Bill and I visited the Aim High summer program at the Urban Promise Academy this week. Aim High offers a summer learning program to low-income middle school students. Their aim is to intervene during middle school years in order to keep students engaged in their education by preventing summer learning loss. Students take part in this program for three to four consecutive summers. These programs take place at multiple sites throughout the Bay Area; PVF donors have funded the Redwood City and East Palo Alto sites in the past.
A typical day at Aim High starts and ends with a circle, in which students receive positive affirmations and get to engage as a community. Math, science, and humanities are the predominant subjects covered throughout the day. Students also engage in small-group sessions for emotional support and a youth development class to explore college and career opportunities, relationships, identity, and social justice. The days are peppered with enrichment activities like swimming, drumming, and video production, just to name a few. It’s not all in-class learning, however; Aim High student also have opportunities to venture out their communities through field trips to museums, colleges, and nature.
During our visit, we were able to sit in on a few classes, including Geography, Math, and Issues & Choices. We saw firsthand the when there is rapport between teachers and students, you can step back and watch the magic happen.