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The Steppingstone Academy Prepares Boston Students for College Success

10/10/2012, 9:17 a.m.

It’s October, and students applying to Boston public exam schools or local independent schools for next year are busy studying for the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE), researching schools and completing applications.

For families and students applying for the first time, the process can sometimes be confusing. Questions may include: Would my child keep up with the demands of an exam school? How much financial aid is available? Will my child make friends?  How do I choose which school is the best fit for my child?

For families who may need extra support in applying to college prep schools, The Steppingstone Academy can help. For more than 20 years, Steppingstone has prepared more than 1,400 students for educational opportunities that lead to college success.

The Steppingstone Academy specifically prepares motivated students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn about, prepare for and succeed at Boston’s public exam schools and top independent schools.

Steppingstone supports students and their families every step of the way to ensure that Steppingstone Scholars ultimately graduate from high school, enroll in a four-year college and become college graduates.   

Each year, Steppingstone selects hardworking fourth- and fifth-grade students to enter its free 14-month academic program. Through two summers, Wednesday after-school and Saturday classes, Steppingstone Scholars advance their math, writing and reading skills.

They preview courses like Latin and algebra. They read Shakespeare. They make lifelong friends from across the city that share a passion for learning. 

Valentine Iwejuo, a Mattapan resident, senior at The Roxbury Latin School and a Fessenden School ’10 graduate, learned about The Steppingstone Academy through a family friend and began the summer before fifth grade.

“Steppingstone served as a bridge for me and helped me academically and socially,” he said.

In high school, Valentine has participated in many of Steppingstone’s support services offerings, including college workshops, college tours and Saturday Mentoring and Study Hall (SMASH) during the academic school year.

This past summer, Valentine served as a Teaching Assistant (TA) at The Steppingstone Academy, where he taught and mentored young Scholars. 

“Being a TA gave me a new perspective — it made me appreciate how hard teachers work and it was a great experience being a mentor for young kids,” he said. 

At Roxbury Latin, Valentine is a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and lacrosse), an active participant in community service and a member of the yearbook team.

Statistics support Steppingstone’s success.  Of the Scholars who complete the academic component, 99 percent graduate from high school and 91 percent enroll in a four-year college.

Steppingstone accepts applications from motivated Boston students in grades four and five.
The application deadline is Jan. 2, 2013. For more information, families may call 617-423-6300 or visit www.tsf.org.