Step Up prepares eighth-grade boys for success in high school

Over 40 students participated in this year’s Step-Up Summit through Northwest Suburban Integration School District.

The second annual Northwest Suburban Integration School District (NWSISD) Step-Up Summit for eighth-grade boys was held June 18-22, 2012 at the University of St. Thomas downtown Minneapolis campus. Approximately 45 students from five NWSISD member districts attended the summit. The intensive educational experience helped prepare participants for high school by focusing on four key educational concepts: aspirations, expectations, opportunities and achievement.

Each day began with a keynote speaker that stressed the importance of education as a way of maintaining control over one’s future. Participants then spent the morning participating in classroom activities focused on introspection, learning how culture shapes expectations, setting goals for the upcoming school year, and creating plans that will assist them in accomplishing those goals.

Afternoons were spent engaging in physical activities that stressed the value of teamwork. Participants played basketball and soccer at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and took part in a scavenger hunt through downtown Minneapolis. Attendees of the summit also spent a full day at YMCA Camp Iduhapi, where they took part in low ropes courses and other challenging endeavors.

The Step-Up Summit is intended to prepare eighth-grade boys for the increased rigor they will encounter in ninth grade. Participants were identified by their school district as potentially benefiting from additional academic and social support and guidance.

Eighty percent of surveyed students that participated in the 2011 Step-Up Summit reported that their grades were better during the 2011-12 school year, while 90 percent of respondents believed that they are better students for having participated in the 2011 Step-Up Summit.

This year’s participants seem equally enthusiastic. “I can tell you honestly that this is one of my best life experiences,” said one 2012 participant.

Participating students receive additional guidance throughout their high school careers. Last year’s participants volunteered at Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit organization that provides meals for malnourished children, and spent a day at the Vertical Endeavors indoor rock-climbing facility.

The Step-Up Summit was developed through partnerships between Northwest Suburban Integration School District, its eight member districts, and University of St. Thomas College of Education, Leadership and Counseling. Students from the following schools attended the 2012 summit: Anoka Middle School, Coon Rapids Middle School, Jackson Middle School, Northdale Middle School, Oak View Middle School, Roosevelt Middle School (Anoka-Hennepin School District), Buffalo Middle School (Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District), Fridley Middle School (Fridley School District), Highview Middle School, Edgewood Middle School (Mounds View School District) and Rockford Middle School (Rockford School District).

NWSISD is a consortium of eight school districts: Anoka-Hennepin, Brooklyn Center, Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose, Elk River, Fridley, Mounds View, Osseo and Rockford. NWSISD works with its member districts to provide programs and services that promote integrated learning environments and enhance diversity and cultural awareness, as well as working on increasing academic achievement and closing achievement gaps.


This information was provided by Northwest Suburban Integration School District.