PROGRAM OVERVIEW AND HISTORY
The mission of Steps to Success is to promote equity for students from low-income families in Brookline by expanding their horizons, building upon their skills, and supporting their educational journey in order to maximize their life choices.
Steps to Success (STS) was launched in 2001, with the aid of a six-year federal grant, as a partnership among individual community members in Brookline, Massachusetts, the Brookline Community Foundation, the Public Schools of Brookline, and the Brookline Public Housing Authority. Initially, the key objectives of the program were to facilitate the academic and personal success of children from low-income families and to ensure educational equity. Home visits and support for parent participation in the Steps to Success mission were early components of the program.
Steps launched its extended learning programs (After Hours University and Teen Advantage) in 2004. As the students in the STS program reached their high school years, it became evident that the majority would be pursuing post-secondary education. In response, in 2009, STS established the College Success Initiative Program, to ensure that our students complete their post-secondary education.
Today, STS prepares low-income students from public housing to succeed in school and college. Together with our lead partners, the Public Schools of Brookline (PSB) and Brookline Housing Authority (BHA), STS tackles the seemingly intractable opportunity gap between low-income students and their higher income peers.
STS is the only Brookline program addressing the educational needs of children living in these households. We provide individualized academic support and comprehensive services to students living in public housing units. Starting in grade 4, STS helps low-income students not only graduate but thrive academically in high school, matriculate into college, and obtain their college degree. We have a proven track record of narrowing the opportunity gap between low-income students and their higher-income counterparts in Brookline, with 89% of our students graduating from college in 4-6 years compared to 11% of low-income students nationwide.
In 2016, Steps to Success became its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and realized the need for a strategic plan to map its growth and vision for the near future. After securing funding, Steps to Success embarked upon a strategic planning process that incorporated feedback from donors, board members, students, parents, staff and its primary partners, the Public Schools of Brookline and Brookline Housing Authority. After a very deliberate and collaborative process, STS has clarified its vision, theory of change, and mission in serving youth from low-income families in Brookline. We encourage you to read our strategic plan, outlining our goals for the next three years.
Steps to Success’ Core Values:
Create a community based on a culture of trust and engagement
Set a standard of high expectations for all
Acknowledge and embody the power of diversity to combat systemic inequality
Everything we do is student-centered