Founded in 1978 as Summerbridge, the Breakthrough Collaborative is a national educational enrichment program designed to prepare motivated, low-income middle school students for success in rigorous college preparatory programs. Drawn from the public school system, 92% of the students it serves are students of color. English is a second language for 34% of its students, and most would be the first in their family to attend college. As a pre-professional teaching experience, this program is also designed to enable college students to obtain first-hand experience in education, and to act as role models, educators and mentors.
As teachers in this program, college students teach core academic classes as well as electives, non-academic courses and "mini-courses", which they have the ability to develop and design. The program's ideal interns are "bright, passionate, creative and intrigued by learning and teaching--even if they are not necessarily planning to become teachers." Teacher-interns are guided by experienced mentor-teachers and connect with other students who share a passion for education and service. In addition, every teacher-intern: participates in an intensive pre-summer teacher-training program; plans and implements an academically rigorous curriculum; designs an elective course; leads a small middle school class; develops strong student engagement practices; builds meaningful relationships with students as a role model; practices a variety of evaluative and assessment techniques. The Breakthrough student teacher program has been repeatedly rated by the Princeton Review as a Top 10 Internship.
The Teaching Internship is unpaid with financial aid and living expenses provided for teachers. Stipends range from $1,000 to $3,300, depending on need and experience. Some sites may offer supplemental funding for financial aid recipients. Sites are able to offer housing to only a few candidates. For housing information specific to each site, explore the "Site Roster" located on the top right-hand corner of the application after log-in. Such housing may be homestays with board members or student or teacher families. Summerbridge Hong Kong is the only Breakthrough site located outside of the United States. Teachers for This "English All the Time" program are provided with English Language Development Training. Students who have never taught with a Breakthrough/Summerbridge program before will need to sponsor their own plane tickets and housing.
The application process may include a phone interview, an in-person interview, a teaching demonstration (either in person or over online video), and participation in a selection event with other applicants. Applicants applying to the Hong Kong program who are not Hong Kong citizens will need to submit their applications as soon as possible, as the program will need to apply for a work visa on the teacher's behalf, a process that takes approximately 6 weeks. International students are encouraged to contact the university office that supports international students. SF State international students should work with the Office of International Programs: http://www.sfsu.edu/~studyabr/Staff/Staff.html.
Although there is no "perfect" Breakthrough teacher, competitive applicants will have a unique blend of academic achievement, talent, personality and a deep commitment to Breakthrough's students and mission. Most Breakthrough Teachers have never taught before (and many are not planning to become professional teachers), but all strive to foster learning inside and outside the classroom.
Undergraduates under 23 with less than 5 years full-time professional experience.
Qualities the program looks for in the students it selects as Breakthrough Teachers: a deep understanding of and commitment to Breakthrough's student profile and mission; creativity, intelligence, and passion; responsibility and perseverance to complete the work of a teacher with excellence; leadership through experience as a role model for younger people; strong critical thinking skills; dedication to creating an active learning community for each other and students. The program also prizes a commitment to positive risk taking; it expects its teachers to step out of their comfort zone for personal and professional development.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens, or authorized to work in the U.S.---or to work in Hong Kong, should this be their teaching site--by the time the summer program begins.
Usually in early March. Selection is done on a rolling basis, however; so interested students are encouraged to apply as early as possible.
How To Apply:
Students or alumni, as applicable, may apply directly to this program. Applicants are encouraged, however, to work with SF State's fellowship advisor well in advance of the program deadline to perfect their application essays and other materials.