Educational Institutions

STEP - STUDENT EXPEDITION PROGRAM INC

  • Tucson, AZ
  • www.stepexpedition.org

Mission Statement

STEP equips motivated low-income students with the knowledge, confidence and leadership skills to obtain a college degree and break the chain of generational poverty.

Main Programs

  1. College Preparation & Leadership Program
Service Areas

Self-reported

Arizona

STEP engages in targeted outreach to predominantly large low-income high schools in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; STEP's application process is open to any sophomore in Maricopa County or Pima County, Arizona.

ruling year

2003

President & CEO

Self-reported

Dr. Tracy Baynes

Keywords

Self-reported

Education, College, Low-income, First Generation, Leadership, Graduation, Generational Poverty

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EIN

22-3879050

 Number

0292100229

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Single Organization Support (B11)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

During Fiscal Year 2015, STEP served 150 high school students through our college-prep and leadership program. STEP provided pre-college advising and guidance while also building essential skills such as persistence, self-advocacy, and leadership through both our college-prep program and 3-week wilderness leadership expedition. Thirty-one (31) students graduated from our program and from high school; 100% went directly to college. Collectively, the 31 students received over $1.2 million in first-year gift aid to attend pursue their four year degree.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

College Preparation & Leadership Program

1) 2-year focused College-Prep Program - Individualized college advising & mentoring beginning sophomore year and ending with high school graduation. Twenty-seven (27) workshops on topics including: College-level writing, Standardized test preparation, Financial aid/scholarships/FAFSA, College Terminology, “8 Steps to Success,” “7 Key Elements to Becoming a Competitive College Applicant,” “How to Set Yourself Up for Doing Well in School,” Professional & leadership development, Presentation skills, Putting together a college portfolio, Resume & interview skills, Money & time management, & more. Significant 1:1 interaction between staff / students.

2) 3-week Alaskan Leadership Expedition – Students learn the necessary skills to lead themselves and others. They return with increased self-confidence, enhanced ability to meet unfamiliar challenges, greater sense of personal responsibility, a larger view of the world, and the recognition that they can tackle any challenge ahead of them. Expedition Alum: “My whole life was changed because of my STEP Expedition. I was giving up on my hopes of becoming someone great in life...of pursuing my dreams of going to college. Now I feel the power and ability to change the world.” NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) provides matching funds for half of the expedition tuition cost.

Category

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

None

Budget

374000.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    OUR GOALS:

    Our ultimate goal is for 100% of our students to attend, succeed in, and graduate from 4-year post-secondary institutions. They will have zero (or minimal) loans to repay. They will continue to experience personal and professional success post-college, and will succeed in interrupting and ending the generational poverty that they have experienced.

  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    In order to accomplish our goals, we:
    • Guide students through the process of preparing for and applying to college.
    • Educate students on what they need to do NOW in high school to prepare for the academic rigors of college, and become the strongest possible college applicant.
    • Expose students/parents to top colleges/universities in state and around the nation and their educational, financial, and career benefits.
    • Encourage students to apply to local and national pre-college programs, campus visit programs, and scholarship programs.
    • Educate students and parents on the financial aid process.
    • Provide students with instruction in college-level writing and standardized test preparation.
    • Equip students with increased self-confidence, an enhanced ability to meet unfamiliar challenges, a greater sense of personal responsibility, a larger view of the world and their opportunities in it.
    • Assist students in recognizing that they can tackle any challenge ahead of them as long as they believe in themselves and they do the hard work required.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    When STEP began in 2004, the program consisted of a three week Alaska Expedition where students learned the skills necessary to lead themselves and others. Although STEP's focus has expanded, the Expedition remains a vital part of STEP's program. Through the Expedition experience, students gain increased self-confidence, enhanced ability to meet unfamiliar challenges, a greater sense of personal responsibility, and a recognition that they can tackle any challenge that confronts them as long as they believe in themselves and do the hard work. This experience prepares them to better tackle other new and unfamiliar challenges, such as leaving home to attend college.

    In 2011, STEP added a focused 1:1 college advising and mentoring component to the program. Beginning Sophomore year and continuing throughout high school, as part of this college advising component, STEP students also participate in 27 workshops which include the following topics:
    • Applying to Summer Pre-College Programs
    • Identifying Characteristics of Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities
    • Creating a Pre-College Portfolio
    • Navigating College Board Website
    • Preparing for the College Interview
    • Learning Standardized Test Taking Strategies
    • Writing College Application Essays
    • Completing FAFSA, and CSS Profile Forms

    The workshops, along with the 1:1 college advising, give students the tools to navigate the entire college admissions process, beginning with information about becoming a strong applicant all the way through evaluating financial aid offers from individual colleges and universities.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Nationally, just 11% of low-income students who are the first in their families to attend college will have a college degree within six years of enrolling in school [Riggs, L. (December 14, 2014). First-Generation College-Goers: Unprepared and Behind. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/12/the-added-pressure-faced-by-first-generation-students/384139/]. Currently, STEP's college completion rate is 81% (for both the college prep program started in 2011 and the leadership program started in 2004). Although we believe having a college completion rate of 81% to be a great success, we are always aiming higher. Each student who graduates from a four year college has a higher income earning potential and is more likely break the chain of generational poverty. Therefore, our ultimate goal is for 100% of our students to attend, succeed in, and graduate from four-year, post secondary institutions.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Since the inception of STEP, 195 students have graduated from the program. Since the start of the STEP college prep program in 2011:
    • 100% of our students have gone directly to college from high school
    • 98% are attending college
    • STEP's Class of 2015 (31 students) accepted over $1.25 million in FIRST YEAR gift-aid. The top third of the class received, on average, over $60,000/person in first-year aid.

    Our first class of STEP college prep scholars are scheduled to graduate college in the Spring of 2017. We seek to have 100% of our STEP college prep scholars, graduate college with a four year degree.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Arizona

STEP engages in targeted outreach to predominantly large low-income high schools in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; STEP's application process is open to any sophomore in Maricopa County or Pima County, Arizona.

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

STEP STUDENT EXPEDITION PROGRAM INC
Fiscal year: Sep 01-Aug 31

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

STEP - STUDENT EXPEDITION PROGRAM INC

Leadership

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  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Co-Chair
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President & CEO

Dr. Tracy Baynes

BIO

Tracy founded STEP in 2002 and is the President and CEO. She brings 25 years of experiential education and expedition leadership experience to the organization. Tracy obtained her doctorate in oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1993. Since then she has dedicated her career to teaching and leading expedition-based programs designed to increase students' self-confidence, enhance their ability to meet unfamiliar challenges, and widen their view of what's possible for the future. She has done so as a faculty member with a variety of institutions including Sea Education Association, Columbia University, Long Island University, and the University of Pittsburgh and now dedicates her full attention to STEP.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Joan Lowell

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?