All In One Place, And Nowhere to Hide: Bridge Meetings

Our principal greeted a student in the hallway who looked a little confused. He asked her where she was going. She replied that she was going to a conference room to meet with her teachers. She was concerned.

The principal extended encouragement and hoped that the meeting would go well and went on his way.

It just so happened that he was back in the hallway about five minutes later and saw this same student again. The student looked different, walked different, and was smiling.

“How did the meeting go?” the principal asked.

“Great! I wasn’t in trouble at all. They told me I was doing a great job!”

This students just experienced a Bridge Meeting.

Each day The Freshman Academy teachers escape from their classrooms and come to our conference room, which we call The Bridge.

Our conference room is called The Bridge because “bridge” is in a our mission statement . . .

“Building a bridge to the future for new Warriors to achieve success.”

. . . and a bridge is the command center for a ship. Both work and so the name stuck.

On a regular basis we bring students to our conference room for a Bridge Meeting. During first quarter of this year, teams averaged five of these meetings per week; however, team use varies. One team had 26 meetings and other team had four during the same quarter. It is a tool that teams use at their discretion.

To define it, a Bridge Meeting is when a student meets with the three or four Freshman Academy teachers during the team planning period. Most of these meetings last less than five minutes.

Different Methods for Getting the Student to the Bridge Meeting

  • We call into the student’s classroom and request that the student come to The Bridge.
  • We send an email to the teacher one or two days before the requested Bridge meeting with a follow-up email on the day of the meeting.
  • A note is placed in the teacher’s box a number of days before the meeting.
  • Teams go to the student’s classroom and meet briefly in the hallway.
  • Teams break into pairs and go to classrooms to meet with students in the hallway.

Basic anatomy of a Bridge Meeting 

  1.      It has a specific purpose that is discussed before the arrival of the student.
  2.     A positive introduction to the meeting: Welcome the student.
  3.     There is an explanation of what Freshman Academy teachers do during this time.
  4.     Each teacher says something specific to the issue at hand.
  5.     Something in writing is generated from the meeting.
  6.     It doesn’t last more than 4-5 minutes.
  7.     A follow-up date is set by teachers to revisit the purpose of the meeting and follow-up with the student in class or another Bridge Meeting as needed.
  8.      Sometimes a follow-up email of thanks and information sharing is sent to the teacher that sent the student from their class.  

Attributes of a good invitation to a Bridge Meeting

  1.      Has the student’s first and last name.
  2.     States clearly the day, date, and time of the requested meeting.
  3.      States the amount of time requested (e.g. Five minutes).
  4.      Includes the option to NOT send the student.
  5.     Includes the names of the teachers sending the invitation.
  6.      Includes the room number of The Bridge (A230).
  7.     Includes a place to sign arrival/departure times as a pass.
  8.     “Thank you” appears on the form.
  9.     Colored paper, Half sheet

These meetings are a powerful tool in confronting students with both their shortcomings and their strengths. It’s real. It’s honest. And it’s powerful because there’s nowhere to hide.

The Freshman Academy @ Washington High School

To:         Teacher’s Name                    From:      Team Teachers’ names 

Request for a five (5) minute meeting on

Day: ___________                 Date: ___________

Student’s Name: _____________________________________

Circle Period: 2    3    6    7   

Preferred time (Circle one):  Beginning        End         Anytime

Room: A230

If this is not a good time, simply return this invitation to the above mentioned teacher’s box.



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