Breakthrough Cincinnati (BTC) is a four-year, tuition-free, out-of-school time (OST) academic program. BTC’s dual mission is to 1) provide rigorous, college-preparatory educational enrichment opportunities to highly motivated middle and high school students from underserved/underrepresented communities, and 2) inspire and train undergraduate college students to become the next generation of teachers and educational leaders.
Bill Hopple, Jr. and Odessa Hooker established BTC as Summerbridge Cincinnati in 1992. BTC is a member of the national Breakthrough Collaborative, which was founded in San Francisco in 1978. Today, the Collaborative is composed of 40 affiliate sites located throughout the United States.
Through its unique “students-teaching-students” approach to education, the Breakthrough Collaborative is leading a national movement aimed at addressing the “achievement trap” (Wyner, Bridgeland, and Diulio, 2007) and eliminating the “excellence gap” (Plucker, Burroughs, and Song, 2010).
The Collaborative provides highly motivated middle and high school students from underserved/underrepresented communities with the educational experiences and resources that will enable them to succeed in college preparatory high schools, graduate from high school on time, and matriculate at four-year colleges/universities. 95% of all Breakthrough students are young people of color, 81% qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and 70% will be first-generation college students. Each year, the Collaborative serves more than 5,000 students nationwide.
Additionally, the Collaborative is the largest pre-professional teacher-training program in the United States. As the premier pre-service teaching residency in the country, the Collaborative provides aspiring educators with the opportunity to gain firsthand experience as classroom teachers. Each summer, more than 1,000 undergraduate college students participate in Breakthrough’s nine-week teaching residencies as Teaching Fellows. During their participation in the program, Teaching Fellows receive more than 100 hours of professional development and leadership training. Teaching Fellows spend 75 of these hours as lead teachers in their own classrooms. 55% of all Breakthrough Teaching Fellows are students of color (compared to 18% of the national teacher pool), 33% are male (compared to 24% of the national teacher pool), and 21% are STEM majors. Approximately 75% go on to pursue careers in the field of education after graduating from college.