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Bridges Elementary School Ranked as Top-10 Elementary School in Arizona

 

District leadership with Bridges principal and assistant principal

 

In its latest 2022 rankings, the U.S. News & World Report has ranked Bridges Elementary School as one of the top elementary schools in Arizona.

The data, which was released last month, ranked Bridges as the ninth-best elementary school out of 1,007 schools in the state. These rankings were determined based on standardized tests that measure students on math and reading/language arts. Additionally, the report analyzed how these schools prepared students for high school.

Jeffrey Beickel, principal at Bridges Elementary, said that being ranked as a top school in Arizona helps quantify the intentional ingredients that go into making Bridges a special school.

“Being ranked as a top-10 school in Arizona is special to me and our campus because it highlights our students’ hard work and growth mindset, our extraordinary teachers and staff, and immensely supportive community,” Mr. Beickel said.

Mr. Beickel answered a few questions about this recent accomplishment and what makes Bridges Elementary school unique.

Students in Maker's Place with Ms. RichardsWhat unique approach does Bridges take to learning?

While we teach the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards like every other school in Arizona, we also infuse STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) and Project Based Learning (PBL) into our curriculum. Our teachers are dedicated to providing real-world learning opportunities that involve students collaborating, communicating, thinking critically and creatively. Our school is driven by a future-focused vision where all students are equipped with the skills needed to thrive in the ever-changing 21st century workplace. Our vision, coupled with outstanding teachers dedicated to their craft and providing rich learning opportunities, results in a tremendous amount of student growth each year.

What learning opportunities/special programs does Bridges provide its students?

Our future-focused vision enables us to continually provide exceptional learning opportunities for students. A few elements that are included in this realm are 3D Printing, virtual reality, introduction to coding, and a makers’ place. Our makers’ place in particular is a room where teachers can take their students to build, create, engineer, and design products tied to their real-world linked learning. The supplies are continually replenished thanks to our parent donations through our wonderful PTO, which enables teachers to have almost any item imaginable at their fingertips. Aside from STEAM and PBL, I believe our school excels in providing a well-rounded learning experience for students. Bridges offers a variety of clubs, before and after school programs, and activities such as robotics, STEAM, drama, art, golf, speed and agility training, Trash Can Band, choir, and more.

Students in Maker's PlaceIn your opinion, what makes it a great place to learn?  

When I reflect upon our school, and what makes it special, it starts in the classroom. Our teachers are the most dedicated, creative, positive, fun, and student-focused professionals I’ve ever worked with in my life. When a team of like-minded professionals come together the way ours has, the sky is the limit for the amount of student success that occurs as a byproduct of their collective mentality. Our teachers work extremely hard to ensure all students are provided learning opportunities that meet their specific needs, as differentiation for all learners is a staple on our campus. Above all else though, I am so proud of the way our team works to intentionally build relationships with students, parents, community members, and other staff members. The Bridges staff and teachers firmly believe positive relationships provide a solid foundation for effective learning opportunities.   

Mr. Beickel ended the interview by adding that at Bridges, they are constantly reflecting upon their practice, and refining the way they do things to ensure continual improvement is occurring.

“While I’m pleased with our number nine ranking, we are collectively always striving to improve on a consistent basis,” he said. “I look forward to being a part of the continual student growth that occurs from the growth mindset held by our entire staff. Our potential as a school to improve is unlimited, and I am excited to see where that takes us and our students long-term.”