Breakthrough Birmingham

In partnership with Birmingham City Schools and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Breakthrough Collaborative was thrilled to launch Breakthrough Birmingham, a new Breakthrough site in Birmingham, Alabama in the summer of 2013. Built on Breakthrough’s Students Teaching Students model, refined over three decades and in practice in 27 cities, Breakthrough Birmingham is making a significant impact through the intensive experiences provided to students, teaching fellows and instructional coaches. Now in its second year, Breakthrough Birmingham is serving a cohort of seventh-grade students and a cohort of eighth-grade students, and will scale to serve at least 300 students annually in grades seven through nine.


Meet the Director

Anthony Oliver, Director of Breakthrough Birmingham, joined Breakthrough Collaborative and launched the program this in the summer of 2013. A Birmingham native, Anthony comes to Breakthrough with seven years of experience in education. He earned a Master’s of Education in School Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is excited to work in a role that takes an innovative approach to providing the Birmingham student population with diverse, high-quality teachers. Click here to read more about Anthony.


All Breakthrough Birmingham programming will take place at Bush Hills Academy, 900 16th St W., Birmingham, AL 35208.

How to Get Involved

Sixth-Grade Students: Be a Breakthrough Scholar

Breakthrough students are hard-working middle-schoolers who dream of college and are driven to push themselves. During Breakthrough’s six-week summer program, students participate in 240 hours of extra school time, which includes rigorous academic classes in math, literature, writing and science and engaging elective classes of the students’ choice. To learn more about what it means to be a Breakthrough scholar, check out the 2013 Interest Flier. Please check back in the coming months for 2015 deadline information and other updates.

College Students: Be a Breakthrough Teaching Fellow

Teaching fellows attend colleges in Alabama and nationwide and are selected for Breakthrough through a rigorous, multi-step application process. Teaching fellows commit to nine rigorous weeks during the summer, including two weeks of intensive training prior to entering the classroom, six weeks of academic instruction with small groups of students and one week of wrap-up and evaluation. Teaching fellows work closely with instructional coaches, who provide ongoing feedback on lesson plans and instructional techniques. Learn more about the Teaching Residency here

Professional Teachers: Be a Breakthrough Instructional Coach

Breakthrough Birmingham seeks outstanding professional educators to become instructional coaches who train and support teaching fellows. This is a unique opportunity to influence the next generation of teachers while growing professionally. Learn more about the instructional coach program here

High School Students: Be a Breakthrough Teaching Assistant

Volunteer teaching assistants (VTAs) are students from local high schools who serve as leaders and role models to Breakthrough students during the academically intensive summer program. VTAs are frequently assigned to academic and elective classes based on their interests. In the classroom, they act as a second teacher, supporting the lead teacher by instructing students in small groups and by working with students who need extra attention. VTAs support directors and teaching fellows by running much of the behind-the-scenes work at Breakthrough. Please check back in the coming months for 2015 application information.


2014 Birmingham Impact Report