Bridges at Gilman

About Bridges

In 1993, Bridges was founded at St. Paul’s School with the goal of making summer into a time of growth, rather than a time of regression for motivated, but underserved East Baltimore students. It started as a two-summer academic and cultural enrichment program for eighteen fourth and fifth grade students attending Coldstream Park Elementary, a Title I School in East Baltimore.

Over the last 18 years, Bridges has evolved and expanded its program offering in an effort to ensure that the motivated young people that enter Bridges have the support and guidance necessary to become the young leaders our society needs.

Bridges at Gilman

Gilman opened its own site in 2014 and currently serves 36 public school students in grades 4-6. In addition to hosting a five-week summer institute, Gilman provides a year-round after-school program for fourth and fifth grade students from Yorkwood Elementary, Leith Walk Elementary, Govans Elementary, and Cecil Elementary Schools. Sixth graders participate in monthly Weekend Learning Adventures throughout the school year.


Summer Institute

Summer Institute

Every Bridges student participates in the five-week Summer Institute on the Gilman campus, an intensive academic and social enrichment program that emphasizes study skills, athletic participation, and character development. Master teachers from local private and public schools conduct challenging classes in reading, writing, math, and art, and weekly field trips to local landmarks broaden students' awareness of the city and region. Upper School students from Gilman, Bryn Mawr, and Roland Park Country Schools serve as Bridges volunteers by providing classroom support for Summer Institute teachers and valuable assistance for our Head Counselors. Over the past two summers, 32 independent school students have invested a total of over 3,000 volunteer hours. The relationships built between Bridges students and high school volunteers form the social backbone of the program.

Scenes from Summer Institute

Fourth and Fifth Grade After-School Program

Fourth and Fifth Grade After-School Program

From September through April, each of the Bridges elementary school students participates in an after-school program on one day per week. Sessions held on the Gilman campus are led by a master teacher and matches each Bridges student with a high school volunteer. The after-school program features read-aloud sessions, playground games, and one-on-one homework support.

Weekend Learning Adventures

Weekend Learning Adventures

The Bridges sixth graders take part in a series of monthly weekend activities designed to provide students with new and challenging experiences that expand their field of vision. Adult mentors and high school volunteers lead these activities that help students develop new skills and develop self-confidence. This year's activities include camping trips, science and nature study, a theater workshop, ice skating, college campus tours, rock climbing, and inspirational guest speakers

Middle School Guidance

Middle School Guidance
Bridges provides every family of fifth grade students with information and advice they need to make the best choice for their child's middle school placement. We help families identify their student's learning style and encourage them to focus on what sort of school environment best suits their child. Our first group of sixth graders are enrolled in six different area middle schools: Gilman School, Roland Park Middle School (Ingenuity), Mother Seton Academy, Mount Royal Middle School (Advanced Academics), Tunbridge Public Charter, and Immaculate Conception School.


Swapping and sharing books

During this year's Lower School Book Swap, 5,000+ books were collected. Of those, more than half were shared with the students who participate in Gilman's Bridges Program, or donated to Hilton Elementary School, Mt. Royal Elementary School, and the Maryland Book Bank. In this video, LS Librarian Faith Ward talks about the Book Swap and how it works.

Read more about Swapping and sharing books
Sharing Stuff

Third graders Sam N. and Charlie H. wanted to celebrate their birthdays with a joint party with friends, but felt that they had "enough stuff." The boys asked their friends to bring gifts for the students in the Bridges program at Gilman. Bridges features a five-week summer institute as well as year-round academic and social support for students from eight Title I Baltimore City schools. The "stuff" given to friends of Sam and Charlie included playground equipment, books and clothing. Recently the boys presented their party gifts to the Upper School volunteers for the program, who will share them with Bridges students.

Read more about Sharing Stuff

Serves 36 Baltimore City Public School Students

15 Gilman Upper School Students give 1,500 volunteer hours at the Summer Institute


Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Bridges at Gilman staff.


Ned Harris

Director, Bridges Program
ext. 745

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