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September 4, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 4, 2013

Contact:  Zac Roy, (917) 822-7203, [email protected]

Breakthrough New York Begins 15th Year of Getting Low-Income NYC Students on the Path to College

-100% of graduating seniors in tuition-free program matriculate to college-

(New York, N.Y.) – Breakthrough New York, the tuition-free college access program, this month begins its 15th school year of helping to shepherd low-income, high-potential New York City students from middle school to college.

At a time of heightened concern over New York City public school system’s ability to prepare students for college admission, Breakthrough New York boasts a stellar track record.  In 2013, all 27 of the program’s rising 9th-grade students matriculated to college-prep high schools, and all 24 of its graduating seniors matriculated to a four-year college.  As a result, the program is more popular than ever, as more than 200 sixth graders vied for only 68 seats in this year’s new class.

The nonprofit organization serves students who have demonstrated academic performance, potential and motivation, but lack opportunity.  Sixty-eight percent qualify for federal free or reduced lunch, and more than half are the first in their families to go to college.

In June, Breakthrough New York welcomed its new class for an intensive summer academic program led by college student teaching interns from some the nation’s most prestigious universities.  During the rigorous, six-week program, students worked on refining skills mastery in math, science, writing and literature.  As they begin fall classes at schools across the city on September 9 – and throughout their middle school and high school careers – they will continue to benefit from Breakthrough New York’s support and guidance.

“We’re excited to be entering our 15th year of helping students realize their immense potential by getting them into college and on the path to lifelong success,” said Rhea Wong, Breakthrough New York’s Executive Director.  “In our program, we seek to not only challenge our students academically, but to help them develop character and foster a sense of responsibility to the larger community.”

During the 2012-2013 school year, Breakthrough New York will serve a total 225 students in grades six through twelve.  Two afternoons a week after school, the 7th- and 8th-graders will travel to one of the program’s two locations – The Town School on the Upper East Side, Manhattan, or Bishop Loughlin High School in Fort Greene, Brooklyn – for tutoring.  Additional program services include standardized test preparation, academic counseling, service learning, interview coaching, and organized college visits.  Upon entry into a four-year college, students become Breakthrough alumni and continue to access resources such as internship and job opportunities.

The Manhattan and Brooklyn Breakthrough New York locations serve 163 and 62 students, respectively – the Brooklyn site was opened in 2012 and is growing with one new group of students admitted per year.  The students come from all corners of the city with 33% from Manhattan, 31% from the Bronx, 27% from Brooklyn, and 9% from Queens. 

Breakthrough New York was founded as Summerbridge at The Town School in 1999. Since then, the organization has grown in size, and in 2009, Breakthrough New York became an independent not-for-profit organization in New York State.

This summer an unprecedented number of college students – nearly 650 – from top colleges across the country applied for one of only 40 teaching intern spots in Breakthrough New York’s summer program.  Teacher interns are selected based on academic accomplishment, leadership experience and ability to learn teaching techniques as demonstrated during the interview process.

Additionally, all of Breakthrough New York’s teachers are high-performing high school and college students interested in pursuing careers in education. And, in fact, 83% of its teachers have gone onto teaching or public service.