The Jackson-Madison County School System has established urgent goals to improve the achievement gap, increase graduation rates and lower dropout rates at Jackson Central-Merry and Liberty Technology Magnet high schools.

Federal “Race to the Top” monies have been earmarked to provide selected students a graduation option designed to achieve these goals.

The Bridge Academy will offer an alternative graduation option program for over-age students and those short of credits in grades nine through 12. Students will have the opportunity to recover credits due to truancy and academic failure in core subjects. The academy also will address students who are unmotivated and socially disengaged.

This educational setting is different from the traditional high school classroom. Students will participate in a compressed class day on a flexible schedule that allows time for family and work responsibilities. The program will deliver rigorous academic content that is responsive to each student’s individual needs and aligned with state curriculum standards.

Students will work independently following a prescribed learning path using an interdisciplinary technology-based curriculum through multiple computer-based programs that will provide one-on-one instruction and small group learning activities. A main concept of this program is that the students will be accountable for their learning. The program also will prepare students to pass the state end-of-course exams, as part of the Tennessee Diploma Project.

Learning paths for the program include essential skills (reading, writing and mathematics); life management; health and recreation; social studies and citizenship; science; art and music appreciation; college and career preparation; and social skills instruction.

Students will develop meaningful relationships with teachers who can help them succeed. The program will allow students to collaborate on group projects and learning activities guided by Bridge Academy teachers and participate in community service projects.

It is our goal that the Bridge Academy will provide positive outcomes, such as self-dependence, improved decision making and graduation from high school in the district.