Founded in 1991 as Summerbridge, Breakthrough partners with The Derryfield School, Manchester Department of Education, and Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Derryfield hosts the Breakthrough program on their campus providing generous in-kind support of benefits, facilities, and administrative needs, as well as legal counsel and governance. The School also serves as Breakthrough’s fiscal agent and we fall under their 501(c)(3) umbrella. A partnership agreement was formed with SNHU in 2016 to create our College-Bound program and provide continued support for Breakthrough students during high school years through college matriculation. The Breakthrough journey begins with the summer program for rising seventh, eighth, and ninth grade students. Students participate in 80 hours of challenging academic classes in math, science, writing, and literature. We provide seminars on financial literacy and nutrition to all of our students. Our college-age Teaching Fellows arrive with expertise in a wide variety of areas and we explore their passions to create extracurricular classes that further stretch our students. The BTM curriculum is rounded out with a talent show every week as well as many other opportunities to present in front of a large group. Over the course of the summer, students visit at least two college campuses and trips include cultural sites such as parks and museums. A Boston city visit and a minor league baseball game round out the summer! We also have our own version of BTM Olympics and a celebration of learning at the end of the summer where all our students and teachers participate. It is a celebration for the entire community after six weeks of rigorous work!
Our academically talented students are:
- 65% students of color
- 63% students qualifying for free or reduced lunch
- 64% speaking a language other than English at home
- 34% from a non-traditional head of household (single parent, grandparent, foster, etc.)
- and 79% of our students WILL be the first in their families to attend a 4 year college!
Despite being bright and talented, our students are at risk for not continuing to college. The achievement gap between affluent and low-income students is striking: only 60% of America’s low-income youth graduate from high school, of those, only 1 in 3 enroll in college. Manchester’s dropout rates are nearly 3 times the New Hampshire average. BTM is instrumental in supporting these students, beginning in their developmentally critical middle school years and culminating in college matriculation. Students well-prepared to succeed in high school and college are more likely to break their cycle of poverty. The Census Bureau reports poverty by educational attainment. The poverty rate for 25+ was 12% in 2014. The poverty rate by work experience ranged from 5% for those with college degrees to 29% for those without high school diplomas. Education is an antidote to poverty. BTM makes education possible, cultivating skills for success that transform lives.