Bridger Charter Academy
- About Bridger Charter Academy
- Key Program Features
- Program Admissions
- Proficiency-Based Learning and Grading
- Bridger Charter Academy Student Handbook and Other Info
- Current Course Offerings
- ESSA Report Card
- Frequently Asked Questions
Bridger Charter Academy
Bridger Charter Academy is an alternative program that operates within Bozeman High School. The program offers core (and some elective) course credit through proficiency-based instruction in a smaller learning community. BCA is not an online program. Students attend both BCA and BHS to meet graduation requirements.
Bridger Charter Academy Mission Statement
To ensure academic, personal, and social growth of every learner by providing personalized pathways to rigorous standards and opportunities for learning that extend beyond the walls of the school.
Bridger Shared Vision
In the Bridger community and in life, Bridger students empower themselves through strong character, genuine learning, and hard work.
BCA Core Beliefs
- All students can learn and thrive.
- Students may need a different approach to attain the academic, social, and emotional skills necessary for their success.
- Proficiency in rigorous academic standards and cognitive skills is necessary for great success.
- Learning is an active collaboration between students, teachers, families, and community.
- Learning is a lifelong process with intrinsic value and relevance to all life experiences.
- We have a responsibility to our community to be the best we can be.
- Students learn best in a respectful, stable, inclusive, and flexible environment.
- Any student who is in trouble or crisis needs our help and support in continuing to work toward success.
- The individual and group are responsible for providing community service for the betterment of all.
BCA Quick Look Infographic
Key Program Features
I. Proficiency-Based Education
Bridger offers a proficiency-based pathway to graduation. We have teamed up with the national Summit Learning program for our learning management system and proficiency-based teaching philosophies. Components include:
- Rigorous Standards. Courses have the same rigor and goals as BHS/GHS, but we assess students based on the specific content and cognitive skills for a course, rather than grades per assignment, quiz, etc.
- Project-Based Learning. Courses are project-based, with room for student voice, choice, and differing needs. Course design emphasizes quality over quantity; that means finishing and/or revising every project or test.
- No Ds or Fs, but Incompletes. If a student does not master all skills by the end of the semester, they will have an “I” (incomplete) on their transcripts until they do so. The “I” does not impact their GPA until it becomes a letter grade.
- Differing Paces. Students sometimes need less or more time depending on the skill. Teachers help students develop self-directional skills to manage their time based on educational needs. If a student already has strong skills or previous knowledge, they can demonstrate proficiency and move more quickly. That means a student can even finish a course before the end of a semester or make up missing credits, if they have the drive to do so.
II. Climate and Culture
BCA community works to create a safe, supportive, engaging and healthy school environment that promotes collegial relationships among students, parents/guardians, and staff. As a program, we focus on developing students' self-awareness, independence, and habits for success by striving to offer:
- small class sizes (15:1 student-teacher goal ratio)
- a school counseling program that supports social/emotional, academic, and career-planning programs;
- a mentoring program focused on behavior, social, emotional, and career readiness competencies;
- BCA community activities and events;
- trauma-informed prevention and intervention strategies;
- positive rather than punitive approaches to behavior management; and
- family outreach.
BCA staff and students follow all BHS rules and policies, as outlined in the larger BHS Student/Parent Handbook (available on BSD7 website).
The Bridger community asks students to hold themselves to the following expectations, in support of all other habits of success: be kind, be honest, be safe, be respectful, be responsible, and be resilient.
III. Bridger and The Summit Learning Platform
In order to facilitate their personalized approach to learning, BCA courses use the Summit Learning Platform (www.summitlearning.org). The platform supports classroom instruction, differentiation, transparent grading and feedback, and collaboration between teachers and students. BCA is not an online school; rather, we use technology to support personalized, proficiency-based education. Students (and their parents/guardians) will have access to the platform.
A. Platform Components
The Summit Learning Platform supports the 3 components essential to the learning emphasized in BCA classes:
- Cognitive Skills, which are developed and assessed through projects,
- Content Knowledge, which is developed and assessed through focus areas, in conjunction with the Self-Directed Learning Cycle
- Habits of Success, which are applied in coursework and developed through mentoring.
