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Breakthrough Announces Expansion to Boston's TechBoston Academy

Published: 12-Apr-2012 Organization changes name to Breakthrough Greater Boston to reflect dual commitment to Cambridge and Boston

CAMBRIDGE, APRIL 12, 2012-Breakthrough Greater Boston announces today that, after 20 years of success in Cambridge, the organization, formerly known as Breakthrough Cambridge, will be opening a second site and expanding to Boston. The move will allow Breakthrough Greater Boston to double the number of high-need students and promising future teachers it serves through its tuition free, out-of-school-time program model.

TechBoston Academy in Dorchester has been selected to serve as the host school for the Breakthrough Boston site. As a public school serving grades 6-12, TechBoston aligns with the model that Breakthrough Greater Boston has successfully operated in Cambridge for two decades. The school currently offers no after school or summer academic programming and serves a high need population (95% of students are of color; 86% are low income; and 36% are English language learners) that matches the population currently served through the Breakthrough Cambridge site.

TechBoston met the multi-factor criteria that Breakthrough Greater Boston set for its expansion partner based on the tenets of its success in Cambridge. The criteria included alignment of mission and philosophy, commitment to partnership, desire for programming, assignment of resources, and ability to partner on fundraising.

"Our Board and staff have been considering, analyzing and planning for this expansion for well over a year," said Elissa Spelman, Executive Director of Breakthrough Greater Boston. "TechBoston is a school with strong leadership and faculty that are working to ensure their students beat the odds. As we move forward, Breakthrough Greater Boston is incredibly fortunate to have two great partners in Mary Skipper, Headmaster of TechBoston Academy and Dr. Jeff Young, Superintendent of Cambridge Public Schools. Both are recognized leaders dedicated to providing the best educational experiences for all of their students."

"TechBoston Academy is a young school that has achieved notable success in its first ten years, but we are continually striving to grow, improve and ensure our students' achievement," said Mary Skipper, Headmaster, TechBoston Acadmey. "In order to continue on this path of success, and in light of the many challenges we face as a public school dedicated to college preparation, we find it critically important to seek high quality partnerships to complement our work. Breakthrough exemplifies that type of partnership and has proven that it makes a difference in the lives of its students. We are eager to introduce that positive, transformative influence into our students' lives and into the TechBoston Academy community."

Through its expansion, Breakthrough Greater Boston will increase its efforts to close the achievement gap that public schools face today, particularly those in urban settings. Only 60% of America's low-income youth can expect to graduate from high school; only 33% can expect to enroll in college; and only 14% earn bachelor's degrees. Research shows that out-of-school-time programs such as those offered by Breakthrough Greater Boston are critical to closing the achievement gap. For the last four years, 100% of seniors enrolled in Breakthrough Cambridge have matriculated to four-year colleges, and 96% of them are still in college today. Additionally, 80% of teachers trained through Breakthrough Cambridge programs and who graduated in 2010 and 2011 are currently teaching in urban school systems.

"We're motivated by being able to impact a larger number of students as we move forward," said Spelman. "At the same time, we celebrate the work we've accomplished with our partners in Cambridge and remain committed to helping meet the city's education needs in the future."

In conjunction with the opening of its site in Boston, the organization has changed its name from Breakthrough Cambridge to Breakthrough Greater Boston to better reflect the population of students and teachers it serves. To underscore the organization's commitment to both communities and their distinct identities, the two sites will operate as Breakthrough Boston and Breakthrough Cambridge.

"We've enjoyed a great partnership with Breakthrough Cambridge," said Dr. Jeff Young, Superintendent of Cambridge Public Schools. "Their model perfectly augments our mission as a District committed to educational excellence and social justice. We're excited for TechBoston because we know firsthand the impact that the partnership has had on our students over the past 20 years. We also see opportunities for shared learning between our schools and Districts in the future. As importantly, we're pleased that Breakthrough Greater Boston leadership is dedicated to continuing their commitment to Cambridge students' success."

The Breakthrough Boston site at TechBoston Academy will begin serving students and teachers the summer of 2013, with a Site Director to be hired in fall 2012.

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About Breakthrough Greater Boston

Established in Cambridge in 1992, Breakthrough Greater Boston offers a six-year, tuition free program comprised of an academically intensive two-year middle school program and a high school support program that works with students until college matriculation. A dual-mission organization, Breakthrough's "students teaching students" model also trains the next generation of educators by offering talented high school and college students the opportunity to teach classes in our middle school program. BTGB will begin serving Boston students in the summer of 2013. Learn more at www.breakthroughcambridge.org.

About TechBoston Academy

TechBoston Academy is a 6th-12th grade pilot school in the Boston Public Schools founded in 2002 with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. TechBoston Academy offers a college preparatory curriculum where technology is the bridge that connects students to their learning experience. TBA has been heralded for its students' MCAS performance as well as high graduation and college acceptance rates. Learn more at: www.techbostonacademy.org.


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