FOCUS Group Outreach Programs History

The first community-housed Outreach Programs at Case Western Reserve University began in 1988 with the creation of Project STEP-UP (Student Tutoring Effort to Promote Utilization of Potential) in partnership with Central and Harry E. Davis Schools under the leadership of Glenn Odenbrett.

Project STEP-UP was named a "Point of Light" by the George H.W. Bush administration in 1994. Founded as an effort to provide CWRU students with opportunities to support the academic achievement and personal development of middle school youth, STEP-UP now serves as the umbrella for initiatives serving youth in grades K-12. The umbrella includes:

  • Saturday Tutoring Program (1990)
  • AmericaReads*AmericaCounts (1996; Federal Work-Study)
  • The University Circle Literacy Corps which partners with all of the higher education institutions in The Circle (UCLC; 1999) 
  • Alternative Breaks (1999)
  • United Way Services Community Wrap-Around (2014-2020)
  • School Improvement Grant (2015-2020)
  • Education Enrichment Camp (2017)

Under the leadership of Professors Donald Freedheim, PhD and Sandra Russ, PhD, Project STEP-UP provided CWRU students enrolled in Practicum 338 Youth Development course with opportunities to serve directly with Cleveland children for more than a decade. Field placements were provided for students enrolled in the Teacher Licensure program in partnership with Dr. Phillip Stafford in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Partners providing continuous learning opportunities for CWRU students and Greater Cleveland youth during the academic year and into the summer are Cleveland Metropolitan School District, East Cleveland City Schools, Cleveland Public Library, East Cleveland Public Library, East Cleveland Neighborhood Center, Karamu House and Save Our Students (SOS) at Emmanuel Baptist Church. 

Sites Served by FOCUS Group Outreach Programs

School Sites (1988 to present)

List of sites served on multiple levels (in/after/summer/campus). Current partner schools are listed in bold text.

  • Central – Stokes Academy (1988 until closed)
  • Harry E. Davis School (1988 until closed) 
  • A.B. Hart School
  • John Hay Campus (all three academies)
  • Cleveland School of the Arts
  • Buhrer Dual Language School
  • Mary M. Bethune School
  • Joseph F. Landis School (until closed)
  • Marion-Sterling School
  • Dike School of the Arts
  • Daniel E. Morgan School
  • Wade Park School
  • Kentucky School
  • Glenville High School
  • Empire CompuTech (until closed)
  • Martin Luther King High School
  • MC2STEM High School
  • Lincoln West High School
  • Citizens Academy Elem & Middle School
  • (Frances Payne) Bolton School
  • George Washington Carver School
  • Anton Grdina School
  • Michael R. White STEM School
  • Kenneth Clement Boys’ Leadership
  • Mound STEM School
  • Adlai Stevenson School
  • Euclid Park School 

East Cleveland City Schools

  • Chambers School
  • Rozelle School
  • Kirk Middle School
  • Caledonia School
  • Superior School
  • Shaw High School

Cleveland Summer School Sites (1998 - 2006)

  • Alfred A. Benesch School
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt School
  • Harvey Rice School
  • Luis Munoz-Marin School
  • Mary B. Martin School
  • Miles Park School
  • Scranton School
  • Sunbeam School
  • Thomas Jefferson School
  • Tremont School
  • Walton School

Campus and Community Sites

  • Kathryn R. Tyler Neighborhood Center
  • Phillis Wheatley Association
  • Karamu House
  • Harbor Light Shelter
  • Project ACT (CMSD Action for Children in Transition)
  • East Cleveland Neighborhood Center
  • JUMP – WANDS (Women Athletes Nurturing Diverse Students) at Glenville Rec Center
  • YO! (Youth Opportunities) Center (Collinwood, East and Glenville HS students)
  • Rainey Institute
  • NYSP at CWRU
  • Lexington Village Learning Center
  • CLiPS Polymer Envoys at CWRU 
  • Governor’s Initiative for Closing The Achievement Gap (CTAG) at CWRU (Glenville and MLK HS)
  • El Sistema Arts & Literacy at University Circle UM Church
  • New Bridge Arts Academy
  • Strengthening Our Students (SOS) at Emmanuel Baptist Church
  • Education Enrichment Camp at CWRU
  • Arts-Inspired Learning

Faith-Based Sites

  • Windermere United Methodist Church – East Cleveland 
  • St. Malachi’s Catholic Center
  • Interchurch Council of Greater Cleveland
  • Calvary Presbyterian Church
  • Scanton Road Ministries
  • University Church of Christ
  • West Side Catholic Center