What is Breakthrough Collaborative?

Breakthrough CollaborativeIf you’ve ever wondered what Breakthrough Collaborative is, you’ve probably had some interest in learning about alternative education methods and how successful they are. Breakthrough Collaborative was launched in 1978 and harnesses the power of collaboration through a “Students Teaching Students” model with support from a dedicated professional staff of educators. Not only does the organization address the factors that lead to poor academic achievement by students who may not have access to all the educational resources needed to succeed, but it also serves as a pre-professional residency for aspiring teachers. When blended together, these ingredients make for a highly effective education program that works where other institutions of learning may have failed, according to Breakthrough Collaborative.

What Is It All About?

Breakthrough Collaborative focuses on increasing academic opportunity for highly motivated, underserved students and putting them on the trajectory of a successful college path; and inspiring and developing the next generation of teachers and educational leaders. There are nearly 30 programs in existence that help scores of young students and aspiring educators. The collaborative works in essentially three parts. The first is a focus on students. Many of the students who participate in the collaborative tend to face strong headwinds in an uphill battle to achieve educational success. They are generally economically disadvantaged, come from homes where the parents have attained little education and over 90% are people of color. When these students participate, they undergo rigorus instruction in subjects like math, science, public speaking and leadership. Breakthrough prepares these pupils to attend four-year colleges, which is a goal seemingly unattainable without the program.

The next part focuses on students who have a dream of becoming teachers one day. The nine week residency includes intensive training as well as actually running a classroom in a student teaching atmosphere. Working much like an internship, these future educators learn valuable professional skills all while benefitting the students in the program.

The final part consists of a residency for professional teachers. This serves as a continuing education program for educators looking to become more effective in the classroom and allows them to coach aspiring teachers and further develop skills to help them become leaders in their field.

Success Stories

Breakthrough Collaborative model is unique and a bold step outside the lines of conventional teaching methods, but does it work? Personal testimonials all point to the answer being a resounding “Yes.” It has taught educators to realize and understand the inequities in the education system, and has opened their eyes to a program where the students’ talents and equality were valued. Former students in the program have expressed relief that they were able to finally express a love for learning without backlash from their peers who may not hold the same values. From an education training standpoint, Breakthrough was named a Top 10 Internship Program by the Princeton Review.

Related Resource: Early Intervention


Education is the one thing that can never be taken away from an individual, it’s attaining it that is the difficult part. As with many underprivileged youth, it is that which is the most elusive. Every child in America deserves a safe and nurturing educational environment and that is precisely what Breakthrough Collaborative is.