Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Bridge Program

Program Overview

The Peninsula Bridge Program is an academically challenging, tuition-free summer enrichment program created to educate, empower and enthuse students from low-income school districts on the San Francisco Peninsula. Founded in 1989 by a group of concerned community leaders, the program is designed to encourage students to work hard, visualize dreams, talk about goals and to create action plans that will help them achieve success in school and life. Lunch, transportation to and from school, and field trips are all included in the program, free of charge. Overarching objectives of our summer programs include the following:
  • To prepare students for college preparatory classes, particularly Algebra I and English 1A.
  • To educate students about life-long learning and the development of
    strong intellectual habits.
  • To develop self-esteem through academic and inter-personal achievement.
These objectives apply to all five Peninsula Bridge sites (i.e., Castilleja, Menlo School, Sacred Heart Prep, Woodside Priory, and Crystal Spring Uplands). In addition to the above objectives, the Bridge program at Crystal Springs has developed a mind/body program to educate students about healthy life choices, exercise, and nutrition, as a way to address the obesity epidemic in our society.
Though each site has its own distinct personality, the core elements of the Bridge Program (e.g., curriculum framework, timeframe, master teacher/student ratio, etc.) are consistent across all of the sites. With slight variations, the daily schedule is the same at each site. Each day begins with a group meeting that re-energizes and focuses everyone and promotes a sense of community and family. Meetings might include skits, games, or inspirational quotes. The students then head off to class and spend all morning in math and English classes.

List of 4 items.

  • About the Woodside Priory Bridge Program

    The Woodside Priory Bridge Program is a five-week Math and English enrichment program with the clear objective of preparing rising 8th graders for Algebra I, in order to get them ready for college track classes by the time they enter high school. We provide academic enrichment in order to motivate and prepare these students for success in the next steps of their education. 

    The program brings students from East Palo Alto and Redwood City’s public schools to the Woodside Priory campus, an independent school in Portola Valley. Classroom dynamics are strengthened by small class size and low teacher to student ratio. The curriculum involves a combination of Mathematics, English, and Technology.

    • To prepare rising 8th graders with the skills needed for Algebra I.
    • To instill a sense that working on Technology combined with Math can be fun, interesting, and rewarding.
    • To provide a safe and academically challenging environment.
    • To create an open community among a diverse group of students and staff.
    • To provide a supportive, nurturing environment where students can safely take intellectual risks, ask questions and express their thoughts.
    • All students participate in listening to weekly guest speakers.Classes consist of less than 17 students per teacher, enabling hands-on learning to take place.
    • High school teacher assistants offer students extra academic support in the classroom.
    • The work is demanding, skill based, and focuses on preparing students for success in their future classes.
    • Students complete approximately one hour of homework per night.
  • Bridge Curriculum

    Algebra 1
    • Review of basic operations.
    • Introduction and explanation to Algebraic functions
    • Confidence and skill building activities
    • Review writing and reading strategies.
    • Integrate study skills.
    Field Science
    • Exploring different environmental sciences (Landscape architecture, horticulture, forestry, sustainability).
    • Organized, competitive and fun sport activities in which students will learn the value of teamwork.
    • Different intramural sports each week: soccer, basketball, baseball/softball, swimming, etc.
  • Bridge Testimonials

    "You are surrounded by so many people that take notice of you and believe in you that you start to internalize this. You realize that you can be successful"- ANGELA SALDIVAR, TA – Woodside Priory, Alumni – Sacred Heart Bridge

    “Look at me. I am an example of what PB did. PB helped me to see more opportunities out there. We met once a month after the summer with kids from ALL the Peninsula Bridge programs. Peninsula Bridge is great…I owe a lot to the Bridge Program.”- ANGELITA HERNANDEZ, Bridge student alumni

    "Peninsula Bridge is definitely important. It brings people together. It gets them thinking of goals in the future instead of thinking of just the present. It helps you in school and it gives you something to work for." - JANETTE MALDONADO, went on to Woodside Priory School, then to Stanford and is currently applying for Medical

    "At Peninsula Bridge there is more personalized attention. They are honored for their work, honored for their improvement. Feedback is constructive and positive. I was able to meet with ALL of them to discuss their work and I was straight with them. Many times, I talked to the students about budgeting their time and prioritizing. When they get to Peninsula Bridge, they take it seriously."- JEFF FRIEDMAN, Bridge teacher since 1995

    "Like anything, you get out of it, what you put in to it. Many students say that this is the “hardest class” that they have ever taken!” They have to do their homework. I can see them building their confidence. The best part is when students look for me after class after everyone has left to ask me questions."- Paul Trudelle, Bridge teacher since 2000

    "Peninsula Bridge is a chance for kids to feel important. It is all about the hope. In E. Palo Alto, you do not always experience/see hope. People who don’t look like you are saying 'we believe in you'. It is just as important that kids learn how to socialize and get along with others."- TERRELL VIRGIL, Sacred Heart Peninsula Bridge alumni, went on to become the first African-American graduate from Woodside Priory School in 1998.

    "Bridge will make you be the someone that you want to be. Makes you proud."- WHITNEY OLSON, Woodside Priory Bridge alumni.
  • Bridge Faculty

    Gulliver LaValle, Site Director

    At Woodside Priory School Since: 2007

    Education: University of Utah, B.A., M.Ed.

    Contact Information

    Phone:(650) 851-6157 
    Email: glavalle@prioryca.org

Woodside Priory School