High Jump Graduation on Monday, May 16th, 2022. Photos by Jasmin Shah

Vision of the future of High Jump

For over 30 years, High Jump has changed the lives of more than 2,500 middle school students in Chicago. While our first cohort in 1989 had just 16 students enrolled, High Jump has grown over the years and now serves more than 285 new students each year through our programs. 

After three decades of honing the High Jump program to provide the best academic enrichment and social emotional learning for Chicago’s middle grade students, we have reached a point where we set our students up for success and we have the outcomes to prove it:

While 41% of all academically strong low-income students and 74% of all academically strong high-income students nationally complete their Bachelor’s degree, 87% of High Jump Alumni go on to graduate from college.

87% of High Jump Alumni go on to graduate from college compared to 41% of all academically strong low-income students nationally.

College completion is crucial because research shows that finishing college means a vastly greater chance of higher wages in the future.

These students will earn more. They will lead healthier and longer lives. They will participate in elections, volunteer in their communities, and pass along all they have learned and experienced to their children and grandchildren. High Jump can change the trajectory of a student’s entire life. 

But also in the present we see real, positive changes and growth in the lives of our students inside and outside of the classroom.

From a concrete improvement in an individual student’s performance in their home school and in their test scores to the less measurable growth of a young scholar with ambition and potential blossoming into a confident learner and leader, High Jump helps our students feel more confident and achieve more today, not just down the road.  And in an even bigger picture, High Jump is disrupting the education landscape in Chicago, creating a positive ripple effect that can continue to increase equity and access to opportunities in learning, in careers, and in life. 

If we know this works, then it is incumbent upon us to serve every interested and eligible student in the city of Chicago and help them on their path to high school, college, and beyond. 

Last summer, we launched a new program called Community Scholars which allows us to take our campus-based program and bring it to the community – removing access barriers and serving more students within more communities. If you were a student who couldn’t join High Jump because your schedule didn’t allow for Saturdays, or you didn’t trust an organization you had never heard of, or you couldn’t regularly commute to one of our campuses from your neighborhood, you can now do a program at your home school where you are known and where trust already exists.  Right now we are testing this program at three schools, but it has the potential to  increase the number of students we serve each year exponentially. 

We have served 2,500 students in the last 33 years, but our studies estimate that we can benefit over 600 eligible students in the city each year with these two programming models, reaching 2,400 students every four years.

We need your help to continue to grow our Scholars Program, and help us expand into more neighborhood schools with Community Scholars so we can serve every single student that is eligible. 

How many more neighborhoods and students could we reach with even more resources? With your support, we believe that we can continue growing sustainably, powerfully, and with a wide reaching impact that can Inspire What’s Possible not only for our students, but for Chicago’s educational system as a whole.



Inspire What’s Possible

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