Mission and History
Our dual mission reflects our desire to positively change the path of each of our student’s lives, to increase the number of talented teachers joining the education workforce, and to have a beneficial impact on our community.
To that end, Breakthrough Silicon Valley:
- Prepares academically motivated middle school students with limited educational opportunities for success in rigorous college-preparatory high school programs and four-year colleges, and
- Prepares outstanding high school and college students to enter careers in education.
Breakthrough students commit to a six-year college readiness program that includes a variety of academic and counseling services and Breakthrough teachers commit to intensive summer teaching internships. Our innovative Students Teaching Students model partners middle-school students with college and high school students who serve as teachers, role models and mentors, providing real-life examples that it’s ‘cool to be smart’. Breakthrough boasts outstanding results: 92% of Breakthrough students enroll in four–year universities and 78% of Breakthrough teachers, many of whom were Breakthrough students, go on to pursue careers in education.
Breakthrough Silicon Valley is part of the Breakthrough Collaborative, a national, research-proven, educational intervention organization founded in San Francisco in 1978 as Summerbridge.
The Breakthrough Collaborative currently prepares more than 2,700 low-income, high-potential middle and high school students to attend and succeed in college, and recruits, trains and inspires over 770 college and high school students to pursue careers in education. This model is used at 35 Breakthrough sites across the U.S. and in Hong Kong.
In 2002, Applied Materials, the San Jose Unified School District and the Breakthrough Collaborative formed a partnership to bring the Breakthrough educational model to middle schools in Silicon Valley.
The philanthropic leadership for what would become Breakthrough San Jose came from Applied Materials’ Education Initiative, which strategically focuses resources and investments over sustained periods of time towards students in underserved communities around the world.
In Spring 2002, Breakthrough San Jose opened its first site at Hoover Middle School and served just 22 students. Over the next six years, Breakthrough San Jose expanded to become Breakthrough Silicon Valley and now serves over 200 students attending 10 middle schools in San Jose, as well as ten high schools in Santa Clara County.