Breakthrough Providence pursues a dual mission to:

  • Increase academic opportunity for highly motivated, underserved students and get them into college ready to succeed; and 
  • Inspire and develop the next generation of teachers and educational leaders.



Our vision is to create an empowering educational experience that results in equitable access to higher education for our students and prepares our teaching fellows for education sector roles, enabling all of our students, teaching fellows, and instructional coaches to achieve their full potential as learners, teachers, leaders, and agents of change in the Providence and broader Rhode Island community.



    In 1991, Michael Goldstein and Jenn David were two idealistic Brown University students hoping to make a difference in the world.  Having both taught at Summerbridge San Francisco as college students, they felt that Providence needed a program that would close the gap between the ease of elementary school and the challenges of high school. Hosted by The Wheeler School and a part of the national Breakthrough Collaborative, we opened our doors during the summer of 1992 with just one class of rising middle school students and an unwavering belief in the power of a “students teaching students” model.  We’ve served the students of Providence Public schools ever since and today, our community includes over 2,000 students and teaching staff alums.

    In July 2012, we changed our name from Providence Summerbridge to Breakthrough Providence to better align ourselves with our national partner, the Breakthrough Collaborative, and also to help our stakeholders understand that we are more than a summer program.



    • Equity and Opportunity: At Breakthrough, we are committed to intentionally creating communities that represent a wide diversity of identities including, but not limited to race, gender identity, class, ability, citizenship, sexual orientation, and religion. We strive to address educational inequity by providing resources, support, and opportunities for our communities of students and families, teaching fellows, staff, and leaders. We aim higher than an atmosphere of tolerance and instead strive to make our community inclusive through a foundation of love and respect. 
    • Lifelong Learning: At Breakthrough, we create an environment that celebrates curiosity and fosters lifelong learners who embrace the growth mindset, both professionally and personally. 
    • Collaboration and Community: At Breakthrough, we invest in the experience and success of others and recognize that all community members have wisdom and expertise that enriches and moves our work forward. We work together as a team to accomplish what is needed. We know that substantive change and growth happen when we operate under the assumption that everyone has much to learn and much to teach. This mindset amplifies the leadership potential in all of its constituents, thereby benefiting the local, national, and global communities we live in. 
    • Student-Centeredness: At Breakthrough, students are our first priority and decision-making centers around what benefits them, first and foremost. We approach our students’ experiences and goals with humility and curiosity, honoring their agency as individuals on unique self-determined pathways toward self-defined goals. 
    • Persistence: Our work and growth frequently requires stepping outside of our comfort zones, and often in the face of individual and systemic obstacles. We push ourselves and support others to continue until our work is finished. 
    • Excellence: At Breakthrough, we set high expectations for ourselves and others. We strive to give and receive feedback, and evaluate our work regularly to grow our practice and impact. We recognize and value where we have come from and push ourselves to raise the bar of excellence every day. 
    • Spirit: Fun, energy, joy, and celebration are necessary components of our Breakthrough experience as they enhance our learning, build community, and sustain and motivate us in our hard work.