Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Bridge for Passing

The Columbia-Greene Partnership Academy, a.k.a. The Bridge, opened at 364 Warren Street on February 3. On Thursday, March 20, Tom DePietro interviewed Bruce Potter, superintendent of the Berkshire Union Free School District, a key player in The Bridge, on his WGXC radio show We the People. The interview is now archived and can be heard here.

Listening to the interview requires a fairly high comprehension of acronyms and eduspeak, but here are some salient facts of general interest. There are now 45 to 46 students being taught at this facility, from the Hudson City School District and the Catskill Central School District. Of those, 31 are enrolled in the Alternative Transition Program, meant to help at risk students graduate; the rest are special education students who previously would have been transported by bus to Canaan to attend classes. According to Potter, not having to transport students to Canaan saves from $40,000 to $60,000 a year.

The Bridge will operate at 364 Warren Street through the end of the next school year, in other words, until June 2015. June 2015 is also when Tom Gavin, building principal for The Bridge, will retire. In the meantime, the creators of The Bridge--Potter, HCSD superintendent Maria Suttmeier, and CCSD superintendent Kathleen Farrell--are "working with the Galvan Foundation to determine an appropriate location." According to Potter, the current building "maxes out" at 60 students, so they are looking for a new location that would have space for "a community room and a couple more classrooms" and some outdoor space. The building will be one that Galvan owns. 

Potter indicated that "Berkshire has relationships with Northern Dutchess schools," and it seems that students from these school districts--whether special education or ATP students or both wasn't clear--might be included in the program "if the location is appropriate."

When asked if, six weeks in, he was happy with the program's effectiveness, Potter said, "Happy is an understatement." The students' progress reports are outstanding, and attendance has been excellent.

On Thursday, April 3, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., there is to be a "Meet the Bridge" event for the public. Students in the program will be giving tours and making presentations, and there will be refreshments, catered by The Cascades. Those interested in attending must make their intentions known by contacting Melissa Daley at Berkshire Farm.


  1. Will the kids explain the Galvan Foundation dream for them too ?

  2. Who said Gavin was retiring next June?

  3. Actually, Mr. Potter never said "June" did he?

    1. He said "the end of the next school year." When does the school year end if it doesn't end in June?

  4. Perhaps the person most qualified to answer the question is the person being discussed.

  5. I don't know how he comes up with 45 or 46 students. I see them coming in and out of the school every day and there are about 18. Maybe there is something that I don't know about, another location?

  6. Bruce Potter has been put on Administrative leave by the Mechanicville school district. See today's Times Union article.