Student & Family Handbook – 2022/2023
Breakthrough Manchester at The Derryfield School
Phone: (603) 641-9426
Questions? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Breakthrough Manchester
Breakthrough Manchester is a 6-year, tuition-free, college access program with the mission to support, traditionally underserved, Manchester middle school students on the path to college through academic and social growth and skill-building, college-readiness programs, and educational enrichment. At the same time, we are also dedicated to building the next generation of teachers and leaders through competitive recruitment, research-based training, and coaching from master teachers.
Our six year program consists of two parts:
- Breakthrough Manchester at The Derryfield School, the middle school portion of the program, requiring three consecutive years of the six-week summer session and five school-year Saturdays per year.
- Breakthrough Manchester at Southern New Hampshire University, the high school portion of the program. In high school, the program occurs largely through Saturday sessions once per month during the school year. There is no summer session in the high school program, leaving students free to work or take advantage of other summer opportunities.
Breakthrough works to bring together older students and younger students to create a community that benefits both. Younger students experience breakthroughs in academic achievement and self-confidence that help them advance to college. At the same time, the older students who teach begin to realize their own potential as leaders and educators. Breakthrough Manchester is affiliated with programs in cities across the country that together form the Breakthrough Collaborative.
Breakthrough is unique in that it builds strong relationships with students while teaching them college-prep academic skills. A small student-teacher ratio ensures students get the individualized support that they need. The program includes rigorous academic summer sessions in middle school, periodic Saturday workshops during the school year, ongoing mentoring, and college- prep activities.
Breakthrough sites are located in the following cities:
Ft. Worth, Texas
Hong Kong, China
Manchester, New Hampshire
New Orleans, Louisiana
New York, New York
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Providence, Rhode Island
Twin Cities, Minnesota
San Francisco, California
San Juan Capistrano, California
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Silicon Valley, California
Welcome to Breakthrough Manchester!
You applied to Breakthrough because you have a dream for yourself, and you saw Breakthrough as one way to reach your dream. You were selected for Breakthrough because you proved that you are willing to work hard, to explore new opportunities, and to make a serious commitment to your own future. We are pleased to welcome you to a community of equally inquisitive and goal-oriented students. As you prepare to succeed in middle school, to meet the rigors of high school, and to enter the college of your choice, you will encounter many opportunities and many obstacles. All of us at Breakthrough are here to provide guidance and resources throughout your journey. We want to help you find and take advantage of the opportunities you encounter while identifying ways around the obstacles. At Breakthrough, you have a team of supporters behind and beside you to help you make it all the way.
As you begin or continue your Breakthrough journey, take full advantage of this opportunity. Do not just pass the time. Use the time. Rarely will you receive as much personal attention as you will in this program. Use this time to look honestly at yourself as a student, to improve your academic and leadership skills, and to enrich your mind.
Remember that it’s okay to have big dreams and be a serious student. Breakthrough is a place where it is “cool to be smart.” Bring your best ideas, your curiosity, your questions, and your very best work to the program.
Welcome to Breakthrough – get ready to work hard, take risks, and have fun!
—Deb McLoud & Caroline Wilson
Breakthrough Manchester Core Values: The 6C Learner
At Breakthrough Manchester, we are dedicated to helping motivated students grow into 6C Learners. Based on the modes of leading minds in education such as Michael Fullan*, a worldwide leader on education reform, the 6C Learner is a well-rounded leader focused on growing and building skills in the following six areas:
6C Learners build their character education by being resilient, responsible, empathetic, and confident. They take time to focus on their own well-being and balance in addition to support the well-being and balance of others. They seize opportunities and thrive in challenges.
6C Learners actively participate as citizens of their community by treating others with dignity and respect, building their global and cultural knowledge base, and advancing environmental awareness. They don’t just take from the community; they work at giving back.
6C Learners know that clear and consistent communication with their peers, supervisors, and community is absolutely essential for success. They are dedicated to building strong communication skills in the areas of speaking, listening, writing, andreading in a variety of contexts.