B. Self-Directed Learning Cycle
Emphasized during self-directed learning time in class, when students choose their path of learning, particularly with content knowledge (focus areas), the SDL Cycle includes the following: reflect, set a goal, make a plan, learn, show evidence of that learning, and continue the cycle for continued knowledge development.
C. Benefits of Mentoring and Developing Habits of Success
In mentoring, teachers:
- meet with each mentee individually at least once, for about 10 minutes, every two weeks;
- aim to be a trusted figure with whom a mentee is ready to reflect and share;
- help hold students accountable with deadlines and outside world expectations;
- provide scaffolds for habits of success until mentees are ready to build their own systems.
In mentoring, students:
- prepare for their weekly check-ins by responding to the prompts their mentors share and by reflecting on how they met or struggled to meet their goals;
- come to the check-in ready to connect with their mentor so that they are comfortable sharing what is supporting their success and what is causing any gaps;
- remain open to feedback and challenges presented to them in order to, over time, internalize the structures of mentoring and build habits of mind into their own systems of goal-setting and problem solving.
BCA Program Admissions
All high-school-age students in the Bozeman community are welcome to attend BCA. However, space is limited. Students will be registered for BCA courses based on order of student request and seat availability.
In order to maintain the learning community spirit, students must be enrolled in a minimum of two BCA core classes to be considered official members of the BCA program, and to thus be eligible for its additional program components, such as mentoring. Junior year, the American Studies combo course counts as two core courses.
BCA is a strong fit for students seeking:
BCA is a strong fit for students seeking:
- A small learning community within a larger high school (15:1 student/teacher class ratio)
- A focus on academic, personal, and social-emotional growth
- Strong, positive teacher/student and student/student relationships
- A desire to develop self-motivation and habits for success in a supported but self-driven work environment
- Progression through coursework based on proficiency, not time
Students do best in Bridger when they want to become independent, self-disciplined learners: you want to set goals, make plans, and reach new academic heights, or push yourself to change strategies when what you’re doing isn't working. However, students do better in traditional classes when they prefer or learn best with explicit teacher-led instruction, mandates on time usage, or strict deadlines.
Gallatin High School Zoning/Transfer Information
If you are a GHS student interested in BCA, please read and agree to the following:
- If your admission to Bridger requires a transfer from the GHS district, you must first fill out the BCA Interest Form for GHS Students. This form is a required first step. Please fill it out as soon as possible if you are interested in BCA. You do not have to be certain of your interest before completing the form. You will need to log in with your @BSD7students account to complete the form.
- To transfer to BCA/BHS, you are required to enroll in at least two core courses with BCA.
- Please read and agree to all statements written below (Bridger Student Agreement).
- If you decide after transfer that BCA is not for you, you will return to your attendance school, GHS. You may choose to request a new transfer application to stay at BHS.
Bridger Student Agreement
If a student wishes to attend Bridger Charter, they agree to comply with all components of the BCA program outlined in this handbook, including acknowledgement of the following general statements, provided here to dispel misconceptions about Bridger and its opportunities:
- Bridger is not an online school. Attendance is expected and necessary for course credit.
- Bridger cannot currently offer a full-schedule alternative to BHS or GHS. Bridger offers mostly core courses required for graduation; other courses will be completed through BHS.
- There is no typical Bridger student. Students of all abilities, starting skill levels, interests, backgrounds, identities, individualized needs, or present/future goals are welcome.
- The Bridger community thrives on a desire for all students to become self-sufficient, intelligent, empowered humans that can do anything we put our minds to, if they remain hardworking and resilient. This program is designed for students who are interested in developing that level of responsibility and potential.
- Bridger is not an “easy credit” program. Earning grades takes grit and effort to grow. Through hard work and dedication, it’s possible for students to recover deficient credit more quickly than in a traditional model.
- Students are not penalized for late work because it is not part of the standards. Simultaneously, students do not learn unless they take time to understand and revise. Self-paced means working with the class and teacher to learn together and find extra time as necessary to master skills and content. Teachers will not accept last-minute, non-proficient work for credit. Review the BCA Timeliness Expectations for more information.
