Students from eight northwest metro school districts participated in a new education initiative designed to reduce the achievement gap. Northwest Suburban Integration School District (NWSISD) presented the 2011 Step-Up Summit for males of color on June 20–24. All sessions were held at the University of St. Thomas downtown campus from 9 am–2 pm, except for the Thursday, June 23 session which was held at YMCA Camp Ihduhapi, located in Loretto, MN.
Drop-out rates for Black and Latino students begin to increase in comparison to their White peers in 9th grade. The 2011 Step-Up Summit brought together fifty 8th grade male students of color for a research-based experience that sought to prepare them for success in 9th grade and decrease the drop-out rate. Participating students are offered additional mentorship and support throughout the school year.