SC State’s Bridge Project “ Bridging the Gap of Education”

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bridge Project“Bridge” was what students shouted from the Barbara A. Vaughn Fine Arts Recital Hall on the campus of SC State University, as they were preparing for their culminating awards ceremony. This year’s theme was “Where Tomorrow’s Teachers find their Path Today.”

SC State’s Bridge Project is a two-week workshop for high school students interested in becoming teachers from partnering school districts along the I-95 corridor. The project is funded by the State of South Carolina. The Bridge Project’s vision is to have these future teachers meet the criteria for program admission while still in high school. During the program student deficiencies are identified and corrected using technological resources to improve their skills in reading, writing, and mathematics and students are equipped with the competencies required to enter a teacher education program.

SC State’s Bridge Project helps students enhance their reading, writing, and math skills through rigorous tutoring and testing. As a result of the Bridge Project, students were able to improve those basic skills and are prepared to meet the needs of demanding and ever-changing challenges of the classroom.

“The reason for the SC State Bridge Project is to help increase the number of highly qualified teachers along the I-95 corridor,” said Dr. Gail Joyner-Fleming, director of the Bridge Project. “We have found that the success rate on the required Praxis I examination is much higher when students take advantage of the dual credit courses in math and English that the Bridge Project provides,” she continued.

To be selected for the Bridge Project, students must be rising seniors or incoming college freshman, and want to pursue Education as a career. Students must also have a 2.75 GPA and be recommended by an English and Mathematics teacher from their high school.

The Bridge Project also helps prepare students to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the American College Testing (ACT), required for college admission. Students who score 24 on the ACT and 1100 on the SAT will exempt the Praxis I examination.

The students that attended SC State’s Bridge Project were from CE Murray High School in Greelyville, S.C., Orangeburg Wilkinson High School, in Orangeburg, S.C., Estill High School, Estill, S.C., and Scott Branch High School in Summerton, S.C, Allendale/Fairfax High School in Allendale, SC and Lake Marion High School in Santee, SC.

Monica Lambright, a recent graduate of Orangeburg Wilkinson was the recipient of the ‘Outstanding Student Award’ in writing and reading during the two-week program, said that her experience this summer with the Bridge Project has been very influential. “This program has helped gradually improve my learning abilities and made me a better person,” she says. “I am blessed to say that I have really enjoyed the experience at SC State,” she continued.

Other experiences for students included the opportunity to explore cultural activities, such as visiting the Charleston Aquarium, Fort Moultrie, and Sullivan’s Island.

Cleveland Council, a freshman, Math Education major at SC State, says that the Bridge Project has been a fulfilling experience. “The Bridge Project has been more than an internship. It has been a learning experience, and being that I am the first Bridge Scholarship winner, I felt as though I needed to set an example for the students, but found myself, learning from the students that I was mentoring,” says Council. “If students are eligible then I would really recommend this program,” he says.

“With continued funding for SC State’s Bridge Project, we will experience more success in admitting students the teacher education program,” says Dr. Fleming.

For more information about the SC State’s Bridge Project, contact Dr. Gail Joyner Fleming at (803)536-7173.