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Aim High's Aspiring Teacher Program

Aim High strives to propel more people into careers in education. Our Aspiring Teachers Program exists to create a larger, more diverse, and better prepared pipeline of teachers and leaders for California schools.

The Aspiring Teacher Fellowship

For nearly 40 years, Aim High has provided meaningful opportunities for teachers to teach the way they want, harnessing their own creativity to innovate new teaching practices and ignite student learning.

The Aim High Aspiring Teacher Fellowship invites more people – high school and college aged, early and mid-career professionals – to pursue teaching careers. Aim High’s co-teaching model creates a distinctly collaborative classroom environment, and our project-based curriculum allows teachers to use their creativity and inspiration to ignite student curiosity and a love for learning. The Aspiring Teacher fellowship provides cohort-based programming for 14 months. During this time, fellows will:

  • Belong to a community of like-minded aspiring educators to share experience, mentorship, and connections. We create an intentional space where fellows reflect on their growth and progress as BIPOC educators while identifying needed support to progress and thrive in classrooms.
  • Participate in quarterly professional development workshops focused on developing new educator tools for creating learning environments that are inclusive and rooted in social justice and liberatory educational practices.
  • Access to resources and support to navigate the credential process and find the “right fit” credential program.
  • Paid, summer job placement working as a Co-lead teacher at an Aim High site.
  • Earn a $2000 scholarship when enrolled in a credential program.

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The Need for More Teachers

California and the nation are experiencing an unprecedented teacher shortage, especially of teachers of color. Representation in the classroom matters. The benefits of having a teacher from the same racial background, particularly for Black and Latino students, show up in test scores and grades, behavior, attendance, high school and college enrollment. Studies show that a non-white student is less likely to encounter a same-race role model at school. Students connecting with a teacher with shared experiences can influence growth and provide opportunities to discover their true potential.

Making an Impact

Since 1986, we have trained more than 4,000 educators.

Hands-on Training & Support
25% of staff time is allocated to professional development & classroom training to improve success potential in their career.
Diversifying the Teacher Pipeline
We hire and develop educators from underserved communities. 86% of our staff are people of color, compared to 37% of California public school educators.
Innovative Classroom Methods
We utilize evidence-based approaches, such as culturally responsive and trauma-informed teaching, social-emotional learning, project-based learning and restorative justice practices. Teachers then take these resources back into their academic-year classrooms, extending Aim High’s impact far beyond summer.

Sustaining Our Work

In 2021, Aim High launched the Alec Lee Fund for Aspiring Teachers, an endowment fund that will support our efforts in perpetuity. The fund also honored Aim High’s founding executive director, Alec Lee, who retired that year. “I cannot overstate the importance of excellent teaching and a school environment that celebrates the promise of all students,” he said. “This is what we create each summer at Aim High. This is what changes educational outcomes for low-income, first-generation young people.”