Step Up On Campus Highlights

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Step Up On Campus Highlights

Step Up launched our on-campus programming in 21 partner schools last month! Each school's nine-week Step Up program is led by a fellow, an on-campus faculty or staff member who is contracted and trained as a member of our Step Up team to lead programming at their school. Our fellows have been leading sessions with their cohorts of students around career exploration through a social-emotional lens. Meet the fellows from two of our pilot schools from this past spring!

Name: Cynthia Gonzalez 

Role at school: Art teacher 

Number of years at John F. Kennedy High School: 6 years 

Why did you decide to bring Step Up on Campus to Kennedy? 

I actually inherited Step Up from the amazing Joleen Kirchens, a former counselor at Kennedy. We were excited to have a program on campus that supports teen girls in their pursuit of success. 

Why did you decide to become a fellow? 

I really enjoy working with teens! In addition to teaching, I  work as a mentor in other areas of my school already. I was really drawn to Step Up and the belief that every teen has an individual vision of personal success. 

What do you enjoy most about being a fellow? 

I love working with students outside of my classroom and learning more about their careers and personal aspirations. 

How did you recruit students for the program? 

My student ambassadors and I promoted Step Up during lunch, we also promoted the club with flyers and morning announcements. 

What is one highlight from your sessions so far? 

Helping teens reflect on their skills and attributes has been very special. It is a unique opportunity that I don't get to experience as a classroom teacher. 

Anything else you want to share with our school partners around the country? 

Words fall short to express how incredible it feels to belong to something so special. I just want to send a huge shout out to all the partner schools in the country, you are amazing! 

Name: Katherine Trujillo 

Role at school: College Advisor 

Number of years at Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School: 1 year as a staff but graduated from Gertz in 2016 

Why did you decide to bring Step Up on Campus to Gertz-Ressler? 

As a first-generation Latina, it is important to feel inspired and united. Growing up, I learned that sometimes all you need is to be heard and inspired to achieve your goals and desires. 

Why did you decide to become a fellow? 

I decided to become a fellow because I love building a connection with the students. Working with all grade levels as a college advisor has helped me develop the skills to understand and hear how students feel and talk about their feelings. 

What do you enjoy most about being a fellow? 

I love building relationships with the girls. I love seeing them around school, talking to them about how they are doing, and seeing them grow little by little. 

How did you recruit students for the program? 

I recruited by emailing and sharing information about Step Up at Monday's Whole School Meeting. My lovely Ambassador Gaby Flores has done a fantastic job talking to girls from all grade levels and posting posters around the school. 

What is one highlight from your sessions so far? 

One of the many highlights I have had with our students has been our check-ins. 

We check-in before starting with the curriculum because it is essential for the girls to feel comfortable in their space. I also started to give the girls an opportunity to express themselves with music which has been amazing to see the different types of music they are interested in. 

Anything else you want to share with our school partners around the country? 

Being in Step Up has allowed me to be a part of a sisterhood with my students. 

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