to provide a life-changing educational experience to wonderful middle school boys and girls from low income families. There is just no waste. The mission is clear, its execution superb. If you want to make a difference, get behind this excellent organization

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a board member at Aim High and proud to be associated with a high functioning organization that has consistently delivered outstanding programs to Bay Area students for over 30 years.

As a donor to Aim High, I am delighted with the incredible efficiency of its operation - expanding both the breadth and depth of its services each year and being responsible stewards of the organization's mission.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the board of Aim High for 12 years. Other reviews on this site posted by students, parents and teachers eloquently attest to Aim High's impact and excellence. Everything I have seen of the program over many years is consistent with these assessments. I would like to add my perspective as a person who has seen Aim High primarily as a board member, and also as someone who has served on many boards so can evaluate Aim High within that context. Aim High is one of the most highly functional organizations (whether for profit or nonprofit) that I have ever seen. There is a deep commitment to organizational integrity and development, a continuous practice of honest self-evaluation and self-improvement and a rigorous discipline of grounding key decisions in mission and core values. All of these attributes have allowed Aim High to expand its impact through the growth of program size and the expansion of its served geography while also maintaining high quality. These attributes also make Aim High a wonderful steward of donor dollars, ensuring a strong return on investment in the program. I cannot recommend Aim High more highly to a student, a parent, a teacher or a donor.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

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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Former staff

Rating: 5

I had such an amazing experience working as a Teaching Intern at Aim High. An amazing staff, amazing kids, and an amazingly well run and thought out program.

Donor

Rating: 5

Congratulations to Aim High on 30 years of outstanding summer programs for children in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond! Your programs change lives!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Aim High has been a part of my life since 2006. I started out as an eager and shy incoming 6th grader in the program. After completing all four years of the program as a student, I returned to volunteer and teach every summer after that. It's been a decade and my excitement level still remains at its peak when summer rolls around. I've watched my students, peers, families, and myself evolve because of this program. Individuals finally have a reason to enjoy not only school, but learning as well. The program has inspired me to not only value education, but it has also inspired me to one day become an educator as well.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Aim High has been a part of my life since 2002. It is why I got into teaching. I treasure my friendships, my colleagues, and my experiences from Aim High. Also their leadership team is dedicated, inspired, and has a growth mindset. I never left a meeting or a day at Aim High where I didn't say 'that was worth it'.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I can tell you firsthand that Aim High changes lives. Not only the lives of the students who participate, but also those of the educators who get to work with them. The Aim High framework provides youth with the authentic environment for rigorous and fun learning each summer. Its students return year after year to soak in the magic of hands-on projects, college and career field trips, and the exploration of engaging learning. Aim High provides our most vulnerable student populations with enrichment beyond measure, keeping them academically, emotionally, and physically safe and secure, loving learning and building community!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Aim High is my favorite place to be! I teach middle school in San Francisco and have been fortunate enough to be part of the Aim High family for four beautiful years and counting. We walk out of staff meetings saying, "Wow, that was amazing!" Our kids leave summer session saying they wish it would never end. These statements are unheard of in the world of education, yet at Aim High, these sentiments are common; they are the norm.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have watched Aim High change the lives of families for 20 years now: in San Francisco, in the Tahoe area, and in Oakland. This program, who works with low-income middle school students and their families, is powerfully effective and relentless in its goals to broaden the opportunities available to our students.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Aim High has dramatically changed the course of the lives of many Bay Area youth. It has also changed the course of many Bay Area adults, be they family members of students or aspiring teachers who are struck with the success of the Aim High model of education. Aim High opens doors and expands horizons of anyone who walks into this community. I have been working with this organization for 13 years and I keep coming back because of the enormous gifts it keeps on giving to our families. Thank you Aim High.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've worked at an Aim High site for three years, in different roles. My experience has been nothing but positive. My time with this program has helped mold me into a better educator and learner. I wish I had the student experience because the things we teach and the way we teach at Aim High is amazing. Families continue to bring their kids to our program because we make real impact during the summer and we prepare students for the road ahead on their educational journey.