6C Learners do not just solve problems, they self-direct to design and manage creative solutions. THey use their knowledge base, community, and various tools and resources to seek out barriers and break through them.
6C Learners recognize that together they are stronger. They learn from each other, use their unique skills to complement other members of the team, and work together to overcome challenges. They share each other’s burdens as well as successes.
6C Learners are innovative entrepreneurs and leaders. They harness the power of imagination to solve problems and meet challenges. They seize every moment and remember to play and have fun!
* Fullan, M. (2016) The New Meaning of Education Change. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Breakthrough Manchester Norms
- Be Breakthrough. Be early, be prepared, be fully present.
- Take ownership of your experience, both pro and con. This is what you make it.
- Recognize that everyone is a teacher and a learner.
- Understand before evaluating. Listen, listen, listen and process.
- Recognize the spirit of modeling.
- Speak from the “I” perspective.
- Lean into discomfort.
- Monitor your own participation; step up and step back.
- Be crisp. Say what’s core.
- Treat the candidness of others as a gift. Honor confidentiality.
- Be inclusive. Be welcoming.
- HAVE FUN!!!
Breakthrough Manchester Commitment
The Breakthrough community thrives on mutual respect, dedication to hard work, and a true willingness for each student to grow and improve during their time in the program. Our goal and hope is that all students will learn the value of consistent daily attendance, strong homework completion, and excellent behavior, as these skills are essential to success in high school and college.
Students are expected to attend all scheduled program dates. Families are asked to plan doctor’s visits, appointments, vacations, and other events so that they do not conflict with the dates and times of the program. Except in the case of illness or family emergency, attendance is mandatory. Absences due to circumstances other than illness or emergency will be considered unexcused.
Attendance Policy: To excuse an absence a student’s parent/guardian must notify (in person, by phone call, written note or email) Breakthrough Manchester by no later than 8 AM in the morning on that day of program, and preferably by the night before. Unexcused absences will call for a phone call home, a second offense will call for a letter home, and third offense will call for a meeting with the Directors and may result in dismissal from the program. Please remember that Breakthrough is a full scholarship program and that you have been offered an incredible opportunity. Your first and most basic responsibility is simply to show up.
Homework at Breakthrough is a way to reinforce and practice material learned in class, and prepare you for the upcoming school year and grades. Expect about an hour and a half of homework each day during the summer. Please note, homework is not a time to finish classwork. If you use your time wisely during SETH (Study, Enrichment, Tutoring and Homework), you will have less to do at home. At Breakthrough, our teachers want each student to excel in their homework assignments, so students will also have the telephone numbers of all teachers and are encouraged to call them with assignment questions. There is no homework on Fridays.
Homework policy: All homework is to be completed. No late homework and no half credit. In the case that you have missed an assignment, you will receive a YO (Your Opportunity form) detailing your action plan for the homework to be considered as “complete”. In most cases, you are required to meet with your teacher and you may be granted a 2 day extension.
Students are expected to do their best to meet these expectations around attendance, behavior, and homework completion. When issues arise, students will meet with a Breakthrough Director to better understand the situation.
Consistent problems will lead to the development of an individualized improvement plan. This plan will be discussed with the student and family collectively in a conference at program. Consequences in an improvement plan could include losing the privilege of attending celebrations, extracurricular, and/or Friday events. If the improvement plan is not adhered to, student may be dismissed from the program.
NOTE: As parents and guardians, you are our partners in your child’s success at Breakthrough. We place tremendous value on constant communication, so if there is any cause for concern (or there are fantastic positive things going on!) we will always let you know.
Program Policies and Procedures
There is no more important priority than the safety of each individual in our Breakthrough community. Each student, family, and staff member must cooperate to create a truly safe space for every student to learn and grow. If a student chooses to endanger the safety of others at Breakthrough, he or she may be dismissed from the program. With this in mind, note the following:
- Be actively responsible and respectful while at Breakthrough. Take time to get to know one another. Look out for the safety of others, and help others to make good choices.
