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 closed. We will reopen the process in November 2022 for students in the fourth grade interested in starting at Breakthrough in summer 2023. To express your interest and receive notification when the application launches, please complete this brief form. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions by emailing or calling (415) 568-3669.


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-price 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: Sat, June 11 from 10 am – 12 pm. All accepted students must attend along with a parent, guardian, or older family member.
  • 2022 Summer Program: Tue, June 21 – Fri, July 29 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.