Visit and do some Classroom Observations
by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Our son Joey is now in his second year at Bridgedale Academy. My wife and I believe our decision to enroll him has been one of the best decisions we ever made.
There are many reasons we believe this but I'll discuss just a few.
For one, when last year's shelter-in-place COVID lockdown happened, most schools, and therefore most parents, were woefully unprepared. Like everyone else, we were in a state of shock. Yet the Bridgedale team confronted the challenge aggressively with zero hesitation, transitioning overnight into full-time, 5-days-a-week Zoom classes.
And as a result Joey and his Bridgedale classmates didn't miss a beat. They stayed totally on track academically all the way through the end of the 2019-20 school year. It was truly amazing.
And to my knowledge, it was unmatched by any other schools, public or private, in Illinois.
We are now ten weeks into the school year and Bridgedale is teaching in-person, with carefully-instituted, intelligent, comprehensive COVID safety protocols.
The fact is that the boys at Bridgedale Academy love going to school.
The Bridgedale faculty is truly professional and the small class sizes enable them to address and understand each student's personalities and needs.
As a parent you get feedback and insights on your son you would not normally receive.
The experience and leadership of (Bridgedale Headmaster) Mike McPartlin and (Bridgedale Academic Dean) Christina Di Pauli give my wife and me complete confidence in the excellence of Joey's academic and athletic education.
Bridgedale's classical curriculum, with such an excellent teaching staff, combined with the athletic training from such outstanding coaches, make it a fantastic school and a perfect fit for our son Joey.
In my opinion it is a rare opportunity for young student hockey players.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
When it became clear in early March that the COVID-19 pandemic was about to have a profound impact on how we do things at Bridgedale Academy, we began making our preparations.
We pride ourselves on the "dynamic engagement" of our in-person classroom instruction. And with our boys-only environment, and small class-sizes, we especially take pride in how well ALL our boys do academically, and how virtually all of them come to LOVE LEARNING.
But a mandated school shutdown meant that we would lose that in-person instruction.
So what could we possibly do to maintain that same high level of engagement?
It turns out plenty.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
I appreciate how Bridgedale has implemented virtual learning in a way that best mimics an actual classroom setting. The teachers are doing the teaching, the boys are interacting online and the school work is progressing.
For us parents who are now working from home, we do not feel the pressure of having to homeschool our children or worry about idle time.
They are fully engaged, as if still in school. I am so grateful for the way the Bridgedale teachers have pulled this together!
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Being able to pivot quickly can be the difference between successful businesses vs struggling businesses. Under normal situations, good forecasting and observation of any market can prepare leaders to be ahead of the curve and pivot early.
…We all know what has happened with this coronavirus is FAR from normal.
My son Brogan has been attending Bridgedale Academy since January of 2019. Operating a school is much like a business and being able to pivot is a necessary quality needed to thrive in our current situation.
The fact that the faculty was able to adapt and pivot to this new reality has been amazing to watch. Almost without missing a single beat, Mike, Christina, and their entire team transitioned into an online school. The boys are in class sessions from 8 to 1:30 every day just like their normal schedule with breaks and lunch intertwined. Once the school day is done, their off-ice sessions begin for a 45-60 min session. All of this has been happening on Zoom and other technologies.
This unfortunate situation has been tackled in the best way possible. This experience will make the school, the teachers, and the boys stronger in the future for any challenge that comes their way…
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
What motivated you to look at Bridgedale as an academic alternative for Charlie?
We first learned about Bridgedale when I saw a poster about Bridgedale at an ice rink before one of Charlie’s hockey games. My wife had been looking for a classical education. The idea of combining a classical education model, an all-boy environment and excellent hockey training was very appealing to us and to Charlie.
What factors went into your decision and was there any particular deciding factor?
We had some doubts coming into it. Would a hockey school be able to or interested in the sort of rigorous education we believe is critical for our children? Would the other families put education first and hockey second? Bridgedale dispelled those doubts. We quickly saw that the Bridgedale teachers and athletic instructors cared about educating and growing young men first from the top down.
Hockey is of course an important part of the education, but just like algebra and grammar, hockey is one more tool that develops thoughtful, intelligent young men who are leaders in the classroom, on the ice and in their communities. And in order to accomplish its mission Bridgedale has built an unparalleled team of teachers. To a person, the teachers have strong command of their subject and an excellent ability to handle middle school boys firmly, but with an impressive kindness and generosity.
Friday, April 10, 2020
Our journey at Bridgedale Academy happened quickly, but the course that lead us there started long before. Aiden has always been a joy: his beautiful smile and kind spirit make him so easy to love. He is helpful and smart; a great addition in any school. He asks for very little and gives 100% in return.
For years, our parent teacher conferences remained the same, "Your son is smart, sweet and doing his best."
This was wonderful . . .
Parent teacher conferences remained the same, but Aiden was unhappy. His lack of interest in school was obvious, he never wanted to do homework, nor did he need too. He was withdrawn and miserable, frustrated with the classroom and the students that refused to follow the rules.
His teacher spent more time attempting to manage the classroom than teaching. State-mandated testing and large classrooms made it difficult to cover curriculum and Aiden was DONE. We struggled as a family, trying everything in our power to manage the stress and disappointment that came with what we knew needed to be done.
He needed a change. WE needed a change. Little did we know, the greater power would take over.
Thursday, April 9, 2020
We are amazed and appreciative for all that Bridgedale has done amidst the COVID situation. First, you transitioned seamlessly to online learning. It is no surprise, but every Bridgedale teacher has done an impressive job of continuing Bridgedale's mission growing the minds and hearts of young men.
Charlie is as engaged and challenged as ever. We assumed the hockey portion of Bridgedale would fall off without ice or in-person education. Instead, the online group workouts have been just what Charlie needed to continue to strengthen his body and release some of the energy from not being able to get on the ice.
Thank you. Once again, you have reinforced our belief that Bridgedale is the best place to grow Charlie academically, as a young man and as an athlete.
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Dear Headmaster McPartlin:
I wanted to express my thanks and appreciation for the spectacular job you and the Bridgedale Academy teachers did, quickly transitioning from in-class to online educating! I was initially worried at the thought of my son needing me to home school him, but all anxieties were calmed after day one of my son on zoom with his teachers and classmates.
Vaughn was still learning, given homework, completing tests and being held accountable. He still had school hours and a schedule, which made this version of online learning turn out better than I could have imagined!