FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Dear Breakthrough Friends, Since our ‘20-21 Impact Report was published, we have been very busy (and productive!) at Breakthrough as we work diligently towards our mission to achieve equity and diversity in education. From a learning-filled spring session, to new advisory board members, staff updates, and Spring Soireés, we are excited to share this newsletter about the work taking place at 34 West Coulter Street. We certainly have many reasons to celebrate and always have our eyes on opportunities to grow and improve our program. We welcome your ideas and would love to see you on campus soon – our Summer Program is in full swing, with over 150 Breakthrough Scholars, Teaching Fellows, and Staff on campus through August 5th. Enjoy this digital edition of our summer newsletter! Best regards,
Michelle Palmer Executive Director
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WE OFTEN GET THE QUESTION TO DESCRIBE YOUR
PROGRAM AT BREAKTHROUGH. WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT?
Here’s a summary of our mission, who we serve and our program: Our mission: Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia strives to achieve equity and diversity in education.
Who we serve: We realize our mission in two ways: 1. Address opportunity gaps for highly-motivated, under-resourced middle school students by delivering empowering educational experiences to gain acceptance to and succeed at select high schools in Philadelphia. Our program serves students in public, charter and parochial schools in the city of Philadelphia. 2. Build a diverse and talented educator workforce by providing pre-professional teacher training for college students pursuing careers in teaching.
Our program offering: 1. Middle School Students (rising 6th to rising 9th graders) - Breakthrough provides rigorous academic and co-curricular enrichment, preparation for high school applications, career inspiration and life skills courses through our full-day, six-week Summer Enrichment Program and our Saturday School Year Program. Our multi-year program is tuition-free for all of our students, who undergo a thorough application, interview, recommendation and grade review process in order to be accepted into the program. 2. Teaching Fellows (primarily college students) - Breakthrough develops future educators by providing professional teaching experiences through our selective Teaching Fellow Residency Program. Our Teaching Fellows serve as teachers and near-peer mentors to our Breakthrough students while also receiving classroom training, professional development and guidance as they pursue graduate studies in education. Over 400 Teaching Fellows have trained at Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia since its founding in 1995.
“As I engaged with the enthusiastic, motivated Breakthrough teachers, I reconnected with my own sense of purpose in choosing my vocation.”
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NEW STAFF AND ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS In 2021, two new staff members joined Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia!
Sakina Parks Program Manager
A true advocate for all students, Sakina has an extensive track record in the field of education and has dedicated her career to ensuring that all children have access to quality education and the tools needed to succeed. She has worked as a teacher for grades K-6 for various independent schools in Philadelphia and surrounding areas over the past 20 years, and was named Teacher of the Year at the Lotus Academy in 2012.
Michelle Reyes Aleti Communications & Development Manager
Michelle joined Breakthrough last October, bringing two decades of experience in both marketing (Procter & Gamble) and education (Drexel University, Girls Leadership) to bolster the organization’s outreach. Throughout her career, Michelle has served as a mentor in several capacities, from helping middle/high school students find and cultivate their passions, career interests and leadership styles, to teaching MBAs and undergraduates as an Adjunct Professor of Marketing.
In 2022, three new individuals joined the Advisory Board. We are thrilled to welcome David Wade, Francine Boone and Robin Friedman!
David Wade Senior Advisor to Attorney General, Josh Shapiro
Associate General Counsel at Amtrak, Railroad Operations
Co-Leader of Community Connections Program, GFS English Department
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SCHOOL YEAR PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS This past Spring, Breakthrough scholars in grades 7 and 8 attended the School Year Program at Germantown Friends School. During the academic year, scholars were required to attend class on Saturdays from 10 am - 2 pm. Topics ranged from math, reading, writing, and financial literacy (taught in part by Truist), as well as weekly Career Conversations, where scholars learned about potential career paths from industry experts. Breakthrough and GFS also collaborated on a pilot course called Community Connections, wherein Breakthrough eighth graders and GFS Upper School students in the Education Justice Club met weekly on Thursday nights for high school preparation (test taking, public speaking, and essay writing), as well as mentorship and community-building. Community Connections culminated in a skating celebration on June 6 at Philly SkatePlex!
