Breakthrough Silicon Valley

Rating: 4.9 stars   39 reviews

Nonprofit Issues:

Education

Address:

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:

•100% of our high school students take high level college prep courses including APs 88% of our high school students maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher 100% of our students attend college and 96% of them are attending four-year universities. 98% of our alumni that participated in our program from grades 7-12 are thriving in college! Colleges Attending: Brandeis University Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Georgetown University Gonzaga University Macalester College San Jose State University Santa Clara University Stanford University UC Berkeley UC Irvine UC Riverside UC Santa Cruz University of Pennsylvania

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 neighborhoodsOur 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:

365 students and over 60 high school- and college-aged teaching fellows.

Geographic areas served:

the Bay Area's Silicon Valley

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!

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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More Info

408-287-6357
www.breakthroughsv.org

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Reviews for Breakthrough Silicon Valley

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Breakthrough Silicon Valley is a high impact organization that touches the lives of college bound children at a crucial inflection point of their growth and development. The challenges that many children in the public from homes where there are no parents with advanced degrees compared to their peers that have the benefit of parents that are at a minimum college educated are steep. Breakthrough provides children that have the willingness and desire resources and support to make help them achieve their goals.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I wish every student and potential teacher could have the kind of opportunities and support that Breakthrough provides! This program has a track record of changing the life trajectory of many deserving students and making their families proud.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I am impressed with BSV. It has a very broad view of what students from limited opportunity backgrounds need to help them attend reputable four year colleges. They are very empirical. They evaluate the effectiveness of what they do and are ready to change when the outcomes are not as strong as they desire. Evaluation is undertaken at relatively frequent intervals, so they know what is working.
Additionally, BSV is the most cost effective foundation that I have ever worked with. Relatively small amounts of money go a long way. Not surprisingly, BSV is a very effective organization that delivers what they promise. More than 95
% of students who stay with the program for six years are indeed accepted into four year colleges.

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

Breakthrough Silicon Valley is impressive in the breadth and depth of support they provide for students across 5 or 6 years of high school. The enormous array of educational and academic services provided to students has real results -- most of the students indeed get accepted at colleges (and in almost all instances are the first of their family to do so).

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

The results are solid and real. Students apply to college, are accepted at colleges (many at good 4-year colleges) and actually enroll in colleges.

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

open more programs and offer the services to more motivated students.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

Since I last reviewed BSV in 2010, this organization has grown enormously in ambition and scope. It is now serving about 400 students a year in two school districts. I continue to be impressed by the close relationship the organization forges with the participating students - the staff really get to know the students as individuals, and also engage continuously and positively with their families - and the way it keeps them switched on to learning. BSV's success rate in helping students into 4 year colleges is also impressive. This organization deserves all the support it gets. The staff are first rate too - very committed.

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This nonprofit - which now goes by the name Breakthrough Silicon Valley - is part of the Breakthrough Collective. It has been in existence about six years. I am both a donor to, and a volunteer with, Breakthrough Silicon Valley. The goal of the organization is to support high potential, low income students onto the college track. About 180 students are served in the San Jose area each year, currently 7th and 8th graders, though there are plans to expand the program through high school. Most of the students will be the first in their families to go to college. The majority are people of color. About 60% are girls. During the school year the emphasis in the program is on math, while the summer school branches out into social studies, science, and other fields.

One of the neat features of the program is that it grows teachers. During the school year, most of the tutoring is provided by senior high school and community college students. During the six week summer program, this is supplemented by teachers who are students at four year colleges, including places like Stanford, Berkeley, and Princeton. These student teachers are mentored by professional teachers. The majority of the young teachers develop a love for teaching. a better understanding of what it involves, and an intention to go into teaching as a profession. Importantly, the majority of them - some 70% - are also people of color.

Breakthrough Silicon Valley does a great job getting the kids through 8th grade algebra, far surpassing the results of the school district as a whole.

They are a small but energetic group with ambitions to replicate the program in other appropriate locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. The ED is Latino, as are two of the other staff; while the fourth member of staff is an African American who attended Breakthrough in San Francisco before going on to Stanford.

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

meeting the students on a number of occasions and hearing first hand how their confidence level has increased with their academic work, and how they regard the Breakthrough staff as a second family, always there to support them in acheiving their ambitions.

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

want to see it more engaged with other local nonprofits that work with a similar population in high schools.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been involved with the Breakthrough Collaborative since 1994 and am incredibly honored to be a part of BSV. This is a life-changing organization for young, ambitious students who are determined to go to college but may have obstacles or limited educational opportunities. Also, Breakthrough inspired college students to pursue teaching as a career. Many BSV teachers go on to serve in Teach for America and most pursue careers in education. I am impressed with the leadership of the staff and with the commitment to results -- highly prepared, college bound students.

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

knowing both students and teachers who have had transformational life experiences having participated in BSV.

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

Add several sites around the Silicon Valley.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

How did you learn about this organization?

I have working in the Breakthrough Collaborative in the past.

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

Enhancing the educational experiences of its students and paving the path to college for each of them.

What is its top priority in the long run?

Ensuring more motivated students from the SV public schools have access to a college education. And increasing the pool of quality teachers in the Valley and beyond.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

 
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