Reflections on the Efficacy of Summer Bridge Student Leadership Part I

The PREP 4 SUCCESS Summer Bridge is a program designed by Center for Powerful Public Schools to ease the transition from middle school to high school by providing students with an enriching social and academic experience. Participating PREP 4 SUCCESS teachers are given a curriculum created by the Center that aligns with their school’s mission and vision. While they are being trained, a handful of their schools’ student leaders are trained around how to run Advisory for the program. These exceptional student leaders are called Summer Bridge Leaders and they are the beating heart of the PREP 4 SUCCESS Summer Bridge model.

Schools with strong organizational capacity begin recruiting Summer Bridge Leaders (SBLs) as early as February or March. SBLs welcome incoming 9th graders with fun activities and lead a daily advisory class during the 3 or 4-week program. At the end of each day, they debrief with their teachers and prepare for the next day. They also assist teachers with project-based learning and help facilitate two to three field trips throughout the program. At the end of the program, they celebrate program participants with a slideshow or video capturing student engagement.

The role of SBLs was formerly a paid position. SBLs currently receive work experience credits that will appear on their transcript. But the real motivation to participate in the program as an SBL is intrinsic.

These students want to lead. They want to take an active role in their school communities and make an impact. They are the future leaders of our nation. With these bright students at the helm, I have no qualms handing the keys over and letting them lead the way.

In the second part of our series, you’ll hear from some SBLs about what they’ve gained from the program and why they keep coming back.

For more information on running a PREP 4 SUCCESS Summer Bridge Program at your school site, contact jschmieding@PowerfulEd.org.