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Breakthrough Cincinnati

  • Breakthrough Cincinnati
  • 6905 Given Road
  • Cincinnati, OH 45243
  • 513-979-0345
  • 1992

Program Description

Breakthrough Cincinnati (BTC) supports over 100 rising 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students by offering rigorous, tuition-free, year-round enrichment and academic support. BTC employs a unique "students teaching students" model in which talented high school and college students serve as teachers, role models, and mentors to our middle school students. BTC provides students with the skills and motivation needed to enter and succeed in college preparatory high school programs with the ultimate goal of graduating high school, and matriculating to four-year colleges and universities. In addition, BTC provides early training and experience for high school and college students interested in exploring a career in education.

Breakthrough Cincinnati is a year-round program with two components: the Summer Academic Session and the School Year Program. Both programs employ Breakthrough as unique 'Students-Teaching-Students' model, and attendance at both programs is mandatory for Breakthrough students.

Summer Academic Session

Each Summer, BTC conducts a six-week academic session in which middle school youth develop the necessary organizational, study, critical thinking, and communication skills needed to succeed in rigorous college preparatory high schools. Students take morning courses in English, Math, Science and History in small classes (6-8 students) taught by talented high school and college students. In the afternoon, students attend foreign language classes and academic electives, life skills and organizational workshops, and participate in athletic or artistic courses. In addition to completing two hours of homework per night and studying for final exams, students lead their own parent-teacher conferences, take on leadership roles, and participate in a wide range of experiential field trips. Breakthrough Cincinnati provides free bus transportation to and from Cincinnati Country Day School, as well as healthy breakfast and lunches, and all classroom supplies for students and teachers.

To support the academic rigor of the summer session, Breakthrough Cincinnati creates a supportive, affirming, and high-energy environment. Students rally around a shared culture, manifested in daily events like rousing All School Meetings, the Breakthrough handshake and activities within grade-specific 'Families.' Students receive individual affirmation and attention, and are affirmed every lesson and every day that it's 'cool to be smart' via a positive, college-bound peer group, which includes their enthusiastic college-going teachers. They are encouraged and bolstered by high expectations of their academic performance, behavior, and future accomplishments.

School Year Program

The goals of Breakthrough Cincinnati's School Year Program are as follows;

  • 1) To ensure that each BTC student develops an educational strategy and support system that will enable her/him to graduate from her/his High School of Choice, enter college, and earn a four year degree.
  • 2) To ensure that BTC students, with the support of their families, are financially, socially, and academically prepared for a positive and successful college experience.

Our School Year Program has four major components, two of which engage both the BTC student and their family:

Super Saturdays

Super Saturdays occur once a quarter at Walnut Hills High School. These Saturday morning sessions provide BTC students the opportunity to learn new study and life skills, participate in academic enrichment activities, hear from college representatives, and engage with positive peers in a fun, encouraging environment.

Super Saturday sessions include a partnership with Xavier's Noyce Scholars Program, which focuses "on attracting community service-oriented science, computer science, and mathematics students to careers in high school teaching [thereby] creating opportunities, including tutoring and summer internships, for STEM majors to teach science, technology and math content to underserved, urban children." The Xavier Noyce Scholars, in keeping with Breakthrough's students-teaching-students model, will work with BTC students on technology- and science-related enrichment projects and skills.

College Exposure

Breakthrough Cincinnati arranges for students to learn what it takes to get into and graduate from college. During Super Saturday Sessions, representatives conduct workshops for students and their families on subjects including how to apply to, finance, and complete college successfully.

Special for our ninth grade students will be opportunities to feel the college vibe during one of our college visits taking place this school year.


Breakthrough Cincinnati is committed to each student's academic success and recognizes that students need help navigating difficult subject matter. Breakthrough supports our students by ensuring that quality, trained, paid tutors are available to assist in homework help and test prep. Any and all BTC Students are welcome to enroll in tutoring sessions held on Saturdays at Walnut Hills High School. Those students who receive a grade of D or F on a report card will be required to attend tutoring sessions until the grade has been improved to a C or better.

Academic Counseling

BTC students and families meet with staff in the fall and spring to discuss class selection, academic performance, and high school options. An individualized plan is created to ensure that the student is taking rigorous classes and on-track to enroll in strong high schools in pursuit of a four year college degree.

Fall Sessions ensure that students are performing well in school and determine if additional academic support is needed. Spring sessions evaluate students' performance during the earlier quarters and provide time for future academic planning. This planning allows students and families time to consider school options and plan according to the students' goals and needs.

Services Provided

  • Academic enrichment/tutoring/study skills
  • Career exploration and counseling/internships
  • College admissions guidance and counseling
  • College fairs/campus visits
  • Leadership development
  • Mentoring
  • Parent/family services
  • Science, tech, engineering, & math (STEM)


Race & Ethnicity

  • White: 5%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 6%
  • African American: 89%

Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 20
  • Middle School: 90
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 0
  • Non-traditional: 0

Populations Served

  • Academically At-risk


  • Less than 25%