The Breakthrough Summer Scholars Program is a tuition-free, three-summer academic-acceleration program for under-resourced middle school students in Birmingham City Schools, most of whom aspire to be first in their families to earn a 4-year degree. Each summer, scholars participate in six weeks of rigorous instruction in math, science, and literacy, including academic debate. Beginning this year, 9th grade students will continue to get supported during their high school years with monthly Saturday classes and college advisement support. Research shows that during the summer, low-income children lose 2-3 months of academic gains made during the school year in reading and math.
By the 9th grade, summer learning loss can leave students 2 ½ to 3 years behind their peers. 2 out of 3 of the of the 9th grade achievement gap in reading is attributable to the cumulative effects of summer learning loss. This phenomenon is known as the summer slide and Breakthrough Birmingham aims to address the matter. Each summer, students participate in more than 180 hours of rigorous instruction focused on math, science, and literacy; non-cognitive skill development, study skills, public speaking, and leadership; and college and career exploration.