Our Program

Aiming Higher’s literacy component is designed with best practices related to “deep learning” that foster the reading to learn skills needed in fourth grade and beyond. The program is built to develop the whole child by balancing the academics with highly enjoyable and engaging physical fitness sessions and healthy living activities four additional days per week. We concentrate on the whole child engaging at-risk youth in three multi-faceted components working together to elevate literacy, personal development, and health & fitness as the platform upon which intellectual vigor can flourish.

Aiming Higher is currently in operation in multiple Cleveland Metro schools with plans to expand into more CMSD schools in the near future. Each program location works with 24 students in the 3rd grade.
Third grade is a milestone year when third graders take the Ohio Achievement Test to be assessed for fourth grade readiness. The children transition from “learning to read to reading to learn” when textbook learning is introduced. Our Aiming Higher Literacy Tutoring Program helps at risk students develop academically in the areas of reading, writing, and oral communication.
Aiming Higher helps sharpen cognitive skills and prepare students for fourth grade academic achievement through:

  • Aloud, independent, and textbook reading
  • Writing and articulating in response to reading
  • Critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration
  • Personalized assistance and guidance : Our Literacy programming offers 72 additional hours of reading time per semester; it occurs 24 weeks/year, twice/week for 120 minutes
  • Exposure to great literature: We include over 175 classic books ranging from a 1st grade to 4th grade reading ability that align with and enhance the school curriculum
  • Journaling and discussion
  • Communications
Physical Fitness and well-being are directly related to scholastic achievement. We help active youth redirect their energy into participating as a part of a team, playing collaboratively, and building social capital.
Children learn a lot about life while playing team sports. Our Health & Fitness component:

  • Reinforces and active lifestyle
  • Teaches the benefits, values and ethics of competition
  • Models the social skills necessary to adapt to a team environment
  • Demonstrates that winning and losing are a healthy part of life
  • Provides personal growth opportunities by showing how it feels to be valued
Through our experiential and hands-on programs, personal development can help students connect learning with their realities and opportunities. Our personal development opportunities promote health, vitality, and socialization as the platform upon which intellectual vigor can flourish by:

  • Connecting youth with successful community role models to help them create a new identity
  • Igniting the desire to connect with a high-achieving group
  • Offering exposure to community resources designed for their benefit
  • Countering and redirecting inadequate socialization and coping skills

Aiming Higher is promoting economic recovery in Cleveland by facilitating the education and training of our young people. 

3-6 PM


23% of Ohio children are unsupervised after school for an average of 7.43 hours per week*. Participating in the Aiming Higher program reduces the likelihood that children will engage in risky or dangerous behavior, especially during unsupervised hours after school. 

*Source: America After 3PM, 2014

85%

of 4th graders living in poverty lack the reading skills necessary for academic success.

What are Greater Cleveland children facing?

Nationally, children are struggling to reach adulthood prepared for higher education, employment, and stable family life. The young people of Greater Cleveland not only face the same challenges as other children and adolescents, but also face the difficulties of extreme poverty that affect every member of their families.

According to the State of Ohio Report Card, there is a 66% graduation rate for our largest school system in Cuyahoga County, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. 

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