Non-Traditional High School Aim High Sets Students Up for Success

Non-traditional students learn to thrive in the right setting. The head of Aim High School tells us why.

If you’re the parent of a child who has struggled in a traditional high school setting, you know the impact that this experience has had on your student. Your child may suffer from extreme school anxiety or resist going to school at all. 

For families in the Detroit Metro area, Aim High School may be the answer. Michael Earls, head of school, says that the environment at Aim High encourages kids to thrive.

“At Aim High, every kid in our building is a success story,” says Earls. “Many of our students are on the autism spectrum and many were bullied at their previous schools. Aim High is a place where they get support across the board for a successful high school experience.”

Overcoming challenges through personalized support

Aim High’s model is based on understanding and addressing the individual challenges of each student.

John Mularoni Student at Aim High School
John Mularoni. Photo Credit: Aim High School

Aim High alum John Mularoni’s story is a prime example of the school’s transformative power. Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), John found himself unable to succeed in a conventional school setting, where he felt overlooked and unable to connect. 

“John needed fewer distractions and closer relationships with his teachers,” Earls explains. At Aim High, he found just that. The focused support and personalized attention made all the difference.

AIM High School saved my life,” says Mularoni. “I am currently a network engineer at Comerica Bank and a manager of programming at Living and Learning Enrichment Center. Plus, I am currently creating a startup with two former students.”

From students to role models

The full-circle success of Aim High is evident in the story of Noah Wolf. This former student now teaches at the school that once offered him a lifeline. Struggling socially and academically in middle school, Noah found a new beginning at Aim High.

Wolf Noah at Aim High School
Noah Wolf. Photo Credit: Aim High School

“I knew from my first summer semester at Aim, this place was different in the best way,” says Wolf. “I grew so much as a person, especially in self-acceptance. The teachers were all so amazing that they really encouraged my desire to teach.”

Wolf says that he became confident enough to attend an out-of-state college for a teaching degree after being offered several scholarships.

“Now, I am back at Aim as a teacher and I love being able to do for other students what they did for me,” he says.

A culture of understanding and growth

Aim High stands out not only for its academic approach but also for its emphasis on emotional and social development. 

“Our kids often come to us with a history of anxiety, attention deficits or dyslexia,” Earls says. Aim High School’s small size and flexible scheduling allow for a tailored educational experience, where students are not just another face in the crowd.

The school’s philosophy is built on the foundation of close-knit relationships between students and teachers, says Earls. 

Noah Wolf with Mr Earls at Aim High School
Noah Wolf and Mr. Earls. Photo Credit: Aim High School

“Our teachers, many of whom have been here for over a decade, run clubs, eat lunch with the kids and are deeply involved in their lives. Our students feel seen and heard.” This approach has fostered a supportive community of acceptance, a stark contrast to many students’ previous experiences.

“We don’t just teach academics here; we teach life skills,” says Earls. “We nurture the emotional well-being of our students. For us, education is not just about grades, but about growing as individuals and making positive contributions to the world.”

To learn more about Aim High School, visit aimhighschool.com.

Jenny Kales
Jenny Kales
Content editor Jenny Kales has been in the business of writing for more than 20 years. A natural storyteller, she loves helping Metro Parent clients tell their stories in a way that resonates with their audiences.

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