Why are diverse experiences meaningful to positive student outcomes?

At Breakthrough Birmingham, our commitment to the community goes beyond mere education. We invest in enriching experiences that empower our scholars to thrive. Central to our approach is the pillar of exposure, an integral element woven into our curriculum. We seek opportunities for our scholars’ enrichment in the Birmingham and Talladega communities by partnering with local businesses, talent, and other non-profits. 

We differentiate ourselves primarily through our pillars. We are more than a summer school or tutoring program. Breakthrough Birmingham exists to provide holistic enrichment opportunities for our scholars, and one way we ensure this happens is by baking exposure into our curriculum. From field trips, clubs, culture nights, and community events, Breakthrough Birmingham provides multiple opportunities for exposure during the Fall, Spring, and Summer. We see this short-term investment providing a long-term impact for our scholars in reversing education inequity in Alabama. 

students gather at a rock climbing gym

So, how does diversity of enrichment impact students?

“Diversity of all kinds is generally associated with positive learning and performance outcomes. Not only do experiences with diversity improve one’s cognitive skills and performance, but it also improves attitudes about one’s intellectual self-confidence,” according to Deborah Son Holoien at Princeton University.

While this topic is well-researched, we have some personal observations. 

Our scholars are given ample opportunities to explore new possibilities. During the school year, these opportunities look like clubs where they engage with new skills like cooking, dancing, rock climbing, or mountain biking. Furthermore, we are honored to partner with community players such as Jones Valley Teaching, Birmingham Boulders, and other partners. 

Additionally, we use field trips to increase student involvement and broaden their horizons. A culturally rich curriculum can expose students to a broader world without sacrificing academic outcomes. Moreover, we see these exposure opportunities translating to post-secondary success for our scholars. In 2023, 76% of Breakthrough scholars immediately entered college, and 84% persisted to the second year.  

We see the correlation between exposure that leads to new ideas and more profound development, an increase in self-confidence, an expansion of network and mentorship, discovering new passions, and other outcomes that will culminate in a more direct sense of what post-secondary success could look like for one of our scholars. 

As we chart the course ahead, we remain committed to providing our scholars with rigor and unique opportunities.

Do you have an enrichment opportunity in mind?

We invite you to share your insights with us at btbcomms@breakthroughcollaborative.org. Together, let’s continue to unlock the full potential of our scholars and community. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter in the footer of our website. 



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