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Our Approach

At Breakthrough, We Believe..
...all students should have the opportunity to benefit from the life-changing power of a college degree.

…deep rooted, systemic racism and income inequities create barriers to college degree attainment for students of color, students from low-income communities and students who will be the first in their families to earn a college degree.

supporting all students to realize their educational potential can be a disruptor of our region’s current racial and economic disparities.

the path towards increasing educational equity in our region is through culturally responsive interventions provided in the context of trusting relationships.

WHY WE EXIST
All children should have the opportunity to benefit from the life-changing power of a college degree, as educational opportunities beyond high school afford a greater ability to achieve economic mobility and build a life of one’s own choosing. However, too often, a student’s circumstances of birth – race, ethnicity, family’s income level or immigration status – predicts the educational opportunities they will be afforded.

Only 1 in 4 Central Texas high school graduates go on to earn a college degree or certificate. For students from low-income communities, that number drops to just 1 in 8.

To combat this inequity, Breakthrough makes a 12-year commitment to students and their families to guide them through the process of preparing for, enrolling in and completing college. The long-term model ensures the success of students and families from middle school to high school graduation to college diploma and beyond.

The Hard Reality

 Reality in Central Texas Education 

  • While Austin is the most highly educated city in Texas, Central Texas has one of the lowest college graduation rates in the state for students from low-income communities.
  •  Only 1 in 4 Central Texas high school graduates go on to earn a college degree or certificate. For students from low-income communities, that number drops to just 1 in 8.
  • Parental educational attainment level predicts persistent poverty for children more than any other factor, including single parenthood or unemployment.
  • Young adults without a postsecondary certificate or degree have only a 12% chance of earning a living wage in Texas.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a 32% drop in postsecondary enrollment for students from high-poverty schools nationwide.
  • Nearly two-thirds of jobs in Central Texas require a postsecondary degree.
  • The U.S.  economy misses out on $956 billion dollars per year due to economic and racial/ethnic inequality in postsecondary education attainment
      A DIVERSE APPROACH FOR OUR REGION
      Our multi-faceted approach is rooted in our core beliefs. By partnering deeply with students, families and local stakeholders we are facilitating lasting change driven by the unique needs of our students and greater community.

      THE 12-YEAR EXPERIENCE

      Starting in middle school, Breakthrough provides extended learning, personal advising and leadership experiences through the entire phase of a student’s schooling (middle school, high school, and college).

      Extended Learning
      Breakthrough extends the amount of learning each student receives outside of school by offering academically challenging summer programs, after-school tutoring, Saturday enrichment programs and SAT/ACT preparation. We also offer college-financing counseling and individualized college guidance.

      Comprehensive Advising
      Breakthrough advisers serve each student, 24/7, as their go-to, knowledgeable, personal advocate and champion. Advisors are a special key to our model’s success. Our professional advisors, work one-on-one with students through middle school, high school, and college.

      Leadership Experience
      Breakthrough engages students in rich, meaningful experiences that develop leadership and instill confidence and a sense of real-life achievement. These experiences develop important non-cognitive skills such as motivation and perseverance that are crucial for college success and success in life. 

      THE POSTSECONDARY SCHOOLWIDE ADVISING PROGRAM (PSAP)

      The PSAP is a year-round advising services partnership that supports students to realize their postsecondary goals by providing direct advising services to every junior and senior at a campus. Additionally, the PSAP works with the campus through capacity-building support to shift the goal for students beyond high school graduation to success in higher education.

      POLICY & ADVOCACY PRACTICE

      Breakthrough’s mission is to support first-generation college aspirants to achieve postsecondary success. We fundamentally understand that, no matter how much determination our students display and how much support they receive from their families, schools, and Breakthrough, the educational system can present barriers and challenges that get in the way. Our mission is rooted in commitments to educational equity and in the intertwined issues of health, economic, immigration, and racial justice, as the ability to go to school and realize one’s educational dreams is connected to many other factors in our society.

      We are committed to supporting policies and institutional practices that positively impact college access and success directly, and also to addressing policies and other root causes outside the educational sector that impact the quality of life of students and their families, so they can be housed, healthy, and holistically supported to realize their goals.

       

      In 2023, Breakthrough will serve more than 3,000 students, in sixth grade through college, from Austin ISD, Manor ISD and Del Valle ISD.

      Breakthrough students, even when compared to students with similar demographics and academic standing, are 2x as likely to graduate from college as their peers.

      At every grade level, our students outpace their peers on critical milestones, including school attendance, grades and college entrance exams.

      of our students, on average, graduate from high school on early or on time, compared to compared to 88% of the most recent cohort of their Central Texas peers from low-income communities.

      of our students, on average, enroll directly in college, compared to 37% of the most recent cohort of their Central Texas peers from low-income communities.

      of students, on average, graduate from college within six years, compared to 38% of their peers from low-income communities.