Founded in 1978, Breakthrough Collaborative has changed the lives of tens of thousands of students, utilizing a unique dual mission to:

Increase the academic opportunity for highly motivated, underserved students and get them into college ready to succeed; and inspire and develop the next generation of teachers and educational leaders.


Our Story

As a pioneer in education reform, Breakthrough is more than an organization. We are a nationwide movement, tackling the achievement gap with a groundbreaking approach. Through our summer and school-year programs, we increase academic opportunity for highly motivated, underserved middle- and high-school students, putting them on the path to college. We are also the largest pre-service teacher-training program in the country, providing best-in-class pre-professional training for more than 1,000 undergraduate teaching fellows each year. As part of this commitment to developing the next generation of teachers, we offer leadership residencies for professional educators, who support our teaching fellows as instructional coaches.

In 1978, the Breakthrough movement was founded as Summerbridge, a single site at University High School in San Francisco. Over the next 20 years, Breakthrough grew through a collective of independent sites across the country. In 2001, we changed our name to reflect that growth and our expanded programming. Today, we serve our constituencies across a collaborative network of 25 affiliates throughout the U.S. and in Hong Kong, reaching more than 5,000 students each summer. Since our founding 38 years ago, we have served more than 40,000 students and teachers.