Program Structure, Course Information, and Tuition
Bridges Academy Online is designed to be both rigorous and flexible. Strength-based and talent focused, we aim to engage gifts and talents and support challenges wherever they interfere with learning and life goals.
The BAO comprehensive program develops intellect, creativity, academic prowess, and social-emotional skills and understandings. Parents, teachers, students, and administrators work closely to provide the most productive context and foundation for learning though the middle and high school years.
Students are grouped in cohorts of 6-8 students. In order to create dynamic groupings, we take into consideration gifts, talents, and interests of the students as well as grade, age, and course requirements. Groups are led by a Cohort Leader (CL) who acts as manager, academic coach, and social advisor. The CL will monitor student progress, conduct parent conferences & team meetings, and supervise independent studies and participation in the Young Experts Program. The CL is the primary liaison among and between parents, teachers, and administration.
Core academic classes (humanities, mathematics, etc.) follow a modified block schedule in which students take two to three subjects per five-week rotation. We call these blocks “copernimesters” because the format is influenced by the Copernican scheduling model. There are six copernimesters in a school year: three “A” and three “B.” Students switch between A and B cycles every 5-6 weeks.
Classes are approximately 55 minutes long with breaks for mental & physical reorientation occurring between each class. Exact start and end times are specific to each cohort and students’ individual schedules. Students living in time zones that do not align with available programs can arrange for synchronous one-to-one instruction for additional fees.
Bridges Academy online operates on a 180-day calendar. There is an an average of 4.5 hours of synchronous cohort instruction and activities per day, not including lunch and breaks. Additional flex hours are required in the Young Expert program and independent studies to successfully complete all program requirements.
Managing Time and Course Materials
While some assignments can be completed and refined in class or during advisory, students should expect to spend a minimum of five hours of extra time per week offline to complete their work. Additional time should also be allotted for reading assignments and group projects, as well as required independent studies and internships.
Each copernimester ends with a cumulative exam designed to provide students with a spotlight opportunity to further demonstrate their command of the big ideas, essential questions, and enduring understandings that they grappled with throughout the course.
Biweekly update reports (UR) are written by subject teachers. These reports use a checklist and comment format to provide regular information about academic and social-emotional progress and challenges .
Every five weeks, subject teachers assess students’ mastery of the content and skills, issuing progress reports at the end of each copernimester. All reporting is formative throughout the year, with final transcript grades documented at the end of the academic year in the spring.
Biannual Prose Reports are written by the Cohort Leader summarizing intellectual, academic, and social growth; ongoing challenges; new goals and pathways; and providing present levels of performance. The CL also holds conferences once per month with parents, and students are typically present. Successes, goals, changes to plans, and plans for improvements are discussed and formalized in these meetings. Such short-term and long-term goals are also regularly addressed in the context of students’ advisory work, where they are guided through informal and periodic formal self-reflections on gifts, talents, skills, and challenges.
Additional team meetings occur on an as-needed basis. These meetings may include the director, cohort leaders, teachers, outside specialists, and/or the head of school and students as needed.