Finally, Bridge Boston’s model is built around the key design element of implementing full-service programming in order to serve students from the most under served communities in the city. We deliberately recruit children who could most benefit from our program by conducting outreach in homeless shelters and day care centers,medical clinics, family stabilization teams, the Department of Children and Families, and housing developments. The children at Bridge Boston are provided with numerous services. There are annual vision and hearing screenings, dental clinics on site, and parent workshops on topics ranging from asthma awareness, health and wellness, and parenting. We make referrals for home-based therapy teams, and then work closely with caseworkers. We talk frequently to our children’s doctors. We help families who fall into homelessness or domestic violence. Our goal is to serve as a hub for the parents – a place that they can turn to when they have questions about how to help with a child’s needs or when they are in crisis. We see our work as removing obstacles to a child’s academic and developmental progress caused by broader environmental factors.
Services and staff
Through our full service programming, Bridge Boston removes obstacles to learning. These services include providing free of charge two nutritious meals and two snacks every day to bringing dental, vision, and hearing services right in the school. We have staff dedicated to help broker services for families such as housing, social services, and food security. We employ a full-time counselor and have strong partnerships with key organizations, such as Home for Little Wanders, SouthBay Community Services, and Brookline Mental Health. They provide individual play therapy, social skills groups, and parent-child therapy to our students and families.
Bridge Boston hosts parent/guardian workshops on different topics, ranging from nutritious snack ideas, financial planning, reading at home, to behavior management strategies. These workshops help families connect with the school and one another, and we make sure they are accessible by providing food and childcare.
Relationship-building from recruitment through advising
Families in our lottery are invited to the school for an Open House in the spring before enrollment. Also, before the first day of school, a staff member will conduct a home visit as a way to build the relationship and get to know the family. We have an open classroom model and parents are encouraged to visit the school often. Each student has an advisor, a member of the Bridge Boston staff, assigned to keep in regular contact with the family.
Our focus on the whole child has enabled us to recruit and retain some of the community’s most at risk children.