Career Conversations Thank you to our ‘21/22 guest speakers, who covered a wide range of interesting topics this year!
Spring School Year Program
Community Connections The Community Connections course celebrated the end of the school year at Philly SkatePlex!
• Craig Ablin - Food Supply Chain • Sasank Aleti - Entrepreneurship & Private Equity • Jeong Allen - Nurse Anesthesia • Cornelius Brown - Engineering • Samantha Byles - Public Relations • Johanna Dunleavy - Accounting • Mark Johns - Music & Sound Engineer • Matthew Kearse - Engineering • Hedie Kelly - American Sign Language Interpreter • Oluseyi Olagunju - Financial Literacy, Truist • Sarah Pierce - Careers in Law • Russell Smith - Wealth Management • Brian Szakacs - Architecture
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SUMMER PROGRAM PREVIEW On June 13, teaching fellows from across the country arrived at Germantown Friends School to commence their summer teaching residencies. The residency began with a two-week intensive training workshop with Matt Greenawalt and Ceora Wearing-Moore, Co-Deans of Faculty at Breakthrough, and Middle School faculty at GFS. In their residency program, our teaching fellows are working with four dedicated teacher-coaches, along with the Deans of Faculty, to grow and strengthen their pedagogical knowledge. Through immersive classroom experience, our fellows are learning best teaching practices that engage, inspire, and challenge their students across four core content areas and beyond. The fellows practice lesson design and implementation, restorative classroom management strategies, and engage in weekly observations and reflections to grow as pedagogs. Our ultimate goal is to inspire lifelong learners and educators who understand the challenge and the amazing opportunity of teaching.
Best wishes to our 18 teaching fellows, who join us from: Caleigh Clarke - Ithaca College Special thanks to the University of Pennsylvania, who provided housing for our fellows this summer!
Louise Hay - Middlebury College Ruthie Weinbaum - Yale University Drew Bukasa - Friends Central School / University of Pennsylvania, Fall 2022-Jasmine Prime - Howard University Seth Mooring - Morehouse College
Deans of Facutly: Summer 2022 A dynamic educator who wholeheartedly seeks to uplift, educate, and empower all students, Ceora is the Co-Chair of the English Department and also teaches English at GFS. She has over 15 years of experience teaching at GFS, Mastery Charter Schools, and Temple University,consistently exceeding goals regarding instructional effectiveness, student achievement, and student perception. Matt has been an educator for over 16 years. Driven by his passion to engage with the entire community and to ensure all voices are connected to thoughtful discussions, he strives to know his students on a personal level toensure equitable opportunities for all. He received Outstanding Educator of the Year while teaching in New York City and currently teaches mathematics at GFS.
Catherine Crochunis-Brown - Swarthmore College Rebecca Drucker - Wesleyan University Claire Slack - Tufts University Katherine Cusick - University of Pennsylvania Joanna Greenberg - Bryn Mawr College Iliana Correa - Arcadia University GiGi Guida - University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Tyler Haines - St. Olaf College Cullen Vance - Community College of Philadelphia Joanthan Irvine - Temple University Sizwe Morris - Louis - Central High School Nathaniel Carr - Germantown Friends School
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ANNUAL SPRING SOIRÉE On May 24, the Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia community—scholars, teaching fellows, families, supporters, advisory board, staff, and educators throughout the city—gathered together to celebrate the power of education. Over 200 guests attended our Annual Spring Soirée: which included dinner, a trivia night, and silent auction at the Germantown Cricket Club, hosted by Bill Anderson, Weekend Co-Anchor of Good Day Philadelphia and Executive Producer, Fox29 News. Together, the Breakthrough community raised over $90,000 to support tuition-free programming, stipends for fellows, and program expansion to reach younger grades. We want to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who attended and supported us from near and far; we were humbled by the outpouring of support! Special thanks to our generous Soireé Sponsors and In-Kind Donors:
Gold Level Sponsors Arcadia Land Company GCP Capital Partners Germantown Friends School
Bronze Level Sponsors Alliance HP Odessa Truist Veritable LP Wells Fargo Advisors Sustaining & Supporting Sponsors
