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Aim High is for middle school students from underserved communities, attending underperforming schools, without access to summertime enrichment, or who are at risk for falling behind in school. About 98% of Aim High students are youth of color, 95% live in low-income homes, and 75% speak a language other than English at home. Our ultimate goal is to inspire, motivate and support our students during their middle school years, and build a strong foundation for their future success in high school and college.
The middle school years are “make-or-break” for young people. Research indicates that high school success often depends on middle school performance. Our program provides academic support, social support and enrichment to help with the transition to high school and beyond.
We currently operate 18 summer campuses in underserved communities across the Bay Area and beyond. We have campuses in San Francisco (8), the East Bay (4), San Mateo County (3), San Rafael (1), Napa (1), and Tahoe/Truckee (1). We choose school sites that are conveniently located in the neighborhoods we serve. Most students can walk or ride public transportation to Aim High. In some communities, we provide a bus.
Demand for our program is very high. We target and recruit students who would benefit the most from our program—students who live in underserved neighborhoods, come from low-income households, and/or have limited or no access to educational opportunities during the summer. We also work closely with our school and district partners to identify students who will most benefit from Aim High. Students who are admitted to the program are expected to attend Aim High for the program’s full five weeks, and for up to four summers throughout their middle school years. Students must apply to be eligible to attend.
You can apply online or mail a paper application to: Aim High PO Box 410715 San Francisco, CA 94141
Interested teachers can get information on applying on our Teach at Aim High page. Applications must be submitted online, and are accepted on a rolling basis.
Our teachers are central to what makes Aim High so special. We pair experienced Lead Teachers with Assistant Teachers and Interns. We’re committed to hiring educators who serve as positive role models for our students, and strive to recruit and retain teachers that reflect the diversity of our students. 70% of our teachers are people of color, 60% are multilingual, and 30% are graduates of Aim High.
Aim High is offered at no cost to students and their families. We raise funds from individuals, private foundations, corporate giving programs, and government grants to support our program. We are highly cost-effective, with a per-student cost of only $2,000. Learn how to donate if you’re interested in providing students with a valuable summer experience.
Our summer program operates for five weeks, Monday through Friday, from 8am to 3pm. Students receive 150 hours of instruction each summer. In the mornings, students attend classes for Math and Science, Humanities, and Issues & Choices, our unique youth development class. Students also participate in fun and engaging elective activities in the afternoon. These include aikido, chess, photography, swimming, cooking, student newspaper, film and more. For more of a glimpse into what life at Aim High is like, check out our A Typical Day page.
Aim High is one of the few free summer learning and enrichment programs in the Bay Area that seeks to prevent summer learning loss and support the make-or-break middle school years. There are a number of excellent summer program providers in the Bay Area, but Aim High is unique: Our teaching staff reflects our students’ demographics and socioeconomics. Half of our teaching assistants are graduates of the program, and live in the same communities as our students. 70% of our teachers are people of color. Aim High doesn’t use grades or academic standing as an admissions criteria. Our students have a wider range of abilities, and greater needs. Our curriculum has a more defined scope and sequence. Our academic coursework is linked to state and national standards and is more project-based and interdisciplinary. We also have a strong adolescent development course that promotes social/emotional development and college/career awareness. Aim High’s campuses are deliberately located in the neighborhoods where students live. Other programs operate exclusively at independent schools or outside of high-need neighborhoods. Visit Our Impact page to read stories of how Aim High has made a difference for students and teachers.
Aim High is not just a school, and not just a summer camp. We combine rigorous academics with fun, enriching, community-building activities. Our curriculum reinforces what students learned in the previous school year and prepares them for the year ahead. Students study algebra and geometry, astronomy and physics, biology and ecology, civilizations and literature. Our pre- and post-tests in math demonstrate our students’ improvements over the summer. In 2015, three out of four students improved their math scores over the 5-week program. Learn more about the difference we’re making on Our Impact page. Have a question that we didn’t cover above? Contact Us and we’ll be sure to get your questions answered.