Breakthrough students are dedicated scholars who aspire to go to college but often attend under-resourced schools. They commit multiple, consecutive summers to an all-day, six-week summer program, and supplement their school-year studies with ongoing enrichment. They attend rigorous academic classes in math, science, reading, and writing, and participate in engaging electives and extracurricular activities.
Among our scholars, 95% are people of color, 81% qualify for free/reduced-price lunch, and 70% will be the first in their families to go to a four-year college. Research shows that students from lower-income backgrounds can lose up to two months of math and literacy skills over the summer. Summer after summer, these losses compound, making the journey from middle school to high-school graduation and college much more difficult. At Breakthrough, our students work hard each summer in Common-Core aligned academic classes, leading to intellectual growth and contributing to their long-term academic success. Each year, we serve more than 5,000 students in our summer programs.
The premier pre-professional teacher residency program in country, Breakthrough offers hard-working undergraduates the opportunity to try teaching out for a summer. During the nine-week residency, Breakthrough teaching fellows receive over 100 hours of teaching and leadership training, including 75 hours of lead classroom experience. Many return to teach the following year, and nearly 75% go on to careers in education. Our undergraduate teachers are exceptional: 55% are scholars of color (compared to 18% nationwide), 21% come from STEM majors, and 33% are male (compared to 24% nationwide).
Each summer, we also host more than 100 professional educators as instructional coaches (ICs). Working directly with our teaching fellows, they provide critical mentorship while they hone their own skills. As professional development, the Breakthrough summer is invaluable. 97% of instructional coaches agreed they grew as educators and were professionally energized by the program.
Since our founding 38 years ago, we have served more than 40,000 students and teachers.