The summer program is rapidly approaching. We have hired 20 Teaching Fellows, 4 Junior Teachers, 5 Instructional Coaches, and 1 Dean of Students to join us for our 10th summer. Of our summer staff, we are welcoming back former Teaching Fellows Qunsia Daniel, David Pham, Kelsey McKeag, and Jannet Galicia as well as a former Junior Teacher Coral Ramos. 2014 Teaching Fellows Qunsia and David are returning for their second consecutive summer with BTSJC. Qunsia said she is returning to the program this summer because she “thinks about BT often and wanted to go back to see the growth in the students as well as see growth in herself as a teacher.” Current Breakthrough junior Coral is going to use her experience as a 2014 Junior Teacher to excel as a Teaching Fellow this year.
Returners Kelsey and Jannet both taught with BTSJC in 2013 and are now taking on leadership roles in the program. Kelsey will be our Dean of Students and Jannet is joining as the Instructional Coach for our science department. When asked why she is joining BTSJC this summer Jannet replied, “I am returning to BTSJC because the summer I worked with Breakthrough was the most fulfilling of my life. It was the first time I was trusted to run a classroom of my own.” Jannet, a Cornell graduate, is now a middle school teacher in San Jose, CA. Her story is similar to 75% of Breakthrough Collaborative Teaching Fellows across the country who pursue careers in education .
Qunsia, David, Kelsey, Jannet and Coral are all prime examples of how Breakthrough inspires high school and college students become educational leaders. Qunsia has already accepted a position with Teach For America and will join their program in 2016. BTSJC teachers will be working to end educational inequity alongside more than 1,000 Teaching Fellows across 25 cities. We cannot wait to have these outstanding educators back in our program and for them to share their knowledge and experiences of BTSJC with the rest of our summer staff!
Our middle school tutoring program for 2014-2015 came to a close last Thursday with an awards ceremony, graduation, and potluck. Top performing students in both 7th and 8th grade won awards for ‘Student of the Year’, ‘Reader of the Year’ and two 8th grade Valedictorians were chosen. Assistant Director Alex Serna also acknowledged the volunteer teachers who are from surrounding schools including St. Margaret’s, JSerra, Rancho Santa Margarita, Capistrano Valley, Dana Hills, and San Juan Hills high schools. In total, we had 42 high school volunteers for our middle school program, our biggest group yet!
Current 8th grade students received a Breakthrough SJC graduation certificate, marking their transition to high school. This upcoming summer will also be their last time participating in our six-week summer program as students. The event concluded with a potluck, thanks to generous Breakthrough families who provided the food, and students received a yearbook to remember their fantastic year at the middle school tutoring program!
We held our annual Junior Retreat on May 16th to give Breakthrough SJC juniors an opportunity to learn more about the college admissions process. During the retreat, Assistant Director Alex Serna and Director Lorena Martinez delivered workshops on researching colleges, creating a preliminary college list, writing personal statements and creating a resume. Throughout the day students engaged in various ice breaker activities, including a short game of ultimate Frisbee to build a supportive community.
The past few months, juniors have been working with community members who volunteer their time to help our students with the college application process. These mentors made a guest appearance during lunch to participate in team building activities and to help students draft their personal statements. Students had a long and rigorous day, spending 10 hours learning and working, but they are now 10 steps ahead in the college admissions process. Assistant Director Alex Serna said he was proud that the juniors took initiative to start the admissions process and he knows that “in the fall, when most students are frantically starting, our students will be many steps closer to realizing their dreams of being the first in their families to attend college.” This summer Breakthrough SJC students will continue to craft their personal statements and create their final college list after spring grades are released.
To celebrate April’s reading theme, a group of fifteen middle school students and their teachers took a trip to the SJC Library and Bookstore. Librarian Nicole Orth lead a tour of the local library and educated students about the online and print resources that are available for their use. Students also got a look at the SJC Library’s beautiful courtyard.
After the tour, students took a trip to the SJC Friends of the Library Bookstore. Ms. Shirley Sauvageau was a very gracious host and had a special sign and treats for Breakthrough SJC students. Each student also got to pick out one book of their choosing to take home for free.
This is the second year the SJC Library and Bookstore have hosted Breakthrough SJC students and generously donated books. We would like to thank Nicole Orth for arranging and hosting the tour and Shirley Sauvageau for being a gracious host and giving books to our students!