In response to a group of ten families who needed an educational program for their gifted children, Kiyo A. Morse initiated and established Steppingstone in 1981 as an elementary day school in Plymouth, Michigan. This decision was made in the spring; in the ensuing four months, classrooms were rented from the education facilities of the Plymouth Church of the Nazarene, students were enrolled for the fall, and a parent support group was established.
Initially, two classrooms were opened, one for first through third grade curriculum and one for grades four through six. A year later, enrollment was expanded to 45 students and three classrooms were needed, each with a full-time teacher. The curriculum was also expanded to include specialized teachers for art, music, and computer programming. A winter instructional ice-skating program was initiated as part of the physical education curriculum; swimming replaced ice-skating when the school moved to Farmington Hills.
By 1993, development within the Board of Trustees was realized; administrative goals were met, reviewed and revised; , and a part-time, full-day kindergarten was established. Intensive preparations by Board and staff resulted in the establishment of after-school enrichment classes, a continuous 10-week summer day camp, and before and after school extended-day programs.
In the fall of 2002, a diversified foreign language program, a student library, a lending library for the gifted, and a computer lab were added. Steppingstone also expanded to include a broad array of after-school enrichment programs – Japanese, drama, multiple music choices, art, and science.
In 2005, Steppingstone celebrated its 25th Anniversary; the school grew to five classrooms, and expanded the enrollment and offerings in its special programs.
During the following two years, the Pre High School (grades six through eight) added fencing instruction to the physical education program and the SMART (Steppingstone MAgnetic Resonance Training) Center to the science curriculum. Training includes use of electron spin resonance technology and data collection and assessment software and is the only program of its kind in the world open to middle school students. It is partially supported by an NSF grant.
In addition, accreditation was obtained through ISACS (Independent Schools Association of the Central States).
In 2009, the Board determined to purchase a permanent new campus, and a former car dealership was acquired. Plans were developed for adaptive re-use incorporating “green” technology and a Capital Campaign was initiated.
Long-term goals are to establish an accompanying educational center for in-depth enrichment programs in the math-sciences, fine arts, recreational activities, and computers. Eventually Steppingstone plans to offer educationally associated services in counseling, testing, parenting, and other areas of child, parent, and teacher support. A second site in the Ann Arbor area is being planned to include kindergarten through eighth grade, a high school, and a foreign student component. Nearby is a site being planned for a Natural Science Center as well.