Step Up helps high school students make a smooth transition to and through their high school career. Every year, Step Up keeps 350+ amazing kids in school and thriving academically at three Portland Public high schools: Roosevelt, McDaniel, and Franklin.


Spencer Hill, Interim Program Director

5136 NE 42nd Ave
Portland, OR 97218
Staff Directory

Our students are personally supported by a Step Up Advocate all year through comprehensive tutoring, strength-based advocacy, emotional support, character building workshops, and family engagement activities. 

Program Components

Pre-Freshman year leadership camp

In a one-week summer leadership academy, Step Up Advocates challenge youth to identify their aspirations and commit to working together towards those goals. Leadership and team-building activities reinforce students’ understanding of their capacity to achieve their dreams through education and hard work, all with the support of an Advocate.

These self-defined goals form the basis for their participation in Step Up throughout the following year.  By the end of camp, students and their Advocates have formed close relationships based on mutual commitment to success in high school.

Extended academic day tutoring

Step Up Advocates partner with the school to offer after-school tutoring, continued leadership development, and close social/emotional support in small “Advocate groups” of 10-15 Step Up youth.

  • Daily individualized tutoring and homework assistance forms the core of after-school activities. A carefully designed system of information sharing and accountability enables Advocates to track student assignments and course performance.
  • Classroom teachers and Step Up Advocates become close allies in supporting student success.
  • Advocates lead youth in developing leadership and student success skills through group activities and individual counseling which focus on personal responsibility, conflict resolution, healthy relationships, organization, and study skills.
  • Advocates have significant phone and e-mail contact with their students outside of the after-school sessions, to provide emotional support for challenges that interfere with school success.

Parent involvement activities

Throughout all components of the program, Step Up Advocates engage closely with parents to share student successes, strategize around challenges, and provide assistance in supporting their child’s success in school.

Read some of our news to see how our model of advocacy, equity and rigorous academics works.