- Weapons, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, stealing, and all other illegal activities are strictly prohibited.
- Hitting, fighting, hurtful words, or lack of respect for others will not be tolerated.
If you are not comfortable because of something or someone at Breakthrough, please visit with a Breakthrough Director about it. We want to know. We truly care about the safety of everyone in the Breakthrough family – please help keep us safe.
The most important rule of Breakthrough is RESPECT. We ask that everyone treat themselves and others with respect. This expectation applies at all times at Breakthrough, whether on the bus, in the classroom, at lunch, or on a field trip. First and foremost, Breakthrough is an academic program. Participants are asked to conduct themselves as serious students and to strive for excellence within and outside of the classroom.
Hazing will not be tolerated at Breakthrough Manchester.
Hazing is defined as any act directed toward a student, or any coercion or intimidation of a student to participate in or submit to any act, when:
- Such act is likely or would be perceived by a reasonable person to be likely to cause physical or psychological injury to any person; and,
- Such act is a condition of initiation into, admission into, continued membership in, or association with any organization.
Hazing, knowing submission to hazing, and failure to report hazing to law enforcement or school authorities are violations of New Hampshire law. Every member of the Breakthrough community must report hazing to School authorities so that appropriate action and necessary police reporting can be made. Students should report hazing to the Breakthrough Director or another Breakthrough professional staff member.
Breakthrough Manchester will not tolerate any bullying on or off The Derryfield School campus, whether verbal, written, or physical in nature. Bullying among children is commonly defined as intentional, severe or repeated hurtful acts, words, or other behavior, such as name-calling, threatening and/or shunning committed by one or more children against another. These negative acts are not intentionally provoked by the victims, and for such acts to be defined as bullying, an imbalance in real or perceived power must exist between the bully and the victim.
Bullying can include:
- Physical Bullying: punching, poking, strangling, hair pulling, beating, biting, and excessive tickling.
- Verbal Bullying: such acts as hurtful name-calling, teasing, and gossip.
- Cyber/Written Bullying: such acts as hurtful name-calling, teasing, and gossip on platforms including, but not limited to, text messaging, apps, and social media.
- Emotional Bullying: rejecting, terrorizing, extorting, defaming, humiliating, blackmailing, manipulating friendships, isolating, ostracizing, peer pressure, and rating/ranking of personal characteristics such as race, disability, ethnicity, or perceived sexual orientation
- Sexual Bullying: many of the actions listed above as well as exhibitionism, voyeurism, sexual propositioning, sexual harassment and abuse involving actual physical contact and sexual assault.
Every member of the Breakthrough community who has witnessed or has reliable information that a student has been subjected to bullying, including insults, taunts, or challenges, should promptly report this behavior to a Breakthrough Director or another Breakthrough professional staff member.
Breakthrough Manchester will not tolerate harassment of any kind, whether it is of a general nature or consistent with any of the specific examples described below. Where inappropriate conduct is found, Breakthrough Manchester will act promptly to eliminate the harassing conduct and take other appropriate corrective action, with the likelihood that the offender will be separated from the program.
Any form of harassment, including written or verbal harassment in the form of voicemail, electronic messaging systems or apps, electronic mail, or use of the school’s internet or intranet sites, will not be tolerated. Harassment may include acts of verbal, written, or physical abuse. It may also include more subtle, but equally damaging forms of harassment such as graffiti, epithets, and remarks or “humor” that stereotype individuals. No matter what form it takes, harassment of any member of this community is strictly prohibited.
- Ethnic or Religious Harassment: Any personally offensive or threatening conduct or behavior directed against an individual or group on the basis of a person’s ethnic origin or religion.
- Gender or Sexual Orientation Harassment: Any personally offensive or threatening conduct or behavior directed against an individual or group on the basis of gender or a person’s sexual orientation.
