Non-profit to enroll first 60 Del Valle students this spring with plans to serve 400 by 2023

AUSTIN, Texas — Breakthrough Central Texas, a nonprofit helping students become the first in their families to graduate from college, is expanding its extensive academic support and guidance program into the Del Valle Independent School District where it will enroll the first 60 sixth graders this spring and expand to serve 400 students in grades 6 through 12 by 2023.

Formerly known as Breakthrough Austin, the organization is also rebranding to reflect the expanding reach of its program, which will serve a total of 1,450 students in the Austin, Manor and Del Valle school districts in the 2017-2018 school year — an 18 percent increase from the previous year.

Breakthrough’s expansion was made possible by a $1 million matching grant from Gregg and Diana Lowe in 2016 that helped the non-profit raise $2.3 million to support 600 more students over the next three years. The Breakthrough program is dependent on donations such as this and dedicated school districts like Del Valle ISD that provide facilities, transportation, support staff, access to technology, and additional financial support.

“Earning a college degree has never been more important to achieving financial security, but the path from middle school to and through college is an extremely difficult journey for students blazing a new trail for their families,” said Breakthrough Executive Director Michael Griffith.  “We are ramping up enrollment to meet the need in our community, and we’re expanding our service area to meet these students where they live and go to school, which is increasingly in suburban and outlying areas where the cost of living is more affordable. Del Valle ISD is a perfect fit for our program, and we’re excited to work with students in the district.”

Breakthrough Central Texas believes that education is the best way to break the cycle of poverty and bridge the growing economic divide in the Central Texas community, where two-thirds of new jobs created require a college degree, but just six percent of low-income middle school students go on to graduate from college.

Founded in 2001, the organization makes a 12-year commitment to students, providing an array of extended learning opportunities for students in grades 6 through 12, as well as comprehensive one-on-one advising from middle school through college.

The Breakthrough program has proven to greatly increase the odds of success for students. Nearly all Breakthrough students graduate from high school on time and approximately 87 percent enroll directly into college, nearly double the rate of their peers. Breakthrough students go on to graduate from college at four times the rate of other first-generation college-goers.

Increasing college enrollment rates is an important goal for Del Valle ISD, where nearly 87 percent of the district’s 11,200 students are considered economically disadvantaged.

“We are doing many things to create a college-going culture in our classrooms from as early as kindergarten, so that our students are academically prepared and are eager to continue their education beyond high school,” said Del Valle ISD Superintendent Kelly Crook. “We hear great things about Breakthrough from our neighboring districts and are excited to be able to offer our students access to Breakthrough’s academic programs.  We believe that with 12 years of one-on-one guidance, Breakthrough has the potential to make the path to college easier for our students who hope to be the first in their families to attend college – an important goal for our board and community.”

About Breakthrough Central Texas

Breakthrough Central Texas builds a path to college for low-income students who will be the first in their families to earn a degree. Breakthrough combines rigorous academic programming with personalized guidance and a “do whatever it takes” philosophy to make students four times more likely to graduate from college than other low-income students in Central Texas. Breakthrough is growing rapidly; it currently serves 1,450 students, which will increase to more than 2,000 by 2020. Learn more at www.BreakthroughCTX.org.

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