Since 1999, Steppingstone Scholars has been employing and supporting heroes in all forms, to serve students in underserved areas. In Philadelphia, 51% of public high school graduates go on to college the year after graduating high school and less than 10% of those students will complete college. This means that out of 15,000 students in 9th grade, less than 1,500 will finish college six years after graduation. The city's college pipeline is broken, leaving it with one of the lowest proportions of college graduates of big cities in the nation and, not surprisingly, 26% of residents live below the poverty line.
Low-income and minority students deserve academic and extracurricular rigor and quality—they should be provided opportunities to think critically, be intellectually curious, take on leadership roles, and have sustained high quality instruction that leads to college completion and successful career entry. We know from our analysis, however, that nationally and locally this is not a reality for educationally underserved populations, even at well- resourced schools.
Our programs, The Steppingstone Academy (TSA) and The Middle Grades Academy (MGA), support over 2000 students and their families, from 4th grade through college, providing academic and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) enrichment that includes afterschool, summer and weekend programs, internships, tutoring enrichment, as well as advising and support services. Steppingstone Scholars also hosts a citywide two-day college conference that impacts over 800 students, families and school counselors. Educating this population and inspiring them to learn is crucial to bettering their futures and the communities that we live in.