Bono Family Fund - Sustaining Sponsor
A+ Test Prep and Tutoring Adelie Coffee Adventure Aquarium Appliq Arden Theater Company Barnes & Noble / Debra Stevens and Friends Cin Cin Estée Lauder Frosted Fox Georgia Tech Haven Human Asset Ventures Herb Scott Catering Jansen Kim Olds, Personal Coach
Anonymous Boston Consulting Group Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Edward Barnard and Pauline Gray Joan C. Mazzotti & Michael Kelly Lisa Wolschina & Associates, Real Estate Keller Williams - Haddonfield Nanie and Jay Flaherty RSM US LLP Temple University - Office of Public Affairs VSCP Law
Laurentius Salon Museum of the American Revolution Nutrition Unlimited Philadelphia Eagles Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia Union / Jim Curtin Prema Prabhakar, PhD, Temple University Ritz Carlton / Jason Duckworth Royal Boucherie Spavia Staples / Duane Michelle Sims Starr Restaurants / Ilana Goldfus Toto’s Vizi Wellness with Lisete Zahav
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RECENT GRANTS We will soon prepare our 2021-22 Annual Report, but wanted to take a moment to thank our generous funders without whom we could certainly not sustain our program at Breakthrough. We are inspired by your work and commitment to educational equity and diversity in Philadelphia! The Pew Charitable Trusts Evaluation Capacity Building Initiative Dolfinger McMahon Foundation The Anne & Philip Glatfelter III Family Foundation Pincus Family Foundation Joseph Kennard Skilling Trust The RBC Foundation Bray Family Foundation Jonathan E. Rhoads Trust Greenfield Foundation Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation Brook J. Lenfest Foundation Connelly Foundation Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial Lenfest Foundation
GET INVOLVED! Our program is only as strong as the contributions of our community. We welcome your involvement—share your experience, time, and/or financial support to inspire our scholars and teaching fellows! Email us anytime at email@example.com with your interest areas and ideas.
PNC Foundation - Charitable Trusts
We are currently looking for:
Christopher Ludwick Foundation
•Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 guest speakers for our Career Conversations series
Patricia Kind Family Foundation Black Women Give Foundation
•Teaching Fellows and Dean of Students for Fall/Spring 2023
William Penn Foundation
DID YOU KNOW? Breakthrough’s academic and co-curricular enrichment, life skills, and high school readiness program focuses on making meaningful, lasting change among students in Philadelphia. To this end, we seek middle school applicants who meet one of the following:
• • • • • •
Low income or free/reduced lunch Live in a single parent household Primary language other than English First generation in family to attend college Identify as a racial or ethnic minority Attend an under-resourced school (public, parochial, charter)
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BREAKTHROUGH IN THE NEWS We aren’t the only ones shouting from the rooftops about Breakthrough! Executive Director Michelle Palmer was featured in a number of media outlets recently, including:
The Philadelphia Tribune (April 5, 2022) – “Program for middle-schoolers tries to help them make a breakthrough,” by Afea Tucker. The Source on WURD Radio (February 2021) – Michelle Palmer shares about Breakthrough’s summer program. Interviewed by host Andrea Lawful Sanders.
Chestnut Hill Local (December 2021) – “Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia is now part of Germantown Friends School,” by Michelle Sonsino.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! EVENT DATE(S) LOCATION / RSVP INFO Visiting Days at Breakthrough
July 13 and 19
GFS Campus - RSVP here
End of Summer Celebration Day
Breakthrough & Brews (Info Session)
Victory Brewing Company
Fall School Year Program Begins
Breakfast of Champions Fundraiser
Philadelphia Cricket Club
With volunteers from RSM US LLP
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS Francine Boone, Cornelius Brown, James Degnan, Abe Diallo, Mark Dingfield, Jason Duckworth, Kevin Emancipator, Suzan Fazio, Eugenie Flaherty, Robin Friedman, James Hightower III, Jamal Hill, Bonny Lynch, Darren Spielman, Keino Terrell, Laurena Tolson, David Wade, V. Amanda Witts, Wesley Yamamoto, David Zavitz
STAFF Michelle Palmer, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org Sakina Parks, Program Manager email@example.com Michelle Reyes Aleti, Communications & Development Manager firstname.lastname@example.org