Bridge Year Pilot Program

To Our School Board Community:

On June 26, 2020, Governor Murphy signed an Act requiring the Commissioner of Education to establish a three-year “Bridge Year Pilot Program” for certain students who were impacted by the public health state of emergency caused by COVID-19.

Under the Bridge Year Pilot Program (the “Pilot Program”), each school district with a high school shall offer students in the graduating classes of 2021 and 2022 the opportunity to pursue a bridge year during the year immediately following their senior year of high school. The purpose is to give students an additional year to address learning loss and missed opportunities as a result of COVID-19.

The following are guidelines for schools with respect to the Pilot Program:

  • Each high school must designate a school staff member as a bridge year liaison to act as a point of contact for students interested in pursuing the bridge year.
  • The high school shall allow students participating in the bridge year to participate in graduation ceremonies with the graduating class of 2021 or 2022, as applicable, and receive their diplomas.
  • The liaison shall develop an individual learning plan for each student participating in the Pilot Program.
  • The learning plan must define academic and co-curricular goals for the year and detail activities and strategies for accomplishing those goals.
  • If a student decides not to continue with the bridge year in the spring semester, the high school shall release all final transcripts and other records requested.

The following are guidelines for students who would like to pursue the Pilot Program:

  • A student in the graduating classes of 2021 and 2022 who has met all applicable high school graduation requirements by the end of their senior year may elect to pursue a bridge year.
  • A student indenting to pursue a bridge year must notify his high school’s bridge year liaison no later than the first day of the second semester of the student’s senior year of high school.
  • To be eligible for the Pilot Program, a student must be 19 years of age or younger and shall not turn 20 years of age at any time during the bridge year, except that a classified student shall be eligible to participate if the student will turn 20 years of age during the bridge year due to services provided pursuant to the student’s individualized education program.
  • Students pursuing a bridge year shall remain enrolled in the host high school while participating in the Pilot Program.
  • During each of the fall and spring semesters of the bridge year, the student shall take between nine and twelve credits at the high school, if an institution of higher education offers courses at that location, then the county college that serves the county of the high school, or a combination thereof. The students transcript will be updated at the end of each semester of the bridge year to reflect the credits earned.
  • The student shall maintain a grade point average of 2.0 in order to remain in the Pilot Program.
  • A student pursuing a bridge year shall be eligible for a tuition aid grant or scholarship under the Tuition Aid Grant Program or the new Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship Program.
  • A student pursuing a bridge year is permitted to participate in a spring sport sanctioned by the new Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and extracurricular activities at the students host high school. Students are not, however, permitted to participate in any fall or winter sports sanctioned by the association.

This message is not intended to substitute for our legal advice to our clients based on their specific needs or requests. In addition, our guidance is subject to and can be superseded by new laws, rules, regulations, or orders. Moreover, some directives from the Federal and State authorities can appear, and can be, contradictory or in conflict so please contact us for assistance.

If you have any questions regarding this Act, please do not hesitate to contact us.