2020 Teaching fellow APPLICATIONS

If you have questions not answered below, please contact Winnie Yip Fong at

Where does the program take place?

Through its close partnership with the San Jose Unified (SJUSD) and Franklin-McKinley (FMSD) School Districts, Breakthrough Silicon Valley’s school-year programs are hosted at various sites throughout the districts. Our summer programs take place at campuses in and around San Jose, with locations varying from year to year.

In 2019, summer programs were held at three sites: Ohlone Middle School (SJUSD 7th/8th), Evergreen Valley High School (FMSD 7th/8th) and Yerba Buena High School (Combined 9th).



You will receive a stipend for your participation in the summer program. In 2020:

  • Teaching Fellows in the 7th/8th grade summer program (eight-week commitment) will receive a base stipend of $1,750 (for high school students) or $2,000 (everyone else).

  • Teaching Fellows in the 9th grade summer program (six-week commitment) will receive a base stipend of $1,500.

Base stipend amounts for 2020 have yet to be determined.

Stipend enhancements are available for returning Teaching Fellows or based on demonstrated financial need.


I am interested, but do not have a place to stay. Are there options for housing?

There will be limited housing support available for applicants, with more details to be provided as you progress through the application process.


I am interested, but do not have a car. Are there options for transportation?

Yes, we can help with carpool or public transportation arrangements if you will not have access to your car.


How is it decided which subject I teach?

In the application, we ask you to list which core subjects you are “excited,” “able to,” and “not willing” to teach. Our staff looks at these preferences, in combination with the needs of the program and offers positions accordingly.


Is it possible to have another job or take classes in the summer while being a teaching fellow?

Unfortunately, this is not possible because of the commitment you will be making with us this summer. In order to ensure the quality of instruction for our students and for you to grow as a teacher, we ask you to dedicate your full energy to your work at Breakthrough. You will be free on the weekends, but keep in mind that to be a successful teacher, you must put in more hours than those spent on site for grading, planning, etc.


Who designs the courses I will be teaching?

You do! Breakthrough Silicon Valley has a unique approach to curriculum design where our staff decides which academic skills and topics need to be covered in the curriculum and then gives Teaching Fellows the freedom to design their own lesson plans. For example, all English classes will work on paragraph writing. However, that skill can be taught through a variety of contexts such as Harry Potter novels, Harlem Renaissance poetry, or Shakespeare. For academic electives, you can design and teach your own course from scratch. The course you design should be based on your academic background and passion. While each teacher is given the freedom to design course material, your Instructional Coach will review daily lesson plans and give final approval.