Celebrating our 25th Year


Bridges is the only middle school in Oregon specifically designed for students with learning differences to reach their maximum potential.

Our small class settings for 5th-8th graders incorporate individualized academics with social skills, therapies, and support that set the foundation for future success.

Bridges is the only middle school in Oregon specifically designed for students with learning differences to reach their maximum potential—in a loving, nurturing atmosphere centrally located in downtown Portland.

For many Bridges students, this means the difference between effective learning and being passed along. It means positive social and emotional growth rather than isolation or, worse, bullying.

Leadership and Accountability

Effective leadership and organizational systems, accountability and an engaged community are essential to student success.

​We Care About Your Child’s Success

  • We believe in demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement through collaboration and integrated decision-making.
  • We believe effective leadership is vital at all levels of the organization and will create student success.
  • We believe it is our duty to properly steward school resources through ethical behavior, compliance with the law, transparency of processes and sound fiscal controls.
  • We believe community partnerships and family engagement are fundamental to achieving and sustaining student success.
  • We believe in a school—including administration and support staff—that is dedicated to providing high-quality service in support of teaching and learning.

At Bridges, Students learn another way forward.

Our goal is to give students with learning differences the academic foundation, social skills and confidence they need to graduate ready to succeed in high school and in the community.

Individualized learning and attention.

Bridges Middle School does more than prepare our students for high school. We transform lives. Students with learning differences experience academic success and personal growth. They learn to navigate school — and life — with confidence and competence. Students leave Bridges with self-awareness and the tools to accomplish their goals despite their learning differences.

Parents say Bridges is quite literally a lifesaver.

We offer a range of social and emotional support to our students and their families. Our team of teachers, counselors and administrators bring a wide range of expertise from diverse backgrounds. They help students understand the complex nuances of middle school culture, provide responsive services for challenges that arise within the school community, and assist individual students by providing support and coaching at different stages of need.

“You don’t have to worry about bullies – Bridges Middle School is the best school in the world.”

Hank, 7th Grade

Small Classes. Big Results.

In our small classes, Bridges’ students flourish in a community of supportive teachers and peers. We strive to maintain a student-teacher ratio of twelve to one and often even lower, compared with other public and private settings where class sizes often average 30 or more. This unique context allows individualized assistance, the development of a deep understanding of our students’ needs, and the ability to tailor lessons to build on the strengths and creative interests of each child.

Bridges Creates Routines and Structure.

Students with learning differences often experience severe disorganization. Often, they need ways to structure both time and space. Bridges creates clear routines and schedules for what needs to be done when, and set up easy-to-use binders and work spaces to promote clarity and organization.  

Bridges empowers students to make choices about their learning.

Because students with learning differences find school difficult, students may have a hard time making decisions about what they want to do. Bridges puts the power in their hands by encouraging them to do things they love and that make them feel empowered—such as cooking, building something, or making their own movie. 

Bridges partners with parents and expert providers.

Bridges’ counselors and teachers work in collaboration with family providers in the fields of education, behavior, and mental health. We work in partnership with parents and providers to best support our students to thrive in school—and in life—becoming their best selves.   

Bridges provides academic and social support. ​

An important component to ensuring the success of each student at Bridges Middle School is to have faculty who fully understand the developmental characteristics and unique learning needs of middle-school students. Bridges is fortunate to have a professional, creative, knowledgeable and caring staff. The teaching and counseling team at Bridges Middle School meets each student where he or she is academically and socially. In small classes, Bridges’ students do more than learn to cope with their learning differences. They gain the academic, social and self-advocacy skills necessary to succeed in school – and life.

Our students come first.

  • We believe it is essential to place the needs of students above all others in every decision we make.
  • We believe that the core work of the school is supporting student learning.
  • We believe every child, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, language proficiency, learning style, or learning difference, deserves the opportunity to achieve to their highest potential.

High-quality teaching and learning are the keys to student success.

  • We believe high-quality instruction is key to our students’ success and is built on a rigorous and relevant curriculum that is aligned to standards, measurable outcomes, positive relationships, appropriate professional development and equitable access to educational opportunities.
  • We believe in high expectations for all students and staff built on a culture that respects individual differences and includes fair treatment, honesty, openness and integrity.
  • We believe a safe and orderly learning environment supports student success.


Many community volunteers contribute their gifts to the school as members of Bridges’ Board of Directors. Bridges’ directors have strong ties to the education, financial, legal and nonprofit communities in Portland and are dedicated to the school’s mission.

Jennifer Rollins

Board Chair

Attorney; Elliot, Ostrander and Preston

Sean Gabrio


Senior Vice President, Pacific Wealth Group

Catherine Bekooy


Past parent of Bridges student, Fundraising & Marketing, 2023 Auction Chair

Ann Brayfield

Retired business owner and past parent of Bridges student

Kim Kenney

Former Parent, NIKE Creative Director Blue Ribbon Studios | Accessibility Champion + Co-Chair Ability* Network

Cathy Reynolds

Director; Employment, Strategy and Workforce Planning, Legacy Health, Past parent of Bridges student

Dr. Carrie Hall

Ex-officio, Interim Principal/Former Academic Advisor, Bridges Middle School + Assistant Professor of Education, George Fox University

Beven Byrnes

Ex-officio, Interim Executive Director/Former Head of School, Bridges Middle School

Board Meetings and Term

Bridges’ Board of Directors meets on the third Tuesday of every month with the exception of July and December. Our volunteer board members serve in three-year terms.

Here, you feel safe and like everyone cares about you – it is amazing how much Bridges has changed my life.

Kimmy, 7th Grade

Bridges Middle School’s mission is to provide a safe and enriching academic environment where students with learning differences can explore their role in the world as learners and members of the community. Every Bridges Middle School student graduates with the academic foundation, self-confidence and self-advocacy skills necessary to be successful in high school and life.

Bridges means a fresh start. It also means to reach your goal. It has helped me feel better about myself.

Andy, 7th Grade