What We Believe About How Children Learn

At New Bridges Elementary, we believe that children can and should be learning in every moment they are under our care and supervision. We seek, in each moment, to engage students in the exercise and development of their intellect and creativity. Our philosophy is that children learn best when instruction is thoroughly and purposefully planned; thoughtfully and responsibly delivered; individually differentiated; accountable to and adaptable based on data; engaging; joyful; and empowering.
PLANNING
Teams and teachers create and tailor lessons to the needs of the all students in their classrooms. The workshop model allows teachers to focus on meeting the needs of struggling scholars, English Language Learners and students with disabilities, and to enrich the experiences of advanced students. In order to set a high bar for every student in every classroom, teachers plan together - sharing the workload, building off of one another’s strengths, and providing consistently strong instruction in every classroom.
PURPOSE
Students are constantly connected to the meaning and purpose of their learning. All lessons and units are aligned to clearly defined goals, and instruction constantly ties back to lesson-specific and big picture goals and intentions. Each lesson has a sequenced, standards-aligned purpose or teaching point which drives the content of instruction and practice.
EXECUTION
Direct instruction is focused, meaningful and memorable. Attention is paid to pace, volume, and body language in order to compel and connect to all students in the classroom. Content is delivered in a way which is clear, concise, and comprehensive. Students are given ample opportunity to practice and are empowered to discover new understandings on their own.
DIFFERENTIATION
Teachers and service providers work collaboratively to ensure instructional access points for all students. Systems, such as flexible groupings, and accommodations like individualized materials, leveled texts, and visually supportive charts, are in place in each classroom that allow lessons to be differentiated to meet students where they are. Teachers preteach, reteach, challenge and enrich.
DATA DRIVEN Rigorous formative and summative assessments are used around the school on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Student performance, progress, and achievement is constantly measured and monitored in order to adjust, adapt, and individualize instruction. This allows us to apply comprehensive classroom and schoolwide level intervention for struggling learners.
ENGAGEMENT AND INDEPENDENCEThroughout the day at New Bridges Elementary, students are actively and meaningfully taking ownership of their own learning, growth, and development--whether they are engaged in a critical conversation about a book with peers, harmonizing in song, practicing yoga, writing a meaningful personal narrative, making predictions during a science experiment, testing solutions for a challenging math problem, or eagerly buried in their independent reading. Students do the heavy lifting of their learning with an emphasis on empowering student independence. Strategies are taught with an emphasis on adding them to a holistic toolbox for everyday use. We want students to be constantly building and strengthening their problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration skills. Opportunities to access learning through artistic expression are utilized as often as possible.
CREATIVITY AND JOY New Bridges Elementary teachers and staff intentionally work to integrate creativity and joy into all aspects of the instructional day. With high behavioral expectations paired with a rigorous academic schedule, a joyous culture and a high level of energy is critical in keeping students engaged and happy. Joy is established through a calm, consistently positive tone from teachers, and is maintained through careful planning that integrates the arts, movement, cheers and music throughout the academic schedule.