Belmont University formally announced a partnership with Bridges Academy Wednesday morning during a signing ceremony on the Belmont campus. Slated to open in August with 100 fifth and sixth graders, Bridges will ultimately educate more than 400 fifth- through 12th-grade students each year. The academy will provide academic, spiritual and social solutions to the national epidemic of hopelessness and despair that torments many inner-city males and the communities that surround them.
Located in East Nashville, Bridges Academy will serve inner-city males of diverse backgrounds who otherwise may not experience an intense college preparation environment with a variety of opportunities for enrichment. With a school day beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m., students will attend classes, spend time with mentors and participate in extracurricular activities such as athletics, music, drama and financial literacy programs. Derek Young, the former executive director of 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee, will serve as the president of Bridges Academy.
“What we’re trying to create is a model way to influence lives and shape leaders,” Young said. “We are very excited about this partnership and the students we will serve and the communities they will shape.”
Belmont is partnering with Bridges Academy to provide mutually beneficial opportunities for students from both institutions. Cooperative initiatives include curriculum consultation regarding teaching and learning with Belmont’s education department and Bridges Academy faculty; professional development opportunities for Belmont education students; tutoring and service learning opportunities for Belmont students in a variety of academic areas at Bridges Academy; co-curricular programs such as school newspaper, theatre and athletic coaching; and leadership training for Bridges Academy students.
“It is a privilege to be a part of this new partnership with Bridges Academy,” Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said. “Our job is to help students discover their purpose, push them to become all they are created to be and find someone to serve. This is an opportunity to build bridges in the community that will benefit Belmont as much as Bridges Academy.”
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