July 14 is officially Summer Learning Day in St. Louis City.
St. Louis is one of fifty cities participating in National Summer Learning Day. Aim
High was thrilled to receive approval officially recognizing this special day from
Mayor Slay’s Office.
Research has shown that summers without quality learning opportunities put our
youth at risk for falling behind in core subjects like math and reading. The math and
reading skills under-resourced students lose each summer are cumulative and
contribute significantly to the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income
kids. Aim High is a four year, tuition-free program for 400 sixth through ninth grade
students who have demonstrated potential, the majority of whom come from
challenging economic and social circumstances. The foundation of the program is an
intensive five-week academic and cultural enrichment summer session, supported
with monthly meetings on Saturdays during the academic year.
In addition to a lack of academic opportunities, there are other gaps low-income
youth face during the summer months. Six out of every seven students who receive
free- and reduced-price lunches lose access to them when school lets out. Aim High
helps to address this problem by providing all Achievers with a healthy morning
breakfast and a full nutritious lunch. Aim High also addresses the need for
meaningful mentors, boasting a 4:1 student to teacher/teaching assistant ratio with
a third of teaching assistants alumni of the program.
“Aim High is about creating an experience,” says Julie Angelica, Executive Director of
Aim High, “It’s about guiding our students to see themselves as learners and to
foster a love of learning.”
Summer Learning’s impact reaches beyond the summer months. Over 90% of Aim
High participants go on to graduate from high school, compared with 72-75% of
their local counterparts. More than 85% of these high school graduates are enrolled
in colleges or continuing education programs.