Why Bridgeport? A Look at the Public School System

By Jon Griffith on May 27, 2023 from Why Bridgeport? via

Today marks the end of another group of students passing through the halls of the Bridgeport School system. Graduation day is a joyous time. However, it is also a time of reflection for students, parents, and educators. This group, just as so many that preceded them, leaves behind a legacy of success in which the entire community takes pride. It also begins their journey into adulthood and their many outstanding achievements ahead.
I believe a portion of that future success is the result of the efforts of our Bridgeport School System. Perhaps I am biased. My thirty-plus-year teaching and coaching career may have slanted my perspective just slightly. However, I feel justified in my praise and gratitude for our local Bridgeport schools.
I also believe that education is one critical piece of the foundation of a successful and prosperous community. That is certainly the case in Bridgeport. For decades, the schools in Bridgeport have been statewide leaders in academics, athletics, and the arts.
As a former teacher and coach at Bridgeport High School, I have experienced firsthand what our students can accomplish. BHS is consistently one of the top academic schools in the state. Our fine arts and performing arts programs are easily on par with or exceed any other school in the state. After years of dominant performances in class AA, our sports teams remain highly competitive even though we are now the smallest AAA school in the state. The recently released 2023 NICHE school rankings bear this out. Bridgeport High School was the #2 Best Overall Public High School, #1 Best High School for Athletes, and #1 High School with the Best Teachers in West Virginia. US News and World report concurs with Bridgeport High School as the #2 Overall Best High School in the State.
My four children are all products of the Bridgeport school system. At one time, simultaneously, we had one child in each of the four public schools. Each with a different set of extracurricular activities for good measure. I’m not sure how we managed. Somehow we did, and although I often find it hard to accept, they are all now adults. Each of them is engaged in a successful career. I believe a good deal of credit for their success belongs to our local school system.
The teachers, staff, and administrators do a remarkable job at all the Bridgeport schools. While they may not be perfect, they give all they can daily. They work very hard to provide the best possible learning environment and curriculum. Putting in long hours is not the exception; it is the rule. Most work well beyond the required school day. They sacrifice their time and energy for the benefit of their students. In exchange, they expect the same level of dedication from their students. By establishing high expectations, the school’s staff strives to maximize student potential and prepare them for whatever their next phase of life brings. Those same high standards carry over to extracurricular endeavors as well. Whether sports or the arts, they expect nothing less than your best. The results speak for themselves.
The expectation of success through hard work is not a new idea. It is one that the student’s families and the overwhelming majority of the community support wholeheartedly. Strong family support of the schools is a critical factor in driving student engagement and achievement, and Bridgeport is blessed to have wonderful families backing them up. While many schools struggle to find community assistance, I have never seen a school event, program, or ceremony canceled in Bridgeport for lack of volunteers. Families are involved. They know the value of their children’s education and their extracurricular activities. The families in our community have high expectations for themselves and their children. The schools and their staff encourage and reflect those same values and standards.
Finally, Bridgeport’s students are not typical of their peers at other schools. Perhaps most importantly, they seem to have a natural internal drive to succeed. This most likely results from their family’s influence and that motivation being nurtured and cultivated by the school staff. The students are goal-oriented and willing to work for what they want. Their positive attitudes and competitive nature help propel them and the school forward in all areas. They participate. Academic teams, the arts, and athletics in Bridgeport have very high levels of involvement. Students and their families realize the importance of being well-rounded. There are countless benefits derived from extracurricular activities; teamwork, determination, leadership, etc. In many ways, these types of students make teaching easier. They motivate teachers to become better at their jobs. Teachers feel empowered and inspired to make sure the students achieve all they are capable of achieving.
Because of these reasons, parents and families actively move to Bridgeport to enroll their children in our local schools. New residents often state that their primary reason for moving here is the high regard for our schools and the overall quality of life offered in Bridgeport. They want the best for their children. They are not alone. Our excellent local school system is also listed among the primary factors companies cite in their decision to locate in Bridgeport. Great schools are a good recruiting tool for employers who seek to hire quality employees.
So, ”Why Bridgeport?" The staff, families, and students in our schools have high expectations. Expectations that foster high achievement through hard work. The result is well-educated, well-prepared adults who become productive citizens, successful employees and employers, respected leaders in their community, and advocates for quality education. Successful schools entice successful businesses, employers, and employees to locate here. Perhaps most importantly, over the years, many of our Bridgeport students turned adults returned to or have stayed right here in Bridgeport to raise their families and send their children through the Bridgeport school system. The cycle of success carries on from generation to generation. The strong foundation of education on which our community is built continues to grow and expand.
That is “Why Bridgeport?”
Editor's Note: A classroom setting is shown above, while the city's four public schools are shown after that.

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