Making a Mighty Impact
From measurable results to personal stories, here’s a peek at how Aim High is making a very real impact on kids, teachers, and families.
High School & Beyond
We provide support for more than 15,000+ people.
Aim High alumni graduate from high school on time vs. 76% of low-income students nationally
Aim High alumni enroll in college vs. 52% of low-income students nationally
of students feel more confident about doing schoolwork next year
of students showed improvement in reading, writing, and science
of students feel like they understand how to make positive life choices
of students made new friends at Aim High
of parents feel their child is better prepared for school in the fall
Aim High by the Numbers
Our 2,300 students annually experience:
- 180,000 hours of STEM + humanities instruction
- 157,500 hours of enrichment activities
- 70,200 healthy breakfasts and lunches
- 10,000 hours of outdoor education
- 5,500 hours of reading great books
- 35 visits to local companies
Stanford Study Confirms Lasting Impact of Aim High Summer
In 2019, the nationally-recognized Gardner Center at Stanford University found that Aim High participation reduces chronic absenteeism and suspension rates, and improves English language arts test scores. Researchers calculated that if all low-income middle school students in California had access to Aim High, 12,000 fewer students would be chronically absent each year. Learn more about the findings on Stanford’s School’s In podcast, check out the executive summary or read the full report.
Stanford Researchers Identify What Makes Aim High Distinct
In another study conducted in 2016, Stanford’s Gardner Center concluded that Aim High is consistently implemented with high-quality across sites, and that the teaching and instructional practices result in increased self-efficacy, or the belief in one’s ability to succeed—which plays a major role in educational attainment. Click here to read the executive summary or read the full report.
Aim High Graduate
Class of 2014
Before Aim High, Allan was shy and didn’t have many friends. He was bullied and struggled with his identity. He preferred books to conversation. He kept to himself. In sixth grade, Allan enrolled in Aim High, an experience that he says changed his life, both academically and socially.
At Aim High, Allan met welcoming teachers who made school feel more relevant and new experiences seem less daunting. He improved in math and science, subjects that were once difficult, and learned how to ask questions when he needed help. He also learned about college. For the first time, at Aim High, Allan realized college was attainable.
Most importantly, Allan’s teachers showed him how to embrace his individuality. Their support helped him find the courage to come out as gay. “My teachers showed me to love who I am, and not to be ashamed of myself,” Allan says.
Fast forward to the fall 2019 – Allan wraps up his work as an Aim High teaching intern at our Marin Academy campus and begins his freshman year at USF, becoming the first in his family to attend college. Allan is studying to become a teacher “so I can teach the next generation the importance education plays in a person’s life. I look forward to giving back to a community that served me in so many ways.”
Aim High Graduate
Class of 2010
Growing up, Sarah’s parents worked two jobs each to support the family. When summer came around, they worried about Sarah and her brother sitting alone at home. When an Aim High recruiter stopped by her brother’s school, Sarah’s parents jumped at the opportunity to enroll them in a free summer program. “I would’ve been at home watching TV otherwise,” Sarah recalls.
Middle school was challenging. Sarah attended a huge middle school on the other side of town. She felt disconnected from her classmates and kept to herself in the classroom. All this changed when she joined Aim High. She immediately felt a sense of community. The class sizes were smaller and her classmates lived in her neighborhood. “For the first time ever, I was actually comfortable enough to participate in class,” says Sarah. “I felt more confident.” After graduating from Aim High in eighth grade, she returned to teach. This experience transformed her view of education. “I value education a lot more now. I realize there’s a purpose for each lesson and assignment.”
Sarah now attends the University of San Francisco where she studies biochemistry and math. She plans on one day becoming a STEM teacher in a public school, a goal she has because of Aim High.
Learn more about Sarah in the video below:
Aim High Graduate
Class of 2013
In middle school, Deena was shy and quiet – a far cry from who she is today. But after spending three summers at Aim High, Deena came out of her shell. Her Aim High teachers empowered her. “They saw potential in me that I did not see in myself,” she says. With her teachers’ help, Deena discovered her love for performing and became more confident as a leader and activist for causes she cares about. Shortly before graduating high school, Deena was recognized by the San Francisco Unified School District for her leadership as a peer mentor and conflict mediator. In 2017, she was honored at Aim High’s Annual Gala as the Rising Youth Leader.
Had it not been for Aim High, I never would have had the courage to step out of my comfort zone and stand up for what’s right. I never would have even known that was within my reach. Now, standing up for what’s right—and inspiring others to do the same—is an essential part of who I am.
Aim High Graduate
Class of 2011
In the spring of 2007, a shy middle schooler, Katherine, received an impassioned message from her substitute.
“Your teacher wanted me to let you know that you should pay special attention to today’s guest presenters. He says it’s really important.”
The presentation was about Aim High’s award winning summer program. When school let out, an excited Katherine ran home and told her parents she was signing up for “a different kind of summer school; one where kids try things they’ve never done before,” she recalls.
I really came out of my shell at Aim High. I felt more confident and was able to express myself better
And indeed, Katherine was exposed to new and exciting opportunities at Aim High. She mastered algebra, learned how to knit, and made new friends. “I really came out of my shell at Aim High,” she says. “I felt more confident and was able to express myself better.”
When Katherine thinks about Aim High, what she remembers the most is her teachers. “They helped me prepare for high school and college,” she says. “During the regular school year, teachers don’t talk about that, but at Aim High, they gave us advice for three years.”
In May of 2019, a more confident Katherine will graduate from Boston University, becoming the first in her family to attend and graduate from college. As such, she is proud to serve as a role model to her siblings, extended family and her Aim High students, whom she has been teaching since 2011. Katherine credits Aim High with inspiring her to go to college and study education so that upon graduating, she will continue teaching science to low-income students.
Aim High Graduate, Class of 2016
Steve graduated from Aim High in 2016. Since participating in our summer program, he proudly says his grades have improved, and he has learned to see the best in himself and in peers. Like many of our graduates, he will return next summer to teach in to our program, inspiring the younger generation to continue reaching for their potential.
“If Aim High can help me,” says Steve, “it can help everyone else, too.”