STEPS Mentoring Program at Hillside High School | Students Taking Educational Progress Seriously

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About STEPS         

Welcome to the S.T.E.P.S. website!  We greatly appreciate your interest and encourage you to participate in this exciting opportunity to support the Durham community. 

S.T.E.P.S. is a mentoring program aimed at assisting motivated but underserved high school students set and achieve their goals for postsecondary education.  The program has the generous support of Hillside High School staff and faculty.

We urge you to please read and consider the following information regarding this wonderful program.  If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please mail or email a completed application form.  If you have any questions, donít hesitate to contact us.  Thank you for your time, and we look forward to working with you!


Jessica Foschi (Duke Law)

Aaron Augustino (Duke MPP)

2006-07 Program Directors




S.T.E.P.S., or Students Taking Educational Progress Seriously, is a mentoring program to empower high school students to make informed decisions about their futures.  Duke mentors will work with students to provide motivation, guidance, information and instruction on how to navigate the college application and financial aid process.  Effective mentors will help students cultivate their strengths and empower them to transform their lives.




S.T.E.P.S. is looking for mentors for the 2005-06 school year.  Mentors will work with Hillside High School students, grades 9 through 12, who participate in AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a highly successful program that places academically average students in advanced classes and prepares them for college eligibility and success.  For information on AVID, please visit



S.T.E.P.S. will commence at the beginning of the Fall 2005 semester.  Mentors will visit students at Hillside twice per month during the academic calendar.




Hillside is one of six high schools in the Durham Public Schools System located in Durham, NC.  The school serves approximately 1,600 students in grades nine through twelve.




A 1996 study shows that low-income students who consistently consult with a high school counselor regarding postsecondary plans are more likely to plan on attending college than those who do not.  Unfortunately, Hillside High School has only one counselor for every 225 students.  As a result, only 10%-15% of Hillside graduates attend a four year college or university.




Each S.T.E.P.S. mentor will be matched with a Hillside AVID student.  Mentors will be given training and a curriculum to follow during school visits.  The curriculum will implement a strategy of short- and long-term goals (e.g. educational goals, identifying test preparation resources, assisting in college searches, helping with college applications, preparing for interviews, editing college essays and assistance in filling out financial aid forms).