- Harassment of Newcomers to the Community (see Hazing): Any abuse, mistreatment, or disrespect directed against students or new members of the faculty and staff.
Any student who has a complaint or information about harassment of any kind should follow the procedures set forth in the sexual and anti-harassment policy, which follows in the next section.
Sexual and Anti-Harassment Policy
Policy: It is the policy of Breakthrough Manchester to maintain a learning and working environment that is free from sexual harassment. No employee or student of the program shall be subjected to sexual harassment.
It shall be a violation of this policy for any student, teacher or employee of Breakthrough Manchester to harass another student or an employee through conduct or communications of a sexual nature as defined herein. It shall also be a violation of this policy for students to harass other students or employees through conduct or communications of a sexual nature as defined herein.
Violations of this policy or procedure will be cause for disciplinary action.
Definition: Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Examples: Instances of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to:
- Verbal harassment or abuse
- Pressure for sexual activity
- Repeated remarks or gestures of a sexual nature, including comments about a person’s body
- Unwelcome touching
- Sexual jokes, posters, graffiti and other comments or printed materials when used or displayed in a sexually offensive manner
- Suggesting or demanding sexual involvement, accompanied by implied or explicit threats concerning one’s grades or professional, academic, or extracurricular status.
Procedures: The Breakthrough staff encourages any student who believes that he or she is the victim of or witnesses sexual harassment to notify the Break- through Director or another Breakthrough professional staff member. Such a complaint should be documented by the Breakthrough Director or other adult, identifying as clearly as possible:
- The alleged harasser,
- The date, time, and place of each act of harassment, and
- The identity of any witnesses to each act of harassment.
Sanctions: If it is determined by the Breakthrough Director that a student or teacher of the program has violated this policy, a substantiated charge against that individual shall subject him or her to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
Non-Retaliation: Breakthrough Manchester will not retaliate against any student or other individual for making a report of harassment or cooperating in an investigation of potential harassment, nor will the program permit any employee or student to engage in such retaliation. Retaliation is a very serious violation of the program’s harassment policy and should be reported immediately. Any person found to have retaliated against an individual for reporting in good faith what the individual believes to be discriminatory harassment or for cooperating in good faith in and program investigation of potential harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary procedures, up to and including termination of employment or dismissal from the program.
Breakthrough maintains a general Facebook and Instagram page. We encourage Facebook and Instagram users to connect with the program in this way. However, we strongly discourage direct social media connections between students/families with Breakthrough teachers, tutors, or staff members. Breakthrough teachers are told not to ‘friend’ students on Facebook or Instagram, and they are also informed not to share any images from the summer on their personal pages. This is in part to protect the privacy of all members of our community, and to respect appropriate boundaries based on age and role within our community. Apps where communications vanish after a period of time (such as Snapchat) are strictly prohibited. In general, these apps lend themselves to abuse.
Change of Address or Contact Information
Because Breakthrough will be working with you and your family for multiple years, it is essential that you keep us promptly informed of any changes in mailing addresses, phone numbers, or e-mail addresses in the future.
Dress for Success
We expect that every Breakthrough member will dress in an appropriate manner. Your Breakthrough wardrobe must not contribute to a hostile or intimidating atmosphere for any student, and that dress code enforcement does not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income, or body type/size. Any restrictions to the way one dresses must be necessary to support the overall educational goals of the program and must be explained within this dress code. Things to keep in mind when dressing for Breakthrough:
- Be sure messages on clothing are appropriate for a school setting (e.g. no disparaging messages or alcohol references)
- Clothing should cover your undergarments
- Clothing should cover your skin appropriately for numerous activities; tops should cover the front, back, and sides; bottoms should be no shorter than four inches above the knee
- Appropriate footwear must be worn at all times
The use of Breakthrough Chromebooks and other Breakthrough devices/technology is for the sole purpose of teaching and learning. Students are fully responsible for any Breakthrough devices/technology borrowed, and are to not be borrowed or used by anyone else. Any lost or damaged to the Breakthrough devices/technology must be reported immediately. The Breakthrough devices/technology falls unders Breakthrough’s property. All messages and transmissions composed, sent, stored, or received on any Breakthrough devices are and remain the exclusive property of Breakthrough Manchester and The Derryfield School and are not a student’s private property. Breakthrough reserves the right to take back the Breakthrough devices/technology at any point in time.
