Breakthrough Collaborative is entering a new frontier of student support, extending our work to not only help students get to college, but also supporting them through college. With generous support from the ECMC Foundation, Breakthrough has created a College Success Networked Improvement Community (NIC) to investigate the impact and efficacy of various approaches to college success work. Four initial sites that have established and operated college success programs – Breakthrough New York, Breakthrough Central Texas, Breakthrough Greater Boston, and Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano – will collaborate with the National Office to advance these efforts.

Learnings from the NIC will inform subsequent phases of the project, including engaging additional affiliates with new or emerging college success programs to test a set of baseline services and best practices, as well as a Collaborative-wide learning exchange and rollout of proven strategies in college persistence throughout the network. 

“We are privileged to have visibility into strong program innovations happening across our network – and have a corresponding responsibility to learn and share what we are seeing,” said Alex Serna, Chief Program Officer at Breakthrough Collaborative. “Supporting Breakthrough students to persist and succeed in college is an area we need to embrace to fulfill our mission to equip students to lead opportunity-filled lives.” 

“Breakthrough is well positioned to support students while they are in college because the organization has gained students’ trust over many years of sustained programming,” said ECMC Program Officer, Jonathan T. Reid. “This increased level of support comes at a critical time for young people, providing continuity and stability through a period of tremendous change. We are proud to support this important work.”  

This two-year effort will culminate in the development of a new Collaborative Standard related to college success programming. Through continuous improvement processes, our goal is that more affiliates across the Breakthrough network will expand and deepen their college success work, sharing insights and services with the Collaborative as well as the broader national field of practitioners in this space. Ultimately, we aim to see an increase in the college persistence rate of Breakthrough college students as an outcome of this project.