Through the implementation of the 2017 Strategic Plan, Breakthrough SJC expanded its program scope to include support for its students through college graduation. Previously, Breakthrough served students with academic enrichment and counseling services from middle school to high school graduation with college matriculation as the outcome. They found that once in college their students, first in their families to attend college or from other backgrounds under-represented in higher education, were struggling with unique challenges.

“Through our 2017 strategic planning process, we recognized that we were leaving our students too soon in the process if our ultimate goal was to see them not just go to college but to graduate,” Breakthrough SJC Director Alex Serna said. “Through input from students and families, and the unanimous support of our major supporters, community partners and advisors, we made a commitment to extend the program from a 6-year middle and high school program, to serve students through to college, expanding the span a student is served by the program by 60 percent.”

Breakthrough SJC’s College Access and Completion program officially launched this school year providing a host of new support services and resources for Breakthrough SJC college students. Often challenges arise for new college students and the access program aids Breakthrough SJC students, who often experience obstacles in navigating these systems.

The College Access and Completion program provides students with individualized support as they navigate college, including assistance with financial aid applications, identifying resources on campus, ensuring they are on track to graduate and connections to summer internship opportunities.

Breakthrough SJC also made the commitment to serve more students for whom the Breakthrough program is a great fit. In 2007 Breakthrough SJC began with 22 students. Five years ago the program was serving 150 students in middle through high school. Today we are  serving 230, with a goal to expand the numbers of students to 360 by the 2021-2022 school year.

To fully support the expanded program goals and services, Breakthrough SJC has reorganized and will be expanding its staff from two full time employees to three, the director, an assistant director of middle and high school programs, and assistant director of college access and completion.

“When we make the promise to a new seventh grade Breakthrough student, now we can authentically say we commit to supporting them on their journey until they graduate college. We will be with them until they achieve their dream,” said Mr. Serna.

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