Project STEPP at East Carolina University. Our Mission
Project STEPP’s mission is to provide students with learning disabilities who aspire to achieve a college education and demonstrate the potential for postsecondary success with access and comprehensive support throughout the university experience. By partnering with these students, their families, and a variety of educational communities, Project STEPP fosters a network of opportunities and resources to empower and support students from admission to graduation from East Carolina University.
Highlights from 2012-2013
We celebrated the graduation of 4 more students during 2012-2013.
These new Project STEPP alumni majored in Fashion Merchandising, Recreation & Leisure Studies, Communication, and Geography.
During the spring 2013 semester, Project STEPP has been taking steps toward an administrative move from the College of Education to a more central location in the Division of Academic Affairs, which will officially take effect in July. Although the program could not have asked for a better place than the College of Education to be born and nurtured through its first few years of growth, we are pleased at how this move represents the university’s recognition of the broader scope and mission of the program.
Project STEPP (Supporting Transition and Education through Planning and Partnerships) is a collaborative program that partners a variety of East Carolina University's colleges and campus resources with area high schools and community opportunities. The program offers comprehensive transition, academic, and life-skills support to a select number (10 new students each year) of students with identified Specific Learning Disabilities who have shown the potential to succeed in college.
International Exposure for Student Voices
Logan Jones, a fifth-year student majoring in Special Education, traveled to Geneva, Switzerland in April 2013 to co-present with a representative of the National Council on Learning Disabilities (NCLD) as part of a grant application they submitted to the Oak Foundation. By sharing her experiences and perspectives as a student with learning differences, she helped the NCLD demonstrate a true commitment to infusing student voices throughout their work.
Project STEPP’s Three-Tiered Model of Support
Tier 3 • Graduation Transition
Electronic Portfolio Development
Tier 2 • Ongoing Supports
Campus Resource Referral
• Parallel Curriculum of 5 Courses • • Structure & Accountability •• Mentoring by Graduate Students • • Subject-Specific Tutoring • • Supplemental Advising • Study Hall • • Assistive Technology Loans & Support •
College STAR Student Web Team
In association with College STAR, a team of students in Project STEPP began work on a blog designed to provide encouragement and advice to students planning to attend college. While still in its infancy, this represents an initial effort for current college students to reach out to and share their experiences and advice with prospective college students.
This year, the team posted eight biographies and sixteen blog entries sharing tips on how to succeed in college. Plans for next year include adding a Student-to-Student Q&A section and a feature listing analogies and images that can be used to describe learning disabilities to others. The team also hopes to expand the contributors to the site further next year to include students in other College STAR programs.
Check out the student-led blog at http://www.collegestar.org/blogs/student/
Tier 1 • Transition to ECU
Full Year of Transition Support
• Ongoing Consultation • Monthly Newsletters • • Assistive Technology Loans & Support • • “Boot Camp” Orientation •
“You all are really exposing her to so much more than she would have had the opportunity to experience on her own, or would have chosen to do on her own, even if she had the opportunity.
Yes, you all are giving her the support she needs academically, but you are also giving her so much more!”
Feedback from the parent of a student in the 2012 cohort
Student Profile: A snapshot of our currently-enrolled students as of May 2013
Demographics 50% Female 68% In-State 53% from Public Schools 50% Male 32% Out-of-State 47% from Private Schools
Majors Art Business Child Development/Family Relations Communications Construction Management Criminal Justice Education English Family & Community Services Geography Nursing Psychology Recreation/Parks Management Social Work Theatre Urban Planning
Academic Outcomes Overall Average Cumulative GPA: 2.76
59.5% of current students have a cumulative GPA at or above 2.5 39% of current students have a cumulative GPA at or above 3.0
13% of current students are on academic warning or probation
Overall Retention Rate 89.6% of all students admitted to the program have been retained from year one to year two
Mind the Gap
Led by a member of the 2012 cohort, a core team of students in Project STEPP formed a group named “Mind the Gap” during the spring of 2013. The group’s purpose is to raise awareness and open discussions about the experiences and needs of students with learning differences in the educational system.
During its pilot semester, Mind the Gap brought its presentation and panel discussion to four classes of senior-level teacher education majors. Each presentation involves the student panel describing their educational experiences as a student with LD and sharing examples of instructional choices their teachers made that they found to be particularly helpful, as well as some that created barriers to learning. The panel welcomes questions and discussion from the audience, with the ultimate goal of helping future educators to better understand and more effectively support all of their students.
Mind the Gap’s plans for the upcoming academic year include expanding their presentations to reach all senior-level students in teacher education programs at ECU.
First-year students logged over 4,358study hall hours in 2012-2013.
All that hard work paid off! This cohort’s average GPA was 3.05 this year.
Feedback from a “Mind the Gap” Presentation:
“It really helped…to hear what the journey of learning differently is like. Your students truly brought the text to life!”
Dr. Sarah Williams, Director
Ms. Emily Johnson, Associate Director/Transition Specialist
Ms. Morgan James, Instructional Specialist
Ms. Barbara Tritt, Coordinator
This year, we piloted a partnership with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Graduate students training to become Speech/Language Pathologists conducted assessments with students in the program who have reading challenges. Based on their assessment results, the CSDI students developed individualized recommendations to benefit our students in the university setting. The group’s enthusiasm about this collaborative opportunity was reflected in both their connections with the students and their adoption of the unofficial moniker “The STEPP Sisters.”
In addition to working with the “STEPP Sisters,” first-year students also made connections with campus resources such as the Center for Student Leadership and Engagement.
Morgan, Barbara, Sarah, Emily