A Bridge to Success

Two-week summer bridge program to bring four years of success to incoming freshmen

So many new people! Look at the size of this place! Eighth grade wasn't like this!

The transition to high school can be difficult, but many incoming freshmen in the Tracy Unified School District get a head start in a two-week bridge program. By the end of the two weeks, upperclassmen and educators have helped put all those new-school fears to rest.

"They are Day 1 ready," as West High Assistant Principal Jose Jimenez puts it.

"I thought I wasn't going to be able to find my classes," said 14-year-old Osvaldo, echoing the initial fears of many of his soon-to-be-classmates. "But now I know where they are going to be."

These fears dissolve pretty quickly during the bridge program at each of the district's three comprehensive high schools. By the time the two-week program was through, the freshmen had gone way beyond just learning the campus map.

By the first week of the program, students had taken their first dip into their new school's culture by talking to upperclassmen about clubs, sports, and classes the new students had never considered before. They got to know teachers and counselors and learned some study skills that would help them get off to the right start. They also visited U.C. Santa Cruz, so they would have an idea of what they were working toward. Along the way, they made new friends who would make the four-year journey with them.

High school fears were gone and they were learning how to flourish, said Juliana Stocking, director of alternative programs for the district.

More about the bridge program and many more stories from education in San Joaquin County are in the latest issue of Outlook, the SJCOE's interactive, online magazine.

Posted: 9/25/2018