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Aim High: Closing the Achievement and Opportunity Gaps Through Summer Learning

John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities
Publication Date: 
May, 2016

Aim High is a summer learning program designed to prevent summer academic slide by providing middle school students from low-income families a summer program that blends academics and enriching activities such as sports, art, and drama. A second goal of Aim High is to build a pipeline for young people of color to enter the field of education. In 2014, Aim High engaged the Gardner Center to conduct a study to examine students’ and teachers’ experiences with the program and to identify key program elements and implementation conditions that bring about desired program outcomes. Findings include: 1) Aim High’s organizational design reflects educational and youth development philosophy that supports fostering relationships and providing ample time for learning to occur; 2) Aim High’s culture promotes a network of youth who participate as students and return as alumni staff and teachers; 3) Aim High’s curriculum and pedagogy builds the skills of students and improves their academics with habits of mind that bolster performance throughout the school year; 4)  Aim High provides teachers with opportunities for formal and informal training, for developing strong relationships with students, and for innovation in the classroom. 

Suggested citation: 

John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities (2016). An Implementation Study of the Aim High Experience. Stanford, CA


Bay Area
Policy area: 
Out-of-School Time