Breakthrough

Our History and Our Mission

The Breakthrough Collaborative is a network of tuition-free programs in which talented high school and college students teach middle school students with limited educational opportunities the academic, organizational and social skills they will need to succeed in competitive high school programs. With 27 sites around the country (including one in Hong Kong), the Breakthrough serves thousands of middle-school students each year with ambitious, tuition-free programs.

Breakthrough Santa Fe welcomed our first students in 2004 on the campus of Santa Fe Prep. The School initiated the Breakthrough program as part of our “Local Ground” initiative, seeking to serve the broader Santa Fe community with what we do best: provide an ambitious course of study in a warm, nurturing environment.

Prep supports the program financially and institutionally—we consider Breakthrough an integral part of the School’s mission. In addition, we provide high school and college-age young adults, who come from around the country, with a rewarding experience as teachers and mentors. Breakthrough Santa Fe works in close collaboration with the Santa Fe Public Schools and other groups that serve our city’s youth.

Why is Breakthrough Important in Santa Fe?

In Santa Fe, only 60-70% of high school students graduate. As in all cities, this rate is even lower for students from ethnic minority and low-income backgrounds. Surprisingly, even highly motivated and high achieving low-income students have only a 31% chance of obtaining a bachelor’s degree by age twenty-six.

At Breakthrough, we believe in serving the students who need us most. Nearly 90% of our students are of color, nearly all are drawn from the public school system, and many participate in free or reduced-price lunch programs. English is a second language for a substantial number of our students, and almost all are the first in their families to have the opportunity to attend college.

Because children from ethnic minority and low-income backgrounds are more likely to attend poorly funded, less rigorous elementary and middle schools, they are less likely to graduate from high school and, therefore, to attend college. Breakthrough provides a valuable opportunity to supplement our students’ traditional education and to set them on the path to college. Visit the Breakthrough Santa Fe website to learn more about the program’s history and success.

For more information about Breakthrough Santa Fe, please contact Talia Winokur.

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Breakthrough Team

Talia Winokur, Executive Director
Sam Ritter, Associate Director
Allie Cooper, Student Support Coordinator

Breakthrough Advisory Board

Susan Matteucci, Chair
Marc Bertram
Karin Griscom Boyd
Carole Brito
Ellie Edelstein
Kézha Hatier-Riess
Reneé Martínez
Joe McClaugherty
Suzanne Moss
Carol Romero-Wirth
Harry Shapiro
Amber Trujillo
Nancy Udell