Summerbridge Pittsburgh

Daily Point of Light # 3559 Sep 25, 2007

Summerbridge Pittsburgh (SBP) provides a tuition-free, two-year, life-changing experience that empowers at-risk middle school students to achieve academic success and inspires young adults to pursue careers in education. Since its foundation in 1994, SBP has served more than 1,000 youth facing limited opportunities from 30 different public middle schools in the Greater Pittsburgh Region.

SBP uses a high-energy and hands-on approach to learning and leadership to create an exciting process of personal and intellectual discovery for its teachers and students.

There is a strong correlation between socio-economic status and academic success: children form disadvantaged backgrounds are educationally at-risk. Many research studies have established that a child from impoverished circumstances is three times more likely to drop out of school, irrespective of his or her innate ability. At-risk youth particularly need to be given the academic, social, and emotional tools to become successful students. SBP addresses these needs at a critical time in the students’ development—their middle school year—and at a vital, though often underutilized moment in the calendar year—the summer.

In order to best serve its students, teachers, and staff, SBP has formed an expansive network of diverse partners, including corporations, foundations, cultural institutions, public and independent schools, colleges and universities, and SBP families. Most recently, SBP has collaborated with The Pittsburgh Public School District, The Pittsburgh Opera, The Warhol Museum, and the Sweetwater Center for the Arts. All SBP students also spend a day doing community service with our neighborhood partners shadowing professionals as part of our annual Career Day.

More than just a summer program, SBP works year-round to translate a student’s summer instruction into school-year success. Recent activities have included the study of immigration in attendance of The Pittsburgh Opera’s production of Pagliacci and the study of immigration in Pittsburgh at the Heinz History Center. SBP also offers academic support and workshops to SBP families on issues such as financial aid, the college admissions process, and much more.

SBP gauge students’ long-term progress by measuring the rates at which students complete high school and enter college. SBP research indicates that 92% of SBP students graduate from high school and 80% of SBP students have gone on to college. Nationally, only 59% of students with backgrounds similar to SBP students graduate from high school and only 47% of those students go to college.