Bridgeport School educates students with mild cognitive delays and challenges with social communication and/or language development. The school serves students ages 5 to 21, many with autism spectrum disorder. This integrated educational and therapeutic program is designed to promote academic, communicative, behavioral, social, motor, adaptive and independent living skills.
The mission of the Bridgeport School is to provide students with the ability to access skills that will improve their quality of life and to assist them in becoming productive members of their communities. It is designed for students who can benefit from an academic curriculum, as well as hands-on life skills instruction and vocational services. The Bridgeport curriculum is structured for life-long independence and self-fulfillment.
The comprehensive program includes:
- Small class size
- Individualized academic instruction and functional curriculum
- Emphasis on social communication and social skills training
- Positive behavior support
- Vocational education
- Occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, counseling and adaptive physical education as indicated on the child’s I.E.P.
- Weekly computer lab classes
- Elective programs, including art and drama, music classes, reading club and student council
- Physical education with access to the fitness center
The Bridgeport School, Sherman Oaks Campus, is certified by the California Department of Education. The Bridgeport Program, Culver City Campus, operates under the auspices of Village Glen School Westside, which is also certified by the California State Department of Education. All services are provided by a highly professional, licensed and credentialed staff.
Bridgeport Elementary provides students with the tools necessary to maximize their academic potential and remediate deficits using comprehensive, research-based curriculum including applied academics, community-based instruction and social skills. California State Standards are integrated throughout the curriculum, and with the use of best-practice teaching strategies, each student will learn fundamental reading, writing and math skills.
Bridgeport Middle School focuses on traditional academic skills while incorporating a functional academic components into the curriculum. The school-wide framework integrates modified California State Standards into an alternative curriculum. Through a variety of research-based teaching strategies,each student continues to learn and practice fundamental reading, writing and math skills.
Bridgeport High School conducts comprehensive academic and career survey assessments for each student to begin the transition process. Students learn to build on their existing academic knowledge in order to apply their skills to real-life settings and situations. The Practical Assessment Exploration System, PAES, facilitates the transition of applying skills to practice. It is a hands-on, comprehensive curriculum that provides exploration, training and assessment in the areas of basic career skills, vocational skills and life skills for high school and transition students attending the Bridgeport School. In this simulated work environment, students are taught skills in a systematic format to help them become more independent and learn everyday skills. The assessment component of the program helps students to determine interests in five specific areas including Business/Marketing, Construction/Industrial, Consumer/Services, Processing/Production and Computer/Technology. Each area has a comprehensive array of tasks for students to perform, providing the foundational basics for school-to-work transition.
After completion of the high school program, students are eligible to enter the Bridgeport Vocational Education Center to further their independence and employability training skills.
Bridgeport School believes that children show the most growth when they are provided with a safe, predictable, and structured learning environment. The Bridgeport social skills philosophy is that the way to strengthen all skills is to highlight what a student is doing correctly, rather than by focusing on inappropriate behaviors. Throughout the day at Bridgeport, students are reinforced with immediate, specific and positive feedback each time they demonstrate appropriate behaviors or approximations thereof. Students at Bridgeport School are taught social skills on a daily basis. Bridgeport uses the “Super Skills” program by Judith Coucouvanis as its core curriculum for all grades kindergarten through 12th. This curriculum is supported by Brenda Smith Miles (author of “The Hidden Curriculum”) and reflects all the key concepts reflected in Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking curriculum, the Boystown model, and Skill Streaming. The curriculum focuses on 4 areas of skills necessary for social success:
- Fundamental skills
- Social initiation skills
- Getting along with others
- Social response skills
The Super Skills’ “Steps to Success” are published each week in the campus newsletter that goes home to each family every Friday. In this way, families are able to practice and reinforce the same skills teachers are working on during the week. Teachers use a developmental approach and may encourage students who move at a faster pace to serve as role models or peer mentors for the other students.
Bridgeport School calendars monthly themed socials designed to strengthen student social skills in a fun, meaningful and age-appropriate setting. Socials are school-wide, and all students are encouraged to participate. Student interactions are monitored by staff and often facilitated to demonstrate and generalize weekly social skills from the Super Skills series. Themed socials are an excellent opportunity for our students to come together as a group and make new friends or enjoy existing friendships in a recreational environment.
