STEP UP stands for Stepping Towards Educational Progress: Underachievement Perishes! Our goal is to encourage youth involvement in the community and to promote the importance of educational success. We want to challenge every student to reach their full potential. Our youth today are the leaders of tomorrow. Not only do we want to ensure the success of our students, but the success of our communities and our future.
Project Step Up is focused on current 8th grade students, next school years high school freshman from across Ionia County. The idea of our project is to motivate students to give their best effort when it comes to school. These youth are the working men and women of our future. We have the opportunity to help them prepare for the real world, and create a better life for themselves. Not only will the academic efforts of these students affect themselves, but it will also affect our entire community. Every individual is born with and unlimited amount of potential and opportunity. We are going to make sure that every student seizes the best of those opportunities and lives up to their full potential.
The short term goals of project Step Up include motivating students to give their best effort in the classroom, encourage students to give back to the community, and prevent high school freshman from falling into the ‘stereo-types’. When we talk about stereo-types we are referring to the actions that students feel they need to take in order to fit into a certain group. We want students to learn how to stay true to themselves, and to have confidence in saying no when it comes to peer pressure.
The long term goals of this project include increasing the graduation rate for each county high school, change the way students view school; show them the positive side to learning, and to create a ripple effect. The ripple effect is a reference we use when it comes to making a change. Change can start with one individual. This one individual can influence more individuals who can continue spreading the word. Just like a drop of water. All you need to do is let a single drop of water fall into a puddle and it will create ripple.
Community partners will play a vital role into helping us with our project. Our potential partners include community leaders (mayors, school board members, etc.), administrators from each of the county schools, parents, the Literacy Council, parks, Ionia County Economic Alliance, college access task forces, Ionia County Community Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and other students.
Our timeline for Step Up is shown below,
July/August: Continue planning, seek funding, develop partnerships, reflection.
September/October: Discovering the Achievement Gap with the YAC, schedule presentations, develop the website, gather a list of students, gather baseline data in order to prepare for kickoff.
November: Kick off event with the 50 selected 8th grade students.
December: Reflection, introduce service to 8th grade students, joint projects.
January: Check in meeting with 8th grade students, kick off for second half of year activities.
February/ March: YAC planning and assessment
April: Check in meeting with 8th grade students
May/ June: Culminating event, celebrate success of students, bring in students for upcoming year.