1 Wendy133

Former staff

Rating: 5

I started working at Aim High in 1996. I spent 6 summers teaching and/or directing. I am now an administrator in a DC independent school and am consistently trying to bring the inclusivity, integrity and community I learned at Aim High to my schools. I'm amazed at how many of my most respected colleagues began their careers at Aim High! The program not only serves amazing students who may not have as much access as they deserve, it also inspires fantastic educators.

Danny17

Former staff

Rating: 5

I've worked with Aim High now for 9 years. They are easily the reason why I became an educator. This is a place where teachers are allowed to be the creative and passionate educators they are supposed to be. The students get smaller classroom settings and learn in all different types of modalities. Even though I'm in a school year-round, I never see my work at Aim High over the summers as mundane or dreaded. I want to be there on Mondays, greeting students and playing four-square with them on the yard. Not only does the program show positive results and change lives, these students come back because they love Aim High so much. They become volunteers and then teachers themselves for the non-profit. That's the kind of dedication and loyalty that only top-tier programs can attain.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am one of the first original graduates of Aim High when the program first began & both my younger sister & brother are also graduates. I had an amazing experience being a student. I loved the teachers & staff. In general I loved being a part of the program. The education I received there helped me throughout the years as a student when I returned to school. They helped me grow as a person & helped gain confidence. If there was an Aim High where I live now or if I was living in the Bay Area. I would put my kids in the program, because I would want them to have the wonderful experience like I did.

Comments ( 1 )

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MNieto 09/11/2015

Thank you so much for your review of Aim High! We love to hear stories of Aim High families. So glad your experience was a positive one. Even though you are not in the Bay Area anymore, we hope you will continue to stay connected to Aim High.

Ivy_2

Former staff

Rating: 5

Attending Aim High was one of the best decisions I had ever made in my life. I am who I am because of this program. In middle school, I was very behind in terms of my math skills, and had always hated math as I never had a good math teacher. If it weren't for the great teachers at Aim High, my middle school math skills would be non-existent. I learned all my M.S. math skills from Aim High teachers. Also, my teachers actually cared. When I was upset due to something from home or from school, they were always there for me and so were my friends. Ever since graduating the program, Aim High has done nothing but provide me with more opportunities of growing work and volunteer experience, and the staff and teachers there are all incredible people that I have learned so much from. I hope Aim High continues to help students like myself and many more!

Comments ( 1 )

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MNieto 09/11/2015

Thank you so much for your review of Aim High! We are so happy to hear about the great experience you had as a student and that you continue to stay connected to Aim High.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

I have heard great things about this organization. I am a firm believer in providing our children a safe learning environment and support system to help them achieve their goals. Thank you Aim High for what you do for our future generation.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

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.

Comments ( 1 )

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MNieto 11/03/2014

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 [email protected] 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

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Aim High creates an incredible supportive space that helps students and teachers alike learn. As a teaching intern getting my first experience at the front of the classroom, I felt encouraged to share with the community and I certainly got as much out of my summer there as any of the students.

Board Member

Rating: 5

This was my first summer at aim high. At first I didn't believe in the "AIM HIGH MAGIC" but its true I felt it! Its REAL!!! and This was just a great experience. I loved it I hope I can return

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering at the satellite campus in Tahoe, I am very grateful to see this program in the community where I grew up. The kids that are enroll in the program are very lucky to do so as I wish it had existed when I was younger. The impact that it has made in my community is tremendous and I am excited to see the youth of my community succeed in reaching their academic and career dreams.

