The STAIRS Program is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that expands the educational opportunities available to disadvantaged youth. The STAIRS Program provides exceptional educational benefits with no financial cost to its participants. We currently target gifted and talented sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students from three middle schools in south Dallas: St. Anthony, St. Augustine, and St. Mary of Carmel. The STAIRS program helps bridge academic and social gaps through tutoring, mentoring, and community involvement in order to develop STAIRS students’ cognitive and social development. Our instructors work with students a total of 15 sessions held on either Saturday or Sunday throughout the school year to advance student’s English, math, and study skills.
Thirty-three students completed the 2011-2012 school year in grades six through eight and a total of 104 students have graduated from the STAIRS Program to date. Our students attend the St. Anthony and St. Augustine Catholic schools, and St. Mary of Carmel.
STAIRS sessions consist of two sections:
- The academic section
- The activity section, Stepping Out After STAIRS
Each session is three hours long and includes an academic lesson, ice-breaker activity, and interaction time between the high school mentors and students. Saturday sessions are followed by Stepping Out, either a bonding activity or a community service opportunity for the students, while Sundays are reserved solely for academic sessions in the form of English, Math, and Study Skills lessons.
Each session takes place at one of the participating high schools: Episcopal School of Dallas, Greenhill, Hockaday, Jesuit, Ursuline, and Bishop Lynch. By holding our sessions at these schools, students are introduced to the campuses of the participating high schools where they may potentially become students in the future. These high schools also provide our wonderful high school “mentors” who serve as guides and positive role models for the students.