Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Summer is Here! As we conclude the school year, I want to share with you some changes we are planning for 2016-2017.  We spent the second part of this school term looking at ways that we can strengthen our alternative program.  In February and April we held gatherings with our teachers and yourselves  to get feedback on what was working, what you’d like to see improved, and what the ideal learning environment is like for your child.  These discussions were taking place simultaneously as the school district is rethinking its Vision, Mission, and Core Values.  Your comments from those discussions are on the document that follows this one. 

Our changes in AIM Academy for the 2016-2017 school year are below:

  1. We are moving our start time up to 7:30 am.This will allow us to maximize learning time, and align schedules for students who take mainstream classes.
  2. We will have a rotating schedule for the first four periods each day. This will also be the case in the mainstream high school; it will allow for more mainstreamingopportunities for our students,and reduce the chances that students fail courses strictly because of attendance.
  3. We will offer AIM Electives, credit recovery, and literacy support during the last period of the day.This will allow for more choice, and provide students opportunities to get reading & writing support and recover credits during the school day.
  4. We will pilot computer based learning as part of our instructional day.Using platforms like Googledocs and Discovery Ed will allow for more individualized learning for our students.
  5. Save The Date: Monday, August 29, 2016. 4-7pm: AIM Academy Back-to-School BBQ

Come eat, share and socialize with our students, families and staff, and learn more about the changes in AIM Academy.

We are excited about these changes, and are looking forward to the next steps in this educational journey.   At the beginning of this school year, I stated my goal was to learn about you, your children and the strengths and challenges of AIM Academy.  You have taught me a great deal about your children, their needs, and your desires for their academic and social success.  I  hope these changes reflect your hopes and dreams for your children in this upcoming school year.  Thank you for being true partners in this endeavor; I strongly believe that the path to excellence in education begins with our students’ first teachers, their parents and caregivers.  I look forward to seeing you at our August Back to School BBQ.

Have a great summer,

Jamel Adkins-Sharif

Aim Dir

At AIM Academy we are engaged in a visioning dialogue among  staff, students and families.  We have given ourselves permission to consider the question: If we could create the ideal alternative school, what would it be like?  Our staff began this conversation at an early release professional development day in February.  We visited several alternative schools in the region and shared impressions of their structure and programming.  We  have requested and collected ideas from students in small classroom conversations and community meetings throughout the course of the school year;  sometimes these conversations arose from expressed dissatisfaction with the current options within AIM program.  We broadened the discussion by inviting families, district administrators, school committee and community members to a dinner and discussion on April 29th, where we posted the questions below. 

What’s working well for you at AIM?

  • Relationships with students
  • Staff to student ratio/small classes**
  • Small groups
  • Staff cohesions
  • Counselor Ms. Vlieger
  • Ability to pivot on short notice
  • Teachers Ms. Harrington & Ms. Laudano

**There were two responses citing small classes.

What would you like to see improved or changed in AIM?

  • Social justice & character development supported by families
  • More opportunities for students to get individual academic help
  • Job associated life skills classes
  • Respect
  • Home visits
  • Student buy-in
  • Schedule

What kind of learning environment worked best for you as a child?

  • Active/interactive; allowed to talk
  • A safe one
  • When its quiet
  • Kind teachers
  • High expectations
  • Teachers who showed where to look not what to see
  • Teachers who were creative and patient
  • Socratic seminar where students prepared questions for the lesson
  • Our school had an after school camp or program
  • Good relationships with educators
  • Rigorous curriculum
  • Culturally relevant teaching

If you could create a different kind of school for your kids (or your students) what would it be like?

  • No grades; portfolio panels
  • Work study/job program
  • Community mentors to teach classes
  • Modified schedule
  • Study sessions for all kids who want to pass and we would put fun programs together on certain days to keep kids out of the street and out of trouble
  • Part time work/school option
  • Online class options
  • More hands-on learning and designing projects