STRIDE & Next Steps
STRIDE is a scholarship concept conceived by Chloe Kaplan, a native New Yorker and media Producer. Fully aware of the disconnect between students in urban high schools and their understanding of the future awaiting them in college, Ms. Kaplan has developed a program that would not only support students’ efforts to successfully complete high school, but also assist them in being able to attain college degrees.
The STRIDE program model not only works to motivate students’ to achieve on-time graduation, it also supports scholastic and extra-curricular achievement and underscores the value of service and responsibility to one’s community. This is done by having students enter the STRIDE program in the 9th Grade; based on set criteria, students maintain their enrollment in STRIDE and are assured a college scholarship upon their graduation from High School 4 years later; during their tenure with STRIDE students are able to have paid summer internships to expose them to various careers and professional opportunities that will direct their choices for their further education as they come to better understand what it is they would want to do professionally.
This is all easily integrated into the Union Square Partnership Education Program’s Next Steps initiative, and would be supported by our staff and the grade specific curriculum already in place at WIHS. The following is an outline of the STRIDE program and demonstrated connections to Next Steps as appropriate. A partnership between these two initiatives would be logical and enhance not only each program, but the experience of participating students as well.
This first part of STRIDE is awareness. Freshmen are introduced to STRIDE throughout their first year of high school. This is easily achieved through the Next Steps 9th Grade program – Think College Now. In their classes, they are made to understand the requirements for acceptance into STRIDE – that they must maintain a certain GPA, have better than average attendance, and have made a strong enough impression on their teachers and other relevant adults in their lives to be recommended by them. The benefits they receive by participating – the paid summer internships and the scholarship to the college they plan to attend upon graduating – provide the motivation for students to work towards academic achievement and behavioral excellence. Students apply to be a part of STRIDE and are selected by the end of their freshman year.
On entering the 10th Grade, STRIDE students would develop a volunteer project of their own design, conduct the project throughout the school year, and then report on it in writing to the STRIDE leadership at the end of the year. This project could be continued each subsequent year, or the student could develop something new to do each school year until reaching the 12th grade. Regardless of what they choose to do and how they do it, students must participate in some kind of civic engagement during their 10th and 11th grade years in order to maintain STRIDE enrollment. As the Next Steps curriculum in the 10th grade revolves around community service and job shadowing, having students enrolled in Next Steps simultaneously working on their STRIDE requirements fits strongly. There is also a strong mentoring component that starts with 10th graders in the USP Education Program. STRIDE supporters could get more involved with students in this way if they wanted, and assist their protégées in maintaining the necessary grade and attendance requirements for program compliance. In the 11th and 12th grade, students in Next Steps are engaged in a structured curriculum that develops their college and career awareness and supports their efforts at developing an organized way of approaching both a job and college search and application. Again, this underscores the philosophy of STRIDE and supports student success in the program. There is also continued opportunity for outside participation/volunteering, so STRIDE supporters could maintain their involvement in a hands-on way should they have an interest in doing so.
During the summer months, starting in their transition from 10th to 11th grade, students would be able to apply for paid internships provided by STRIDE partners – the businesses contributing to the program. Students would be paid minimum wage and be able to work for the months of July and August. Participation in this part of the program would not be compulsory, should a student have alternative plans for the summer with family or other programming. It is also contingent on the state of STRIDE funding and internship availability.
On receiving acceptance to a certified 4 year college or university, a STRIDE student will be able to apply for the scholarship that has been their motivation and inspiration for their high school career. The amount awarded would be contingent upon STRIDE funding, on the total amount of funds needed by the student, and on each student’s success in navigating the program. The funds awarded would be given each of the 4 years that the student is matriculated at their chosen college or university. Should there be a need, STRIDE leadership would review specific cases where a student might transfer schools or need to attend part time.