Program Structure, Details, and Tuition

Program Structure, Course Information, and Tuition

Bridges Academy Online is designed to be both rigorous and flexible. Strength-based and talent focused, we aim to engage gifts and talents and support challenges wherever they interfere with learning and life goals.

Interested in applying? Download an application packet.

The BAO comprehensive program develops intellect, creativity, academic prowess, and social-emotional skills and understandings. Parents, teachers, students, and administrators work closely to provide the most productive context and foundation for learning though the middle and high school years.


Students are grouped in cohorts of 10-12 students. In order to create dynamic groupings, we take into consideration gifts, talents, and interests of the students as well as grade, age, and course requirements. Groups are led by a Cohort Leader (CL) who acts as manager, academic coach, and social advisor. The CL will monitor student progress, conduct parent conferences & team meetings, and supervise independent studies and participation in the Young Experts Program. The CL is the primary liaison among and between parents, teachers, and administration.

Program Schedule

Students on online call

Core academic classes (humanities, mathematics, etc.) follow a modified block schedule in which students take two to three subjects per five-week rotation. We call these blocks “copernimesters” because the format is influenced by the Copernican scheduling model. There are six copernimesters in a school year: three “A” and three “B.” Students switch between A and B cycles every 5-6 weeks.

Classes are approximately 55 minutes long with breaks for mental & physical reorientation occurring between each class. Exact start and end times are specific to each cohort and students’ individual schedules.

Bridges Academy online operates on a 180-day calendar. There is an an average of 4.5 hours of synchronous cohort instruction and activities per day, not including lunch and breaks. Additional flex hours are required in the Young Expert program and independent studies to successfully complete all program requirements.

Managing Time and Course Materials

While some assignments can be completed and refined in class or during advisory, students should expect to spend a minimum of five hours of extra time per week offline to complete their work. Additional time should also be allotted for reading assignments and group projects, as well as required independent studies and internships.

Each copernimester ends with a cumulative exam designed to provide students with a spotlight opportunity to further demonstrate their command of the big ideas, essential questions, and enduring understandings that they grappled with throughout the course.

Parent Communication

Every five weeks, subject teachers assess students’ mastery of the content and skills, issuing progress reports at the end of each copernimester. All reporting is formative throughout the year, with final transcript grades documented at the end of the academic year in the spring.

End-of-term narrative reports are written by the Cohort Leader summarizing intellectual, academic, and social growth; ongoing challenges; new goals and pathways; and providing present levels of performance. The CL also holds regular conferences with parents, and students are typically present. Successes, goals, changes to plans, and plans for improvements are discussed and formalized in these meetings. Such short-term and long-term goals are also regularly addressed in the context of students’ advisory work, where they are guided through informal and periodic formal self-reflections on gifts, talents, skills, and challenges.

Additional team meetings occur on an as-needed basis. These meetings may include the director, cohort leaders, teachers, outside specialists, and/or the head of school and students as needed.

Program Requirements

Bridges Academy Online provides four years of courses in English Language Arts, Social Science, Science, Mathematics, and World Language. This scope and sequence exceed basic high school graduation requirements and the admissions criteria of most four-year colleges.

Bridges also provides four years of talent development, called the Young Expert Program, and four years of an elective, which includes one year of a visual/performing art. Physical education credits and community service hours (30 hours required) are earned via documented independent activities.

Most course curricula are integrated, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary in design, crossing the traditional disciplinary boundaries and categories. Successful completion of the course requirements will earn the student the following units for graduation:

English Literature & Composition4
World Language4
Physical Education4
Young Expert Program/Talent Development/Electives4

Core Skill Development: 

Math labs and writers workshops are built into the weekly schedule to give students the opportunity to practice and solidify skills in these critical areas. Successful work in these focused sessions is factored into the evaluation, grading, and units earned in history, English, and/or math. These sessions also enable students to confront skills gaps that may have arisen in prior educational settings. 

Financial Considerations

Tuition & Fees:

  • Annual Tuition is $32,750 per year and fees and mandatory tuition insurance run approximately $800.
  • Early Enrollment Tuition is $31,750. Contract and deposit must be received by April 1.
  • A processing fee will be added to any balance paid by credit card.
  • Financial aid, scholarships, and/or opportunity grants may be available and can significantly reduce your financial obligation. Please indicate your interest in financial aid on your application.

