In a rapidly changing educational landscape, true visionaries recognize the need to adapt, innovate, and reimagine the student experience. One such visionary is Dr. Kelly Simon, the Director of Bridges Charter School in Thousand Oaks, California.
A Beacon of Hope in the Educational Community
Bridges Charter School, located in a suburb of Los Angeles, serves about 415 students across two main programs: a classroom-based program and a homeschool program. The school came to life 12 years ago, born out of the hard work and passion of parents who felt that existing schools weren’t providing what their children needed. Today, the school stands tall as a testament to its founding members’ hard work and determination.
Whole-Child Education: A Core Philosophy
Bridges Charter’s standard is built on the foundational principle of whole-child education. Their method emphasizes inquiry-based learning and family integration. But what makes Bridges truly distinct is its hybrid homeschool program. A one-size-fits-all curriculum doesn’t bind students enrolled in this program. They can visit the school for enrichment two days a week, blending the best of homeschooling with the advantages of traditional classroom education.
Navigating the Challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly disrupted education globally. However, Dr. Simon views challenges as opportunities. Through the pandemic, Bridges Charter noticed a significant uptick in homeschool enrollment, a trend Dr. Simon attributes to evolving parental priorities. As schools everywhere grapple with enrollment fluctuations, staffing attrition, and shifting teaching models, Dr. Simon emphasizes the need for schools to reconnect with their “why.”
Fostering a Community of Growth
While challenges persist, Dr. Simon proudly discusses Bridges Charter’s achievements. The school’s focus on social-emotional learning, especially during these trying times, is commendable. With tools like Universal Monitoring, Bridges can systematically track and address students’ emotional needs, providing the necessary interventions inside and outside the classroom.
Moreover, the school has created an environment where academic success thrives. Whether it’s significant growth in writing skills or nurturing each student’s individuality, Bridges Charter proves that children can flourish even in challenging circumstances with the right approach.
A Message of Inspiration
As she wrapped up her conversation on the School Success podcast, Dr. Simon had some words of inspiration for fellow school leaders. Despite the exhaustive challenges of the past couple of years, she encourages educators to resist the urge to retreat. She emphasizes the need to find that spark of innovation again, to be the torchbearers of change, and to inspire teachers and students alike.
In a world rife with political divides and pandemic-induced challenges, Dr. Simon stands as a beacon of hope, relentlessly pushing for a brighter educational future. Her leadership at Bridges Charter School reminds us that we can make a difference in students’ lives with passion, creativity, and unwavering dedication.