Starr Hill Pathways Program

Starr Hill Pathways Program

SIF177 Starr Hill Pathways Program

Project Manager: Ben Allen

Approved: Spring 2021

This program will provide the social, technical, and research infrastructure to redress educational inequities that persist in the Charlottesville-Albemarle region.

Project Dates: 7/01//2021 – 6/30/2031

Total Funding: $6,000,000

Executive Summary:

The Starr Hill Pathways Program (SHP) is a program that will provide the social, technical, and research infrastructure to redress educational inequities that persist in the Charlottesville-Albemarle region. Modeled after the Wolverine Pathways program at the University of Michigan, “a free, year-round college readiness program for 7th through 12th-grade students,” SHP will start with students in 7th grade to create a system of support for local youth from historically marginalized communities, while building a pathway for admission to the University of Virginia or the college that best meets their needs. This partnership between UVA, Albemarle County and Charlottesville City public schools, and numerous community-based organizations will improve student outcomes and mitigate opportunity gaps ensuring that local youth are academically prepared for post-secondary education, are thriving socially and emotionally, and have access to a wide variety of enrichment opportunities and support networks. SHP will refine a model for university-community collaborations that benefit students nationwide.


Current Status: Active


The Equity Center is proud to announce that Starr Hill Pathways (SHP) officially launched in FY23. This ambitious and groundbreaking college and career readiness program celebrated its inaugural cohort of pathways scholars in July 2022, 95 rising 7th and 8th graders, began their journey with the SHP Summer Camp. Students self-selected into different career-focused pathways with daily hands-on activities lead by community-based organizations and UVA and PVCC units to explore potential career pathways, while finding their place of belonging on UVA grounds. Throughout their three weeks on UVA grounds, students were observed and interviewed by a UVA research team that is leading a longitudinal study on the SHP effectiveness in measures of college-going self-efficacy. Our Summer Program Evaluation found that students were highly engaged throughout the program, evidenced through interviews, observations, and excitement for future programming.

Students continued to be supported throughout the school year through our Academic Year Programming, described in our Academic Year Summary. New students were recruited through family networks and recommendations from school officials bringing the total SHP students up to 110. Academic Year support included enrichment days during school closures, periodic check-ins, and free tutoring. Our office hosted six one-off career exploration days during city and county teacher workdays, consisting of hands-on learning activities in Environmental Sciences, Astronomy, Kinesiology, Music Video Production, Nursing, Anesthesiology, Manufacturing, Cybersecurity, and Video Game Design. Between these supplemental experience days, SHP staff would meet with SHP scholars for check-ins before breaks. We were also able to fully roll-out our tutoring offering – all SHP scholars are eligible for free tutoring if requested by the family and tutoring is require if the student maintains below a C-average in their core classes. Tutors were recruited through UVA student council and paid for their time. In total, 53 SHP students were tutored by 58 UVA undergraduates for 371 total sessions of tutoring.

Operationally, our staff has grown to meet the demands of this rapidly expanding program. In FY23, we hired three Program Managers and two Family and Community Navigators. We’ve expanded and formalized our partnerships with Charlottesville City and Albemarle County Public Schools with grant-funded research-practice partnerships in both institutions. In partnership with ACPS, were awarded the prestigious Institutional Challenge award from the WT Grant, Bezos Family, Spencer, and Doris Duke Foundations Albemarle County Public Schools to study the impacts of SHP interventions and expand access to successful interventions to all students in the county.