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 spring 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 2018-19 is now closed. We will reopen the application process in late fall 2019 for fourth graders interested in starting at Breakthrough in summer 2020. To express your interest and be notified when the application is available, please complete this form.
2018-19 dates are below. The 2018-19 application is also available below for your reference; however, applications for 2018-19 are no longer being accepted. Please contact Andy Shin, Executive Director, with any questions.
- Family Information Nights: Interested families are invited to learn more about Breakthrough at one of the two family information nights. 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. Location: San Francisco Day School – 350 Masonic Avenue in San Francisco (please use Golden Gate Ave. entrance):
- Wednesday, December 12, 2018, from 6 – 7 pm
- Wednesday, January 16, 2019, from 7 – 8 pm
- Application Deadline: Friday, February 8, 2019
- Selection Day Notification: Applicants will receive notification the first week of March.
- Selection Days: Saturday, March 9, 2019 or Saturday, March 16, 2019. Invited students will attend a half-day interview with a parent or guardian on one of these days.
- Final Decision Letters: Mailed by Friday, March 29, 2019
*Note: Please keep in mind that we rarely have spots available beyond our traditional point of entry in the 4th grade. Current 5th graders are welcome to apply by our February deadline, using the application above; 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.
Breakthrough students have a demonstrated need for this tuition-free program. Students selected for Breakthrough meet at least three out of the five criteria:
- Qualify for free or reduced lunch at school.
- Will be the first in their family to attend a four-year college.
- Speak a language other than English at home.
- Live in a single-parent household.
- 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).
(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 am – 3:30 pm, is mandatory.
- Optional after-school program from Monday-Friday, 3:30 – 5:30 pm.
- Each night, students will have 1 – 2 hours 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 (3:30 – 5:30 pm).
- 7th and 8th graders attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays (4 – 6 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!
2019 Mandatory Program Dates (for students who are accepted):
- Pre-Summer Orientation & Assessments: Saturday, May 11, 2019 (9:00am-3:00pm). All accepted students must attend the mandatory pre-summer orientation and assessment day. A parent, guardian, or older family member must attend the day with the student to learn about upcoming Breakthrough programming.
- 2019 Summer Program: June 24, 2019 – August 2, 2019. Programming takes place 8:00am-3:30pm Monday through Fridays. After-school is available each day until 5:30pm. Students have an average of 1 – 2 hours of homework each night. Daily attendance is mandatory.
- 2019 End of Summer Celebration: The evening of Thursday, August 1 is our mandatory, end-of-summer Celebration.
- 2019-2020 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 (3:30-5:30pm). 7th and 8th graders attend Tuesdays and Thursdays (4:00-6:00pm).
- Future Summer and School Year Programs: Dates are TBA, but attendance is mandatory at both the summer and after-school program until graduation from middle school.