Claudia23

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

In summer of 2009 our great journey with Aim High started. I did not know the great impact this summer program would have in my kid’s life. Aim High means a lot for our family because it is a program where my child changed her perspective of learning, come to have a fun while learning and had challenging experiences to mention some of the great skills that this program had given her. The extraordinary results were noticed right away. The kid that hardly used to speak soon was standing in front of people giving a science presentation, besides that she improved her math, writing, reading, and improved and grown her love for science. It was amazing to see. After the first summer she used to count the days for the following summers and was ready to learn those skills that would help her succeed during the school year. My little girl is in her last year of high school and she is doing wonderful and now she is ready to put in practice what she learned about the path to college in Aim High! The thrilling experience for my child with Aim High has not yet finished because this past summer she came back to the program as a teacher’s assistant where she continued not only to keep learning but putting in practice the great knowledge that one day was taught to her. Now she is getting ready to come back next summer, still counting the days. In addition, I would like to add that our youngest child is now experiencing the greatness of Aim High. Seeing your children growing, excited, prepare, happy, learning in a program like this one means the world for you as a parent. All I would like to say is: THANK YOU very much Aim High for a great program that help to “Reach for a Dream.”

Board Member

Rating: 5

Aim High truly makes a difference in the lives of middle school youth from underserved Bay Area communities. At this critical time in personal development, Aim High serves over 1700 students with an engaging, challenging summer school experience. This tuition free program combines rigorous academic coursework in the morning, followed by an afternoon filled by creative, artistic, and athletic activities.
Our Board members each "adopt" one of our 15 campuses, where we get to know the directors and teachers and witness what makes these summer school experiences come alive. With our public schools so financially challenged, Aim High has assumed a key role in the strengthening the fabric of these communities. It's an honor to be involved!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I personally attended Aim High for all three years, and later returned as a teaching intern for 8th grade science this past summer. I can confidently that if it were not for Aim High, I would have never even heard about all the different high schools, let alone colleges, that were available for me to apply to and possibly attend. Aim High really opened up a myriad of doors on how I could possibly go about my life, and therefore allowed me to really explore my passions and interests.

As a student, I remember myself quite literally changing from a very apathetic person into an extremely positive and enthusiastic person. Aim High teachers were always very enthusiastic and very kind to me. Honestly, it felt like the "student-teacher" hierarchy got blurred because the teachers were also people I could confide in. They weren't simply superiors; they learned just as much from and about the students as the students learned from them.

As a teaching intern, teaching at Aim High has been one of the most rewarding jobs I've ever had. I finally got to implement and exude enthusiasm and positivity to students who might have been like me as a middle schooler--and hopefully affect their lives in a positive way. As an intern, I taught alongside an experienced lead teacher who allows me to lead some classes daily. Later into the summer, I also formulated my own lesson plan which I implemented in class on my own--my first time fully teaching a class by myself. Outside of the classroom, I found students sometimes talking to me about what was going on in their lives--making me realize the importance of having interms (typically college students) and TAs (high schoolers), who would be closer in age to the Aim High students.

The design of Aim High, from it's part-academic and part-elective portion, to the staff that is hired, is well thought-out to provide the best experience for middle school students. Aim High not only enhances the educational and academic experience into a fun one while preparing students for the upcoming school year, but also discusses real topics and issues that people face in their daily lives.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended Aim High as a student and I can honestly say that the experience shapes who I am as an adult today. The supportive academic and social community that Aim High provides to youth is invaluable. The guidance and opportunities the program provides year round to its students is indispensable. As a 29 year old I still consider myself an Aim High Student, and will forever be a part of the Aim High community.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Aim High has been an amazing experience for my son. The young men and women that taught there were excellent mentors and eventually encouraged my son to volunteer as a TA..something he never saw himself doing. After a summer of full time volunteer work, my son returned the following year as a paid TA and was thrilled to have the opportunity for a meaningful summer job and some income.

The staff is very devoted and challenges and encourages the students to expand their vision of what they are capable of.

The program was also a life saver for me when I was a single mom and didn't want my middle schooler unsupervised during the summer. To know that he had guidance and academic support set my mind at ease while i was at work. The tutoring offered by high schoolers during the school year was also extremely helpful.

This is an outstanding program! Thank you!

Shannon87

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Kate88

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Brian117

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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