Changing the Future of Education in Cleveland’s Central Neighborhood
In April 2010, Rich Frank, Guidestone President and CEO, shared his vision of a Guidestone sponsored charter school while discussing the agency’s 2009-2012 Strategic Plan.
“Our agency works every day to treat the many behavioral health concerns facing our clients; however, without addressing the generational cycle of poverty and low academic achievement at the heart of the social problems we treat, it is difficult to make a lasting difference,” Frank said. “Creating a unique, no-excuses culture, integrated with our proven support services for the entire family, will give students the opportunity they need to thrive in today’s society.”
With this vision in mind, Guidestone is opening Stepstone Academy, a new charter school in the Cleveland Central Neighborhood, in August 2012.
After extensive research, Guidestone chose the Central Neighborhood of Cleveland as the site of the charter school not only because of our experience in this area, but also because Central is one of the most high-need communities in Northeast Ohio.
Many of the families living in Central are faced with several barriers to success, including high poverty rates and falling behind in their education, putting them at risk of never graduating high school. As a result, children growing up in the Central Neighborhood could benefit from multiple support services that would help overcome these challenges and give them a solid education.
Stepstone Academy, founded on the philosophy of “no-excuse”, will create access to high quality education that will provide all the educational and social supports necessary for children to change their odds and realize an academic future that can lead to a successful life.
What makes Stepstone Academy truly unique is its rigorous curriculum, its seamless integration of learning support services, and use of technology in the classroom to personalize education. These learning support services including behavioral health; parenting and family skill building; and workforce development, will be provided by Guidestone to remove any barriers facing the families being served. The use of computers for learning will allow the teachers to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of each student, so that all children can make important academic strides.
Stepstone Academy is initially starting with 125 kindergarten and first grade students and will add one grade each subsequent academic year. The school day will run from 8:00am to 3:50pm, 196 instructional hours above the state standard per school year. The school will also hold a six-week summer program, as well as after-school and Saturday academic programs, to give students additional instruction.
Stepstone Academy will be located at 3500 Carnegie Avenue, near the intersection of E. 32nd Street, right in the heart of Cleveland Central, as well as adjacent to our Cleveland Campus. This will enable us to effectively provide support services to the families enrolled in Stepstone Academy.
If you are interested in changing the odds for disadvantaged children through funding opportunities, please contact Paul Pawlaczyk, Vice President of Advancement, at paul.pawlaczyk@GuidestoneOhio.org or 440.260.8853. To learn more about Stepstone Academy, please contact Susan Hyland, Vice-President of Early Childhood and Family Support, at 440.260.8891 or susan.hyland@GuidestoneOhio.org
Susan Hyland is Project Manager, Stepstone Academy.