Students should not bring any electronics to Breakthrough or on the bus. Additionally, we discourage students from bringing cell phones – if parents need to communicate with students we ask that they call the Breakthrough office number (641-9426). If brought to the program, cell phones should be left in student lockers or turned off completely. Use of a cell phone during the program day must be approved by a Breakthrough Director; cell phones may be confiscated if they are used inappropriately during the day. Breakthrough is not responsible for lost or stolen valuables.
Preparation & Supplies
Students should always be prepared for classes and activities at Breakthrough. At a minimum, students should have a three-ring binder, paper, a pen, and a pencil every day. Some classes will require other items that will be given to students (such as books). If getting supplies for classes is a problem, Breakthrough has some extra materials and students should ask their advisor or a Breakthrough Director to access these. However, it is the student’s responsibility to keep track of these materials.
Other supplies/materials students may need over the summer:
- sneakers/running shoes for outdoor activities
- Breakthrough tee-shirts (which will be passed out during week one), are required for Boston Field Trip, College Visits, Grade Level Challenges, and Celebration. (see summer calendar for dates).
We hope you make long-lasting friendships while at Breakthrough. Romantic relationships are inappropriate.
Healthy Food Equals a Healthy Mind
What you eat affects how well you think and perform. Breakthrough provides meals and snacks while at the program. Soda and unhealthy snacks are not permitted, and eating is not permitted in classrooms.
Students should have a water bottle with them at all times during the summer (if possible) to stay hydrated and healthy. If you cannot provide a water bottle, Breakthrough can provide one. On hot days especially, students should be refilling their water bottles between classes. Drinking water in class is encouraged.
Medication & Health
For students who need to take medication during the school day, parents/ guardians must complete the required paperwork for dispensing medication (available from the Breakthrough office). Medication must be left in the Breakthrough Office in the original medicine bottle from the pharmacy. We will keep medications in a safe place.
If a child has a minor injury that can be easily treated with basic first aid, s/he should tell a teacher or staff member who will assist him/her. While we never anticipate serious injuries or health problems, families must have completed an Emergency Health Form and Physicians Form before students are allowed to participate in Breakthrough.
Breakthrough provides bus transportation within Manchester for students whose families are unable to transport them. Our resources are limited, however, and so we may, at times, call on families to help with transportation by participating in a carpool. If students are assigned to ride the bus, they should arrive at their designated stop five to ten minutes early. If a student misses the bus, the student’s family needs to provide or find a ride for their child. We strongly recommend that each family have a plan in place for dealing with this situation before the summer begins. Parents, if your child tends to run late, you might encourage him or her to prepare their backpack and clothes the night before so they are ready to go in the morning. Using an alarm clock can be a helpful practice in getting up on time!
Riding the bus to Breakthrough is a privilege – not a right. All program rules apply on the bus and we take misbehavior very seriously. Disrespect on the bus may lead to suspension from the bus. If you have a problem on the bus, talk to the driver or to a Breakthrough Director.
We are always excited when people want to learn about Breakthrough Manchester. With the approval of the Executive Director, we will occasionally have visitors on campus. With permission from a Breakthrough Director, students, staff and/or faculty may be allowed to bring siblings, family members, or friends interested in the program. Other visitors may attend one of our Visitors’ Days during the summer (children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult) – more information about Visitors’ Days will be made available at the beginning of the summer. All Breakthrough students, faculty, and staff are asked to assist with safety by being aware of individuals without visitor badges/name tags and redirecting them to a Director for proper identification.
