Breakthrough Manchester at The Derryfield School is a tuition-free, academic program whose mission is to help promising middle school students – particularly those with limited opportunities – build skills and confidence to enter and succeed in college preparatory high school programs, while inspiring talented high school and college students to pursue careers in education.
Breakthrough students begin their path to college as sixth graders, when they self-select and go through a rigorous application process. For the next three summers, students participate in a high-energy, rigorous academic and enrichment program aimed at skill-building and leadership. Additionally, Breakthrough is a clearinghouse for resources and information that helps students and their families make informed decisions about school and, ultimately, college matriculation. Support continues beyond the summer and includes four half-day Saturdays during the school year. In high school, students and families can access college counseling services. All services are provided tuition-free to students and families, and are funded by foundations, businesses, and individuals who believe in the mission of Breakthrough.
In an effort to address the ongoing national teacher shortage, Breakthrough Manchester’s academic program is taught entirely by high-performing high school and college students between the ages of 16 and 22, under the close guidance of professional educators. As Breakthrough teachers, these dynamic young people have the unparalleled opportunity to take ownership of and practice all aspects of teaching, from planning, curriculum design, teaching methodology, and assessment. Far from “playing teacher,” Breakthrough teachers are expected and encouraged to emulate their best teachers and to create a skills-intensive and enriching classroom environment that instills urgency about academic success in their students.
Breakthrough Manchester is a proud member of Breakthrough Collaborative, a network of sites that boldly envisions a day when all children will have access to excellent educational opportunities. Originally founded in 1978, Breakthrough sites in 27 cities across America touch the lives of thousands of youth through the “students teaching students” model. The Derryfield School has been Breakthrough Manchester’s most important partner and home since the program’s inception in 1991.