- Bridger students agree to be positive contributors to the Bridger community and abide by the community expectations: be kind, be honest, be safe, be respectful, be responsible, and be resilient.
Bridger implements a proficiency-based pathway to graduation. A generally accepted definition of a competency based system is one that “creates flexibility by allowing students to progress as they demonstrate proficiency with academic content and skills, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning. Competency-based strategies provide flexibility in the way that credit can be earned or awarded, and provide students with personalized learning opportunities” (U.S. Department of Education, 2016).
Demonstrating Proficiency: Assessment & Accountability
In order to ensure Bridger graduates are college and career ready, the program implements a system of skills assessment including standardized rubrics and department and statewide assessments in order to monitor individual learner growth and achievement, evaluate the quality and efficacy of the program, and provide transparency to all stakeholders.
BCA is based on the philosophy that proficiency (see Grade Conversion chart below for definition) in rigorous standards is necessary for success. Therefore, the staff is committed to helping students demonstrate proficiency in academic standards (called “focus areas” in Summit), transferable cognitive skills, and deeper mathematical concepts. BCA courses are organized around the standards, and student performance is evaluated using those standards. Students work toward demonstrating proficiency through personalized learning time and engaging class projects.
Pacing & Late Work
Students can move ahead faster with skills and concepts that they easily grasp, or slow down when the skills or concepts become more challenging. Through timely, differentiated support, students will have a customized learning experience. Simultaneously, BCA students are expected to make steady academic progress on course standards, finding extra time for coursework when they need it, so that they can take advantage of whole-class learning engagements that engender curiosity, communication, and in-depth understanding rather than just “getting it done.”
Students must proficiently complete all Power Focus Areas and Projects in the course in order to earn credit. A student cannot finish a course “early” without having first met this requirement. If a student does not meet the proficiency criteria by the end of the term, the student will receive an incomplete for the semester until he/she masters the remaining standards for the course. (An incomplete can be carried forward for 12 weeks, after which it becomes an F on the transcript except with extreme extenuating circumstances.)
At the end of each semester, students will earn credit and letter grades based on the following weighted categories:
|BCA English, social studies, and science courses||BCA Math Courses|
*Additional Focus Areas are worth 5% of this 20%, where applicable. Senior Project (Eng IV): Focus Areas are worth 10% (and projects 90%) for this capstone skills course.
Other BCA Information
- Computers in the Classroom at BCA
- New to BCA? What to Expect
- Role of the BCA Teacher
- Your Child's Grades in BCA
- The Power of Mentoring
- Bridger Parent Summit Learning Platform Guide
- The Summit Learning Philosophy
- Summit Learning Glossary
- Logging into the Summit Learning Platform (presentation)
- How Grades Work in Summit (presentation)
- Understanding the Summit Platform: Parent/Guardian Orientation (presentation)
Course Offerings (2022-2023):
- Bridger English I, II, III
- Bridger English IV: Senior Project
- Bridger English IV: Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Bridger AP English
- Bridger Geophysical Science
- Bridger Biology
- Bridger World Geography
- Bridger U.S. History
- Bridger U.S. Government
- Bridger Human Geography
- Bridger Algebra I
- Bridger Geometry
- Bridger Health Enhancement
- Bridger Art
Dear Families and Community Members,
As required by the U.S. Department of Education and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a report card is generated by the Montana Office of Public Instruction for each school and district, as well as the state. The purpose of the federal law is to ensure transparency of school performance to families and community members.
There is further information for families and community members to explain the report card and ESSA on the Report Card Information for Families page. To find a report card, please go to the Report Card OPI website or click on any of the reports below under State Report, District Report, or School Report Cards.
Thank you for engaging in education in our community.
State Report Card
District Report Card
School Report Card
- Chief Joseph Middle School
- Emily Dickinson Elementary School
- Hawthorne Elementary School
- Hyalite Elementary School
- Irving Elementary School
- Longfellow Elementary School
- Meadowlark Elementary School
- Morningstar Elementary School
- Sacajawea Middle School
- Whittier Elementary School
High School District
Lead BCA Teacher
Bridger Charter Academy is located in Bozeman High School
Mailing Address Information