AIM Academy Families Featured in Philadelphia Inquirer Story on Literacy Instruction

The literacy learning journey of several AIM families were featured in a recent comprehensive article about reading instruction in Philadelphia-area classrooms in The Philadelphia Inquirer. The article, "A battle over how to teach kids to read is playing out in Philly-area classrooms. Parents are losing trust," was published online on February 21 and featured in the Sunday newspaper on February 25. The article focuses on the importance of structured literacy instruction to support readers, especially students with language-based learning differences like dyslexia and dysgraphia like those served at AIM Academy.

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Kate O'Brian showing a lower school student how to use Cubetto
AIM’s Makerspace, Art, & STEAM educator Kate O’Brian is passionate about what she does. She speaks with energy, excitement, thoughtfulness, and her knowledge of computer science (CS) education and dedication to her Lower and Middle School students shines through. Her classroom is a testament to the benefits of teaching computer science early: during her quarter-long Coding & Robotics unit, first and second graders coded Cubetto robots with colorful shapes on a programmable board, while third graders used tablets to program the playful Dash robots to solve mazes around the classroom. O’Brian’s ongoing Make It Matter series of articles celebrates unique learning experiences like these and their connection to ongoing academic research in the Learning Sciences. She’s written on the merits of CS Education—especially for young LD students—and most recently, on utilizing AI as a teacher. “It was the creative aspect of [CS] that made it appealing for me,” O’Brian says, “and now I try to use that same angle for our students, who need the creative, hands-on aspect in order to engage with [challenging] topics.” 
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Hour of Code for the Elementary Classroom: Why and How to Start CS Education Early

AIM's Lower School Makerspace teacher Kate O'Brian recently published an article providing teachers with ideas and resources for planning meaningful activities for students during Computer Science Education Week from December 4th-10th and the Hour of Code. The article explains the importance of making time for students to code. "Introducing coding and computational thinking early broadens their repertoire of different ways to see the world. As a bonus, most students also find that the tools and platforms I teach coding with are novel, attention-grabbing, and fun," O'Brian emphasizes. Coding also opens up more opportunities for students to be creative, and allows students the agency to enact positive change. 

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PAEA Recognition Logo Image

AIM Academy has been recognized as an "Outstanding Visual Arts Community" by The Pennsylvania Art Education Association (PAEA). This endorsement is awarded to schools with rigorous, inclusive, and accessible programs.

"Engagement in the arts at AIM Academy is a transformative experience,” said AIM Head of School Annette Fallon. “We are very proud of our faculty, staff, and students and honored to receive this award as we continue to support our future ready leaders."

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Association of LD Schools Logo Image

As the nation enters Dyslexia Awareness Month, AIM Academy is excited to share that it is a founding school of a new education organization focused on collaborating and advocating for students with language-based learning differences.

The Association of LD Schools (ALDS) is a new non-profit, private school organization including over 50 founding schools across the country that serve students with learning differences such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and executive dysfunction. The organization is an opportunity for LD schools nationwide to have a formal opportunity to partner together, share resources and support one another to make a positive impact for all students with learning differences. 

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MLK Service - AIM Academy 5th Graders Share Books with Ziegler Elementary Classes

AIM Academy 5th grade students traveled to Ziegler Elementary School in northeast Philadelphia on January 12th to read books to students in Kindergarten – 2nd grade and deliver "at home book packages" featuring favorite titles donated by AIM's 1st – 5th grade Lower School students. The book delivery and school visit were the culmination of the students' service project in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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Making Lights Shine a World Away

AIM Middle and Upper Schoolers experienced first-hand how they can be involved in a grass roots movement and bring light to the world today while building solar-powered lanterns with Liter of Light founder Illac Diaz. AIM is the only Philadelphia area stop on the non-profit's Journey of Light road trip across the United States seeking to show youth how they can contribute to sustainable enterprises and to promote UNESCO's upcoming International Day of Light on May 16, 2018.

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Learning to Bring Light to the World

On Friday, December 1, AIM Academy Upper School students will learn about sustainable development and the simple ways they can provide marginalized communities worldwide with a brighter future as they build solar lights with the founder of the international non-profit organization Liter of Light. The visit to AIM is the only Philadelphia-area stop for Liter of Light members who are on a month-long road trip across the United States.

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AIM Launches Competitive Mountain Biking Team

AIM's Mountain Bike Team has started its inaugural season off with a packed schedule of practices and meets as part of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic High School League bike racing season. At the season opener in Elkton, Maryland on September 10th, 10 of the nearly 400 student-athlete riders lining up at the start were Upper Schoolers.

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AIM Alums Inspire 4th Graders

Two AIM alumni have already inspired AIM 4th graders to make their learning difference a competitive advantage. When the 4th graders watched short TEDx talks featuring students of different ages whose ideas had made the world, or their community a better place. they were amazed to see AIM classrooms in the final video. The TEDx Solebury School video, Difficulty to Success, features Sophia Gross '16 and Andrew Rosenstein '17 sharing the story of their business Opportunity Rise which raises money and awareness for children with learning differences and their experience in Start-Up Corps, AIM's entrepreneurship class.

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Mosquito Traps and Fever 1793

This week, in preparation for the first novel study of the school year, AIM seventh graders developed background knowledge related to Fever 1793 by Lisa Halse Anderson. Students worked together to construct mosquito traps that they placed on window sills and near plants outside on the AIM patio. In the days leading up to the "reveal", students have made predictions about the contents of their traps and plausibility of methods such as these for preventing exposure to yellow fever (the epidemic featured in this book based in Philadelphia in 1793). The traps project is one of the many alternative questioning method Language Arts teachers are using to guide students toward answering questions related to the novel such as: "Was the yellow fever epidemic of 1793 avoidable?" and "What methods of prevention were available to the citizens of 1793 Philadelphia?"

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AIM Academy Mourns Brian Zwaan, Board Member

It is with incredibly heavy hearts that we share the sad news that our beloved board member, Brian Zwaan, passed away suddenly on July 31. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loving family. Brian loved his family deeply including his wife, Diane, his children and his many siblings. Family was everything to Brian and we know that they will seek comfort from each other during this very difficult time.

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