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AIM Institute for Learning & Research

The AIM Connection

When AIM founders Pat Roberts and Nancy Blair founded AIM with 24 families in 2006, they did not imagine the school would grow to more than 360 students in just 13 years, but they did envision a vibrant hub where educators, researchers, and families would learn together and make an impact on the field of education.

Today, AIM partners with top researchers and practitioners worldwide to develop educational solutions for children with language-based learning differences as well as struggling readers in other schools. This vision has resulted in AIM students outperforming expected growth in reading fluency norms compared to national norms across all children. We were honored to have Georgia State University researcher Dr. Lee Branum-Martin analyze our data for this report.

AIM's commitment to the research has led to a strategic partnership with the Haskins Global L2 (Language and Literacy) Innovation Hub as the first educational organization asked to join this initiative. In addition, the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) actively engages AIM faculty in research designed to develop curriculum and methodologies that will accelerate learning for our students. AIM's cutting-edge lab school provides a model for working with all struggling readers. And our AIM Leadership for the Future program attracts entrepreneurial educators and researchers interested in addressing the global crisis of literacy by collaborating to create unique solutions.

AIM is like a teaching hospital or, more appropriately, a "teaching school" where top AIM practitioners work side by side with experts and researchers to advance and accelerate the rate of growth of the students they serve. These practitioners become experts who train the next generation of practitioners. The impact of this reciprocal model for learning, and research is evident as AIM Academy and AIM Institute for Learning & Research faculty collaborate on initiatives designed to transform classroom practice for all AIM students.

Now imagine this same focus and dedication to the research can be brought to schools around the world through the power of technology where AIM faculty and staff can grow in their profession by training other teachers, conducting research studies, writing curriculum and presenting parent workshops. This is the power of AIM Pathways, an interactive teacher training digital platform, that will be released in 2019.  Aligned to the IDA Knowledge and Practice Standards, AIM Pathways will incorporate six courses as part of its initial series.

Read below for answers to many more FAQs Regarding AIM and the AIM Institute


How does the AIM Institute relate to AIM Academy?

How Does the AIM Institute Relate to AIM Academy?

The efforts of our lab school AIM Academy and the AIM Institute could not exist without the other. The vision from inception was that AIM would be informed by the research and in turn the research would be informed by what was occurring in our classrooms. The AIM Institute works to partner directly with researchers and to share our knowledge of best practices with other educators. This has ensured that AIM's original focus on research continues to be our goal 13 years later both with our teachers in the classroom and throughout the community.

What Training is available at AIM?

AIM has three full-time Wilson Trainers on staff, a fully-certified Orton Gillingham trainer as well as trainers and coaches who deliver the AIM Integrated Literacy Model to AIM faculty and our partner schools. In addition, AIM Pathways, a digital training platform, will incorporate AIM's evidence-based courses in a virtual model. It will launch in May 2019. 

Where is the AIM Institute?

Although AIM Institute’s staff members, including trainers and directors of outreach and partnerships, are located on the 4th floor of the main AIM building, the AIM faculty who train and coach AIM teachers are found throughout our entire 95,000 square foot facility. We are able to continue to support the top educators from local universities with our Teacher Scholar Program,  a graduate level Teacher Residency program at AIM. Since moving to our 1200 River Road Campus, hundreds of people have attended Institute trainings (including our AIM Faculty) in the Training Rooms on the second floor, and each March 300 people attend the Research to Practice Symposium in the ACC while another 400 national and international professionals participate in the streamed event online.

What are the initiatives of the AIM Institute?

The AIM Institute hosts our Community Speaker Series with free events for parents and the community, provides professional training for new AIM teachers, offers  opportunities for AIM faculty to participate in research, and partners with nationally and internationally recognized experts in the field of language and literacy including: Nancy Hennessy, Dr. Louisa Moats, Dr. Kate Cain, Dr. Hollis Scarborough, Dr. Jan Hasbrouck, Dr. Ken Pugh and Dr. Fumiko Hoeft. The work of these researchers informs our work and inspires us to aim for the highest potential not only for our AIM students but for those beyond our classrooms as well.

What is AIM Pathways and how is it used at AIM?

AIM Pathways is set for release in May 2019 and AIM Curriculum and Instructional Leaders will have immediate access to work on this highly interactive platform with AIM teachers using the first of six core courses, AIM Pathways to Proficient Reading. This digital training course was developed directly from AIM’s Integrated Literacy Model curriculum and is a cutting-edge presentation of the science of reading knowledge accompanied by practice activities and sample student profiles so teachers can better understand what approaches work best for which students. There are online resources that AIM teachers can use for immediate reference. The goal is to also make this platform available to teachers in local, national, and international schools.

How does AIM know its methodology is working?

AIM has long been known as the leader in research and best practices in the field of literacy and learning. Independent studies by Georgia State University confirmed what AIM parents have always known, that AIM students make growth in literacy scores above what is expected by all students, with or without learning differences. Read more about that research here.

What is AIM's relationship with Yale University and the University of Connecticut

Researchers at Haskins Laboratories, which has formal affiliations with Yale University and the University of Connecticut, have partnered with AIM to take on the challenge of accelerating learning for all children. AIM is the first educational partner with Haskins Global L2 (Language and Literacy) Innovation Hub. AIM will began inaugural research through our new IGNITE Center in partnership with Haskins researchers in late 2018 and concluding in 2020. The IGNITE Center name stands for Implementing Global Neuroscience Initiatives in Training and Education (IGNITE). The first study, titled Predicting Literacy Outcomes in Schools, will include AIM students working with Haskins faculty on the research.

Which researchers are working with the IGNITE Center and Haskins Partnership?

  • Ken Pugh, Ph.D., President and Director of Research, Haskins Laboratories, Professor of Psychology, University of Connecticut Associate Professor of Linguistics, Yale University.
  • Fumiko Hoeft M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychological Sciences and Director of Brain Imaging Research Center at UConn; Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, Weill Institute for Neurosciences and Dyslexia Center at UCSF, Senior Scientist of Haskins Labs; Co-Director of Haskins Global L2 Innovation Hub
  • Nicole Landi, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Psychological Sciences & CT Institute for Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Connecticut, Director of EEG Research, Haskins Laboratories, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology, Yale Child Study Center

Who wants to learn more about AIM?

Educators, practitioners and researchers worldwide visit AIM each year to better understand the “secret” to AIM’s success. Visitors recognize that AIM and its talented faculty have an unwavering commitment to following the research and a drive to train all teachers to fully understand, practice and apply this research to best serve the unique needs of each child.

How can I support these incredible efforts at AIM?

AIM is one non-profit organization (officially called Academy in Manayunk, dba AIM Academy) which is comprised of both AIM Academy lab school and the AIM Institute for Learning & Research. Donations to AIM support the critical work of continuing to bring the best practices and research to maintain AIM Academy as the gold standard in the education of children with learning differences. In addition to supporting school activities and AIM’s greatest need, gifts to AIM support the continuing commitment to research, training, online resources and curriculum development for AIM faculty as well as educators in our partner schools. Funds donated to AIM are tax-deductible.