Bridge Boston Charter School, Boston, Massachusetts
Bridge Boston Charter School has all the time-tested hallmarks of a traditional high-quality charter school: high expectations, strong academics, strikingly dedicated teachers. Yet, it has one unique over-riding feature: founded to nurture and serve the city’s most vulnerable children, it is designed with the whole child—and the whole family—in mind.
“The majority of our students are low-income,” explains Executive Director Yully Cha. “20% are homeless or have been, 20% receive services from the Department of Children and Families, 25% are receiving special education services, 39% are English language learners.”
“We believe that for students to succeed, their basic needs have to be met: housing, nutrition, clothing, social and emotional wellness, safety. So we go beyond academics, partnering with community organizations to connect our students with all those services. For instance, New England Eye sends their Vision Van to give eye tests to our students, making glasses on the premises for those who need them. In the new schoolhouse, our family resource room will have technology and training for parents—and even a washer and dryer."
She notes that “we spend a lot of time thinking about the barriers families face, which is why we are so grateful for this loan to help us purchase our own campus.”
“A permanent home has been a long-standing critical need for the school—really, since its inception in 2011. That kind of stability has been denied so many of our families, who have experienced homelessness. Over the last five years, some of our families have been in four different temporary facilities. We are beyond thrilled to look forward to settling into one building. I give credit to the folks who believed in us enough to invest in our mission and permanent schoolhouse.”
A renovation of the former Roxbury Community Health Center, the school will reinvent the space with new life and ambition, including music and art rooms and an outdoor garden, in addition to well-equipped classrooms. We aspire to give the very best to every student, and the building is an essential piece of that promise,” Yully says. “It wasn’t always a straight path to get to our permanent home, but we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel." She notes gratitute that BlueHub Capital, known at the time as Boston Community Capital, was able to be "so creative, so strategic. They were able to assemble a complete package that made the building financially feasible for us.”
“From the beginning, we felt this was the right partnership," she continues, because BlueHub Capital "was so interested in what the students and teachers were working to do. We share the same set of values, the belief that providing for and investing in our young people is the way to build a better future—and that strengthening the community is a way to achieve that goal.”
“This will be a home for generations of students, decades into the future. It is one of the most impactful partnerships the school will ever be part of.”