UMSL Bridge Program’s Summer Academy providing college preparation in virtual format

Bridge Program Summer Academy

Students in the Bridge Program Summer Academy won’t be able to gather in UMSL classrooms this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Bridge Program Director Channon Peoples and her team have adapted the Summer Academy to a virtual format that has allowed them to widen the program’s reach. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis’ Bridge Program Summer Academy typically brings between 250 and 300 ninth and 10th grade students from across the St. Louis metropolitan area to the UMSL campus each weekday morning from mid-June to mid-July.

Student participants take academic enrichment courses in mathematics, science and written and oral communication and get support with career research, personal and professional development and activities that help them with college planning.

Because of public health concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Precollegiate Student Services department will be conducting its annual Bridge Program Summer Academy in a virtual format.

“The Summer Academy fuses excitement and engagement through a student-centered approach, fully immersing students in the learning process through daily peer interactions,” Bridge Program Director Channon Peoples said. “While we will miss the physical interaction with students, we look forward to the many new experiences that this summer will bring.”

The Bridge team is using those circumstances as an opportunity to widen the program’s reach beyond the St. Louis area.

“It was important that we maximized the opportunity to expand our effective precollege services to promote college preparedness and matriculation beyond the scope of the St Louis region,” said Natissia Small, UMSL’s assistant provost for access and academic support. “Although offered in a virtual format, the effectiveness of our holistic learning approach and student engagement will not be compromised by the mode of instruction.”

The Summer Academy will be divided into two sessions, running from June 15-26 and June 29-July 10. Each virtual session will run from 10 a.m. to noon.

Ninth and 10th graders across the state and beyond were encouraged to apply for the free Summer Academy provided they are enrolled in or have completed algebra and have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 of higher.

Precollegiate Student Services is also hosting its Bridge to the ACT intensive workshop for rising seniors in a virtual format with weeklong sessions from June 8-June 12 and June 22-26. Meetings run from 7:45 a.m. until noon. In addition, Bridge will be launching a virtual middle school component running weekdays from June 20 through July 31 from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Additional program opportunities available this summer can be found at here.

UMSL’s Bridge Program has provided free, year-round college preparation services to high school and middle school students – and their parents – across the St. Louis region for more than three decades. Its Express Scripts Saturday Academy this year brought together more than 700 students from 46 public and private high schools across the St. Louis area.

Since 2003, 100 percent of Bridge Program graduates have matriculated to college. The 96 high school seniors who took part in this year’s Saturday Academy were accepted to more than 130 colleges and universities and were offered more than $5 million in scholarships.


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