Bridges celebrates community schools

For nine-years, Bridges Community Academy has been serving Tiffin and surrounding communities as a K-12 community school, and is to celebrate with a week of events beginning Monday.

The week, titled “Waves of Success,” is to feature themed days such as achievement, healthy opportunities, learning school safety, preparing for college and future careers, and using technology.

Thursday, Bridges, located on the campus of the Sisters of St. Francis, is to host an open house for the community 6-7:30 p.m. For those who attend, a dinner is to be provided.

The week will end with a 5k Peace Walk Friday to incorporate character and leadership, Bridges Director Dona Kaufman said.

“Bridges offers students and families an opportunity to foster relationships with educators, advancing academic and individual strengths while empowering skills to assist with any academic or individual weaknesses,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman said the environment at Bridges encourages the staff and students to accept each other’s “unique differences.”

“Each person is welcomed and accepted,” she said.

The vision Bridges stands by is to inspire students to be successful and to be college, career and community ready.

Bridges uses teams rather than grade levels, Kaufman said.

“With using team based learning, it lets children be able to achieve their highest potential,” she said.

Kaufman has been with Bridges since its beginning as one of the founders.

“The most significant moments for me and the BCA staff, have been when a student or parent expresses statements like, ‘BCA has made a huge difference in my life,’ or BCA has made my child feel accepted by his/her peers and has encouraged them to be leaders at school,'” Kaufman said.

Along with Bridges, North Central Academy, offers a non-traditional high school atmosphere.

“We are here to service our kids,” NCA director Matt Wolph said. “We have smaller class sizes and more space for our students and allow for more one-on-one attention.”

This is the fourth year for NCA in its current building, at 928 W. Market St.

“We teach our students the core values of teamwork, accountability, discipline, and respect for themselves and others,” Wolph said.

When NCA first opened, Wolph said it was for at-risk youth and to help students graduate who may not have in a traditional school setting.

“By building on character components and real-world experiences we are giving students the exposure and getting them out there to find a plan for their future,” he said.