Understanding the Impact of Community Educators on Students’ Social Networks

Mapping Our Networks

One aim of Throughline Learning’s liberatory approach to data is to expand the set of metrics we use to define and measure success in education. Through our community educator work, we’re beginning to map student and adult networks to understand and grow their social capital. By better understanding the relationships between our community educators and students, we can learn how existing systems can best support our students in their academic journeys and potential career paths while also developing connections to future mentoring program sites.

During the 2022-2023 school year in the learning pod initiative in Central Falls, our Impact Office has launched a social network analysis of our pod mentees’ networks. Students are reflecting on and documenting key connections in their support networks — at home, at school, and in their communities.

What's in a Network?

The network mapping centers on multiple support domains: academic; career and life goals; and trust and belonging. Through this exercise, we’ve discovered that pod leaders demonstrate particularly high scores on trust and belonging, a domain linked with the most level of influence in spreading information, empowering others, and developing strong relationships across the community.

The ultimate goals of this social network analysis are to understand the network we currently have, determine areas we can further grow and develop, and leverage key influencers to strengthen the network. We’re asking: Who has the most power? Who needs more resources? and What skills and gap areas can we enhance as a collective? We are monitoring progress as these networks grow for both students and community educators over the course of their learning pod experiences. Stay tuned for more updates!