Press Release

Press Release - AIMS Name Change


Suzen Chu

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One of Oakland’s Oldest & Most Successful Charter Public 

Schools Announces Name Change:

AIMS K-12 College Prep

Award-winning institution also plans to combine elementary, middle, and high schools; launches We Are Oakland, Too! initiative; and makes new investments

Oakland, CA - September 20, 2019 - Founded in 1996, American Indian Model Schools recently announced plans to combine their award-winning elementary, middle, and high schools under a new name - AIMS K-12 College Prep Charter District - to better reflect their organization’s current focus and future work. Earlier this year, AIMS K-12 College Prep also launched We Are Oakland, Too!, an initiative to educate the community about their nearly 25-year history and bright future in Oakland. Accompanying the name change and community engagement initiative, AIMS K-12 College Prep has also made new investments in facilities, technology, and personnel to enhance quality public education for the community. 

AIMS K-12 College Prep is coming up on its 25th anniversary. Oakland’s second publicly-funded charter school, AIMS was initially conceived of as a place where Native American families could facilitate a cultural connection for their children and get a rigorous public education. In the years since it first opened, it expanded from just a middle school to a middle and high school and, by 2012, a complete K-12 school. Currently serving approximately 1,300 students, AIMS K-12 College Prep has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon school and by Innovate Public Schools for closing the achievement gap for low-income African American students. 

“We’re so excited about our new name! AIMS K-12 College Prep reflects what we offer to Oakland families - rigorous public education that is on par with elite private schools,” said Superintendent Maya Woods-Cadiz, a native of Oakland and former OUSD student and administrator. “We remain committed to Oakland, where we’ve been operating for nearly 25 years, and currently serve nearly 1,300 diverse students, over 75% of whom qualify as low-income.”

Earlier this year, in response to a multi-year anti-charter PR campaign that led to new legislation at the state level, AIMS launched We Are Oakland, Too! The goal of the campaign was to remind the community that AIMS is also a public school, tuition free and open to all, and serving a population very similar to its surrounding community and the broader public school system. 

In addition to a new name, AIMS’ 12th St. campus underwent a renovation and campus improvement over the summer, including new classrooms, a new computer lab, as well as a new cafeteria and bathrooms in the works. AIMS High school is located on Grand Ave, and campus updates will begin in the Winter. Students and teachers also received an infusion of educational resources, including Chromebooks, classroom supplies, and new classroom electronics. Moreover, the administration filled several critical positions beyond the superintendent, such as a new head of the division of academics for the elementary, middle, and high schools, and a new parent coordinator focused on family engagement.

These efforts are focused on creating an excellent, accessible learning environment for AIMS students, many of whom come from underserved communities and have sought out alternatives to their traditional neighborhood schools, which they often feel have failed them. 

“We’ve seen more and more political attacks on charter schools even though schools like AIMS K-12 College Prep are helping close the achievement gap for African American students like me when I was growing up here in Oakland,” said Maurice Williams, Head of Middle School. “No matter the intent or motivation, we do not want to create division – which would disrupt the learning environment for our children. Rather, we remain laser-focused on offering all families, especially traditionally underserved communities, a high quality public school of choice.”

AIMS K-12 College Prep cultivates a community of diverse learners who achieve academic excellence. Our commitment to high expectations, attendance, academic achievement, and character development results in our students being prepared for lifelong success. Learn more at