Engaging & Challenging Learning.
The Middle School (grades 5th-8th) builds upon the solid foundation begun in the Lower School with an engaging and challenging curriculum that accelerates intellectual, physical and social growth. At this level, subject matter becomes departmentalized. Dedicated faculty provide students with an in-depth learning experience in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
Our schedule and curricula allow for acceleration in Science and Mathematics as needed which ultimately results in different course placements in the upper grades. We strive to ensure that all students are placed in the classes where they will be the most successful. This flexibility of program ensures that our graduates are placed on the correct academic trajectory by the time they reach the high school of their choice.
The Bridges Academy strives to develop its program that not only meets the expectations of the Common Core curriculum but surpasses it. Reference to national standards including the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), National Council of Teachers of Math (NCTM), Next Generation Standards in Science as well as the standardized testing offered by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) afford us the opportunity to consistently monitor, analyze and refine all aspects of our students’ experience. Our teachers receive regular professional development to support this work. This included recent workshops offered by Columbia University's Reading and Writing Project.
At Bridges, our character education program is focused on teaching and building a community, or "school family", of mutual respect and understanding. We prioritize the importance of having respect for self and others by acknowledging students within the framework of the Character Counts program.
Additionally, grade level student advisors and administration work to understand, support and advocate for the student within both their academic and social-emotional life. The Advisory program sets out to establish strong connections between adults and students so that a student is better understood and embraced so that their optimal learning environment can be established.
With small classes, and a student-centered approach, our teachers are able to identify and understand the social-emotional needs of their students so that they are comfortable to be at their best both in and out of the classroom. We have also recently engaged in a partnership with the Making Caring Common project developed by Harvard University. By participating in the student survey work that supports this program, we are better able to guide children as they embark on their journey into becoming responsible, self-reliant citizens of the twenty-first century.
All students in Middle School receive weekly instruction in the following core subjects: language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, physical education, Mandarin, French, Music and Art with ample time built into the schedule for Science labs and extra help. Aligned with best practice, technology is woven throughout all subjects and students frequent the Makerspace for innovative, project-based learning and the Library for research and book selection. The New York State Regents Exam in Algebra and Earth Science is available to graduates should they need it to receive credit in the high school of their choice.
High achievement and good citizenship are celebrated at many times throughout the year; such as at our regularly scheduled Middle Honors Assemblies and at our culminating moving up and graduation where the 8th grade class Valedictorian and Salutatorian are announced.
Explore the curriculum:
Throughout their time at Bridges, foreign language instruction is a constant area of focus. At Bridges Academy, we believe that exposure to this critical skills should begin at a young age when a child is more receptive to language development. Our program offers French, Mandarin, and Spanish. By graduation, our students have studied 2 out of 3 of these offerings, and have been among the top achievers within a local and national level on assessments such as the National French Exam. In most cases, our students are prepared for no less than a level 2 placement by the time they enter the 9th grade. The study of foreign languages is an important aspect of being a global citizen and greatly distinguishes our graduates.
EXTENDING THE LEARNING
Exploratory classes in technology, public speaking, art, health and physical education, band, strings, and chorus complement the program and provide a well-rounded education for students. Our students flourish when participating in activities such as our school musical, their involvement in NYSSMA, and the National History and Geography Bees to name a few. Several of our 4th to 7th grade students are Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP) scholars. A carousel class is offered every week which offers students experiences that they would not normally receive during the confines of the regular school day. In the past, offerings have included model rocketry, film making, creative writing and special interest clubs offering various sports, music, drama and technology.
Our students are accepted into the most desired day and boarding secondary schools and ultimately into the finest colleges and universities.
A hallmark of the Bridges middle school experience is a host of leadership opportunities. Middle school students have the opportunity to participate on sports teams and in drama productions. As the oldest students in these groups, middle schoolers may take leadership roles - official or not. These are wonderful opportunities for students to develop leadership skills as well as learning to manage their time when balancing schoolwork with extracurricular activities. Included within these opportunities are participation in Honor Society as well as Student Council.
By graduation, students have developed the confidence and maturity necessary to excel in the high school of their choice.
The Bridges Academy embraces STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) to prepare our students for the future demands of these skill sets in the workplace. In recent years, significant investment has been made in offering robotics, coding, engineering, 3-D printing, augmented reality and one to one computing throughout the grade levels. These types of “maker” activities are integrated into the courses to enhance the student experience in all areas of their day. In grades 5-8, our school issues student Chromebooks to be utilized both at school and at home, as a tool to support and enhance their learning. In the past, our school has benefited from partnerships with the New York Institute of Technology and the Webb Naval Institute’s Sea Perch program to enhance and support our program.
OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
During the year, The Bridges Academy offers several field trips throughout Long Island and New York City. In the Middle School, some of these trips include local experiences to Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Museum of Mathematics Restoration, a Ski trip to Jiminy Peak and overnight trips to Boston, Washington D.C. and the Front Valley Outdoor Education Center. The Middle School students have the opportunity to see live current performances on Broadway as well as a trip to NY Philharmonic Jazz at Lincoln Center which helps reinforce our theater arts and academic units of study.
Additional programs offered through Bridges, provide opportunities to discover a new passion, or deepen exploration in a familiar area of interest. Chess, robotics, soccer, model congress, basketball, theater, environmental sustainability and yearbook to name just a few of the many choices offered throughout the year.
These activities provide students with the opportunity to build leadership skills, strengthen self-esteem and nurture their capacity for global competence.