Our History and Our Mission

The Breakthrough Collaborative was founded in 1978 as Summerbridge by San Francisco University High School.  The program was designed to serve motivated yet under-supported middle school students from the public schools with the goal of ensuring that each student has the confidence and academic skills to thrive in rigorous high school programs and go on to college. With 28 sites around the country (and one in Hong Kong), the Breakthrough Collaborative serves thousands of middle-school students each year with ambitious, tuition-free programs.

Santa Fe Prep brought Breakthrough to Santa Fe as part of its “Local Ground” initiative, seeking to serve the broader Santa Fe community with what the School does best: provide an ambitious course of study in a warm, nurturing environment.

Since its founding in 2004, Breakthrough has served of 250 students and families.  We work closely with the Santa Fe Public Schools to identify motivated 6th graders who will need our support to make it to college.  These students then complete a rigorous application, and if they are selected, commit to sticking with Breakthrough for 6-years.  So far, 92% of our graduates have gone on to college, and 86% of them were the first in their families to do so.

Why Breakthrough?

In Santa Fe, only 60-70% of high school students graduate.  As in all cities, this rate is even lower for students from ethnic minority and low-income backgrounds.  Surprisingly, even highly motivated and high achieving low-income students have only a 31% chance of obtaining a bachelor’s degree by age twenty-six.

Nearly 99% of our students are of color, nearly all are drawn from the public school system, and many participate in free or reduced-price lunch programs.  English is a second language for a substantial number of our students, and 96% are the first in their family to have the opportunity to attend college. Because these students are more likely to attend poorly funded, less rigorous elementary and middle schools, they are less likely to graduate from high school, and if they do, less likely to be college-ready.  Breakthrough  provides a valuable opportunity to supplement our students’ traditional education and to set and keep them on the path to college.  Visit the national site to learn more about the program’s history and success.