Summer Step Up

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) has tapped United Way to manage and administer Summer Step Up – an innovative, statewide effort to provide extra support to young learners entering school in the fall. The Baker-Polito Administration announced that more than $7 million in Summer Step Up funding is being distributed across 30 school districts and 84 non-profit organizations in the Commonwealth.

Summer Step Up is a new program launched by EEC and designed to accelerate learning during critical summer months for young children who have had limited access to in-school experiences due to COVID-19. More than 2,000 young children entering pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade are benefiting from these expanded summer learning opportunities across the state. Summer Step Up programs engage young learners and smooth the transition to in-person learning to give young children a strong foundation in the early grades.

Program Goals:

  • Create, extend, or enhance in-person summer experiences for young children who have had limited access to in-school experiences due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Support school districts to provide evidence-based summer learning services/supports in collaboration with community partners that prepare young learners for school entry in the fall.
  • Partner with local and national experts to provide tailored materials that support high-quality in-person learning experiences that are aligned to school district goals and provide resources to community partners to support school entry goals.
  • Identify, outreach, and engage Massachusetts families with young children in the early grades that were eligible to enroll in Massachusetts public schools in the 2020-2021 school year but either opted out of school district services, withdrew throughout the year, or had limited engagement with remote offerings provided by the public schools.
  • Prepare young learners transitioning into early childhood special education, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade, targeting outreach for enrollment to those that did not participate in instruction offered by Massachusetts public schools.
  • Invest in infrastructure that can support building innovative community collaborations begun during COVID and improve coordination across support services for young children and families as communities recover.


The Summer Step Up Program has also partnered with seven educational and technical assistance organizations to provide unique content, curriculum, materials and practices to ensure high quality summer learning experiences for young learners. This is assisting pre-k-2nd grade educators and community partners in their ability to support children during the summer and into the new school year, while meeting the goals of the Summer Step Up Program. These partners include the Boston Children’s Museum, Erikson Institute, JASON Learning, Museum of Science, Project Adventure, Education Development Center, and Collaborative for Educational Services.


  • Attleboro
  • Boston
  • Chelsea
  • Everett
  • Fitchburg
  • Framingham
  • Haverhill
  • Holyoke
  • Hoosac Valley Regional
  • Lawrence
  • Lowell
  • Lynn
  • Marshfield
  • North Adams
  • Northampton
  • North Berkshire School Union
  • Peabody
  • Randolph
  • Revere
  • Salem
  • Somerville
  • Southbridge
  • Southern Berkshire Regional
  • Springfield
  • Stoneham
  • Taunton
  • Waltham
  • Winchendon
  • Winthrop
  • Worcester


Aspire Developmental Services | Attleboro YMCA | Beautiful Stuff | Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem | Boys and Girls Club of Leominster and Fitchburg | Boys and Girls Club of Lynn | Boys and Girls Club of Marshfield | Boys and Girls Club of Worcester | Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester | Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro South | Camp Fire North Shore (Lynn) | Campfire North Shore (Salem) | Child Care of the Berkshires | Clark Memorial YMCA | Creative Hub Worcester | CTI | Elizabeth Peabody House | Ellis | Fitchburg Art Museum | FKO Chelsea | FKO Everett | FKO Peabody | FKO Revere | FKO Winthrop | Flying Cloud Institute | Framingham Boys and Girls Club | Framingham Public Schools, Department of Community Resource Development | Girls Inc. of Taunton | Girls Inc. of Lynn | Girls Inc. of Worcester | GLCAC | Gregg Neighborhood House | Grove Hall Child Development Center | Guild of St. Agnes | Haverhill YMCA | Holyoke Public Schools | Hoops & Homework | Horizons for Homeless Children | Little Folks | Merrimack Valley YMCA | Metro North YMCA | MetroWest YMCA | Mission Grammar | Montessori School of Northampton | Mystic Learning Center | North Berkshire School Union Summer Program 2021 | Northampton Parks and Rec | Old Colony YMCA | People’s Institute – Northampton | Randolph Public Schools | Randolph Recreation and Community Programs | Revere Parks and Recreation Department | Salem YMCA | Shaloh House | SMOC | Somerville Community Schools | Somerville YMCA | South Boston Neighborhood House | South Shore Stars | Springfield Boys and Girls Club | Square One | Stoneham Boys and Girls Club | The Community Group | Valley Opportunity Council | Village Preschool | Waltham Boys and Girls Club | Worcester Jewish Community Center | YMCA of Central MA | Youth Center Inc. | YWCA of Central MA | YWCA of Northeastern MA

United Way’s Role:

United Way is providing on-the-ground technical assistance and project management across communities. United Way staff is working closely with community leaders to convene partners, design the program, and provide facilitation, coaching, and technical assistance based on the specific needs of the proposed program. United Way is contracting with the community partners to provide funding to support the efforts of the Summer Step Up Program.

For more information, please contact Sarah Link, Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of Massachusetts Bay, at or 617-624-8155.