Payment Plans:

  • If you choose to pay tuition in installments, a payment plan fee of $500 will be assessed.
  • When enrolling with a payment plan, a payment of $4,000 must accompany your enrollment contract. If enrollment is after August 1, payments based on the payment schedule are also due.
  • A processing fee will be added to any balance paid by credit card.

Financial Support of the School:

We encourage donations to our Financial Aid, Scholarship, and Opportunity Grants programs. Additionally, we encourage participation in our annual fund drive. The funds allow our program to grow, offering more support and programming options along with technological advancements.

All contributions are tax deductible.

Keri Borzello — Head of School 

Keri Borzello’s career has spanned nearly 25 years through various roles in independent schools throughout California, including teacher, coach, admissions director, development officer, marketing director, principal, and head of school. Keri has a B. A. from UCLA and an Ed.M. in School Leadership from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. In addition, Keri graduated from the prestigious National Association of Independent School Fellowship Program for Aspiring School Heads. Keri has presented both domestically and internationally on topics including Strategies and Best Practices to Help Students with Learning Differences and ADHD Achieve Success, Factors Affecting Special Education Teachers’ Feelings of Burnout and Perceptions of Mindfulness-based Practices to Build Social and Emotional Competence, The Benefit of a Multimodal Education, and Inclusion in Faith-Based Schools.Most recently, Keri was part of a research team at Harvard University investigating the impact of teacher preparation strategies and was invited to serve as a facilitator for professional development programs offered by Harvard’s Principal Center.

Dylan McKenzie — Director, Bridges Academy Online, and Cohort Leader

Dylan McKenzie has been a dedicated educator for 14 years at Bridges Academy, a school for gifted students with learning differences. With a background in music education, Dylan nurtured students’ talents and provided support in areas where they faced challenges. His approach taps music as a forum to develop students’ social-emotional skills, bringing deep empathy and intuition to his guidance and mentorship. In 2021, Dylan joined Bridges Academy Online as the inaugural cohort leader, overseeing students’ academic, social-emotional, and talent development journeys, while also serving as a trusted liaison for parents. Recognized for his outstanding work, he was promoted to the directorship in June 2023. In addition to his role in Bridges Academy Online, Dylan played a vital part in Bridges LA as co-director of the Bridges Music Program from 2009 to 2023. Alongside his teaching responsibilities, he showcased his musical talents as a guitarist and songwriter, gracing prominent Los Angeles venues such as The Walt Disney Concert Hall, KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, and the Hammer Museum. Dylan holds a BFA in guitar performance from the California Institute of the Arts.

Kim Vargas — Admission Coordinator

Kim Vargas received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. She studied under noted Gifted and Talented expert, Dr. Barbara Clark at California State University, Los Angeles, where she completed her Master’s Degree in Special Education for the Gifted and Talented. She also earned a special education teaching credential from Cal Poly University-Pomona. Kim taught in the South Pasadena Unified School District for 26 years and served as the visiting teacher for students requiring in-home educational services. Kim provided differentiated high school courses to accommodate the unique needs of her students, which ensured their academic success and satisfied credit requirements. In addition to her work in admissions and outreach at Bridges Academy, Kim is part of the first cohort at the Bridges Graduate School. Her son Douglas is a Bridges Academy graduate, Class of 2011.

Jesse Karlan — Cohort Leader

Jesse Karlan graduated with honors from AMDA College and Conservatory for the Performing Arts, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. She began singing at age five, and has since performed in over thirty professional musical theatre productions. Jesse earned certificates in Television Writing and Fiction Writing from UCLA, worked in the Literary and Voiceover departments at Abrams Artists Agency, recorded a country/pop demo at Universal Music, and produced a music video of her original song: “This Line” to help raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis and the risks of lung transplant. In 2017, Jesse was hired to teach Performing Arts in Bridges’s Middle School division. She left Bridges to earn an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. While at SLC, Jesse worked as a teaching assistant in SUNY Purchase’s Writing department. Jesse returned to Bridges in 2020, teaching English 9 in person (and online) for two years before joining the BAO family as a Cohort Leader in 2022. She is thrilled to be a part of Bridges Academy Online.

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