Special Events & Field Trips
Throughout the summer and school year, Breakthrough offers opportunities for students to participate in special events and activities. These may include field trips to enriching concerts or theatrical shows, community events, college visits, or social events. We may announce these opportunities when we see students at our regularly scheduled school year programming (Super Saturdays) or we may contact students by phone or mail. We encourage students to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them. During the summer, many of these events are part of our regular day and all students and teachers participate. These include: Spirit Day, Olympics & Spaghetti Dinner, Boston Field Trip, and other special events. For some of these events, students will need to prepare ahead of time (for example: remembering to bring appropriate footwear for walking in Boston and wear their Breakthrough tee-shirt). We will communicate as clearly as possible the details of each event ahead of time so students can be prepared to participate fully.
Joel Vargas Achievement Fund
The Joel Vargas Achievement Fund (JVAF) is money that is available to Breakthrough students to help them pay for expenses they may encounter as they pursue academic and enrichment opportunities in the future. Students have used JVAF money to help pay for musical instruments, sports camps and equipment, school supplies, SAT test fees, college application fees, driver’s education, travel opportunities, and much more. We ask all students and families to participate in encouraging contributions by talking about Breakthrough with family, friends, colleagues and neighbors. Students and families are never expected to collect funds directly for Breakthrough or JVAF. All Breakthrough students are welcome to request money from the JVAF at any time by contacting the Breakthrough Office.
This fund was established in honor of the second Director of Breakthrough Manchester, Joel Vargas. Joel joined Breakthrough as a student in 1979, when he was in sixth grade in San Francisco, California. He was the first Breakthrough student who went on to teach in the program as a high school/college student and then to return to be a professional Director. Joel earned his Doctorate in Education from Harvard University and now works with Jobs for the Future in Massachusetts and California.
Special Information for Parents & Guardians
Breakthrough is a place for educational resources and support for parents/ guardians as much as it is for children. Keep in touch with us when you have concerns, questions, and changes (especially address, phone, and job changes). We know that your children will sometimes love Breakthrough and sometimes tire of the work. If your child is tired or wants to give up, call us to tell us what is going on. We will do what we can to support you and your child during these times of difficulty. We are all on the same team, and we all share the same goal of helping students succeed. Contact information can be found on the front page of this handbook.
Beyond the joint commitment we have outlined in the contract, we can use any extra help you wish to give! The program is “free” for families, but any contributions of your time and talent are greatly appreciated. If you wish to go the extra mile for the program, we can often use help with special events, translating, interpreting documents into Spanish, Vietnamese, Bosnian, or other languages, bringing healthy snacks for our teachers, and generally supporting the program. Just call us if you want to get involved or have an idea that might help our students or teachers. Thank you for all your continued support.
The Path to College
An important note about the path to college is that there is not just one path. The steps below are ones that have helped many Breakthrough students achieve academic success in the past. But you have to find your own path as you navigate your way to reach your own goals and dreams. Plan to use Breakthrough as a resource and sounding board as you plot your own journey.
What do I get for my commitment to Breakthrough?
- Academically rigorous six-week summer sessions before 7th, 8th and 9th grades
- Fun, social and inspiring enrichment at five Super Saturdays during the school year
- Educational and inspiring field trips and special events
- Information and support for high school and college preparation
- Breakfast, lunch, and snacks during the summer session and breakfast and snacks at school year sessions
- Transportation to and from the program during the summer sessions
- Experiences and friendships you will never forget!
How can Breakthrough help me and my family?
- Help you choose the right classes in high school
- Provide guidance for students and parents in how to advocate with teachers and school personnel
- Provide the opportunity to apply for additional funds to pursue things like camps, extracurriculars, and other activities that allow you to pursue your interests outside of Breakthrough
- Write college, scholarship or job recommendations for you
- Connect you with thousands of Breakthrough students and teachers across the country