About Us

Bridges to Academic Success is a curriculum development, teacher training project targeted at school improvement for multilingual learners. The project is an extensive collaboration among CUNY researchers and content developers, language and literacy teachers, and school administrators in secondary schools throughout New York State. All of our materials are designed to meet the language, literacy, academic, social-emotional needs of newcomer students with special literacy needs.

Who We Are

Bridges is uniquely equipped to address the needs of newcomer English Learners (ELs) given our more than a decade of experience supporting the emerging academic and social-emotional needs of this population. Our core work of creating and training educators on curricula for newcomer ELs is funded by the New York State Education Department’s Office of Bilingual Education & World Languages, and is held to rigorous standards. Our school partnerships involve extensive collaboration with teachers and administrators, enabling us to visit classrooms, coach teachers on their practices, and collect data for research purposes. In recent years we have expanded our reach by offering professional learning to districts across the country, thus diversifying our experience and broadening our impact.

Our team is comprised of specialists in the fields of linguistics, urban education, literacy education, arts education, administrative leadership, educational psychology, and public health, the majority of whom have also had teaching careers in New York classrooms. In addition to our core staff, we also partner with lead teachers across NY state, who have a significant role in providing feedback on the design and implementation of our curricula. The Bridges Leadership Advisory of school and district administrators provides professional insight on current issues that informs our work. As a project of the Graduate Center, CUNY, we are also affiliated with the Center for Advanced Study in Education (CASE) and the Research Institute for the Study of Languages in Urban Society (RISLUS).

The singular combination of our wide breadth of experience, diverse partnerships, mature administrative capacity, and proven track record of surpassing deliverables, makes us an ideal organization with which to collaborate.

Who We Serve

Bridges serves a population of immigrant students who have recently entered public high schools, are new to English, and who have had interrupted and/or inconsistent schooling in their home country. Bridges students have a wide range of home language literacy levels, from new to print, to two years below grade level. 

We serve a subset of multilingual learners who are known as Students with Interrupted or Inconsistent Formal Education (SIFE), or students with literacy or math skills two years below grade level. The students who need the most support are those new to print or have a reading level below the third grade in their home language, SIFE with Developing Literacy (SDL).

What We Do

We offer innovative curriculum and professional training for teachers and district leaders that targets a deeper understanding of curricular and instructional practices to ensure access to learning for SIFE. 

Our work is grounded in the belief that SIFE bring valuable resources, such as life experiences, home language, and cultural knowledge that enrich our schools and communities.

 We believe that when educators are trained to understand the characteristics of SIFE and implement instructional strategies that accelerate learning, students are able to graduate and experience improved college and career readiness.

Our offerings include:
A sheltered curriculum in ELA-ENL, math, science and social studies targeted to students with home language literacy levels below grade 3;
A home language arts curricular unit in Spanish aligned to our ENL-ELA curriculum;
Resources to serve all SIFE learners at various home language literacy levels and in multiple classroom settings, including content areas;
Free ENL-ELA teacher training for New York State teachers.


To advocate for newly arrived immigrants with developing literacy by providing curriculum, resources, and training to educators.


For all immigrant youth with developing literacy to thrive in school and to participate meaningfully in society.


Bridges is associated with two research entities at the CUNY Graduate Center:
The Center for Advanced Study of Education (CASE) and the Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society (RISLUS). We have received funding from the New York City Department of Education, the New York Community Trust, and, primarily, from New York State Education Department.