Unification News for April 2002

Bridgeport International Academy: Plans for 2002 -- 2003

by Nora Spurgin

On the foundation of New Eden Academy, Bridgeport International Academy continues the development of an outstanding, academic program focused on the enhancement of the character of each student. The weekly planning committee, composed of parents, teachers, and administrators, has created a mission statement to reflect the goals of our college preparatory school.

A Winning Debate Team:

The 2001-02 school year was a time of transition in which the focus was on building a quality academic, character-based program to market to the local community and to international students. One of the most exciting and successful efforts was joining the Connecticut Debate Association and creating a successful debate team under the supervision of Joy Garratt, the Academic Dean and English teacher, and Greg Breland, a parent and university employee.

The Connecticut Debate Association is built on a long tradition in which more than three hundred debaters participate from the finest (and largest) public and preparatory schools in the state. Our little school, with one-fourth of its student body on the debate team, gained the interest of many, experienced debate coaches when Chris Breland won the first place trophy in the Lincoln-Douglas, debate competition, and Masjo Ward took third place in extemporaneous speaking. Both boys were first year debaters, and we are proud of them.

Clubs and Activities:

Several new clubs and activities have been started this year. There is a jogging club, a swimming club, and a basketball team that has played several, local schools; Mike and Kati Brisbois are the husband-wife coaching team. To the enjoyment of our students, Mrs. Kum Taek Park imparts her skills on the pottery wheel in the university’s ceramics studio to fifteen of our students. During the fall semester, most of our student body learned the ABC’s of video production at the local cable TV station.

Believing in the mandate to live for the sake of others, our Academy has added a requirement of thirty hours of community service per semester. We have helped to build houses for Habitat for Humanity, served in a local soup kitchen, and assisted younger children in a local Head Start Program and at Bridgeport Hope School.

Fundraising by the Student Council:

Having discovered the financial potential of fundraising with fresh flowers, the BIA Student Council continues the tradition of selling roses on Valentine’s Day and flowers on Mother’s Day. Having a sizable fund available for trips and activities makes planning these activities very exciting for a very active Student Council.

Authorization to Enroll International Students:

On May, 2001 our school received state approval, and on that foundation of accreditation in December BIA received authorization from the I.N.S. to issue I-20 forms in order for international students to receive F-1 student visas.

Since we are now able to admit foreign students, our planning committee held a day-long brainstorming session to lay out the basic goals and plans for the coming year. The goal for the 2002-03 school year is to admit up to twenty, international students who will live in the school’s dormitory and attend the new Intensive English Program (I.E.P.). Two ESL teachers will run this program and work side-by-side with the regular teachers and classes. The international students will be mainstreamed into the high school curriculum as they gain English proficiency.

The Intensive English Program will be open to international students who want to become proficient in the English language while still in high school in order to prepare to attend college in the United States. Qualified students may also take two courses per semester at the University of Bridgeport as part of their high school curriculum.

Home Stay Option:

As we have learned in dealing with residential students, it is expensive to provide a good, full-time residential experience. Therefore, we can make this available only to students who can cover the full costs of tuition, room and board. In addition, students who wish to arrange to stay with another family will be welcomed as day students. Several families in the Bridgeport community have expressed interest in making home stay arrangements.

Summer ESL Program:

A constant challenge for any independent school is the financial responsibility of providing for a qualified staff and faculty. The BIA administration has met these challenges creatively in several ways, including a Summer English Enrichment Program (SEEP) for international students between the ages of 10 and 16 years of age. This pioneer projects worked well last summer and is envisioned to be even larger this summer. SEEP has allowed BIA to continue to develop its regular, academic program.

New Classrooms:

Several dormitory rooms in Cooper Hall were converted into two, enlarged classrooms, in order to meet the academic needs for the summer and next year. A demolition crew of parents and students worked knock down a wall and renovated the rooms.

Faculty and Staff Needed:

Bridgeport International Academy is looking to hire several teachers and staff members for the upcoming, school year which begins in August, as well as ESL teachers and an activities director for the summer. The following positions are available:

(1) One dorm parent (or parent couple) to work in the dormitory with one or two residential assistants to provide supervision and care for international, high school students after school hours.

(2) One Mathematics teacher to teach mathematics, science, and/or computer courses for high school students.

(3) Two college students to live in the dormitory and serve as Residential Advisors on a part time basis.

(4) One Activities Director interested in sports and organizing recreational activities for students after school and on weekends, as well as for P.E. classes.

(5) Several ESL teachers and Residential Advisors from July 1 until August 17.

Anyone interested in teaching or working at our Academy should send a resume to:

Dr. Hugh Spurgin, Bridgeport International Academy, 400 Linden Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06604; send a message by email to hdspurgin@hotmail.com; send a fax to (203) 334-8651; or phone (203) 334-3434.

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