Forging new connections among educators to support first generation and lower-income students
The Pivotal Network represents a novel approach to the problem of undermatching by supporting the work of high school teachers and building partnerships between these teachers and colleges and universities.
Students from demographics that are traditionally underrepresented in higher education continue to face numerous barriers in the college access pipeline. The relatively circumscribed college aspirations of these students imposed by these barriers is termed ‘undermatching’.
For the students who do find their way forward to higher education, we know that their high school teachers have played a pivotal role in their success. Hence the term “Pivotal Educators” for the teachers who make the greatest difference in classrooms across the country. Surprisingly, most initiatives that seek to address the challenge of undermatching overlook these teachers.
Yet in higher education we recognize the important role that high school teachers play in the lives of the students who join our communities. The Pivotal Network will elevate and bolster the work of these Pivotal Educators by connecting them to one another and to professors and staff at colleges and universities. By supporting teachers who each reach hundreds of high school students each year, we seek to have impact at scale in the educational futures of students.
…play one of the most influential roles in helping students reach and ultimately succeed in college, and they do so in numerous ways beyond academic preparation alone. We celebrate those above-and-beyond teachers by connecting them with peer educators at both the high school and college level, informing their practices, and supporting their current efforts.
…are at the core of our work, both those in high school and undergraduates. The Pivotal Network will benefit students as they learn in high school and then apply, matriculate, and graduate college by supporting the educators who support them along the way.
…who teach first-year courses are uniquely positioned to have a pivotal impact on how students acclimate to their new environment. Connecting them with other first-year college professors builds communities of practice that foster efforts focused on inclusive models of pedagogical excellence, and how high school teachers can prepare students for the rigor ahead.
…benefit from joining this initiative even though The Pivotal Network is not intended as a direct pipeline program. Colleges & universities serve as gatekeepers to social mobility, and with The Pivotal Network, institutions of higher education can find new ways to reach a full breadth of the academically talented youth.
For the 2019-2020 academic year, we are collaborating with high school teachers, college professors, and students to fully develop the network’s structure and support system. By working with an initial cohort of Pivotal Educators, Georgetown faculty and students who will serve as a small co-working group, we will be able to design, test, and launch the network with the needs of its core constituencies in mind.
To learn more about our plan and timeline for the 2019-2020 school year, visit our About Us page
If you are, we are looking to hear from you! The Pivotal Network places the teacher experience first as we work as a team to better serve all students. And we need YOU, our nation’s most pivotal educators, to help us get there! Help inform our practices by taking our ~15 minute survey and telling us more about your experience as a Pivotal Educator.
Share with us your experiences as a Pivotal Educator