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Education and Academic Support / College Readiness and Retention

Breakthrough New York and Miami

Breakthrough New York (BTNY) is a six-year college access program committed to placing high-potential, low-income middle school students in four-year colleges. BTNY targets sixth-graders and works with them through high school, providing tutoring and SAT prep, college visits, and interview coaching. BTNY also provides after-school tutoring and summer enrichment programs to a cohort of high-achieving middle school students from New York public schools. BTNY’s teachers are themselves high-performing high school and college students who are interested in pursuing careers in education.

Since 2005, 100 percent of BTNY’s eighth-graders have gained admission into selective college-preparatory high schools located throughout the United States. Independent evaluations of BTNY students over the course of its summer program indicate that they made gains of up to two and a half grade levels. BTNY operates in 25 regional sites, providing hundreds of under-resourced students with a tuition-free academic enrichment program at the middle and high school levels.

The foundation also supports Breakthrough Miami (BTM), a tuition-free, eight-year program for motivated fifth- through 12th-grade students. A 2016 Heckscher grant supported BTM’s middle school to high school year-round programming as well as the Pathways to College 3.0 initiative. The Pathways project aims to develop a more effective college persistence tracking plan and more robust alumni support.

Among BTM’s middle school students, 98 percent enter “college-bound” high schools. In the class of 2016, 100 percent of BTM seniors graduated on time, compared with a 68.9 percent graduation rate for surrounding Miami-Dade County public school students. BTM’s five-year average of immediate four-year college enrollment is 76 percent, according to the National Student Clearinghouse.