School dances are an important component of a student’s experience during his or her middle school and high school years. There are three regularly scheduled school dances during the school year – one in October, one in February and one in May.The dances are held in the evening at the school site, with a DJ who is very familiar with our population, as well as knowledgeable about appropriate songs for a school function. There is also a table with trivia and other pencil and paper games for students who prefer not to dance. In addition to the three scheduled campus school dances, there is a Junior/Senior Prom, which is typically held off campus, providing students with an opportunity to interact socially in an age-typical event but in an atmosphere which is safe and nurturing.
The High School Student Council is made up of a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, as well as a student representative from each grade level. The student representatives speak for their class, and all officers serve as a collective voice for the student body. Their responsibilities include helping plan school and fundraising events and bringing new ideas to the attention of the administration and staff. All of the officers are expected to exhibit the characteristics of a positive role model, maintain a strong attendance record, and have a good discipline history.
Bridgeport Clubs provide students with an opportunity to meet and practice social skills with other students from all grade levels who share common specific interests. To ensure student enthusiasm and participation, the particular interests of students determine what clubs are established.
For more than a decade, Bridgeport students in grades K-12 have partnered with the Milken Family Foundation to be of service to their community. Over the course of a school year teachers and students embark on a mission of service where each classroom identifies an area of need or way that they can contribute, locally, nationally or internationally. Throughout this year-long partnership, students develop a sense of service to their community, effect change and develop a sense of ownership in the world around them.
Bridgeport students grades K-12 are offered specially designed physical education on a daily basis in small groups. This allows students to explore and practice various movement concepts, sports-related skills, cooperative games and social skills. All students use a variety of age-appropriate equipment so that they have multiple opportunities to practice and enhance their skills. As their level of proficiency develops, students begin to understand the relationship between correct technique and practice. Students learn team games such as basketball, volleyball, baseball, football, tennis and hockey.
The High School is a member of the California Interscholastic Foundation (CIF) and competes in Basketball as well as Track and Field events. CIF is the intramural regional league for many schools located in the Los Angeles area. Students can earn credits while competing on one of these teams. These sports activities not only involve the team participants but also the entire school leading to tremendous pride and spirit. Nothing on campus matches the enthusiasm that arises by having a basketball game on campus that day. Go Knights!
Bridgeport School is committed to providing all students K through 12 with opportunities to access technology to enrich their learning experience. Each classroom is equipped with computers, and students have access to the computer lab on campus on a regular basis. iPads are also used daily throughout every division to support the curriculum.
Bridgeport Early Elementary use a software program called Teachtown: Basics. Teachtown is a comprehensive, research-based, developmental intervention that is based upon principals of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Teachtownaddresses language learning, social skills, communications skills and emotional development. Elementary students work on phonics, sight words and letter recognition using applications from the iTunes store.
Bridgeport Middle School uses an online reading program called Ticket to Read, which teaches vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. Ticket to Read lets students practice important reading skills in the classroom, in the computer lab and at home. Ticket to Read helps develop early reading skills with phonics games and has an embedded reward system that motivates students to build virtual toys and decorate their personal reading space. iPads at the Middle School level are used to target mastery of math facts, telling time or counting change. Students also begin to use word processing applications, email programs and the Internet to explore available options for expanding communication.
High school students at Bridgeport School use computers equipped with Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. With Microsoft Office, the students can create professional-looking documents, eye-catching spreadsheets and charts, impactful presentations and professional-quality marketing materials. Bridgeport high school students also use SOLO6, is a literacy suite of assistive technology accommodations, including a text reader (READ: OutLoud), graphic organizer (DRAFT: Builder), talking word processor (WRITE: OutLoud) and word prediction (CO: Writer). Finally, iPads are integrated into the high school curriculum with the goal of preparing students for life after graduation. Students apply the skills they have previously learned on the iPad to more advanced applications for functional life skills, such as locating information for community-based instruction trips, creating shopping lists, emailing their parents and family and using the built-in calculator functions to calculate change for food sales or purchases.
Director, Clinical Services
Sherman Oaks Campus
Head of School
Sara McCracken, PsyD, BCBA
Director of Early Elementary Programs
Mary Bauman, PhD
Culver City Campus
Nata Preis, MA
Head of School
Assisant Head of School
Principal, Early Education
Pat Sandler, MFT
Director, Clinical Services
Bridgeport is located in Sherman Oaks and Culver City. Its state-of-the-art education campuses include the following:
- Occupational therapy room
- Computer lab
- Athletic and play areas
- Student-operated stores