STEP-UP History

girl with cupcake

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 students, STEP-UP is engaged in the following initiatives for students in grades K-12:

  • 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 the 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 and Greater Cleveland students 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 Strengthening Our Students (SOS) at Emmanuel Baptist Church. 

Sites Served

School Sites (1988 to present)

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

Cleveland Metropolitan School District

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

East Cleveland City Schools

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

Cleveland Summer School Sites (1998 - 2006)

  • Alfred A. Benesch School
  • (Frances Payne) Bolton School
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt School
  • Harvey Rice School
  • Luis Munoz-Marin School
  • Mary B. Martin School
  • Michael R. White STEM School
  • Miles Park School
  • Scranton School
  • Sunbeam School
  • Thomas Jefferson School
  • Tremont School
  • Walton School

Campus and Community Sites

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

Faith-Based Sites

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