The historic and systemic racial and economic barriers that exist and the conditions these create – deep poverty, lack of health care, food insecurity, homelessness – must be addressed head-on while also creating real pathways to college and workforce now. Steppingstone has multiple programs under Pathways, which provide on-site academic, co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities that simply aren’t available to thousands of students across our city.

Dual Enrollment

A long-standing obstacle for low-income students is that college courses are rarely introduced to them while still in high school. We believe addressing this inequity through Dual Enrollment which will create a critical Pathway and increase the likelihood of college degree attainment.

The 5 objectives of Steppingstone’s Dual Enrollment

  1. Shorten time to a college degree
  2. Reduce the costs of completing a college degree
  3. Improve academic readiness for college
  4. Lessen the “mystery” of how to access college
  5. Provide colleges and universities with a new source of students
Dual Enrollment

Middle Grades Academy

By embedding our programming inside K-8 schools, Steppingstone helps impact and support student academic performance, school climate, and school staff professional development while also helping Scholars and their families navigate high school placement and selection. The Middle Grades Academy is currently offered at the following School District of Philadelphia schools:


Upward Bound

In partnership with Temple University, Upward Bound delivers high-quality academic, college, and career readiness programming for 9th – 12th grade students. Operating after school, on weekends and during a 5-week summer session, Steppingstone aims to meet the needs of potential first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds in North Philadelphia.

Access & Equity

Our College Access & Equity Coordinators are embedded in high schools to recruit students who would benefit from having college prep and work experiences integrated into their curriculum. The goal is to provide these students with direct access to internships and college access programming, bolstering the traditional classroom experience. Coordinators are currently embedded at the following School District of Philadelphia schools:

Simir Hampton

Simir Hampton, Steppingstone Scholar

Carver High School ’22

“Putting underrepresented students in the spotlight is the only way to learn about their experiences, and ultimately, to see them represented.”

Creating the Pathway

As Steppingstone celebrated our 20th anniversary, we wanted to share the impactful stories of Scholars who are all at different parts of their journey toward college and the workforce. Each of their pathways is unique and reflect the breadth and depth of the programs and support services Steppingstone offers to ensure that our Scholars find their way.

Strategic Partners in Creating Pathways

University of Pennsylvania
Temple University
Drexel University
The School District of Philadelphia