The Blog

Holcomb Bridge Middle School Secures $225k Grant


New Learning Initiative Extends Strategic Plan for Rigorous and Relevant Education for All Students

March 9, 2015. Roswell, GA. Holcomb Bridge Middle School (HBMS) was recently awarded a $225K grant to fund a unique learning initiative designed to strengthen both the short- and long-term academic success of all students in its dynamic and highly diverse community. The grant was awarded by the Fulton Education Foundation, a 501c founded in 1986 and designed to enhance the performance and lives of Fulton County students and faculty by facilitating innovative programs. The HBMS initiative seeks to further strengthen the current curriculum to provide a challenging academic environment for every student, regardless of their specific need. Holcomb Bridge successfully completed the rigorous application process in a collaborative effort between the HBMS Governance Council, school administration and the Northeast Learning Community.

The funds from the grant will be used to drive new programs that will take the school to the next level of performance: Project Based Learning and “The Bridge.”

Project Based Learning is the cornerstone of the program—a concept that is not new but with the advent of the digital world, is being embraced by cutting-edge schools like HBMS. This learning approach can effectively impart the skills that students need in today’s workforce by engaging students to learn not only the curricula and concepts involved in a project, but also how to organize and present their thoughts, how to manage a complex project in a limited amount of time and how to collaborate with members of a group. The grant will provide training for all of the school’s “core content” teachers through the Buck Institute this summer and in the 2015-16 school year, including a site visit to the King Middle School in Maine, a model for high achievement using project based learning in a school with similar demographics to Holcomb Bridge. Additional instructional technology training will be provided to teachers to support the new collaborative spaces—including new furniture and 21st century technology—that will be installed in August 2015. This approach will provide increased educational rigor and relevance for all students, including improving students’ written communication across curricula, and increasing the quality and quantity of interdisciplinary opportunities.

The Bridge specifically targets students who have a demonstrated need for academic support and will use two primary techniques: “Launching Pad,” an individualized, blended tutoring approach using classroom teachers and technology, administered in after-school sessions 3x a week and on Saturdays; and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), an instructional support program for at-risk students based on the principle that if you hold students to the highest standards and provide academic and social support, they will rise to the challenge. Students will participate in daily AVID connections class for 50 minutes per day, every day, for the entire school year.

“I am very excited about our new learning initiative and what it will do for our students and this school,” said Principal Chris Shearer. “We are very fortunate to have leaders like Kim Kapella, our Graduation Coach, and Jonathan Adel, our 7th grade assistant principal who envisioned what we can achieve with this program—and to have the support of the Fulton Education Foundation to reach our goals for this school.”

Kim Thompson, Chair of the school’s Governance Council agrees. “What I love about Holcomb Bridge and this community is that we are all dedicated to the same goal—ensuring the success of each and every student—and providing the best education to achieve that goal.”

Holcomb Bridge Middle School—a school of global classrooms—is located at 2700 Holcomb Bridge Road, Alpharetta, GA. The school has received numerous distinctions, including the prestigious designation of Georgia National Lighthouse School to Watch for being a high-performing school that is academically excellent, developmentally responsive and socially equitable. Holcomb Bridge is also a Georgia School of Excellence and a Distinguished Title I School.

For more information, please contact:

Amanda Hayes
Holcomb Bridge Middle School PTA
PR Chair