Steppingstone Scholars (Steppingstone) and Philadelphia Futures (Futures) today announced that their organizations have been awarded a shared $250,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation which will support joint efforts to increase the number of Philadelphia minority and low-income students who graduate from high school and enroll in college. By providing critical supports beginning in middle school, this two-year grant will allow Steppingstone and Futures to activate around three key interventions for Philadelphia students:
- Enhancing the capacity and quality of middle and high school counseling departments
- Steppingstone and Futures will provide training to middle and high school counselors to better connect students to college and career opportunities. Trainings will include Steppingstone’s Coursera course, “How to Apply to College,” Futures’ “Step Up to College Guide,” ESSA requirements, FAFSA completion, and other programming offered by both organizations.
- Improving the transition to high school
- A summer bridge program will be created for rising 9th graders, which will enhance their academic readiness and increase their ability to successfully navigate high school.
- Expanding enrollment in “dual enrollment” courses
- The organizations will offer college credit-bearing courses for high school students during summer break and the spring semester prior to fall college enrollment. Steppingstone and Futures will also advocate to the School District of Philadelphia (District) to increase the number of high schools that offer dual enrollment options to students.