Steps’ Board of Directors and staff have developed a Theory of Change statement, which we invite you to view here. It provides a detailed rationale for our refined program model, serves as a framework for program-related goals and objectives in our strategic plan, and answers key questions, such as: What is the need we are trying to address and for whom? How are we proposing to address that need? Ultimately, what is our intended impact?

We are so pleased to report such positive statistics, because they not only speak to the life-changing impact Steps has on Brookline students, but also to how critical our family of supporters is to making it all possible.

Of the 307 students on the STS 2019-2020 roster, 40% are in elementary, 35% are in high school, and 25% are in college.  36% of our students identify as Black/African American (non-Latino), 7% are Asian, 36% are Hispanic/Latino, 9% are multi-racial, and 11% are White (non-Latino). 84% of our college students are first-generation college students.

Extended Learning Programs

With the overarching goal to mitigate barriers to learning for low-income students living in Brookline, STS has achieved the following outcomes in our Extended Learning Programs:

- 76% of eligible students are enrolled in either AHU or TA

- 96% attendance rate across all AHU and TA programs

- 100% of students met behavior and effort expectations

- 83% of students’ homework completion rates met their teachers’ expectations during the 2019-2020 school year

- 100% of AHU students have access to 3 different weekly enrichment classes each year

- 95% of students showed measurable growth in their enrichment subject matter, such as STEM topics

- 46% increase in engagement in learning, 46% increase in communication, and 45% increase in relationships with peers from the 2018-2019 school year to the 2019-2020 school year (key social-emotional learning metrics!)

Here is what one of our parents, Tanesha, had to say about the Extended Learning Program:

“With both my children, my experience has been far beyond my expectations, and STS has been instrumental in the growth and success of both children. I know that my life is much easier as a working parent, knowing that I have STS working with me and my children and providing them with resources we might not have had without them.”

Outdoor Explorations

For over 10 years, STS has served more than 200 students through outdoor education experiences such as hiking, camping, and skiing. These opportunities to explore, overcome challenges, and learn new skills and confidence are life-changing, as expressed by a 2018 STS high school graduate: "I didn't see myself as someone who hiked or climbed anything... On top of that mountain, I felt like I could do and be anything I wanted... I will forever be at the top of the mountain, no matter what I do, without settling for less."

During the last Outdoor Exploration in February 2019, STS saw a 30% increase in its participants’ Perseverance, a 14% increase in Communication Skills, and an 18% increase in improved relationships with peers.

In addition, STS sends nearly 60 students to summer camps across New England, including day and overnight camps.  We have strong relationships with 10 camps that generously provide free or significantly subsidized slots for our students.  Camp partners include Summer at Park, Beaver Country Day, Crossroads, and Brookline Recreation, to name a few. Camp experiences like these can be formative for our youth, and provide engaging and fun activities during the summer.

Career Connections

Through our Summer and Work Connections programs, we achieved the following objectives last year:

- 100% of students successfully completed their internship program

- 100% of students were exposed to different professions and settings

- 95% of students met or exceeded supervisor expectations from supervisor evaluations, including punctuality, professionalism, ability to work independently, and ability to take feedback

- 95% of students attended professional development classes

- 95% of students completed a post-secondary plan, including personality assessment, identification of strengths and weaknesses, post-secondary goals, and reflection on career options

- 100% of students completed at least one job interview

As the only workforce development program for low-income Brookline youth, we continue to provide career exploration opportunities for these students. We provide programs that are critical to closing the opportunity gap, including exposure to real work opportunities, professional development, and career exploration. One of our students, Caday, noted:

“I have learned so much. I am so grateful that I have such an incredible opportunity to acquire information on what it’s like to work in a professional environment, financial literacy and many other skills to help me become the best version of myself that I can be. I truly feel this program has prepared me for my future.”

College Success Initiative

The goal of the CSI program is to ensure college or other post-secondary school matriculation, persistence, and completion.  Short term success indicators for the CSI program that we track throughout the year are as follows:

- 97% of CSI students are on track to graduate college in 4-6 years - over eight times the national average for low-income, first-generation college students!

- 92% of students completed FAFSAs this fall

- 94% of BHS students completed matriculation checklist in June

- 82% of students met with CSI Advisor twice/semester this fall

- $351,840 in total grant and scholarship dollars obtained by STS college freshmen

- 100% of students report CSI has supported their college retention

Tyra, senior at UMass Boston, says it best:

“For me and some of my friends, Steps was there for them. It was their second family. It helped them get into college. Even some of us who didn’t want to go to college, or didn’t think about going, are now about to graduate and get a degree and get into the real world. It’s a great program. It’s life changing.”

Since 2008, the CSI program has helped 130 students graduate from two-year and four-year institutions of higher education!

Click here for a snapshot of what Steps is doing to level the playing field for Brookline students.