FAQs

What is Breakthrough Houston?
Breakthrough Houston is a tuition-free program for high-achieving, motivated students from underserved families in Houston. Breakthrough makes a six-year commitment to support our students from the summer before 7th grade through high school graduation. Middle school students participate in a rigorous six-week Summer Program, plus a School Year program made up of eleven Saturday enrichment sessions. High school students participate in a four-year college prep program of SAT/ACT prep, college visits, and resume building opportunities.

Where does the program take place?
The School Year and College Bound programs both operate at St. John’s School. Our Summer Programs are hosted at three sites — St. John’s School, KIPP CONNECT, and Gregory-Lincoln Educational Center.

What does a typical day look like in the Summer Program?
Breakthrough students start their days at 8AM with breakfast. Then they attend four academic classes, each 55 minutes long. After a 25-minute lunch break, the students go to their last academic class of the day, spend some down time with their Breakthrough families, and then go to an activity or elective of their choice. The day ends at 4PM when we load up the buses.

How much does Breakthrough Houston cost?
Breakthrough is a tuition-free program.

How long is Breakthrough Houston?

  • The Summer Program runs for six weeks (Monday through Friday) from 8:00AM to 4:00PM (on Fridays students are dismissed at 1:35PM).
  • The School Year Program consists of eleven Saturdays sessions that last from 9:00AM until noon. (A schedule is sent to each student before the school year begins.)
  • The College Bound Program takes place throughout the school year on various Saturdays. (A schedule is sent to each student before the school year begins.)

Does Breakthrough provide meals?
During the Summer Program, we provide breakfast and lunch for all students. During the School Year program, we offer a healthy snack at the end of each session, but not a full meal.

Is there a uniform or dress code?
There is no uniform, but students should dress appropriately for a school setting.

What is the application process like?
Motivated 6th graders are eligible to apply. You must have good behavior, above average grades, and a strong desire to attend a college-preparatory high school and a four-year college.  The application asks for items like teacher recommendations, essays, and your family’s tax returns. Applications are due in February and can be found HERE.

When do I find out if I’m accepted?
Acceptance letters will be mailed to your house by the end of March.

What are some fun things Breakthrough does throughout the summer?
Breakthrough students participate in a community service project, dress up for Spirit Week, and compete in the Breakthrough Olympics. They also have fun in the classroom! The students do everything from dissecting eyeballs to participating in debates to acting out dramatic scenes.


Where can I find the application to become a Summer Program teacher?
You must apply through our national office. The online application is available in mid-October. When asked which site you are interested in, list Breakthrough Houston as your top choice.

Where is the application to become a School Year Program teacher?
The 2018-2019 School Year Program Volunteer Teacher Application is currently closed. For more information about the Breakthrough Houston School Year Program, CLICK HERE.

What are the hours?
Summer teachers are at school from 7:30AM until 6:00PM. Teachers also take work home, like grading papers, preparing lesson plans, and drafting quizzes. School Year Program teachers have two Saturday orientation sessions at St. John’s School from 8:00AM until noon for each.

If I do not live in Houston, are there options for living arrangements over the summer?
Yes, there are homestay opportunities available. Be sure to list this need in your application.

Who outlines the curriculum?
All Breakthrough, sites work with curriculum developed by our Instructional Coaches. You will work with your Instructional Coach to learn how to present the material in a manner that fits with your personality. Don’t worry; you’ll still get to put your own personal touch on things.

How will I learn how to teach?
All Breakthrough teachers participate in an orientation program called Breakthrough Instructional Training (BIT). BIT was developed by our national office, with input from former Breakthrough teachers. BIT will help you break down concepts into manageable pieces for your students, learn classroom management techniques, and ensure your students are mastering the material you’re teaching.

How do I select the subject I want to teach?
In your application, you will rank which subjects you’d like to teach. During your interview, we’ll talk about which subjects you are most comfortable teaching. We’ll also discuss potential elective classes you might be able to teach.

Is it possible to enroll in summer school or work at another part-time job while teaching at Breakthrough Houston during the summer?
No. Teaching at Breakthrough Houston requires a serious time commitment which makes it impossible to take on a second job or class.

How old do I have to be to apply to be a teacher?
During the summer, most of our teachers are either in college or have just graduated from high school. We have several Teaching Assistant positions that are usually filled by high school students. During the school year, most of our teachers are enrolled in high school and receive community service hours for participating in Breakthrough Houston. We do have a few teachers who are college students at local schools like the University of Houston, Rice University, and Houston Baptist University.

How can I stay involved as a Teaching Fellow alumni?
Click here to join the national Breakthrough alumni community and be connected to resources and opportunities. Stay up to date with Breakthrough Houston by signing up for our mailing list.


What is Breakthrough Houston’s connection to the host sites?
Breakthrough Houston programs are fortunate to have the host sites of St. John’s School, Episcopal High School, KIPP Connect, and Gregory-Lincoln Educational Center. Host sites make their beautiful campuses available for our programs to operate and encourage their students to get involved as Breakthrough scholars, tutors, and teachers. Host sites do not financially support Breakthrough Houston. We are financially independent and responsible for raising money to fund our budget each year.

How can I get involved?
There are several ways to get involved here at Breakthrough Houston. Donate, become a homestay family, give in-kind donations, be a career day sponsor, join us as a College Bound mentor, or come see us on Visitors Days.