The mission of The Bridge Academy is to educate and empower students with educational learning disabilities to reach their fullest potential through a comprehensive program developed around each child's individual needs.
Our school serves students between the ages of eight and eighteen of average or higher intellectual potential and a diagnosed learning disability. Students that are classified Specific Learning Disability, Multiply Disabled, Other Heath Impaired or Communication Impaired are appropriate if they have a diagnosed learning disability. While we are not an appropriate school for those with primary emotional or behavioral issues, our philosophy is to help students who, despite their best efforts, are frustrated by the failure of previous instructional strategies. We know that the best way to reinvigorate these students and give them renewed self-esteem is to give them knowledgeable instructors who care deeply about them, work collaboratively with them to identify their needs, and teach them according to the way they learn.
The curriculum at The Bridge Academy is tailored to meet the individual needs, learning styles and Individual Education Program (IEP) of each student in an ongoing manner. Our goal is both to remediate student weaknesses and teach independent learning strategies such as studying and organizing on their own. To reach this goal, a strong emphasis is placed on professional staff development with a focus on assessment design and analysis. Effective assessment is an ongoing part of diagnostic teaching which insures better delivery of services. Teachers work with students to implement remediation strategies to address individual weaknesses in reading, writing, math, organizational and study skills. Content area teachers present challenging, grade appropriate material and employ multi-sensory teaching techniques to foster learning and mastery of skills and content. Small group instruction spans the curriculum so students receive a high degree of direct, individualized instruction and feedback. The curriculum committee develops unique curriculum utilizing the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and reflective of best practices for our special needs population.
Beyond providing intensive remediation in language arts, the curriculum includes well-designed courses in mathematics, science, social studies, art, physical education/health, and career orientation. All classes are departmentalized to provide movement for the students, a less restrictive environment, and focused planning for the staff to insure better delivery of services.
Teachers plan collaboratively in order to provide organizational and study strategies consistently taught across the curriculum, and thus strengthening and reinforcing these skills for our students. This focused, unique approach to teaching organization and study skills aids the mastery of these tools for furthering learning opportunities.
All content area classes are taught using the core principles of Orton-Gillingham with methods, materials and strategies effective for our student population. Teachers consider the IEP, student profile and match specific strategies to individual need. Specific teaching strategies including color coding, visual examples, oral discussion, interactive notebooks, a high percentage of hands-on experiments, chunking information, mnemonics, oral presentation, using text on tape and guided use of videos. Study and organizational strategies are directly and consistently taught in all content areas. For example, The Bridge Academy teaches a highlighting system with consistent colors meaning the same thing in all content areas to better reinforce skill acquisition and encourage independent learning. This unique approach unifies our curriculum and fosters a deeper level of understanding in all academic areas.
At the high school level students take more in-depth courses aligned with course/credit levels consistent with graduation requirements and as with the lower school classes, New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards (NJCCCS). Our Career Orientations course aligns preparation and experience with individual student career goals and helps students and parents in developing post high school plans.