Top-Ranked Bridgeport Academy Seeks More Partnerships
In the fall of 1997, Bridgeport International Academy (BIA) first opened its doors to a handful of students as a private college preparatory school in the seaside town of Bridgeport, Connecticut. More than 20 years later, it’s a premier learning institution consistently ranked as the best high school for the arts in the state, according to school review website Niche. BIA’s small, internationally diverse body of 60 students allows for a worldly yet intimate educational setting with an exceptional four-to-one student-teacher ratio.
“We strongly believe that education should be accessible, and we try to keep our student body as diverse as possible to give our kids a chance to broaden their horizons and make global connections,” said BIA Vice Headmaster Emily Kise.
As a boarding and day high school conveniently located adjacent to the University of Bridgeport campus, students have the opportunity to take college courses and use university facilities. About 40 percent of BIA students are international, while 60 percent are diverse in their religious, social, and economic backgrounds.
“Our students hail from many countries; from Vietnam and Korea and China, to Nigeria, Tunisia, and Russia,” said Kise. “We have people of all backgrounds and faiths, including Unificationists. We are hoping to open new markets in other parts of the world like South America and Eastern Europe.”
BIA is also hoping to expand its community presence and student experiences through more local partnerships. The school currently partners with YMCA, Green Village Initiative (GVI), and Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, to name a few.
“We are heavily involved in serving Bridgeport through community service,” said Kise. “We have monthly service projects with different local organizations and we are always looking for partnerships that would improve our students’ experiences.”
One of BIA’s partners, Green Village Initiative, offers four different programs and grows local fresh food in a network of community and school gardens. The professed ‘grassroots movement of urban growers’ welcomes people of all ages across the city.
“We believe it’s important for community members, including young people, to not only grow food but to grow in their knowledge, leadership, and community through urban gardening and farming,” said a GVI spokesperson. “We are creating more than just a food system in Bridgeport.”
While BIA students receive hands-on learning through GVI’s programs, as well as other partners, school leaders would now like to bolster this through organizations that complement its institutional values.
“We have four pillars at BIA that we believe make up well-rounded individuals: academic excellence, character, creativity, and global citizenship,” said Kise. “We have a strong character-based program that is part of our legacy, and our future.”
To learn more about Bridgeport International Academy’s student culture, you can check out its Facebook page.