Bridge began in Kenya in 2007 when our founders, Shannon May and Jay Kimmelman, set out to solve a single, seemingly intractable problem: Given that hundreds of millions of children worldwide do not have access to schools that empower and inspire them, would it be possible to create a high-performing school that would be affordable for struggling parents and that would immediately change their children’s lives and prepare them to succeed in life?
We reengineered every part of the education system, from teacher training and support, to lesson delivery, construction and financial administration, as well as student and teacher feedback to monitor progress, to make it as efficient, effective – and very affordable for the communities we serve.
The global education crisis means that it’s essential our education model is sustainable and scalable, that’s why we aren’t an NGO. There are 263 million children and young people not in school, the problem is too endemic to solve any other way. At Bridge, parents are the customers, and our model holds us accountable to those families’ needs and expectations.
This model allowed Bridge to invest large sums of money in research, development, technology and lesson development before even the first pupil was admitted. We will always invest in this because we are always learning, modulating and nuancing our approach based on the data and evidence as to what works best. We are committed to continuing this rigorous development process so we can grow and expand to meet the needs of our pupils – ensuring that our millionth student receives the same, if not better, high-quality education as our first.
Our model focuses on:
- Well-supported Teachers: Our teachers are well-trained at the Bridge International Training Institute and supported 24/7 by master teachers. They also benefit from ongoing training and continuous support both in and out of the classroom.
- World-class lessons: We always follow the curriculum of the countries in which we operate. Our lessons are developed through close collaboration between world leading academics and country-based education ministries. By leveraging the power of connected devices, we deliver professionally developed, up-to-the-minute lesson plans that provide every teacher with the core foundation needed for a successful learning experience in each subject, each day.
- Local Context: We work closely with local governments to ensure Bridge’s is working within national and local standards. We place a really strong focus on basic literacy, numeracy, and critical-thinking skills in early grades.
- Personalized Instruction: Our handheld, wireless “teacher computers” record attendance – of both students and teachers – and assessment scores, track lesson pacing, and measure pupil comprehension. This technology frees Bridge teachers from the time-intensive planning and administrative tasks, creating more time for them to focus on teaching and their students, giving them time to identify where students learning and where they are struggling.
- Data and Analytics: Bridge uses near real-time data, analytics and advanced technology to constantly make changes that improve student learning outcomes and deliver results for families. We are always learning.
- Bundled Services: Bridge streamlines non-instructional management tasks such as payroll processing, billing and expense management. This allows school managers to focus on the critical work needed at the local level – overseeing classroom lessons, supporting teachers and building relationships with families and the local community.