What a wild ride!

March 1, 2010

Hey Breakthrough!

Wow, I guess people really do respond to deadlines…

On Thursday afternoon, there were 876 applications submitted through our online system. At the application deadline of 5:00pm PST today we had received 1932 applications. This is 167 less than the total we had at the application deadline last year. Mindblowing.

As I look out over the next few weeks, I want to send a huge burst of energy and focus to our incredible Site Directors who will be reading through application after application, interviewing candidates over the phone, in person and on Skype and generally wearing themselves to the bone in order to build the strongest team possible to lead our students in our summer academic bootcamps.  Good luck, Directors!

And, speaking of good wishes: I want to send some to our applicants. Thank you and good luck!  Thank you for committing yourselves to this application process, to the premier pre-professional teaching internship in the country and to Breakthrough’s vision:

At Breakthrough, we envision a day when all children will have equal access to excellent educational opportunities and enthusiastic teachers committed to students’ educational success.

We can’t wait to welcome the class of 2010.


Application Deadline last minute F.A.Q.s

March 1, 2010


I just looked at our blog dashboard. Incredible. While TeachBreakthroughs.org has been hovering around 1,300 views per days for the past few weeks, on Sunday we spiked to 2,972 and today at midday we’re up to 1,637. This is both great and frustrating news. It’s great because we’re able to ensure that our excellent candidates are going to be able to complete their applications by the end of the 5:oopm PST deadline. At the same time, it’s frustrating (probably more so for you than me) because it’s slowing down our log-in system. Let me explain:

Those of you who applied in 2009 recall that 1 year ago exactly there was such incredible traffic on our log in box that it automatically shut down for a few hours. Our log-in box is our portal into our teacher database. It can be used by multiple users at the same time, but there is a limit. When many, many people are trying to log-in at the same time it can take a couple of attempts to successfully log in. Thank you for your patience in this.

Two other minor updates:

  • Field Validation: In order to utilize data tracking best practices we require you to fill in all the fields on the application. More than that, we require certain types of information in some particular fields (e.g. we require zip codes to be in a 5-character format). If you do not put the correct type of information in a given field you will not be able to submit your application.
  • eRec form: The eRecommendation form does not need to be completed by March 1. It needs to be completed when the Site Director asks you to provide one. This date will be premised on your individual communication with each Site Director.

Minute Maid vying for corporate sponsorship of Breakthrough…

February 16, 2010

For grins…

Writing Through Literature?

January 6, 2010

Everyday I recieve questions from Teacher Applicants about the process and content of the Teacher Applicaiton. This was my most recent questions from Sara from Brown University:

I am applying for a teaching position with Breakthrough this summer, and I have one question about the application– what is “Writing through Literature”? The application brochure does not go into detail, and I couldn’t find anything about it on the website. I wanted to write a lesson plan based on it, and it would be helpful to have more information about the course.

I recruited some extra help from Founder of Breakthrough Collaborative, Lois Looffbourrow, to respond to this question. Check it out:

In the top 9th grade classes in this country, students will be expected to write clear concise expository prose, perhaps comparing and contrasting two protagonists from two works of literature, perhaps discussing the symbolism of the journeys taken by characters in a short story.  For so many of our students, they don’t get a chance to hone their writing skills.  Writing is more than formulaic, it is about learning how to discover your voice, test your opinions, prove your thesis.  At Breakthrough,  the strength of our writing program across the curriculum is critical.  Our literature teachers are often the ones that help lead students to better appreciate the craft of writing, the imperative of writing.  For example, were you teaching Romeo and Juliet to 8th graders, you would need to ask yourself a series of questions as you designed your curriculum: How do I bring writing into the classroom, into my students’ homework?  How do I prepare my students to take a final examine with essay questions?  How do I help them improve on their basic five-paragraph essays? I truly believe that reading and writing in Literature go hand in hand.

Hope this helps!!!  Thanks for sending Dave this question!!  It is fun to think of all of you pondering the application and dreaming of working with amazing students.

Your 2010 Campus Recruiters :: Pt 1

December 4, 2009

Courtney Cross-Johnson
University of Miami
Breakthrough Breakthrough Atlanta

Courtney N. Cross-Johnson is a junior at the University of Miami.  She is a first-generation college student majoring in Psychology with two minors in English and Human & Social Development.  At the University she dedicates herself to United Black Students, Organization for Jamaican Unity, and her school’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.  In the summer of 2009 Courtney taught at Breakthrough Atlanta in which she served as a teacher of History and Spanish, as well as a family head.  Teaching at Breakthrough Atlanta confirmed her desire to pursue education as a career.  Courtney is excited to graduate in 2011 and pursue the opportunity to be a member of Teach for America in her home of New Jersey. She hopes to receive a Master’s in Education Administration and inspire more people from her community graduate from a college.  Courtney is forever grateful that she was selected to be a teacher for Breakthrough and encourages any student interested in education or simply interested in impacting children’s lives to submit an application.

Pranav Nanda
Stanford University
Breakthrough Cambridge

Pranav Nanda is a junior at Stanford University where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. Pranav grew up in an environment emphasizing the importance and value of education, and so he began teaching with Breakthrough in 2007 at the Cambridge site, where he was quickly infected by the program’s contagious enthusiasm and infused with its powerful sense of purpose. He has been unable to leave ever since, returning to Cambridge as a member of the Leadership Team in the summers of 2008 and 2009. As a campus recruiter he hopes to share the wonder of Breakthrough with his college peers and help bring together the complementarily vibrant Stanford and Breakthrough communities.

Binh Doan
Yale University
Breakthrough Manchester

Binh Doan is a sophomore at Yale University where she is currently pursuing a degree in biology.  Binh is originally from New Hampshire where she graduated from Manchester Central High School in 2008.  Binh has been involved with Breakthrough since she started the program in 2001 as a student at Breakthrough Manchester.  Her experiences at Breakthrough has changed the way she views education and has inspired her to entertain a possible career in education.  Binh is excited to spread the word about Breakthrough on campus.  As a campus recruiter, she hopes to motivate her peers to teach for Breakthrough through sharing her own struggles and triumphs as a student and teacher of the program.

Hunter Bruton
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Breakthrough Fort Lauderdale

Hampton “Hunter” Bruton is a Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina. Hunter, a Religious Studies and Political Science double major, became interested in Breakthrough as a freshman and spent the 2009 summer in Fort Lauderdale, FL working at the Breakthrough site there where he gained an extreme appreciation for the program’s impact on resolving the national education problem. Upon returning to the UNC campus, Hunter sought ways to influence the national Breakthrough problem drawing him to the campus recruiter post. As a campus recruiter Hunter’s main objective is enlarging the recruiting base by multiple and differentiated means to provide Breakthrough with a qualitative and quantitative base of able college students for its program.

Teacher Application is LIVE!

December 4, 2009

Mmmm, still got that new car smell…Get it while it’s hot, people.

Remember, read the “Teaching at Breakthrough Handbook” before applying, it will give you a great overview of the Breakthrough teaching experience and help you nail the application.

Teaching at Breakthrough Handbook

December 2, 2009

In preparation for our upcoming teacher application launch (going live within hours!), please view the 2010 Teaching at Breakthrough Handbook. It provides an over-arching view of the Breakthrough teaching experience and sets you up to nail the application. Required reading for all teacher applicants!