The 2019-2020 Academic Year at Cypress Bay High School is off to a great start, with the HDS Foundation kicking-off the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Program at the Bay! On Friday September 21st, the HDS Board members, Cristina Miranda Gilson and Meagan Bouscher Miranda (along with other HDS Foundation staff), hosted a fun pizza lunch and Meet and Greet for the students and class facilitators Ms. Kathy Gorman-Gard and Ms. Donna Mansolillo. The students each introduced themselves and spoke a little about their interests, hobbies, and some goals. This is definitely an exceptional class, and we are sure this year will be a very special one.


Designed as a Program Grant to support diploma seeking students on the Autism Spectrum, the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Program focuses on supporting the development of school-based social and community life skills activities designed to meet the needs of this population.  At Cypress Bay, the ESE Department’s Social Living Skills (SLS) Team has put together an exciting plan for this year, gaining them this award for the 5th year in a row. The B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Program will provide these students with learning experiences focused on Budgeting | Resources | Independent Functioning | Development | Growth | Empowerment | Social Skills. 

Some of the activities planned this year by Ms. Gard and Ms. Mansolillo include various community based-field trips to local businesses who are poised to provide potential future employment, life skills development initiatives such as establishing bank accounts, shopping opportunities, learning about transportation options, and social skills activities during the school year. These activities have been successful conduits to building better communication tools, peer mentoring, fostering friendships, and preparation for life after high school, including post-secondary.


Best wishes for a great year class!