Breakthrough Silicon Valley

Rating: 4.79 stars   14 reviews

Issues: Education

Location: 1635 Park Avenue San Jose CA 95126 USA

Mission: Breakthrough Silicon Valley prepares motivated middle school students with limited educational opportunities for success in college preparatory high school programs and entry into four-year colleges. BSV also prepares outstanding college and high school students to enter careers in education.
Results: • 82% of BSV students enroll in geometry or higher by the 9th grade • 85% of our high school students have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in college prep classes • 92% of BSV students are attending four-year universities, including: Brandeis University Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Cornell University Macalester College Ohio Wesleyan San Jose State University Santa Clara University Stanford University UC Berkeley UC Davis UC Santa Cruz • 76% of our teaching interns pursue careers in education upon college graduation
Target demographics: Breakthrough students are hard working, motivated, and have hopes for their futures. However, they are also confronting obstacles that challenge their college dreams. • 86% will be first in family to attend college • 70% receive free or reduced lunch • 92% are students of color • 73% live in gang-impacted neighborhoods Our 45 teaching interns are high achieving students, many from similar backgrounds as our students. They serve not only as teachers, but also as powerful role-models for the middle schoolers. • 72% are students of color • 20% are Breakthrough student alumni • 3.5 is their average GPA at top schools such as Bellarmine College Preparatory, Leland High School, Cornell, Stanford, Brown, and UC Berkeley.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 200 students 45 student teachers
Programs: Middle School Program: Middle school students participate in three six-week academic summer sessions (after 6th, 7th, and 8th grade) studying Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Writing, Literature, and academic electives in classrooms of no more than eight students. The summer also features field trips, career development events, and enrichment classes in art, sports, and music. During the school year students meet twice per week in our Math-based After School Program designed to address math skill gaps and prepare them for Geometry by the 9th grade. All the teaching is done by high achieving high school and college students who under the training and guidance of professional, experienced teachers learn how to teach. In addition, BSV advises and assists all 8th grade parents and students as they select and/or apply to the most competitive and best suited college preparatory high schools in the area. College Bound High School Program: Once in high school we continue to work with the students to ensure that they remain on a college prep track and enroll in four-year colleges. Students participate in monthly college readiness workshops, a two-year financial literacy course, an ACT prep course, and college tours. In addition, students receive semester grade monitoring and tutoring if needed, academic advising and course selection for the following school year, advising on summer opportunities and internships, and laptops if needed. During the junior and senior years there is intensive college and financial aid counseling. Teaching Internships: To fulfill the second half of BSV’s mission, we provide 40 teaching internships. After school teaching is a 75-hour internship while the summer teaching is a 300-hour internship. Under the support and guidance of professional, experienced teachers, our young teachers learn how to write lesson plans, manage classrooms, develop curriculum and teach. It is a hands-on teaching internship that has been rated by The Princeton Review as one of the top 10 internships in the USA!
2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

This is my 20th year in education serving as a non-profit administrator, a teacher or a consultant. Breakthrough gave me my start as a teacher all those years ago. It honors the skill, commitment, will, and passion of high school and college undergraduates to teach students. Many programs use the older students as assistants but Breakthrough understands the value of relationships in academics.
On the student side, it is the best program that I have experience with that positively changes the lives of young people. It gives them a sense of themselves as future high school and college students. It deepens their belief in their own dreams and the commitment of their families in them.
It is a special program that anyone interested in schools and children should investigate. There should be no question that Breakthrough is worth your investment.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

person as a teacher, a site director, a mentor teacher and a volunteer.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

work to diversify the student-aged teaching staff to racially and culturally match the student population. It would require that individuals invest in the program and that the program have the finances to recruit such a staff. Your investment can make that happen.

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