“These kids are not bad kids. They are just like all kids. We love them and they love us,” Mattingly said.
“One of the things we teach them is to make better choices,” Lowell said.
“They also like investigating things in more depth,” Mikeworth said. “We allow them to do that to keep them interested.”
“It’s (Bridges) done a lot for me. It’s helped me be a better person,” said student Levi Hopkins.
Each year the students work on a class project. This year they will be rebuilding the “Bridges” sign at the North Morgan and 12th Street intersection.
The students are expected to complete the same education requirements as their home districts require.
“The students have the choice to finish school here or go back to their schools, which is ideally what we want them to do. But we give them the choice,” said Assistant Regional Superintendent and Bridges superintendent Kyle Thompson. “We work closely with the district superintendents and principals, giving them weekly updates.”
The staff and parents work out a Individual Alternate Education Plan for each student. Academic progress, attendance, and evaluation of how well the student is living up to the six character traits they are working on are recorded.
Thompson noted that the school celebrated 98 percent attendance during March.
“The kids hold each other accountable. They motivate each other to come to school.” Thompson said.
Bridges is not a GED program. Students of Bridges fully complete their high school education and graduate with their class in their home district, receiving their diplomas. Many of the students go on to college.
“We are proud that many who go on to college succeed there.” Mattingly said.