A Brief History
The Bridge School began forming in early 2010 when a group of parents met to talk about how to create a cooperative elementary school for their children and community. That fall, four families piloted the first model as a cooperative homeschooling group by teaching together and finding adventurous field trips to expand the classroom. In 2011 we hired a full time teacher and opened our doors to the public, teaching 16 students in a K-2 multi-age classroom. By the end of 2012 we had become a 501c3 Non-Profit organization.
We have now honed our purpose and vision toward a progressive educational model. We have expanded to four multi-age classes serving ages 5-11 and continue to enjoy active parent involvement, expanded our staff and continue to learn what it means to work together as a community for our children’s education.
A Cooperative School with a Progressive Approach
We are a cooperative school because we believe in the strength of the community working together to create a strong school program. While teachers plan and implement the curriculum, parents work in the classroom and hold School Support Team or Board positions. We believe learning is best accomplished within a caring community and so we focus on collaborative learning experiences. We are committed learners embracing the idea that everyone has something to contribute and we strive to treat each other with compassion and respect.
The primary focus of The Bridge School is to support whole child development by inspiring, cultivating and protecting students in their intellectual, social, emotional, creative and physical growth and we nurture each student’s sense of self as a learner, community member, and participant in the natural world. In short, we want to help children become not just good learners but good people, as Alfie Kohn might say.
We offer multi-age classrooms where students are taught and assessed based on developmental stage rather than strict grade levels. Students and teachers develop strong relationships over time and there are opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and real leadership roles. We believe students actively construct their understanding and knowledge of the world by relating it to what they already know, and that learning facts and skills must relate to authentic, relevant learning experiences. We trust children and their unique learning processes and we trust, encourage and expect our teachers to be creative in their instructional methods.
We value our school both for what it offers current families and for the role it will play for those in the future. We work hard and take responsibility for providing a thriving learning environment for current students and for Bridge School families we do not yet know.
Our cooperative model requires a high level of family participation and we believe that every member of our community has unique gifts and skills to offer. We make every effort to work with individual parents/care givers to find the best fit for supporting the school. Participation requirements include attending monthly parent meetings, participation on a School Support Team, holding a Classroom Support Position, assisting with routine cleaning, and prompt payment of tuition and fees. There are additional opportunities that arise throughout the year to fulfill work hours such as driving on field trips and helping with special projects.
The standard annual hourly requirement for dual parent families with a full-day student is 136 hours per year (approximately 4 hours per week); for dual parent families with a part time student the annual requirement is 100 hours. Work hour requirements are halved for single-parent families and we do not “double” requirements for families with enrolled siblings.
We rely on families to participate fully as it only enriches our community and the student experience and most families do not have difficulty fulfilling the participation requirements. If you have questions about participation requirements, please contact us.