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About Aspire

Developing Leadership Potential in Girls

Aspire seeks to support motivated middle school girls who are limited in opportunity because of low family income and lack of exposure to higher education. The program recruits fifth grade girls from public and charter schools in neighboring districts where students face challenges prevalent in many urban schools today: coursework that is insufficiently challenging, class sizes that are too large, lower academic achievement among peers, and insufficient college guidance.  Over the course of a three-year commitment in middle school, Aspire girls participate in a variety of leadership-building activities in academic classes and exploratory workshops.

During high school, Aspire alumnae are able to take part in programming designed to make college more accessible.  Beginning with our fourth-year summer session, the Ninth Grade Academy, graduates are offered opportunities to participate in workshops and support programming through the Aspire Alumnae Association to prepare them for rigorous high school coursework and equip them with the tools necessary to access, persist through, and graduate from college. 

Aspire increases a girl’s awareness and investment in her learning, leadership, and choices.  Through participation in Aspire, girls develop as learners, leaders, and decision makers. 

Creating Advocates for Education

Aspire also offers high school, college and graduate students an introduction to teaching and educational leadership in an innovative feedback-rich environment. Early career educators with zero to three years’ experience also have a chance to further hone their skills in a supportive environment where they receive mentorship from veteran educators.  By serving as mentors at Aspire, veteran teachers have the opportunity to practice their skills as teacher-leaders, mentors and school administrators.   This diverse group of teachers work together to implement creative, engaging classes for the students we serve.  

At Aspire, teachers develop an awareness of the components of high quality education, explore the many challenges facing the field of education, and engage in reflective teaching practice.  The time spent working at Aspire leads them to be effective advocates for education and to consider pursuing teaching as a career.  Teachers at Aspire are given opportunities to build their teaching skill by serving as the lead teacher in the classroom, developing their own curriculum and practicing important skills such as classroom management, differentiated instruction, culturally competent teaching, and student assessment.  Aspire teachers represent multiple levels of experience and are constantly given constructive criticism that enriches their craft as educators. 

History of Aspire


Hathaway Brown supports the program with a Catalyst Grant allowing Cammy Dubie and Koyen Parikh Shah (pictured left) to investigate the program's potential impact in Greater Cleveland.


Aspire is founded.


Aspire opens the first summer session with a cohort of 36 students and 13 teachers.


The first class graduates from the program.


The first cohort graduates high school.


Aspire celebrates the 10th anniversary of it's founding.


Aspire launches the first summer of the Ninth Grade Academy.


Aspire celebrates the 15th summer session.

Shaker Heights, Ohio Girls K-12 Coed Early Childhood

19600 North Park Boulevard Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122 P: 216.932.4214
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