Jocelyn Moran is an Aim High graduate and current Issues and Choices lead teacher at Aim High’s Roosevelt campus in Redwood City. She is entering her third year at San Diego State University, where she studies journalism and Spanish. Over the next five weeks, she will be a guest blog writer in a series we are calling ‘Dispatch from the Peninsula,’ which will provide snapshots from our two Redwood City campuses.  


The Aim High magic unfolds in the first week of program

In just the first week of Aim High’s 32nd summer, students are starting to build communities, the staff is beginning to connect with students, and the Aim High magic is unfolding in every classroom.

Marcos Lopez, Co-Site Director of Aim High/Roosevelt, says he already sees students stepping out of their shells.

“They’re singing. They’re dancing,” Marcos says. “Things are starting to feel a lot better in terms of confidence and self-esteem.”

In the first week of classes, students focused on building trust and establishing classroom communities through subject-related activities. In math classes, for example, students participated in team-building exercises and constructed towers using cups, rubber bands, and strings—all without talking.

At both Redwood City campuses, students also had the chance to look toward their futures. In Issues and Choices, Aim High’s signature youth development course, students found potential careers that aligned with their interests.

Seventh grade student Sophia said her favorite part about Issues and Choices was the vision board she created out of magazines images because she was able to start planning out her future.

On Friday afternoon, the whole campus participated in Fun Friday and Field Day, which involved students competing against staff in volleyball.

“Fun Friday and Field Day gives students the opportunity to explore what Aim High is really about,” Rosa Ayala, Co-Site Director of Aim High/, said. “It’s not only about academics. It’s also about having the opportunity to also enjoy their summer while learning.”

Enjoying summer while learning is just one reason why students—and teachers—return year after year.

Eighth grade student Jesse says comes back to Aim High each summer because of how much fun he has during afternoon, and the amazing teachers.

“Aim High teachers care about you,” Suarez said. “They want to help you learn.”

Co-Site Director Rosa says she keeps coming back to Aim High because of the opportunity to work with a community.

“I just love the energy of the students and the enthusiasm of the families that are trying to help their students get better in school,” says. Rosa “I love hearing their stories about how their students don’t want to come to the program the first day, but then don’t miss any days because they just love coming to our program.”

“I keep coming back because of the impact it has on students in a short period of time,” Marcos adds. “It helps students academically, and it also helps them develop social skills.”

Aim High’s Peninsula programs are made possible with the generous support of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Oracle, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation

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