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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

39 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

Previous Stories
1

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.

Elsie S.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Aim High has been a unique and incredible experience for me as a teacher. Students often fall behind in academics over the summer and Aim High helps to prevent this for students in the urban community. Our students are in much smaller class sizes than they are in the normal year so they receive more individual attention. They also get to experience more hands-on learning and field trip opportunities that they might normally not receive. It's been amazing to be a part of Aim High and see how much positive impact it has on our students. I'm thankful to be a part of the Aim High community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Aim High was a great experience for me as a teacher. I received a lot of support from the staff there to help develop my vision as and educator. You can see the impact that this program has on its students, and the fact that it is going into its 30th year already, and that former students come back to intern and teach shows its growth and the impact it truly has on its students.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I started out with Aim High as a teaching intern. I've since become a co-director of my own site, and as an outsider coming in, I can really say that Aim High has an incredible sense of community and well-being (whether emotional, academic, or physical) that you just cannot find elsewhere. They took me in with open arms my first year (at the age of 19), even though most of them had known each other since they were middle schoolers in the program. Teaching in this program led me to my calling of becoming an educator outside of the non-profit. After spending years in the classroom, I am currently a dean of students at a local high school, and I'm earning my masters in educational leadership at Santa Clara. None of this would have been possible without Aim High.

Previous Stories
5

Former staff

Rating: 4

I came to Aim High as a freshman in college, looking for experience in the education field to see if I truly wanted to become a teacher. I have since been teaching for this nonprofit for the past three years. It is frantic, hectic, and sometimes downright frustrating, but I have learned so much about being an educator and being true to myself while being a part of this program that it really has become a mainstay in my life. I am truly grateful for the opportunities that this program has provided for me and the kids who have benefited from it.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Throughout the regular academic year I am an Athletic Director and Assistant Dean students at a local high school. During the summer I teach Math at Aim High. I can honestly say Aim High is like my second family, I am really proud to be part of such an amazing program. Aim High takes advantage of the five weeks they have with students and do everything they can to make sure the students grow academically! They make sure everyone, from volunteers to site directors, have the support and the tools they need to successfully instruct students. Aim High doesn't only help students grow academically but personally as well! They offer classes and activities that give them the opportunity to be part of something and be proud of who they are. I have been part of Aim High for over half a decade now and I will continue to teach with them every summer simply because I know that with Aim High I can help students grow academically and change the way they view education for ever! I wholeheartedly support Aim High !!!!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Aim High has, quite simply, changed my life.

I first became involved with Aim High as a teaching intern in the summer of 2013. I instantly felt welcomed into the Aim High community––one that is overflowing with talented and dedicated teachers and administrators. As a novice teacher, I felt supported by the staff as I began to take on new responsibility in lesson planning and classroom management. Unlike many summer education programs, Aim High teachers are, most often, teachers during the school year. This meant that I was surrounded by experienced educators with solid, tested, teaching strategies.

However, what makes Aim High a truly special program is its students. Aim High students are bright, passionate, vibrant kids with genuine thirsts for learning. They bring their whole selves to school every single day. I can say, without a doubt, that my Aim High students have taught me far more than I have taught them.

It is because of Aim High that I have decided to become an educator (in the Bay Area, no less)! For me, Aim High has distilled education into its purest form––a simple love of learning and of teaching. Today I am a 5th-grade teacher at a local independent school. I love my job...

...And I cannot wait to return for my third summer at Aim High.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have taught with Aim High for the last five summers. Being part of this organization is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. Over my years teaching with Aim High, I have seen what a huge impact this program has had for our youngsters in East Palo Alto. For some, the program has resulted in students becoming excited about a particular subject that they previously had no interest in. For others, it is an opportunity to be better prepared for their next academic year. Significantly, Aim High makes a qualitative difference to our students' lives. We promote developing a strong sense of community, we encourage students to take advantage of opportunities that are presented to them, being respectful is paramount, and importantly, that they can have high expectations for themselves. We offer exciting core academics, and the opportunity to select elective classes ranging from sports instruction, music, creative expression through art, cooking, dancing, astronomy, gardening, environmental awareness education and marine biology, to name but a few. This is an essential program that makes a huge difference to our students. I look forward to many more summers with Aim High!

Previous Stories
10

Former staff

Rating: 5

This was my second year teaching with Aim High and I am looking forward to spending many more summers with this wonderful program. I really enjoyed working with my fellow teachers and had such a great time with the students. We all had a lot of fun and learned a lot together. Aim High is such an amazing program.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Exploratorium's Educational Outreach Program has partnered with Aim High in San Francisco for over 20 years. Aim High creates an academic summer program for middle school students that manages to be rigorous while still fun, playful, enriching, and socially relevant. Older students are encouraged to come back to the program as volunteers and many do. Each campus has a unique character and enthusiastic, caring staff - many of whom are college-aged young adults honing their teaching skills. Students, families, staff, and community partners all benefit greatly from Aim High. It is one of San Francisco Bay Area's educational treasures.

Previous Stories
7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In my capacity as the Educational Outreach Program Director of the Exploratorium (San Francisco's hands-on science museum,) I have been collaborating with Aim High for over 20 years. The relationship has lasted this long because it works. The staff, students, and volunteers at Aim High are always committed, enthusiastic, and easy to work with. There's a true sense of community at each campus and with Aim High as a whole. We're proud to be part of that community.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Aim High made me an educator and continues to strengthen my commitment to building learning communities where students and teachers can thrive together. In my work throughout the year I take guidance and inspiration from what I do in the summer with Aim High. Now I get to see my former students taking leadership roles on their Aim High campuses. I am yet to find another model of integrated professional and student learning that comes close to Aim High's excellent model of success! I love Aim High!

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had heard wonderful things about Aim High from friends who had taught there. As an early and then mid-professional experience it was inspiring. I was able to connect with excellent teachers and excited students which created a fertile ground for innovative classes.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've spent the past two summers as a master teacher at Aim High. I teach for a living, but these summers have not been just another teaching gig. Aim High is a unique organization in that it serves the children who currently attend its summer programs, but it also serves generations of children yet to come. It does this by training new teachers. Its staff teams are composed of professional teachers, student teachers, people changing careers, and teenagers interested in helping other teenagers. The experience of Aim High helps all of these people to become better teachers, and it involves all of these people in the education system. The more people involved in and informed about our education system, the better served our youth will be.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am consistently impressed by the dedication and commitment of the staff towards their mission and the affection they have for their students. They have taken a great idea and implemented it creatively and successfully. I am privileged to have the pleasure of working with such a wonderful group of people.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My wife and I taught in Aim High in Year #1 and have supported the program ever since. This program is a national model for effective educational programs for urban youth - incredibly well run with life changing impact for decades.

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had no idea that a 6 week experience could teach me more about teaching than I had learned in the past 10 years, but Aim High did that! I have never been more impressed with our leaders, my fellow teachers, or the students I was privileged to teach than I was in Aim High.

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love Aim High. This is a very supportive space for youth to learn. They are well supported, and the program truly meets their needs.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked previously in an after-school program for middle schoolers, so I know what a great program can do. Aim High does an amazing job creating a culture that is fun and focused on learning. Teachers and students build relationships that will support and inspire students through high school and beyond. When I visited an Aim High campus for the first time, students wowed me articulate, detailed knowledge of their science projects, and the site directors deeply impressed me with their passion and expertise. As a staff member, I have to admit a certain bias, but - Aim High changes lives.