FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS for
2020 student applications

If you have questions not answered below, please e-mail admissions@breakthroughsv.org.

about the application process

Are parents required to attend an info session in order for a student to apply? when and where will they take place?

No, however it is highly encouraged for new families unfamiliar with our organization. Attendance will not affect the application review process.

Info sessions are still being scheduled, and will be available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Please check back for more information.

What grades need to be submitted with the application?

Grades can be submitted separately from the online application; students can submit the application before they receive their fall grades. After fall grades are posted, BTSV will ask families to submit their grades via mail or email or in person:

  • For San Jose Unified School District applicants: a copy or scan of Semester 1 final grades that were mailed home, or printed out from the student’s portal.

  • For Franklin-McKinley School District applicants: a copy or scan of Quarter 1 and/or Quarter 2 grades - parents usually have a paper report mailed home.

What test scores need to be submitted with the application?

A copy of the student’s 5th grade CAASPP scores, also known as the SBAC results. A copy can be requested from your school, if needed. Test scores can be mailed or emailed to BTSV along with the grade reports requested above.

What commitment will students have to make?

Students accepted to Breakthrough Silicon Valley are expected to actively participate in the six-year program. The requirements vary depending on the grade level of the student; however, the intensity of the program necessitates a deep and serious long-term commitment. For more information, click here.

Can students miss part of the summer program?

No. The commitment made to BTSV by students and their families should be taken seriously. Daily attendance during the summers before 7th, 8th and 9th grade is mandatory, except in cases of serious illness or legitimate emergencies. Students should not apply to the program if it is anticipated they will be out of the area during the summer dates (typically late June to early-to-mid August). We may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis during the school year.

about breakthrough silicon valley

What are your program goals?

BTSV’s mission is to inspire and prepare motivated middle and high school students to succeed in college preparatory high school programs and attend college.

We are also focused on encouraging outstanding high school and college students - who teach, tutor, and mentor Breakthrough students in our summer and school year programs - to pursue careers in education.

Where are you located?

BTSV has offices at Hoover Middle School and at the Franklin-McKinley School District Office. Our summer program is located on school campuses throughout San Jose. Locations change from year to year.

In 2019, the summer program was held at three sites: Ohlone Middle School, Evergreen Valley High School and Yerba Buena High School.

How much does your program cost?

Breakthrough Silicon Valley (BTSV) is FEE-FREE for all students and families. Due to the generous support of Applied Materials, San Jose Unified School District, Franklin-McKinley School District and numerous individuals, businesses, and foundations, there is no cost to participate. Your family’s commitment to BTSV is your payment.

Who is the typical BTSV student?

BTSV students have a desire to learn, try new things, have fun and would be the first in their family to attend college. They also have a strong desire to achieve academically and to be leaders — preparing themselves for challenging high schools and colleges and beyond. Most, but not all of our students come from under-served communities:

As of June 2019, 99% of our current students are students of color, 95% will be first-generation college students, 82% are from underresourced families (free/reduced lunch and/or Cal Grant eligible), 81% attend(ed) a Title I middle school and 72% speak a home language other than English.

Who teaches the students?

Local high school students and college students from across the country serve as Teaching Fellows who lead our classrooms and are eager to share their passion for learning with our students. Each Teaching Fellow goes through a rigorous selection process including an application, interview and mock lesson presentation. During their time with BTSV, they are mentored by experienced education professionals who serve as Instructional Coaches.

Our "students-teaching-students" model is an exciting way for your child to learn. Middle school students become enormously engaged in their own education when they work with teachers close to their own age.

Is there homework?

Of course! Breakthrough Silicon Valley is an academic program for students eager to learn and grow. Homework is an important part of learning. There will be homework during the summer program and occasional take-home assignments during the school year.

Is transportation provided to BTSV EVENTS?

BTSV provides transportation for the summer program, as well as field trips and activities during the school year that take place offsite.

Students must arrange their own transportation to any programming that takes place at either of our two offices.

Is FOOD provided at BTSV events?

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are provided to all students during the summer program. You may want to have your child bring their own lunch if he/she has special dietary needs.

During the school year, snacks are provided for the after-school program and any evening workshops. Snacks are also available in the offices for students who come by after school to do work.

What are the responsibilities of BTSV parents and guardians?

Family support is important for academic success and that holds true at Breakthrough Silicon Valley. We will ask for your support in ensuring that your child attends all program activities and does their homework consistently.

While most events will be students-only, there are some events that will require parent attendance and participation.

Is there a uniform or dress code?

There is no uniform but the program does enforce an appropriate dress code. If accepted, your student will receive a student handbook outlining all expectations.