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

Funding Awarded: $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


 In FY22, Starr Hill Pathways (SHP) has grown from a one-off summer enrichment program to a year-round, community-engaged initiative within the Equity Center at the University of Virginia. We have secured over $1M in private donations, hired three full-time staff, secured office and meeting space, and are poised to launch a 3-week summer camp experience on UVA grounds for 85 rising 7th and 8th graders. This will be the inaugural cohort of students who can participate in year-round college and career enrichment activities until they graduate high school.

The Equity Center piloted SHP’s model of community/university/K12 school partnership with the “Equity Center Summer Program” – three weeks of supplemental enrichment activities provided to 65 summer school middle schoolers at Burley Middle School in July 2021. Students took part in social emotional enrichment and career exploration activities and field trips to UVA, PVCC, and other local sites. Equity Center leadership functioned in a “knitting” role, tying together programmatic offerings from partner organizations to ensure all children received a well-rounded experience.

The success of 2021’s community-based summer enrichment program led directly to the university and community support needed to make SHP a generational commitment to Charlottesville and Albemarle County public school children. Using SIF funds, we were able to hire a Program Director and Project Manager to drive the programmatic tasks and a Faculty Director and Educational Equity Data Scientist to track results and fulfill our commitment to research-backed interventions. This team has been planning for the first cohort of students to participate in the inaugural Summer Program on UVA Grounds. Further, we were able to hire summer counselors, the majority who are UVA undergraduate students, and temporary staff to make the summer kickoff a success.

This July, 85 rising 7th and 8th graders from Charlottesville City and Albemarle County Public Schools will be inducted into SHP and take part in 9 college and career exploration pathways, with programmatic offerings led by teams of community-based and university-affiliated organizations. SHP students will also get behind-the-scenes experiences with UVA athletics, UVA Health System, and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences labs. After this summer, these SHP students will receive year-round support and access to enrichment activities, then will join the Equity Center in welcoming a new cohort in 2023’s Starr Hill Pathways Summer Program.