BRIDGE Program

BRIDGE Program: Bringing Reality Into Diverse Growth Experiences is an amazing chance for the students of IHS to gain real world experience. This is an opportunity where seniors can participate in an outside of school internship program of their choice for seven weeks. They can learn the skills that are necessary to succeed in a career path of their choice. Some students believe that it is vital to be involved in the “real world,” applying and learning the skills of their future rather than being stuck in school all day.

This program creates many ways for students to explore different career paths. BRIDGE can help enlighten students about the logistics of what it’s like working in a particular field and with the reality of dealing with co-workers. Since some internships pay, it can also be an opportunity to help save money for college if you choose to intern at your everyday job.

In order to be eligible for the program, students need to make sure they are keeping up their grades (failing students are not accepted). In addition, students are required to include parental permission, to pass each class they have taken or are presently taking, to complete all graduation requirements, and to submit the required BRIDGE form into guidance on time. Also, you cannot have more than five absences, tardies, or dismissals in the third quarter of the school year.

To see how students view the program, I asked seniors some questions about BRIDGE and what they thought about it. Callie Rosales said, “ I think that BRIDGE is a great opportunity for students because it lets you see the real world before you are opened to it at college.” She is also doing an internship at her current job which is a great experience. Although a majority of the senior class would agree that the program is a great experience, some students don’t hold this opinion. Students say that staying in school is better because you are only in high school once, and you get the chance to work for the rest of your lives. Another concern that some students have with BRIDGE is missing a whole quarter of school. I asked Audra Morrow what she felt about this and without any hesitation she said, “I do not think that it will affect me that much because many other students are doing it as well. I am taking one AP class, so I will be back in the school three times a week. Most students at this point have already been accepted into a school, so last quarter will not make a huge difference.” AP classes are another reason why students would not want to participate in BRIDGE. Since they are advanced classes and require additional work and an end of class exam,  you need to come back to school during the day for your AP class.

Teachers, ultimately, are impacted by the BRIDGE Program as well. Reducing the size of a class can prove to be helpful for students, as there is more one-on-one time for each individual. Of course this varies from teacher to teacher and the type of class.  In academic classes, there should be no issue with losing students. But as for certain electives such as band and gym, numbers and teamwork can make a difference. In an academic setting, we asked Mr. Hughes, a math teacher at IHS, about his feelings towards BRIDGE. We asked him, “ How do you think BRIDGE will affect the class, and how do you think the class will turn out because of BRIDGE?” His response was, “Possibly the most obvious impact is that there will be less students in the class. That might affect the overall atmosphere of the class a bit but I don’t anticipate any major changes. Also, if anything it may allow more opportunities for students to have more one-to-one direct instruction from the teacher. Students doing BRIDGE don’t expect there to be any major impacts on the overall performance of the class. The kids who are not doing BRIDGE expect that the students who are still in class will maintain a high level of attentiveness to their responsibilities.”

By the end of the fourth quarter, BRIDGE will give the students the experience they require to ‘make it’ in the real world. Although, where the students worked may not teach them the specific skills necessary for their career path, the program has proven to adapt them to a working lifestyle. Not only is this important for the students, but it will put reassurance in the companies or corporations that hire them. Ipswich High School has shown the community and others surrounding that this program is valuable and viable to young adults who are looking to expand their ‘real world’ experiences       .