Breakthrough Kent Denver

“Breakthrough is home to me. It’s a place where I can be myself. At school, people judge you for the things that you do, but at Breakthrough no one judges you. Everybody here pushes themselves to become the person they want to be.”

- Khaaliq Stevenson, South High School Sophomore

What is Breakthrough?

Breakthrough Kent Denver is a six-year, tuition free, educational nonprofit program that provides increased educational opportunities for under-served middle school students from Denver and Englewood Public Schools. Breakthrough also trains and encourages talented high school and college students to enter careers in urban education.

Breakthrough is not a summer camp, but rather a rigorous academic and social environment in which Denver Public Schools students learn and grow.

As a private school serving the public good, Kent Denver believes strongly in the mission of Breakthrough Kent Denver and is proud to have the program as part of our community.

A Breakthrough Story

Since 1995, Breakthrough has served more than 2,380 students and 480 young teachers from Denver. In 2015, 100% of Breakthrough Kent Denver seniors graduated from high school, and 96% went on to pursue a college degree. Additionally, 91% of Breakthrough Kent Denver teachers accepted jobs in urban schools in 2015.

“This summer we read 'House on Mango Street,' which featured a unit on the significance of names and why they are important to each person’s culture and identity. One boy in class explained that he and his father share the same name. His name is important to him because his father emigrated from Mexico, and worked so hard to give him everything he has. Every time he uses his name, he thinks of it as a reminder to work hard, and try to make his father proud of the person he’s become. In that moment I realized Breakthrough is so much bigger than me. I am actually the student, and I get to learn from these incredible kids every day."

- Olivia Kirshner, Colorado State University, 1st Year Teacher

What Breakthrough Does

Breakthrough Kent Denver strives to provide students and teachers the tools and support necessary to facilitate their highest level of achievement by follow five paths to get students there.

  1. Summer Program — For six weeks during the summer, Breakthrough provides academic and leadership training to middle school students from around Denver.
  2. Teacher Training Instructional Program — Teaching students requires prepared teachers, so Breakthrough provides an two-week intensive pre-summer training, and one-week post-summer training for teachers (high school & college age students), designed to equip them with skills for implementing curricula & managing student behavior in and out of the classroom
  3. School Year Program:
    • Saturday School — Seven Saturdays during the school year are dedicated to extra learning
    • Tutoring — Students struggling in their classes at school get extra help from Breakthrough Kent Denver
    • School Visits — Breakthrough provides support to students at their schools to help them stay motivated
  4. High School Placement Program — Eighth-graders receive guidance to support them in choosing the high school that is right for them
  5. College Readiness Program — Classes may end at Breakthrough after eighth grade, but high school students still receive support from the program while preparing for the college application process

How Breakthrough Does It

Breakthrough Kent Denver is generously support by both Kent Denver School and Denver Public Schools. This support helps the program fund its operating budget each year, and with the added generosity of the community we can meet the needs of deserving students and young faculty year after year.

Learn More

For more information on Breakthrough Kent Denver, please click here.

If you would like to make a secure online gift or pledge to Breakthrough Kent Denver, please click here.

To find out more about options for supporting Breakthrough Kent Denver, including our endowment, please contact Executive Director Sarah Dutcher at sdutcher@kentdenver.org.

Meet the Team

Breakthrough Kent Denver has a wonderful staff of teaching fellows and volunteers, and their work wouldn't be possible without the four full-time staff members who work tirelessly throughout the year.

Sarah Dutcher, Executive Director

Sarah joined the Breakthrough Kent Denver team in January 2016. Sarah holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University and a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Northern Colorado. Sarah's background includes humanitarian work in Haiti and Mali, nonprofit healthcare work in Colorado, and nonprofit education work in Brooklyn, Harlem and Washington D.C. Sarah is a Colorado native and loves working with such amazing students and teachers!

Kyle Bobrick, Director of Communications

Kyle graduated with a B.A. in Film Studies from the University of Colorado. He joined Breakthrough’s administrative team in January 2011, and has since acted as an eighth-grade Dean of Students and a High School Coordinator. Kyle has taught at Breakthrough for four consecutive summers.

Brooke Brewer, Program Director

Brooke has been with Breakthrough full-time since May 2012. She graduated in 2008 from the Denver School of Science and Technology and earned her B.A. in Mathematics from Drury University. She’s a former Breakthrough student, and has been on the summer faculty for the past nine summers.

Abbie Cohen, College Readiness Coordinator

Abbie graduated from Tufts University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in education. While in college, she volunteered in Boston and Cambridge as an assistant teacher, mentor and coach. Looking to investigate alternative educational systems, she spent her entire junior year studying in both Argentina and New Zealand. Her experiences abroad led her to a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) Scholarship in Medellín, Colombia.

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