Steps to Success

  • The mission of Steps to Success is to promote equity for students from low-income families in Brookline by expanding their horizons, building upon their skills, and supporting their educational journey in order to maximize their life choices.

    Steps to Success was launched in 2001 as a partnership with the Brookline Community Foundation, the Public Schools of Brookline, and the Brookline Public Housing Authority. Initially, the key objectives of the program were to facilitate the academic and personal success of children from low-income families and to ensure educational equity. In 2004, Steps launched its extended learning programs (After Hours University and Teen Advantage). 2009 saw the establishment of our College Success Initiative program to ensure that our students complete their post-secondary education. Today, STS prepares low-income students from public housing to succeed in school and college.

    Together with our lead partners, the Public Schools of Brookline (PSB) and Brookline Housing Authority (BHA), STS tackles the seemingly intractable opportunity gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers. STS is the only Brookline program addressing the educational needs of children living in these households. We provide individualized academic support and comprehensive services to students living in public housing. Starting in grade 4, STS helps low-income students not only graduate but thrive academically in high school, matriculate into college, and obtain their college degree.

    To learn more about Steps to Success, please visit

Elementary/Middle School Program Overview

  • Advising

    An advisor located in each school builds relationships with STS students and their families to support them throughout their schooling. They place students in Extended Learning Programs and Summer Opportunities.
    Extended Learning Programs
    STS provides Extended Learning Programs in PSB designed to provide academic enrichment, community building, and college access programming. As a result of having a wider breadth of experience related to participating in enrichment activities; students will demonstrate increased engagement in learning, develop skill sets beyond those learned in the school day, develop better communication skills, and demonstrate better relations with peers.
    After Hours University (AHU)
    AHU is an after-school program for students in grades 4th, 5th, and 6th enrolled at Pierce, Lincoln, Lawrence, and Ruffin Ridley Schools. AHU offers various enrichment activities, and in collaboration with PSB, homework support through the schools' homework centers.
    Teen Advantage
    TA is an after-school program for students in grades 7th and 8th enrolled at Ruffin Ridley and Lincoln. TA offers various enrichment activities, and in collaboration with PSB, homework support through the schools' homework centers.
    Summer Opportunities
    Camp and Enrichment Programs
    Approximately 70 STS students in grades 4-7 attend summer camp programs within the region. STS staff in collaboration with PSB Advisors support families in finding camps, providing camp scholarships, and ensuring a safe and enjoyable camp experience for their children through regular site visits.
    Summer Connections
    Each summer, Summer Connections provides rising 8th and 9th grade STS students paid summer internships throughout the Town of Brookline. Work experience in the morning is paired with academic enrichment and life-skills courses in the afternoons to provide a meaningful and complete summer experience.

High School Program Overview

    High School Advising
    High School Advisors at BHS support STS students and their families through high school; preparing them for the next steps, through professional paid internships, college applications, and job readiness workshops.
    The Summer
    Work Connection for Youth
    Each summer, STS supports 60+ high school students to be placed in paid internships in the public and private sectors in the Greater Boston area. Every intern has a competency-based learning plan designed to help them identify and build transferable skills, explore careers, and make plans for post-high school.
    College Success Initiative (CSI)
    College Preparation
    Complementing the Brookline High School staff's college preparation support, STS' College Success Initiative team works closely with high school juniors and seniors to visit colleges, work on college applications, and provide guidance in the financial aid process for colleges and other post-secondary options.
    College Success Initiative
    The College Success Initiative (CSI) goes beyond the initial college admission process to ensure STS students receive the support they need to earn a degree and pursue successful careers. In addition to job-readiness and life-skills programming, the program offers one-on-one campus visits, as well as academic and financial advising sessions for freshmen through seniors. CSI also works to build community among Steps to Success alumni.

District Director

Sophya Williams-Louis

GRADES 4-8 PSB STS Program Advisors

GRADES 9-12 PSB STS Program Advisors