As AER accomplishes its mission of strengthening and raising the level of educational service provided to students in middle charter schools, AER will simultaneously identify students who have demonstrated exceptional high academic achievement in an effort to provide placement in one of the program's partner independent high schools. AER will partner with over 20 local private high schools to welcome these gifted students into their communities. These private schools are currently looking to increase their diversity numbers among students of color who have high test scores and can adapt to the rigorous academic curriculum. In addition, the Partner Schools have identified a "special" need for the male student of color which is almost nonexistent in the current communities.
The GEMs selection process for these students begins during the 7th grade with a 13 month qualification process, in order for the student to be placed in the fall of the 9th grade. While the private schools will be assisting with financial aid to these students, AER intends to provide additional funding of $1,000,000 each school year in scholarships to assist with tuition.
AER realizes that majority of the students selected for the GEMs program will not be accustomed to the new learning environment of private schools. For example, many of these students will require some time to adapt to new cultures and ethnic groups. Therefore, AER intends to provide monthly support and school visits to help students with their transition into these new communities. AER aims to ensure that each student is able to maintain high academic achievement and fine social skills over their four year high school experience. Upon completion of high school, AER also provides college preparation assistance, including teaching students "The A-Z on Navigating the College Process." The ultimate goal is to increase the number of students of color graduating from college.
By creating an initiative like GEMs, AER is establishing better educational opportunities for low-income, underserved students. Once accepted into GEMs, participants remain a GEM for life and are expected to give back to the community and support various events promoted by the initiative.