Breakthrough Silicon Valley has two interlinked, but separate program paths.
One is geared towards preparing academically motivated middle and high school students for college. The other is geared towards training and motivating bright high school and college students to become educators. All of our programs are tuition-free.
The Student Experience
A BSV student’s academic journey begins in middle school, the summer between 6th and 7th grades, and lasts six years, until they graduate from high school and attend four-year colleges. Once enrolled in Breakthrough, we are with them every step of the way; from academic summer sessions to year-long math programs, from college essays to college tours, from high school counseling to college placement. Read more about our programs for students.
The Teacher Experience
A vital part of BSV’s success is our innovative Students Teaching Students model. In intensive summer and after-school teaching internships, we train outstanding students – from high school and college – to teach and mentor our middle school students. Our young teachers are high-achieving, hard-working, hip, and fun and they immerse the middle school students in a culture of high expectations and academic excellence. By training our student teachers and helping them form powerful bonds with their students, we inspire them to pursue education as a career. Read more about our teaching internships.
Middle School Summer Program
Students’ involvement with Breakthrough starts with our summer program. It is here that they discover that learning is fun and that it’s cool to be smart. Academic preparation, leadership and vision setting are the fundamental outcomes of BSV’s summer sessions.
- Intensive 6 weeks long, 8 hours per day, 2 hours of daily homework
- Core academic subjects to prepare for and succeed in college preparatory courses: Algebra, Geometry, Physics, Literature, Life Sciences and Foreign Languages
- Elective courses provide a well-rounded education – everything from Astronomy to Latino Playwrights to Magical Realism to Philosophy
- Small classes (a 4:1 student to teacher ratio) using our students teaching students model
- Career Development Activities such as visits to local companies, a Women of Science Day and Career Speakers Day expose students to a variety of professions and motivate them to pursue a college degree
- Field trips, sports, arts, and many other co-curricular activities provide opportunities to strengthen friendships, build confidence and underpin future Breakthrough learning experiences
Middle School Math After-School Program
Algebra I is a gatekeeper to college-preparatory tracks in high school and students who take algebra by 8th or 9th grade are far more likely to pursue higher education than those who do not.
- Students’ involvement continues after the summer in our year long after-school program that prepares them for 9th grade Geometry
- Students take Pre-Algebra or Algebra classes two times per week during their 7th and 8th grade years
Middle School Advising and High School Entrance Advising
To ensure mastery of academic skills and entrance in college preparatory high schools, Breakthrough provides the following services:
- Grade monitoring every eight weeks during middle school
- Personalized improvement plans including tutoring implemented for students in need
- High school options counseling for both public and private schools
- Personalized assistance in writing applications, filling out enrollment forms and seeking scholarship funding
High School Advising and College Preparation
Once in high school, our college readiness services continue to prepare our students as scholars, leaders, and exceptional college candidates.
- Grade monitoring and academic course and extra-curricular activity selection counseling during high school years
- Year-round mentoring and tutoring
- A two-year long financial literacy course for juniors and seniors
- A five-week long course on developing personal statements for college and scholarship applications, at least three college visits by 12th grade, college retreat focused on the college application, monthly college readiness workshops, a thirty-two hour ACT prep course
- Advising into personalized summer experiences such as internships, jobs, or programs that further develop students as well-rounded college applicants
- Individualized college and financial aid counseling for parents and students
Teaching Internships for High School and College Students
Our summer and after-school classes for middle school students are taught by high-achieving high school and college students. Our teachers are smart, fun, and hard-working.
- Award winning internship program ranked by The Princeton Review as one of Top Ten Internships in the U.S.A.
- Eight day teacher training upfront and daily training throughout internship
- Student-teachers develop curriculum, build lesson plans, teach 1 to 3 classes and assess students under the supportive eye of experienced teachers
- Mentor Teachers train and observe student-teachers and give daily feedback on effectiveness in the classroom
- Intensive, hands-on teaching training experience inspires talented young people to choose careers in education