the breakthrough silicon valley experience

Summer Program

A Breakthrough Silicon Valley student's six-year journey begins with our summer program during the summer before 7th grade. Academic enrichment, leadership, and vision setting are fundamental outcomes of our summer program. Students dive into engaging, hands-on experiences and become part of a peer group that loves learning too.

  • Rising 7th and 8th graders participate in a six-week program. Rising 9th graders participate in a four-week program.

  • All classes are taught via our students-teaching-students model, in which smaller-sized classrooms are led by Teaching Fellows, who are high school and college-aged students interested in becoming teaches themselves.

  • Core academics geared for high school success: algebra, geometry, biology, physics, chemistry, literature, writing

  • Elective courses provide a well-rounded education: examples include computer programming, philosophy, theater, and more

  • Career Exploration Day sends groups of students across the South Bay to different companies and exposes students to a variety of professions and motivate them to pursue a college degree

  • Field trips, sports, arts, and other co-curricular activities provide opportunities to strengthen friendships, build confidence, and provide a foundation for future Breakthrough learning experiences

  • Breakthrough high school students with an interest in programming can attend our Computer Science Academy, where they spend two weeks learning computer science basics and creating their very own video games using Zulama. The academy includes career exposure as well, through "lunchtime chats" with local tech professionals.

Our objective during these summers is not only teaching content, but instilling a growth mindset and nurturing learning that leads students to create a culture of intellectual rigor and high expectations. Summers set the tone for what the BTSV community is supposed to be: filled with positive spirit where learning is fun and including everyone along the way. Our students end up gaining much more than support on the path to college, including confidence, resilience, social-emotional skills, peer support and friendships to last a lifetime.


After School Program (ASP)


Our school-year ASP for 7th and 8th graders develops essential college-going skills, provides creative learning opportunities and ensures our students maintain connections with their peer group throughout the school year, which serves as a valuable support system.

  • In the spring semester, 7th graders participate in an eight-week twice-weekly After-School Program, which incorporates an engineering mindsets curriculum designed by the Tech Interactive and inspired by their Tech Challenge program. The ASP also promotes communication, collaboration and creative thinking through STEM-based problem solving activities.

  • In the fall semester, 8th graders participate in a once-weekly High School Transitions program, which prepares them for the rigors of high school while also getting them to think about the type of environment which works best for them while educating them on the full range of high school options available beyond the public school system.

Through the ASP, students will gain confidence in their ability to create solutions to problems; develop skills in collaboration and communication (verbal and written) that support designing solutions, problem solving and critical thinking; develop innovator mindsets specifically being collaborative, bold, curious, and empathetic; and develop a sense of their ability to design solutions.


personalized Advising and enrichment activities

Throughout the six years, students and families can expect year-round personalized support and monthly school-year workshops to ensure development and mastery of academic skills and habits and preparation for success in college preparatory high schools and colleges. Expected programming includes:

  • One-on-one advocacy, counseling and support in which each student and their family have a dedicated BTSV advisor to assist with academic, extracurricular and personal matters, grade monitoring, course selection and other related follow-ups and subjects.

  • Community building activities encouraging positive risk-taking and other social-emotional skills in an inclusive environment.

  • College and career readiness services and workshops during the high school years prepare students to be scholars, leaders, and exceptional college candidates.

  • Advising on personalized summer experiences that further cultivates leadership skills and develops students as well-rounded individuals.

  • Regular access to office hours and working space during after-school and weekend hours to complete homework, study for exams, work on personal statements, etc.

  • Targeted one-on-one tutoring for students who need additional support.

  • A three-day bus trip to southern California which takes our juniors to four-year campuses such as Cal Poly SLO, UCSB, UCLA and University of Redlands. The goal is to get students thinking about the type of school that's the best fit for them. Students explore classrooms, get a taste of on-campus life, and interact with current students and/or university representatives.

  • College entrance standardized test preparation courses and materials.

  • Week-long college application and essay writing camps for rising seniors.

  • Guidance for seniors and families in college applications, financial aid, and selecting a college once accepted. We also connect interested BTSV graduates to our partner, Beyond 12, to provide personalized coaching for their first two years of college.

Student progress is assessed throughout the six-year program. First and foremost we focus on academic success at the student’s school. We monitor our students’ grades at key checkpoints during the year. We also use our own tools to track progress: an individualized Student Success Plan and end of summer evaluations. Each student is given an evaluation and a Student Success Plan so that he/she and Breakthrough Silicon Valley understand his/her strengths and areas of improvement. Both documents are developed as a result of formal and informal assessment throughout the summer and school year programs. Full-time staff and Teaching Fellows work collaboratively to use this academic data to produce an individualized plan for each student.


Breakthrough gets results

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Inside the Breakthrough Backpack


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