Breakthrough students all aspire to go to college and are willing to push themselves to excel academically.

Do you love to learn?

Are you planning to go to college?

Do you want to meet other hardworking students?

Are you a fourth grader?

If so, Breakthrough San Francisco may be for you!

Please read on to learn more.

What is Breakthrough San Francisco?

Breakthrough San Francisco at SF Day School is a tuition-free, year-round academic enrichment program for high-potential, underserved students in San Francisco.

We offer an exciting curriculum and small classes taught by trained college students. Students apply during the winter of their fourth grade year.

Accepted students make an eight-year commitment with the goal of attending and succeeding at a college-preparatory middle school, high school, and competitive four-year college.

All programming is tuition-free for Breakthrough families, and takes place at San Francisco Day School (350 Masonic Ave, San Francisco, CA, 94118).

Application and Timeline

The application process for 2021-22 is now open! Please see details below. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions by emailing or calling (415) 568-3669.

Selection Timeline for Summer 2022

  • Application Deadline: Friday, February 4, 2022
  • Teacher Recommendation Due Date: Monday, February 14, 2022
  • Interview Notification: Emailed by mid-March
  • Interviews: Saturday, March 19, 2022 or Saturday, March 26, 2022 (morning or early afternoon)
  • Final Decision Notification: Emailed Friday, April 1, 2022

Virtual Family Information Nights

Interested families are invited to learn more about Breakthrough at one of our two family information nights, which will take place on Zoom. Families will have the opportunity to meet Breakthrough staff, ask questions, and learn about this great opportunity. Attendance at one of these events is highly encouraged. The sessions will be webinar format – your camera and microphone will be off, but you’ll be able to see us and type questions into the Q&A box. Translation will be available in Cantonese and Spanish, though you may need an updated version of Zoom to access the Interpretation feature.

*Note: Please keep in mind that we rarely have spots available beyond our traditional point of entry in the 4th grade. 5th graders are welcome to apply by our February deadline each year; we will let you know by early May if we have spaces available due to attrition. We do not consider applicants who are in the 6th grade or older.

*If you are the family of a current 5th grader who applied to Breakthrough in 2020-21 and was not accepted, but would like to try again for summer 2022, you do not need to resubmit the entire application. Instead, please complete this short form by February 4, 2022 to express your interest. We may not know until late spring if we have any spots available due to attrition, but will get back to you by May 2022 at the latest.



Breakthrough students have a demonstrated need for this tuition-free program.  Students selected for Breakthrough meet at least three out of the five criteria:

  1. Qualify for free or reduced lunch at school.
  2. Will be the first in their family to attend a four-year college.
  3. Speak a language other than English at home.
  4. Live in a single-parent household.
  5. Attend an under-resourced school in San Francisco.


Accepted students make an eight-year commitment. Students are required to attend our summer program, school year program, and high school program (see below).

Summer Commitment

(through end of middle school)

  • Students are required to attend for six weeks during the summers before 5th – 8th grades.

  • We expect students to come to Breakthrough every day excited to learn, question, debate, write, experiment, and challenge themselves.
  • Daily attendance from Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm, is mandatory.
  • Optional after-school program from Monday-Friday, 3:30 – 5:30 pm.
  • Each night, students will have approximately one hour of homework, preparing them for college-preparatory classes in middle and high school.

School Year Commitment

(through end of middle school)

  • Students are required to attend Breakthrough’s after-school program twice per week.
  • Students receive personalized tutoring and attend engaging enrichment classes.
  • 5th and 6th graders attend on Mondays and Wednesdays (4:30 – 6:30 pm).
  • 7th and 8th graders attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays (4:30 – 6:30 pm).

High School Commitment:

  • Students are required to attend Breakthrough throughout their 9 – 12th grade years.
  • Students attend monthly Saturday workshops and take part in ACT prep, college campus visits, and personalized admissions counseling.
  • Students have summers available to pursue other opportunities. Or, they can volunteer in our summer program!

2022 Mandatory Program Dates (for students who are accepted):

  • Pre-Summer Orientation: Date TBD. All accepted students must attend along with a parent, guardian, or older family member.
  • 2022 Summer Program: Tue, June 21, 2022 – Fri, July 29, 2022, from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. Daily attendance is required. We anticipate being fully in-person in summer 2022. We will update this page if anything changes.
  • 2022 End of Summer Celebration: Thu, July 28 from 6 – 8 pm. Attendance is required for all students and families.
  • 2022-23 School Year Program: All students are expected to attend two days a week throughout the school year. 5th and 6th graders attend Mondays and Wednesdays (4:30 – 6:30 pm). 7th and 8th graders attend Tuesdays and Thursdays (4:30- 6:30 pm).
  • Future Summer and School Year Programs: Dates are TBD, but attendance is mandatory at both the summer and after-school program until graduation from middle school.