Aim High’s 25th summer was a more than a silver anniversary. As part of a long-term strategy to build upon our core curriculum, this summer marked the second year of our push to target math skills and the first year of a new program to help Issues & Choices classes incorporate college & career awareness. Read more about these programs and their promising results below. Math curriculum Following 2009’s 4-site pilot, Aim High implemented new math curriculum at all 12 sites in 2010, and results were strong and promising. Over five weeks, students improved their scores on math assessments by an average of 15% – the equivalent of shifting a grade from a C (75%) to an A- (90%). Aim High’s 8th graders began the school year better prepared for algebra, increasing their scores by an average of 22% over the summer. The opportunity to improve math skills over the summer is all too rare for low-income youth, and critical to their success in school. Research indicates that students who do not practice math over the summer slide backwards by an average of 2 months (Alexander, 1996). First piloted in 2009 at four sites, Aim High’s math curriculum was expanded to all twelve Aim High sites in 2010. Math teachers at all grade levels received training, in-class coaching, and curriculum that strengthened skills that prepare students for algebra readiness by 8th grade. Support from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Walter and Elise Haas Foundation has been critical in developing and implementing the program over the last two years. College and Career Awareness Initiative With support from the Gap Foundation, Aim High strengthened college & career information at all twelve sites this year. Issues & Choices teachers taught new lesson plans on preparing for college, choosing schools and career paths, and finding financial support. Sites organized college visits, career panels, and “Futures Night” presentations for students and families. Aim High’s focus on pointing youth toward college continues into the school year with our High School Application Workshop series, designed to support 8th graders applying to college-track high schools, and a college information night planned for the spring. Results indicate that the new initiative has improved students’ understanding of the path to college. 84% of students report that they understand California’s A-G requirements – the high school course load necessary for admission to University of California schools – and 74% had a conversation about college with a parent or caregiver. Reaching middle school students with information about high school, college and careers is critically important to their future success. Research shows that students’ preparedness for college-track work in middle school has a greater impact on their matriculation to college than anything that happens in high school (ACT, 2009). In 2011, sites will continue to improve path-to-college initiatives, introducing more guidance on high school choices and sharing the best career and college awareness ideas from each of our 12 sites.