Join Breakthrough.  Embrace Your Brilliance.

Breakthrough scholars get a tuition-free rigorous academic and life-skills enrichment program that fosters their love of learning and commitment to succeeding in education. All in a place where it’s cool to be smart.


The Breakthrough Scholar Advantage:

  • Get a head-start on the school year
  • Join a group of kids as motivated as you are
  • Learn with high school and college-age role models
  • Pave the way for future academic and career success 
  • Be an inspiration to your community

Students must meet all of the following:

  • Academically motivated, with grades mostly B and above
  • At or above grade level in Math and Reading (PSSA or other standardized tests)
  • Currently enrolled in 5th grade at a public, charter, or parochial school
  • Committed to attend four years of school year and summer programming
  • 6th, 7th, and 8th graders may apply for limited openings
  • Families able to participate in required meetings or activities

We seek students who meet one of the following:

  • Low income or free/reduced lunch
  • Live in a single parent household
  • Primary language other than English
  • First generation in family to attend college
  • Identify as a racial or ethnic minority
  • Attend an under-resourced school (public, parochial, charter)

Students’ families commit to:

  • Maintain an open dialogue with teachers
  • Participate in workshops and meetings
  • Meet application deadlines
  • Support our students’ dreams and hopes 


Program Highlights

    • Our four-year program is hosted on the campus of Germantown Friends School, where we provide:
      • Rigorous academic enrichment in core subjects such as math, literature, writing and science
      • Elective activities including dance, world languages, photography, debate, golf, capoeira and other sports
      • Preparation for high school through application support, test preparation and mentorship
      • Life skills courses such as financial literacy, social justice, public speaking, health and fitness
      • Inspiration and mentorship from Career Conversations guest speakers and college-aged Teaching Fellows
    • Our program also runs year-round:
      • 6 full weeks in the summer
      • Saturdays during the school year
    • Partnership with students’ families is crucial for success in the program.  Breakthrough engages with families by offering:
      • Guidance and support during application process
      • Learning workshops
      • Parent/Teaching Fellow meetings
      • Progress reports

Words from our Featured Student, Ziana

It’s crazy to believe I’ve been in Breakthrough since the sixth grade. I started when I was twelve and am now seventeen in the eleventh grade. To think about my journey from when I joined Breakthrough up until now is insane. I have learned so much during my time here, but one of the most valuable lessons I have learned is the importance of leadership. The talent of leadership carries a lot of responsibility, and can set a difference between you and someone else on the other side of the room.

Since joining Breakthrough, I have learned that being a leader comes with individuality–being your own individual and being comfortable with the person you are. The skill of having your own confidence, however, takes time. I can personally attest to this because I wasn’t completely confident in myself around thirteen. Yet, being around the teaching fellows and other staff members who consistently believe in me and support me is a huge confidence boost.  With Breakthrough, you have people pushing you outside your comfort zone, but if you do fail they are right there to help you reevaluate on how to get it right the next time.  You have people support you in whatever your aspirations are, who can lead you down the right path. You also have other students just like you who are coming in to learn right beside you, helping you feel comfortable. Over time you start to realize “Wow, I really can do anything I set my mind to.”

Another way Breakthrough helps you build leadership is by hosting a career day where students get the chance to network with members from different companies and organizations. At one career day, seventh and eighth graders were able to network with employees from the company, SAP–a technology company that works with some of the most famous companies you can think of. With an experience like this, students were able to ask whatever questions they had and talk to members of a company one-on-one. This can reaffirm a student’s confidence and show leadership to other students in an environment where we encourage one another to challenge ourselves.

Over the years, Breakthrough has taught me the importance of embracing who you are and what makes you different. From teachers being energetic throughout program (especially those summer mornings), as well as dressing in quirky outfits on ‘Wacky Wednesday’ or ‘Pajama Day.’ I remember one time at our summer celebration when the teachers really embarrassed themselves by rapping or dancing to a song. The teachers put themselves out there to show you you can be different and wear crazy clothes or act wacky and get work done just like everyone else. They showed us that being different isn’t an obstacle, but rather a medallion that can represent who you are and your ability to achieve success.

In Breakthrough you really feel like you’re a part of a close-knit family, and I will always cherish my time here.

Breakthrough Collaborative

180 Grand Ave #1225, Oakland, CA 94612, USA