The following is a press release from Boston nonprofit The Steppingstone Foundation:
The Steppingstone Foundation this fall launched the College Success Academy, a new program based in Boston Public Schools to increase the number of students earning college degrees.
The pilot group of 50 students comes from two Boston K-8 public schools – the Jackson/Mann in Allston and the Edison in Brighton.
The program began with a six-week summer session, hosted by Suffolk University, which is just the start of a long-term commitment Steppingstone makes to these young Scholars to help them on the path to college success.
The College Success Academy is modeled on the successful academic preparation and support services components of the Foundation’s 20-year-old program, The Steppingstone Academy.
The Steppingstone Academy is currently serving more than 1,000 Boston students in grades five through 12 but has to turn away hundreds of eager applicants each year due to program constraints.
The College Success Academy was created in response to this demand and offers middle-grade students the opportunity to prepare for college success through a rigorous after-school and summer academic program, which then supports them at their traditional district high schools and all the way through college graduation.
“We have always wanted to expand our reach to help more children get on the path to college success,” says Steppingstone Founder Michael Danziger. “With The Steppingstone Academy at full capacity, this innovative partnership opens the door to a much wider group of Boston students. We are thrilled to be joining forces with Superintendent Johnson and the Boston Public Schools.”
The College Success Academy admits hardworking fourth graders who attend partner Boston public K-8 schools. The first summer session begins the summer before fifth grade, and the academic program continues after-school and during the summer until ninth grade.
After-school classes during the academic year reinforce and build on the work they do in the classroom. This extended programming provides College Success Academy Scholars with the skills they need to enter high school ready to participate in a college-preparatory curriculum.
Additional academic programming will be offered during ninth grade to support students as they make the often-challenging transition to a traditional Boston public high school. Services in high school, including academic support and college guidance, ensure that Scholars have the skills and support they need to successfully navigate the college process.
The entire program is tuition-free; the only cost for participating families is a nominal fee applied towards the costs of t-shirts and school bus transportation.
Mary Driscoll, principal of the Edison School, is excited to partner with Steppingstone to enable more of her students to earn a four-year college diploma.
“The College Success Academy brings the high level of rigor and support that are Steppingstone hallmarks to families who want to take full advantage of the K-8 experience and be ready for success in a traditional Boston public high school and college,” she said.
For more information, visit www.tsf.org.