how it works

For us, the process begins all the way back, when our kids enter the program as sixth graders.  We identify high potential low-income students through recommendations from their teachers and guidance counselors.  From there, all students apply through a rigorous application and interview process.  Our students show us that they want to work hard and commit to a ten year path to and through college.

It’s an extraordinary commitment, and it’s not for everyone.  Our students receive concentrated summer and after-school tutoring throughout middle school, and that culminates with help on high school application tests.  We specifically educate students and their families to assess schools carefully, and we emphasize college prep standards.

The process continues in high school, through class meetings, summer enrichment opportunities, internships, career preparation and test prep, and that leads to and through college.  We not only provide the student with the tools to succeed in an academic environment, but we deliver students who are committed to making themselves and the world better.

how we are different

We differ from other peer organizations in four key ways:

  • Our students-teaching-students model in which we hire and train college and high school students to teach. Through our dual mission model, we’re educating future college graduates AND inspiring future generations of educators.

  • Our ten year program to support our kids from middle school to college graduation. Being the first in your family to graduate from college is not easy and we’re there every step of the way until our students can fly on their own.

  • Our commitment to finding the highest achieving students with the greatest financial needs. We’re not interested in serving families who could afford to pay for supplemental services to nurture their child’s intellect. We’re looking for kids who have talent and motivation but would not otherwise be able to access college without our support.

  • Our whole family approach. Part of our admissions process entails interviewing families to ensure that they too are committed to education and college graduation. Though families may not know how to get their kids to the finish line, we have to know that our families are partners in this endeavor. We think of it as serving families, not just kids.

what's next?

What’s next for Breakthrough New York?  We want to: 

  • Expand our college services, in order to increase our college graduation rate to 90% and to ensure 100% of our students are employed in a career-oriented job six months after college graduation.

  • Add additional inner city facilities, in order to expand the number of students in the program.

  • Make an investment in teacher recruitment and training, to handle the expansion and send more qualified teachers into the classroom.

Breakthrough New York students commit to participating in ten years of programming throughout middle school and high school – on average students attend 300 hours of programming per year afterschool and during the summer.  Throughout the ten years, students receive individualized academic and personal support to ensure that ultimately they enter and thrive in four-year colleges.  

what do we need?

Help provide financial support and other resources that will enable us to continue to broaden our reach, and ensure that we send mature and prepared college graduates out in the world to make their mark and build the next generation of educators to impact the world.


Click here to download more information about our program.

Middle School Years:

Students join our program in the spring of 6th grade, and participate in the Middle School program for the first three years:  

  • Summer Program: Students attend the six-week summer program after 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. The program begins in late June and runs through early August each summer. Students engage in four academic classes per day (literature, math, science, and writing), as well as two elective courses. The summer program builds key academic skills and knowledge for the next grade level.

  • School Year Program: Students attend the school year program throughout 7th and 8th grades, on Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 4:30-6:30pm. Students work in small groups with tutors to complete their homework, prepare for upcoming high school application tests, and build key literacy and vocabulary skills.

High School Admissions Guidance:

Our unique high school placement model equips students and their families to navigate the process of high school admissions.  We educate our students and families to assess schools based on college prep standards, and require that they consider five types of schools.  It is our goal that ALL of our students matriculate to college prep high schools.  

  • Independent Boarding Schools: Tuition-charging schools outside of NYC; students live on campus.

  • Independent Day Schools: Tuition-charging schools in NYC; students live at home.

  • Parochial Schools: Tuition-charging schools in NYC, may be religiously affiliated.

  • Specialized Public Schools: Highly-rated NYC public schools; admissions is based on the SHSAT.

  • Selective Public Schools: Public schools in NYC that are effectively preparing graduates for college.

High School Years:

Our High School Program is designed to provide individual support to our students in their various high school settings. Students engage in programming in after school and summer hours, including the following:  

  • Class Meetings: Each high school class meets one time per month, engaging in workshops focused on topics that directly impact our students’ success in high school and beyond. Students who attend boarding schools participate in the workshop online, and check in at least one time per month.

  • Summer Enrichment Opportunities: We support our high school students in selecting summer opportunities that will enrich their growth and contribute towards their college application process. This may include internships with local companies or organizations, community service projects, college campus tours, and summer programs.

  • Career Preparation: We teach a career-readiness curriculum that equips students to engage in summer internships after their sophomore year in high school. Through this curriculum, students build skills such as drafting resumes and cover letters, interviewing, and professional decision-making.

  • Tutoring and Test Prep: Throughout high school, we offer tutoring and test prep services for our students to support their entry into a four-year college.

College Admissions Guidance:

We work individually with each student to develop a full list of appropriate four-year colleges and universities. We also partner with programs such as the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Gates Millennium Scholars, Posse, and Questbridge. Our goal is that 100% of our graduates enroll in selective four-year colleges or universities directly upon graduating from high school.