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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Breakthrough Silicon Valley

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services

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: 400 students and more than 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!

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been associated with Breakthrough Silicon Valley for many years. The relationships that they build with students and families is phenomenal. It is the secrete sauce that makes them so successful. I have been in education for twenty-six years and no other non profit supports first time college going students better then Breakthrough Silicon Valley!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.