The Wood Family Foundation’s Pitch In program (Pitch In) partners with middle schools to equip students in fourth through eighth grade with the skillsets and mindsets necessary to successfully transition to high school.
Why We Invested
Pitch In bridges the gap between middle and high school to ensure students are prepared for success in ninth grade and beyond. Often deemed the “make it or break it” year, ninth-grade performance is predictive of long-term academic outcomes. Yet, many Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students enter ninth grade unprepared, facing declines in performance. Through holistic programming focused on building skillsets and mindsets critical for long-term success, Pitch In is equipping students to excel in high school and beyond. The organization welcomed a new executive director, Laura Muriello in February 2018. Muriello has an ambitious vision to establish Pitch In as an evidence-based blueprint for middle school success and traversing the middle-to-high school transition point. She endeavors to significantly increase students’ academic and social emotional skillsets and empower all students to achieve their highest potential. With deep education and middle-school knowledge and a track record of building strong organizations from the ground up, Muriello is poised to take Pitch In through its next phase of development and growth.
Historically, the organization focused on reaching capacity at its first school site. In the coming years, Pitch In seeks to embark on more aggressive expansion, serving at least ten additional schools over the next four years. In FY19, Pitch In expanded to a second school, growing its reach from nearly 70 students in FY18 to more than 90 students. The organization will continue to realize organic growth as it reaches full capacity at its second site. Over the next year, Pitch In will engage in a comprehensive, strategic planning process to set its vision for long-term growth and ensure it has the foundation to support expansion.
Investment launched in January 2019 with a strategic planning project set to begin in early 2019.