Working with students starting in 4th grade and through college, STS seeks to break through the attitudes and substantive barriers — both personal and institutional — that often make it difficult for students from low-income families to succeed in school and pursue higher education.
According to the 2013 Brookline Community Foundation Report, “Understanding Brookline: Emerging Trends and Changing Needs” these are the issues facing our low-income families:
Since its creation in 1991 as the Brookline School-Community Partnership, Steps to Success has worked with thousands of students, most of whom live in public housing, to help facilitate their academic and professional success. Our mission has always been to dismantle the achievement gap for low-income students, and to work with community partners to address the issue of poverty in the town of Brookline.
Steps was officially launched in 2001 in partnership with the Public Schools of Brookline, Brookline Housing Authority, and the Brookline Community Foundation. With the aid of a six-year federal grant, the program began as a response to the alarming rate of low-income students in Brookline pursuing higher education, which at the time was between 30-50% in comparison to the town average of 90%.
By the fall of 2006, STS eliminated the college matriculation gap between low and high income Brookline students, with 90% of our students attending two or four-year institutions. In 2009 the College Success Initiative (CSI) program was established to supplement our High School program, and also ensure that our students complete their post-secondary education. Currently, 76% of our students are on track to graduate from college within 6 years, higher than the national average.
Between 2006 and 2011, Steps would expand its programming to include job training and summer internship programs, continuing education, and an ESOL program.
Since 2013, Steps has added two full time College Success Initiative advisors, expanding our impact on our college aged students. This advising has helped increase the amount of merit scholarships our students receive: from 150K in 2013 to over 700K in 2015. In the K-12 sphere, STS has implemented robust STEM programming including a partnership with MIT’s Zero Robotics. Our after-school and summer programming has also expanded greatly. STS continues to work alongside our long-standing partners year-round to cultivate strong programming for our growing community.