Breakthrough Twin Cities uses a two-tiered approach to close education opportunity gaps for under-resourced students.
First, we prepare students for college success from middle school through college acceptance. Research shows that the level of academic achievement by eighth grade has a greater impact on college and career readiness than high school achievement (ACT, “The Forgotten Middle,” 2008). This is why BTC provides college-preparatory academic instruction during the summers before seventh, eighth, and ninth grade. We aim to set students on the path to college well before they can be set off-track. Currently, BTC is the only college preparatory program in the Twin Cities that works with students in middle school. Our students also continue to prepare for college during high school through leadership development, college and career readiness workshops, essay coaching and personalized college counseling.
Second, we prepare aspiring educators for success well before they enter the teaching profession through our "students teaching students" model. Breakthrough is one of the only organizations in the U.S. that identifies, recruits, selects, trains, and develops aspiring teachers while they are still in college, and then accelerates their transition into teaching. We draw our teaching fellows from diverse backgrounds, with over 40% being students of color and over 40% being male; both of which significantly impact the gaps in diversity for our region’s teacher pool.
Our model has had incredible success in helping students overcome barriers. We know that only 33% of under-resourced students enroll in college and of those, only 14% actually graduate. These results are 80% and 60%, respectively, for high-income students (Bedsworth, Colby, Doctor, “Reclaiming the American Dream,” 20006). To date, 100% of BTC students completing the six-year program received admission to colleges and universities on an average annual scholarship of more than $27,000 per student, compared to just $6,200 for other leading college access programs. Finally, 70% of our teaching fellows choose careers in education following participation in our program.
What new functionality we are looking for
A way to connect with those that care about our work:
We want our website to be one of the main hubs with which we communicate with stakeholders and new relationships. It is essential for us to connect with those that value our work and those with budding interest in getting involved with our organization.
User friendly interface and aesthetically pleasing design:
Our website lacks the infrastructure and design to be an asset in our communications platform. The menus are clunky and difficult to navigate, the layout is not aesthetically pleasing, and the functionality is poor. In short, our website is not currently meeting our needs, because we are not excited to send people to it. It needs an overhaul, a new look, and user-friendly design.
A tool to tell our story:
In a new website, we would like to be able to better say who we are in its look, feel, and function. When people go to our website we want them to feel like "this is Breakthrough!"
How the new functionality will help
Breakthrough Twin Cities is in a period of rapid growth. During the current 2014-15 school year we are serving 339 students. In 2015-16, that will grow to 475 and by 2020 we will be serving over 1500 students. In order to achieve this mission, we need to have excellent website as the bedrock of our communications platform.
As we grow, we need our students, staff, funders, and potential funders to have a place to go for "everything Breakthrough." A new website would add incredible value to our marketing/communications, fundraising, and program initiatives. It would also be a great tool to effectively tell our story to people who may not have heard it yet. If we can reach more people, we can get the resources we need to effectively serve hundreds more students.
How our organization will use the technology
Who will use the technology
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