Program Structure, Details, and Tuition

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.

Interested in applying? Download an application packet.

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.

Program Schedule

Students on online call

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.

Parent Communication

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.

Course Requirements
Course requirements are typical for a college preparatory high school program. However there are choices among options for study in fulfillment of these requirements.

High school graduation requires a minimum of 320 credits. Successful completion of a full-year course is equal to 10 credits.

Most course curricula are integrated, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary in design, crossing the traditional disciplinary boundaries and categories. Successful completion of the course requirements will earn the student the following units for graduation:

English Literature & Composition4
Physical Education4
Young Expert Program/Talent Development/Electives4

Core Skill Development: 

Math labs and writers workshops are built into the weekly schedule to give students the opportunity to practice and solidify skills in these critical areas. Successful work in these focused sessions is factored into the evaluation, grading, and units earned in history, English, and/or math. These sessions also enable students to confront skills gaps that may have arisen in prior educational settings. 

Financial Considerations

Tuition & Fees:

  • Annual Tuition is $32,000 per year and fees and mandatory tuition insurance run approximately $800.
  • Early Enrollment Tuition is $31,000. Contract and deposit must be received by April 1.
  • A processing fee will be added to any balance paid by credit card.
  • Financial aid, scholarships, and/or opportunity grants may be available and can significantly reduce your financial obligation. Please indicate your interest in financial aid on your application.

Payment Plans:

  • If you choose to pay tuition in installments, a payment plan fee of $500 will be assessed.
  • When enrolling with a payment plan, a payment of $4,000 must accompany your enrollment contract. If enrollment is after August 1, payments based on the payment schedule are also due.
  • A processing fee will be added to any balance paid by credit card.

Financial Support of the School:

We encourage donations to our Financial Aid, Scholarship, and Opportunity Grants programs. Additionally, we encourage participation in our annual fund drive. The funds allow our program to grow, offering more support and programming options along with technological advancements.

All contributions are tax deductible.

Carl Sabatino — Head of School & CEO, Bridges Graduate School

Carl Sabatino, M.A., was appointed Head of School of Bridges Academy in 2005 to lead the only independent school of its kind at that time in the nation.  The school has grown to 200 hundred students and 100 faculty and staff, and is the premier 2e school in the nation and a thought leader in the field of 2e education. Prior to Bridges, Carl served 11 years as Director of Upper School and college guidance at Lawrence Woodmere Academy, a K-12 independent school in Long Island, New York, where he taught high school courses in political psychology, epistemology, Spanish, and mathematics, and supervised technical theatre. From 1982-1994 Carl taught GED and ESL in programs for low-income youth at risk and was a Director of Education with Sylvan Learning Centers, involved diagnostic assessments, programming and teaching, and in the roll out of the computer adaptive testing for GRE, Pilot and nurses.

Chris Wiebe — Assistant Head of School, Bridges Academy, and Director of Coordinated Programs & Services

Chris Wiebe, Ed.D., spent several years as the high school division director at Bridges Academy before moving into the role of director of coordinated programs for the Bridges Education Group. He serves as managing editor for Bridges Media, publisher of and Variations2e magazine. Chris’s doctoral dissertation explored the barriers that teachers’ beliefs about technology can pose for schools and districts pursuing technology integration policies. A paper based on this dissertation was a finalist for an American Educational Research Association (AERA) award in 2016 from the Technology as an Agent of Change, SIG. His other published works include a critical discourse analysis of diversity statements at public universities, and a piece that excavates neoliberal ties between national policymakers and major technology corporations. With co-author Carl Sabatino, he wrote a chapter about institutional programming for twice-exceptional students, which was published by Oxford University Press.

Kim Vargas — Admission Coordinator

Kim Vargas received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. She studied under noted Gifted and Talented expert, Dr. Barbara Clark at California State University, Los Angeles, where she completed her Master’s Degree in Special Education for the Gifted and Talented. She also earned a special education teaching credential from Cal Poly University-Pomona. Kim taught in the South Pasadena Unified School District for 26 years and served as the visiting teacher for students requiring in-home educational services. Kim provided differentiated high school courses to accommodate the unique needs of her students, which ensured their academic success and satisfied credit requirements. In addition to her work in admissions and outreach at Bridges Academy, Kim is part of the first cohort at the Bridges Graduate School. Her son Douglas is a Bridges Academy graduate, Class of 2011.

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