• Breakthrough DC Breakthrough DC


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Mission Statement

Our mission is to increase educational opportunities for high-potential, low-income middle school students and inspire outstanding college and high school students to pursue careers in education.


The path to college begins or ends in middle school. For over 25 years, the Breakthrough Collaborative (formerly Summerbridge) has served low-income middle school students by offering them rigorous and engaging summer and after-school programming. Yet, the most unique part of Breakthrough's model is that our students' academic success is driven by the relationships and inspiration they derive from young teachers who are in high school and college themselves.

Breakthrough is a youth-led educational program in which all of the students and teachers are between the ages of 10 and 21. Across the country, 600 talented high school and college students teach over 2,000 middle school students the academic, social and leadership skills they need to enter and succeed in college-preparatory high schools. By enrolling in appropriate college-track high schools, our students are guaranteed the necessary resources and support to enter college. Breakthrough is a two-year, year-round program operating in 27 communities. Two-thirds of Breakthrough teachers are people of color and over 70% ultimately pursue careers in education. Over 80% of the middle school students in the program enter college preparatory high schools.

The hallmark of Breakthrough is a summer session that is very different from students' year-round schools, designed to challenge the students' beliefs about education and themselves. High school and college students teach the classes, not professional teachers. Classes are small and innovative. Each student participates fully. Most importantly, the program is fun. Our teachers are powerful role models who connect with and inspire the students in ways their year-round teachers cannot. The summer session is followed by a year-round program that builds on what the students are learning in their schools through tutoring, enrichment classes, high school advocacy, community service, test prep and field trips. All components of the program are tuition-free.



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