Georgia Bridge Act to aid in student success

Caitlin M.

Staff Writer

The Georgia Bridge Act was signed in May 2010 to provide middle and high school students with regularly scheduled advisement as a way to encourage a focused plan of study. This act encourages students by helping them see that there are possibilities of education in the future. Offering students career counseling to help them focus on their plans for post-secondary education, the bridge theoretically symbolizes the switch from high school to the future. Through the Bridge Act, students in Georgia know that they truly can succeed in either college or the workforce after high school.

During advisement each Wednesday, students receive guidance from teachers on the different paths they may embark on to secure a successful future. Prior to this program, students attended advisement; however, it was not a credit course. The transition from no school credit to a credited class ensures that students will now take their advisement sessions more seriously than before, and the mandatory advisement session for all students helps make them more aware of their future choices.  Advisement teachers enjoy showing students these choices, and many see this as a benefit because they can provide a way to help guide students in the right direction. The one shoe fits all mentality is no longer an issue, as more students will be better prepared to make choices based on their needs and abilities.  Students have a choice to go to college after high school or to go straight into the career field. The Bridge Act ensures all students in middle and high school that they can successfully have a plan for their near future.

The Individual Graduation Plan is another useful part of the Bridge Act. Students in eighth grade are required to complete the plan, so they can map out their classes for high school. This is very helpful because most students do not know which classes to take and which ones will meet the credit requirements. The In addition to the core classes, students select electives that pertain to the student’s interests and chosen path of study. The plan has to be developed with either parents or teachers from the student’s school. Work-Based Learning advisor Mrs. Olivia Steele explained, “It gives students an opportunity to see a course laid out as in what they need to take in order to reach their graduation goal.” Students are allowed to change their plan, but they should keep them as consistent as possible because this will show colleges students can stick with one or more classes. The Individual Graduation Plan is really useful for students who need to prepare for post-secondary education, as it gives them an outlook on what they should expect when coming to the high school world.

Aside from planning out high school classes, through Career Cruising, students research potential careers they are interested in. This step allows students the opportunity to explore their career options and the education required to get there. Sophomore Mia Vahle explained, “It will help me get to work in the future.” She wants to be able to work at a place that helps children with disabilities. Now she knows she can be prepared go into that field because of the new act. Vahle also explained, “It encourages me to believe I can have a future after I graduate high school.” Vahle is not the only student who sees the new Georgia Bridge Act as a benefit to students across Georgia. Senior Marissa Jackson sees the new act as a motivator to be ready for her future. She believes with the Individual Graduation Plan, she can be prepared for the college of her choice that she will be going to soon. This is important to her, and the plan will allow her to make it that much easier. Many students struggle with being prepared for college or the workforce; this act is a solution for these students.

Teachers also see the advantage of the recent Georgia Bridge Act. Mrs. Steele has noticed how the act can benefit the students in Georgia. She explained, “I do expect to see improvements because it is allowing students to see other options other than the traditional education routes.” She feels it is something positive to get the students to research options that relate to their career and post-secondary education. Teachers believe this act is perfect for the students today who need an extra boost concerning their coming plans. Every week teachers can tell the student how to utilize the Individual Graduation Plan by providing other possible routes that pertain to education.

The Georgia Bride Act is excellent for students to realize the need to prepare for what is ahead. If students do not start as early as possible, then it is definitely too late by the time they are a senior in high school. This now allows students an easier way to plan for post-secondary education or the workforce. This plan can help students make the right choices for success, so the future is much more improved and advanced.

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